Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sorry for no workout yesterday, but you can make up for it with this one...

Do as many rounds of this circuit as you can in 5 minutes:
-10 Ab Crunches or Sit Ups
-10 Push Ups
-20 Mountain Climber (count only one leg)

Then, do THIS circuit with the same instructions:
-10 Side Lunge w/ Toe Touch (each side counts as one)
-10 Squat
-20 Jumping Jack

Now get after it!


Anybody Else Ready For This Snow To Be Gone?

Friday, December 26, 2008
Well, if nothing else, this snow gives you a great excuse to stay in, get in a workout, and let off a little steam.

Today's workout is over when you finish all the reps.  It's really straightforward...

-75 push ups
-75 sit ups (crunches if you cannot do a full sit up)
-75 squats (toe touches if you cannot do a squat)

Crank it out quick and hopefully by the time you're done, it will have started raining!


Christmas Eve WOD

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I know first-hand how many bad eating choices are made on Christmas eve.  Make sure you get in this quick workout to help burn some calories.


Alternate between 20 second sets of the two exercises, taking 10 second breaks between each set.  You'll do a total of 8 sets (4 of each exercises).  At the bottom, I've included links to two online Tabata timers.

Tabata #1
1) Push-Up
2) Squat

Tabata #2
1) Bicycle
2) Jumping Jacks

If you don't know how to perform the bicycle, just do abdominal crunches instead.

Make sure you're getting after it!

Here are the links to those timers:

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Holiday Workout of the Day (WOD)

Monday, December 22, 2008
Hi Everyone,

It's been a while, but the holidays have a way of making us scarce.  In lieu of using my blog to write about my thoughts on diet and exercise, I'm going to be using the duration of the holidays to give everyone a workout to do to keep them active during the holidays.

Each of the workouts I'm going to give will be posted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Each workout will last 10 minutes of work, and including a warm up and cool down stretch, should take less than 20 minutes to finish.

Without further ado, here's your workout for today...

Do the following circuit as many times as possible in 10 minutes.  If you need to, take a quick water break at five minutes for water.

     1) 15 pushups
     2) 15 squats
     3) 15 bicycles
     4) 15 crunches
     5) 20 sprint in place (count your left knee, so you're essentially taking 40, high-knee steps in place)

The one thing you'll notice about every WOD is that they will be simple and to the point.  They are all very challenging if you work hard enough.  Remember to do a light warm up before starting and cool down stretch at the end.

Happy holidays, everyone.  I know it's tough, but take time for yourself and your health this season.


Top 6 Eating Tips For The Run Up To Christmas

Thursday, December 4, 2008
I usually preface my blogs with some sort of intro, but these tips are pretty self-explanatory, so let's get to 'em:

1. Don't Fast Before Big Meals
Many people make the mistake of avoiding food altogether on days where they know that they're going to a holiday party or a big dinner.  It's a huge mistake.  First, you're far more liable to overeat if you haven't had anything in your stomach, so you're making a bad thing worse.  Second, when you don't eat regularly, your body enters fasting mode, lowering your metabolism and ensuring that you store much of your next meal as fat.

2. Drink Your H2O
Most people don't drink enough water.  Even fewer do it during the holidays.  Water is so crucial to everything your body does, and better yet, it helps fill your stomach and prevent overeating.

3. DON'T Drink Your Boose
It doesn't matter if it's beer, wine, cocktails or anything else, alcohol is an absolute no-no for slim waists.  Alcohol will help you put on body weight in so many different ways...
   -It's calorie dense
   -It's NOT satiating
   -You eat worse foods with it
   -It slows your body's fat burning mechanisms
As tempting as it is to carry around a drink at the holiday party, don't do it - unless it's water.

4. Eat Before Parties And Get-Togethers
Have something healthy to eat before you go to a party.  Try to include choices that are high in protein and fiber.  Veggies are always a great choice for food to eat before a party.  Just avoid the high-calorie dips - why everyone has to have their food dipped in some other food, I'll never know.  What I do know, those dips and sauces aren't going to do anything positive for your body composition.

5. Don't Snack On Little Treats
Make sure you know when you're going to eat and eat then.  Most parties - heck, most offices - have some sort of fatty, sugary treat sitting around just waiting to make your pants tighter.  Most holiday treats are 100 calories apiece - MINIMUM.  If you munch on just a couple of them a couple times a day.  It adds up to an average of 619 extra calories eaten each day during the holidays by your average American.

6. Moderation, Moderation, Moderation
At this point it may sound like I'm telling you to eat nothing but steamed veggies and chicken breast over the holidays.  Nope.  The key is, as always, moderation.  You should never, NEVER, binge on food.  I talked about this awhile ago, but "living a little" shouldn't involve doing something blatantly unhealthy, which binge eating most certainly is.  Give yourself a treat, but remember that your stomach is not as big as much of what we eat during the holidays.  It's amazing what a difference lowering your portion sizes can make.

3 Holiday Fitness Tips

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The holidays are known for wreaking havoc on our bodies, and to put a stop to it, you need a concrete plan.  It's an easy time of the year to find excuses to eat lousy food and not workout.  Today, I'm going to focus on the working out with these three tips:

1. Book It
If you just treat exercise as something you'll "get around to," you're never going to get around to it.  Few people treat exercise as an appointment, but that's what it needs to become, even over the holidays.  

Not exercising has two main negatives.  First, you don't burn calories, leading to weight gain.  Second, you lose lean muscle mass, leading to a lower metabolism and again, more weight gain.  This is what makes figuring it out in January such a poor option - you've already cost yourself some very valuable weeks.

So make an appointment to exercise at least twice a week, preferably three times.  I STRONGLY recommend doing it in the morning, as the longer you go in your day without exercise, the more excuses you'll have to avoid doing it.

2. Shoot For A Number
Even though holiday schedules can be hectic, there are always little bits of daylight in every schedule, be it for a minute or five.  You have to seize on those moments.

Your body really doesn't much care whether it's done 100 squats in a five minute window or over the course of the entire day.  If you have a day where time is really tight, set a goal of exercise repetitions to complete over the course of a day.  Ten reps here and ten reps there take virtually no time but add up to big numbers at the end of the day.

Squats - 200
Pushups - 100
DB or Band Rows - 100

This will easily keep you strong, or even help you gain strength over the holidays.  Keep in mind, however, that this is for very busy days.  Even though you're getting in your work, the optimal hormonal environment for fat loss is present only during periods of short rest.  Long rest periods can be just as beneficial for maintaining strength, but in terms of fat loss, really emphasize this strategy if things are truly hectic on a given day.

3. Don't Make Time For The Health Club
The holidays are a time when one of the most common images I can think of are crowded parking lots.  The last thing you need at this time of the year is more hustle and bustle.  Not wanting to find the time to go to the gym, find parking, battle for equipment (especially machines, which you should NOT be using, by the way) and all the other stuff that goes along with the health club "experience" becomes an easy excuse.

Workout from home, or find a workout buddy and go do something outside together.  I know that it's cold out - but it'll actually feel nice once you get moving (just ask the women in my Edmonds boot camp - after just a set or two, they're usually begging to open the windows and let in a little crisp air).

There you go.  Simple stuff, here.  Don't "get around" to exercise.  Find the little breaks in your day and do a few reps of exercise.  Don't worry about the health club.  Make sure you put it to use.



Don't Eat a Lot to Live a Little

Monday, November 24, 2008
You've heard it before, right?

"C'mon, it's the holidays - live a little!"

Maybe you've heard it; maybe you've even said it.

I know I've said it to myself before.  But it's such a flawed way of looking at life.  You don't have to binge in order to enjoy Thanksgiving or any other time of the year.

But that's the kind of thinking that the statement enables - you're only living if you're doing something bad for you.  The holidays really bring this to the forefront.  You should be enjoying the holidays, but how did enjoying the company of family and friends get mixed up with binge eating and drinking.

Do your best to make the holidays about the people you love, not food.  You can enjoy their company without doing the things that cause most Americans to gain five to ten pounds over the holidays.  Of course you can enjoy some turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce on Thursday - I know I will.  But the point is that you don't eat until you're so stuffed you can barely move.  It's not healthy.  In spite of our cultural denial, it IS binge eating.  

Treat yourself to some of the foods you want this holiday season, but be reasonable in the coming weeks.


See Those Compound Exercises in Action

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Check out the video of me demonstrating the compound fat loss exercises I mentioned in my last blog.

Now that you know 'em, put 'em to use. And let me know what you think!



The Best Exercises for Rapid Fat Loss

Monday, November 17, 2008
I constantly get asked questions about the best fat loss exercises.

To make it as simple as possible, the best exercises for fat loss are the ones that involve as many muscles as possible. Both research and anecdotal evidence back me up – total body workouts are superior for fat loss.

To really increase this effect, I often use combination movements to really increase the total body effect of the exercises I select. For example, squats are one of the best exercises you can possibly do – they are second to none for leg and hip strength, as well as being excellent for fat loss. They become even better when you combine them with, say, a row or a press. Squat rows and squat presses are not only effective – they’re effective in a very short amount of time.

It’s a simple equation, really:

More muscles involved equals more calories burned equals greater fat loss in less time.

I must be honest in that I have a true love-hate relationship with the following movements I am about to share with you. Love because of the unparalleled fat-melting, muscle-building results they provide to help maximize my sexy. Hate because they break me every single workout by leaving me in tears while in a pool of my own sweat. In other words, these are not for the weak of mind, body, or soul!

Without further adieu, here is my official top 10 list of the best exercises in the world for fat loss:

Exercise #1 - Squat Row

Exercise #2 - The Swing (can be done with dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls or sandbags)

Exercise #3 - Reverse Lunge to Shoulder Press

Exercise #4 - Squat Thrust

Exercise #5 - The Chop (can be done with dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls or sandbags)

Exercise #6 - Olympic Lifting Variations: Dumbbell or Kettlebell Cleans, Snatches, High Pulls

Exercise #7 - Side Plank w/ 1-Arm Press

Exercise #8 - Mountain Climber

Exercise #9 - Med Ball Slam

Exercise #10 - Single-Leg RDL plus Row

I will be including a highlight video of many of these exercises later this week so you can include them in your repertoire.

I hope you take my expert advice and ditch the piecemeal exercises (biceps curls, triceps extensions, ab crunches, etc.) in favor of total body exercises. I guarantee you better results in less time by regularly employing these movements into your workouts – they will really be taken to the next level.



How to Use Circuits For Faster Fat Loss

Monday, November 10, 2008
Resistance training is typically approached in a straight set format.  Essentially, this means you do a predetermined number of reps of an exercise for or you perform as many reps as possible of an exercise and then rest anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes before repeating this a certain number of times based on your goals. 

So, what’s wrong with that?  Well, though straight sets are simple to explain and an easy place to start, they are also an extremely inefficient way to order your exercises.  In most commercial gyms you’ll typically see someone perform three sets of 10 reps of an exercise - let’s say a biceps curl.  They crank out 10 reps, go to the water fountain, chat it up with their friends, watch a couple of highlights on ESPN, and then gingerly walk back to finally do their second set.  In the case of three sets of 10 biceps curls it takes many a gym-goer up to 15 minutes to complete one single exercise. That means you’d need at least an hour to go through only four exercises!

A much more effective and time-efficient approach to ordering your exercises is utilizing the alternating set format.  Here you’ll perform one exercise, rest for a short period of time, then perform another non-competing exercise, rest for a short period of time, and so on.  Alternating sets allow you to work different areas of your body when you'd otherwise be sitting on your butt waiting to start your next set.  Plus, by working another area of your body with a non-competing exercise you allow your body to recover from the previous exercise or exercises.  The result is more work accomplished in less time, the cornerstone of any sound fat loss program.  There are several ways to perform alternating sets outlined below:

1.) Supersets: Alternate between two different non-competing exercises (e.g. upper body and lower body such as push-ups and lunges)

2.) Trisets: Alternate between three different exercises (e.g. push, pull, and lower body such as push-ups, rows, and lunges)

3.) Circuits: Alternate between four or more different exercises

All of these are great training options, and I use all of them in my Boot Camps.  To show you why, that a look at one of my favorite circuits, the 50-10 Five Exercise Circuit.  In this circuit, you alternate between 50 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for all five exercises, a total of five minutes (and what a five minutes it is!).  It's an easy plug and play workout format, and I've included what I feel is the strongest way to utilize it (examples in parentheses):

Exercise #1 - Double Leg (Squats)

Exercise #2 - Push (Push-ups)

Exercise #3 - Single Leg (Reverse Lunges)

Exercise #4 - Pull (Compound Rows)

Exercise #5 - Core (Bicycles)

You can do this once, and then do a different circuit, or you can do it up to four times for a 20-minute total body fat burning workout (make sure you work your way up to a 20-minute workout if you value getting out of bed the next morning!).

Basically, in the same 15 minutes that it took to get in three sets of biceps curls you could have done three sets of five different exercise for a total of 15 work sets!  Plus, the intensity on each exercise will be just as high as in the straight set format because in this five exercise circuit you will have full recovery with over four minutes before you return to any given exercise (just as you did with the straight set format described earlier).

The key to creating the optimal hormonal environment for fat loss is to perform each exercise with maximal intensity while separated by brief rest periods in order to accumulate a high volume of total body work in the shortest amount of time possible. Circuit training gives you the best of both worlds and is flat-out unmatched for maximizing fat loss and lean muscle gain.

I’ll be sharing some more great circuit training workouts from my boot camps in the weeks to come, so keep visiting!

Yours in health,
Mark Haner


Partner Up For Results

Tuesday, November 4, 2008
In my newsletter last week, I talked about partnering up for exercise.

Few things can make you work as hard as having someone to work with.

But there is a flip side to this.  A lot of people who think they have a "workout buddy" actually have a "conversation buddy."

If you want to workout with a partner so you have someone to talk to, then you're doing it for the wrong reason.  Be honest with yourself, are you working hard if you can carry on a conversation?  I sincerely doubt it.  And if you're not getting after it, you're going to have to workout a lot longer than you want to in order to get results out of it.

Workout with a partner so you have someone to push you.

Grab a friend and try this four-minute workout.  I recommend that your entire workout last longer than four minutes (I would use these four minutes as just one element of a full workout), but if you are really in a time crunch, four minutes can get you a really tough workout, especially when working with a partner.

One partner will be at Station A, setting the pace.  Station A is 15 pushups.  The other partner will be at Station B, which will involve running between two cones (or shoes, or sweatshirts - something to mark out the distance) spaced ten yards apart.  Both partners will be working for the entire four minutes.  While one partner is doing 15 pushups, the other will be touching as many cones as possible on the run.  Once the 15 pushups are complete, you switch places.  Keep switching stations as many times as possible (read: get after it on the run and the pushups).  Once four minutes are up, you're done - and believe me, you'll be done!

No Man is a Mountain

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
On Monday, I wrote about the importance of social interaction as it relates to your weight loss success.

People who "go it alone" never enjoy the success of those who lean on their peers.  That applies to more than weight loss.  Few things we do in our lives are improved by solitude.  The support of our circle of family and friends makes us better equipped to pursue our goals.

There are some very important ways you can incorporate family and friends to improve your odds of having success.

First, make sure you tell your friends what you're hoping to accomplish.  They want you to succeed.

Second, ask for their help changing your lifestyle.  If you go out to restaurants with your friends, suggest that you center your conversations around a walk instead of around food.  Ask a friend to workout with you or get involved in their own similar effort to lose weight.

Third, make sure they know when you're struggling.  Strangers seldom offer us much encouragement.  But when someone close to you tells you they believe in you, it somehow makes things much easier.

Now, don't expect any one friend to be everything - they won't appreciate being the constant pillar for you to lean on.  Make sure to use everyone in your network that you're comfortable talking to.

If you insist on keeping your goals in the dark, weight loss can become a lonely endeavor - not something anyone wants.

Have Some Compassion

Monday, October 27, 2008
The least talked about part of having success, in weight loss and in life, is the social element.

All of us, no matter how self-sufficient, benefit from the occasional ego stroking.

If you're trying to lose weight, how good would it feel to have someone tell you that all your hard work is paying off?  Compassion and understanding are SO helpful when you're doing something that's tough.  Sometimes something as simple as a smile can make all the difference.

If you know someone who's having a tough time accomplishing what they've set out to do (or heck, even if they're doing just fine), do something to laud their efforts.  It doesn't matter how little the gesture, it just matters that you give it.

Never underestimate the importance of how you interact with your family and friends.  They will likely determine the outcome of your efforts.

More on this later...

The Simple Truth

Friday, October 24, 2008
A lot of people ask me how to lose weight - A LOT.

It's pretty much why my whole industry exists.

The sad fact is that nobody wants to believe me when I give them the answers.  I tell them what it will take for them to start losing fat, and they won't do it.  Why?  Because it involves hard work and sacrifice when they wanted to hear some special secret that I, as a fitness pro, must possess.

Everyone wants results, yet few are willing to do what it takes to get them.  Their current lifestyle - the one that got them the body they're living in - is too comfortable for them to make a change.  As many times as I say it, no one wants to believe that their bodies will resist small changes.  You have to be totally bought in to making a real change.

Count calories?  Exercise vigorously?  Who wants to do that?  Well, those are the things that I GUARANTEE will get you results, so it's up to you to decide.

You can't cheat physics.  And that's all weight gain is.

It's not your genes.

It's not your busy schedule.

It's not because you had a kid.

It's not because of stress.

It's because you're storing more calories than you're burning.  What can you do about it?  Eat less, move more...

... and have a healthy weekend, everyone.

What's Your Excuse?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
There's a rather crude expression that creates a simile for excuses.  Rather than repeat it here, I'll just say "everyone's got one."

I've talked a lot recently about how important goal setting is.  Without it, you have no way of answering the question I talked about Monday - WHY is your goal important to you?  If you haven't established a value for your goal, it's easy to let it be trumped.

Let me just say this as simply as possible.  There's a million reasons not to commit to your fitness goals, but only one reason you will.

There's a lot that goes into losing weight, for instance.  You can't do it if you turn your job, your family and friends, or anything else into an excuse.  Everyone's got their stuff to deal with, but only a few people make the choice to pursue their goals regardless of all the obstacles.

I never promise anyone that getting in shape is easy - I tell them it's simple.  Weight loss isn't as complex as everyone makes it out to be.  The problem is that everyone wants the result but has an excuse as to why they can't put in the work.

Set your goals well.  Answer the WHY about your goals.  The answer to that question is what you need to keep in mind when the excuses start to grow.  It will help you decide if your reason for not working out, eating right, tracking calories, etc. is a pothole turns into a sinkhole.

Think about it.

The Magic Question

Monday, October 20, 2008
My Shoreline fitcamp just had their first of twelve sessions over the next four weeks.

I'm really emphasizing goal-setting in this round of camps.

Everyone thinks they've set goals, but few have set meaningful goals.  They haven't set SMART goals.  And most importantly, they haven't answered the real questions.

SMART goal setting is all about considering every aspect of the goal.  Is it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely?  Very few people set goals that can be measured, but it's the only way to know if you've really accomplished what you set out to accomplish.  And even fewer people set timely goals.  You have to have a deadline for your goal.  Open-ended goals are never met - they just get pushed off 'til tomorrow, the "8th day of the week."

Make sure that your goals are SMART, and make sure that you answer the Magic Question - why?

Why is the goal important to you?

That will tell you all you need to know, and it will help you answer other questions.

What are you willing to sacrifice to attain the goal?

Who will you affect by attaining it?  Not attaining it?

How do you hope to feel when you accomplish the goal?

Answer the Magic Question - it will put you on the right path.

Becoming Comfortable With Exertion

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sometimes I find myself watching exercise videos or exercise shows on television, and I feel as though they all preach the same message - don't over-exert yourself.

Granted, you don't want to 'over' anything, if you can avoid it.

But we're talking about exercise here.  You should be exerting yourself - it should be really challenging.

Your muscles, including your heart, are capable of periods of very high exertion, but hardly anyone ever trains them to do it.  How can you honestly say that you have a healthy heart if it can't handle a sudden, massive demand?  That's one of the biggest triggers of heart attacks - a sudden influx of demand that your heart can't handle.  Yet no one prepares their heart for big demands.

What do we train for?



I haven't the faintest.

What do you think?

Why have we become a nation that exercises like distance runners, when precious few of us even care about running a marathon?

We're the only creature who 'jogs,' and we're also the fattest creatures on the planet.  Do you think it's a coincidence?  Granted, we also eat like crap, but I've got to believe that our physical activity has to shoulder some blame, does it not?

Give it some thought and let me know what you think.

How Do You Really Change Old Habits?

Monday, October 13, 2008
As the saying goes, old habits die hard.

Depending on how ingrained your habits, simple willpower is often not enough.  The problem is that everyone wants to believe they have strong willpower - who wants to feel weak?  This leads many exercisers and dieters to rely on self-discipline alone to get them to their goals.

I know it sounds cliché, but the mind is a very powerful thing.  The problem that the willpower crowd faces is this - patterns that form over time in our brains are not conscious patterns.  Our habits that lead us to excuse ourselves from exercise, overeat and eat certain bad foods are not cognitive decisions.  Our willpower may allow us to fight the good fight, so to speak, but our habits are far more powerful than many of us are willing to believe.

One of the best tools you have at your disposal is good planning.  Structure allows us to ease the process of building good habits to replace the bad ones.  It removes us from the social and emotional cues that often lead us to fall back into our bad patterns.

Make exercise appointments and treat them like you would any appointment.  Plan your daily meals and snacks and make sure you have the foods you plan to eat available.  And don't just plan what - plan when and how much.

Old habits may die hard, but it can be done, provided you're using the right plan of attack.

The Great Finish

Friday, October 10, 2008
I just got back from my 6:30am Shoreline fitcamp, and I'll be leaving shortly for my 9:00am camp in Edmonds.  These are the final sessions of the current camp, and the Shoreline camp finished strong.

Finishing strong is something I always preach in my camps.  It doesn't matter if it's a 20 second set, a 4 minute circuit, a 30 minute session or a 4 week camp - you've got to finish with your best effort.

I can always tell who is going to be a successful client after watching them for just a circuit or two.  They're always the ones who finish the hardest.  The ones who just wait for a circuit to mercifully come to an end never get as much out of it - it's the ones who attack those last minutes and seconds with everything they have that really benefit.  That's because they have a competitive mindset - the worst thing they could do is give up early.  It speaks to how they approach the rest of their efforts, as well.

Michael Jordan had a great quote about this - "It's not how hard you push along the way; it's having something in you to finish."  At the end of a set, circuit or workout is when you are physically at your weakest, and therefore you have to mentally be at your strongest.

If you can find it in yourself to give your best effort when you are exhausted, then you will prosper greatly in fitness and in life.  Be aware of how you finish your sets and workouts.  The finish should always be a crescendo - it should go out like a bang, not fade away.

Have a great weekend everyone! 

How Our Government Let Me Down

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Well, if I'm being completely honest, our government has let me down in many ways.  But the latest actually directly involves my line of work.

This is how the government let me down - a new fitness recommendation.

That recommendation?  Adults should get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week.

Now, what makes the government think it has any clue whatsoever about fitness is beyond me.  A full two-thirds of the country is overweight - more than a third of the country is obese - and they still recommend moderate activity.

The government needs to keep it's garbage away from our fitness.  It crams food groups and food pyramids down our throats.  It makes ever-changing exercise recommendations, none of which ever mention anything about intense or vigorous exercise.  It clearly lacks an understanding of how great our country's weight loss problem is, and is even more lacking in solutions.  Why it thinks it has solutions is an absolute mystery.  The Secretary of the Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, has a degree in economics and business.  And he oversees a department that pretends to know what's best for our health?

Any exercise recommendation that involves raking leaves, as this one does, doesn't get it.  There aren't enough trees in North America to keep Americans fit by raking up after them.

And go on as many brisk walks as you want, but don't call it exercise.

We try to coddle the same lifestyles that got us fat in the first place.  If you want to change your body, it's time to change the way you view exercise.  And if you think yard work is the same thing as getting exercise, then you haven't exercised (and yes, in case you're wondering, I have done yard work).

I spend a lot of time telling people that the whole low to moderate intensity school of thought has caused more harm than health.  I just believe it's a poor model of fitness.  A lot of people are fairly resistant to the notion that what they've always been told about fitness is wrong.

How about you?  What do you think about intense versus moderate exercise?

Do you agree with my approach?

Let me know what you think.

What's Your Favorite Exercise?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Someone recently pointed out to me that I always ask for comments on my blog, yet I never ask any questions.  Point well taken.

I do want to get a discussion going, and it has to start somewhere.

So let's start by talking about our favorite exercises...

My favorite exercise has actually changed in the last several weeks.  Who knows - it may change again soon.  But for the time being, pull-ups are my go to exercise.

I never used to like pull-ups.  They're not very glamorous, especially because they're so hard.  It wasn't that long ago that I could only muster a couple repetitions before giving up.  That's not really the makings of sticking with something.

But pull-ups are a fantastic way of working a ton of muscles.  Aside from their value of being very challenging, they work every pulling muscle in the upper body.  Most people neglect to ever think about the muscles in their back.  Sure, they notice that they have lower back pain, but even then they don't think much about how the muscles you can't see in the mirror play a role in your posture.

Women always want to work their shoulders and triceps because they want to tone those areas, even though that's called spot reduction and it's impossible (but that's a discussion for another time).  Men always want to work their chest and biceps because those are the muscles you see when you look at yourself in the mirror.  Yet there are these big, really important muscles all around your upper back that no one ever seems to train.

Most people have very poor posture, and the number one postural defect is rolled in shoulders.  Pull-ups, and other variations on pulling exercises, help strengthen the muscles that will counteract that "hunched over" look.  And most people fail to think about the fact that one of the quickest ways to look slimmer and more muscular is to have good posture.

Now that I've invested the time to do them, I'm beginning to get hooked on the pull-up.  I've improved greatly in the last several weeks, and now that I can do them well, I feel a great sense of accomplishment, which is what a good exercise will do - it will make you feel good about being able to do it.

How about you?

What's your "go to" exercise and why?

Or if you don't have one, what one exercise would you like to be able to do well?

Last Week of Camp

Monday, October 6, 2008
Today was the beginning of the last week of my current round of bootcamps.

And in continuing my theme from last Friday, I wanted to talk briefly about why I run my camps the way I do.

Many people wonder why I run my camps four weeks at a time, and then take a week off. The week off is actually very important.

You see, I ask a lot of the women in my bootcamps. They work hard, and they put their bodies through a lot. The important thing to remember is this - your body only improves from exercise when it has the opportunity to rest and recover. If you are exercising intensely, you need to give your body regular breaks. If you don't, you're just tearing your body down and not letting it rebuild.

When you give your body regular rest, it not only allows your body to recover. It helps prevent you from hitting plateaus. It keeps you from mentally burning out. And maybe most important of all, it makes it easier to work hard if you know you get an occasional break.

If you are working out with high levels of effort, as I highly recommend, make sure you give yourself the time to rest, recover, and get ready for your next round of tough workouts.

Whoa, Am I Ever Exhausted!

Friday, October 3, 2008
I'm feeling a little sore today... well, maybe more than a little sore. I love basketball, but I'm not so naïve to think that I can play for several hours each of the last three days and wake up without a few aches. Throw in a couple intense workouts, and you have a recipe for a day off.

Why am I telling you this? Well, two reasons.

First, if you love something, do it. I love basketball, and even though I usually end up with at least one bump or bruise every time I play (and sometimes I'm lucky if it's just that one bump or bruise), I would never give it up.

A lot of people are very passionate about running or cycling, activities that, as you know if you've read my blog before, I don't view as ideal forms of exercise. But just because they're not the best way to get in shape doesn't mean they have no value. If you like running for a few miles every day, then you should absolutely do it because it's important to you. I simply preach that if you don't like doing those traditional cardio activities, you don't have to - there's another way to get in shape.

The second reason I bring up basketball, and in particular how sore I am today, is that you need to know when to take a day and rest (which is what I'll be doing today). You know your body better than anyone else, and while it's dangerous to be sedentary and do nothing with your body, it's no better to burn out on exercise and physical activity. Even though hard work is critical to making positive changes in your body, those changes require rest to occur. If you train hard all the time, you're never giving your body the chance to recover, and you're robbing yourself of many of the benefits of exercise.

So as you head into the weekend, do something you love doing. Hopefully you'll think of something you like that will keep you active. And if your body is telling you to take it easy, listen. Make sure you take some time for yourself to rest and recover this weekend, that way you're at your best when you get back to it next week.

There you have it - have a good weekend, everyone!

The No Gym Workout

Wednesday, October 1, 2008
What's more fitting than starting October by spending the morning driving through the fog?

I just had a great morning session, admittedly inspired by last night's Biggest Loser.

You see, on last night's show, all the contestants went on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. They camped outside, except for one lucky couple that won the contest to spend the trip in an RV. Everyone was outside in an area that is just one big nature hike. They were also given medicine balls and resistance bands. And do you know what they did?


That did virtually no exercise because they all thought they needed their gym. This is one of the biggest reasons I don't like gyms - people begin to think that they can't exercise without them. But make no mistake about it, we were much healthier before gyms were ever even conceived.

This morning, I took my clients through a bodyweight only workout. They didn't even get medicine balls or resistance bands. It was just them and their desire to work hard. The sheer number of exercises you can do without any equipment at all makes me wonder what was going on in the minds of the contestants. No one thought of doing some pushups, squats or wind sprints?

When the contestants got back to the ranch, Bob and Jill were both amazed that they did so little on their road trip. It made sense to me - virtually every exercise montage I see on the show involves the contestants on treadmills and using barbells and machines with weight stacks. Granted, they are exercising so much that they must be doing some exercise that involves just bodyweight, but it certainly doesn't appear to be the most common method used.

If you're thinking about investing in a gym membership, I strongly encourage you to reconsider. You're wasting money. Instead, invest in some resistance bands and a couple dumbbells. Or heck, don't buy any equipment at all - you don't need it, but sometimes it's nice to have to vary up the exercise a little bit. Gym memberships don't provide you with any accountability or education, which are the two biggest obstacles to everyone's fitness. Health clubs are more than happy to take your money, even if you get no results and never show up (which is how it works for most people).

If everyone took the time to learn some basic bodyweight exercises and kept one another accountable to their goals, gyms would become obsolete in no time. And to be honest, I'd be okay with that. It's worth noting that I oftentimes work out in the weight room of the school where I coach. It's also worth noting that you should always make exercise enjoyable, and if you enjoy working out at the gym, do it.

Whatever you do for exercise, make sure that a) you get your money's worth, and b) you do it!

Are You Reading The Right Script?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I was talking to a fellow coach last night who was asking me for some advice to deal with an athlete’s dilemma. The athlete was essentially having confidence issues. It goes right back to what I wrote last week about a successful mindset. You can really hurt your chances of success – at anything – if you have something negative in your mind.

I once heard a mental health professional put it in terms of the left and right sides of your brain. When it comes to having a successful mindset, the saboteur is always the left side, the side of linear reasoning and language. The left side is the side that thinks it knows everything, and it’s all about having a script. For many people, that script tells them that they are going to fail at losing weight before they even start.

Maybe they’ve had a bad experience in the past, or maybe they’re just naturally skeptical, but the left side of their brain tells them in no uncertain terms exactly how their efforts are going to end up. The thought of potential failure exists exclusively in this side of the brain. But there’s one really important thing you need to know about that script – it isn’t representative of a real thing; it’s something your brain is making up.

If you ever catch yourself being a pessimist, just ask yourself a simple question – where would I be without that thought?

It’s really simple, actually. Does that negative thought represent anything real that is occurring, or is the left side of your brain writing a script where you fail? If it’s the latter, all you have to do is write a different script.

Your Support System... and Go Dawgs?

Monday, September 29, 2008
Aside from watching the Huskies reach yet another new low Saturday evening, I had a great weekend. I didn't do anything spectacular - just spent a lot of good time with my friends.

There's just something about spending time around the right people that makes a person happier and more productive. It seems counterintuitive that I would get more done when I'm around friends - one would think that would cause me to get distracted - but I do. I feel like virtually everything we do, we do better when our friends are involved.

Our friends and family are our support system, but too many people neglect their importance when it comes to their fitness goals. Most people have the "go it alone" approach to fitness - it's their body and it's their problem. This contributes, in large part, to the large number of people who have spent their lives being frustrated by not reaching their goals.

Last Wednesday, I talked about the importance of having a successful mindset if you are going to attain your goals. Most people simply overlook the role their confidence plays in how things turn out for them. Many of those same people also overlook the social element of their fitness goals - it has an effect greater than many people understand. We are social creatures. Leave us alone and we'll go nuts. And if we have an aspiration that we keep to ourselves, oftentimes that aspiration dies a lonely death.

The social component of fitness is important for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that most people tend to physically look similar to their friends. Most of the people close to us lead lives similar to our own, so if you struggle with weight, odds are at least some of your friends do, as well.

But even more important than how your circle of family and friends have influenced how you got to where you are is how they can help you get where you're going.

Swallow your pride and tell your friends and family about what you want to accomplish - they want to hear it and they want to help. No one person can wear every hat, but between the people closest to you, I guarantee you that you have every tool at your disposal - someone to motivate you, someone to keep you on the right track, someone to console you, and someone to just talk to.

Don't neglect the importance of leaning on your friends when it comes to your goals. While you can't lean too hard on any one person, utilize the support system that you already have - it will keep you on track even when things get tough. You are stronger with a group than you are alone.

Although for the Huskies (especially their D), I'm not so sure the same is true...

This Week In Weight Loss

Friday, September 26, 2008
So after watching the season premier of The Office last night, entitled "Weight Loss," I decided that I needed to do a rundown of a couple of my favorite TV shows that dealt with weight loss. Read on... I promise there's something to take from these shows.

It was week two of the Biggest Loser, and as was historically the case, the contestants lost nowhere near the amount of weight they lost in week one. Week two is always a tough one on the show because the contestants are hitting plateaus. Their bodies have been through so much over their brief time on the show that they are fighting for what our bodies always seek - stasis.

I say this a lot, and because the words "stasis" and "equilibrium" sound kind of boring, I sense people gloss over a bit. But if you have weight loss goals, you must have the fundamental understanding that your body wants things to stay exactly as they are at this moment. This is why I preach intense exercise. Your body is only going to adapt if you give it a big enough challenge. You can't just give it a gentle nudge - you have to shove the thing with all you've got.

Getting back to where I started - The Office - I had a great time watching the characters try to lose weight. Their strategies more or less amount to starvation and sweating off weight. Now I realize that this is a fictional comedy show, but the reality of the situation is that our country has more or less the same ideas about weight loss - we really don't know up from down.

We as a country sink millions of dollars into pills, diet plans and ab machines. The Office was clearly making fun of this fact, but it is somewhat troubling that most people don't know the role simple physics plays in weight loss or how to exercise without having a gym membership or a treadmill. We don't understand how simple it all is.

That's one of the main reasons I have this blog. Having success in fitness is far from complicated, and I want to help people see that. Make sure that if you have a question about anything fitness related, you leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

And with that, have a great weekend!

Don't Make This Mistake

Thursday, September 25, 2008
I was talking with one of my fitcamp members yesterday. We ended up talking about one of the most common mistakes people make - the mistake of waiting.

I hear a lot of people make the excuse that now just isn't the best time for them to start an exercise program. This certainly isn't a nice way of putting my thoughts on the matter, but that's crap!

Waiting until later is the ultimate cop out. What is going to make tomorrow, next week or next month any different than the here and now? You can't go putting your wellness on the back burner any time you have something else going on in your life.

I often hear it expressed this way - "I just need to wait for a couple things to calm down then I'll get started." Things aren't going to calm down - welcome to life. There will always be something in the present and on the horizon that you have to deal with, and you're either going to deal with it while getting better or simply getting older.

Your body is always going to be changing - it's your choice whether it changes for the better or the worse. Furthermore, your body isn't going to care if thing are really busy this month at work... it will still get fatter.

When it comes to your goals, tomorrow is not a specific day - it's always just the day after today. This is key, because you can never do anything tomorrow, you can only do something today. Instead of controlling your present, you're always waiting until the future. And when you say "I'll do it tomorrow," you're lying to yourself.

There's plenty of tomorrows, but there's only one today - use it right.

The Success Mindset

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I remember when I used to do 1-on-1 personal training. I periodically did weigh ins with my weight loss clients. But before we ever did a weigh in, I always had to ask one simple question...

"Did you lose weight?"

I can tell you that, without exaggeration, 100% of the time their answer told me what we were going to see on that scale. The most common response among new clients was always the same - "I hope so." As soon as I heard that they "hoped" they lost weight, I knew that the scale wouldn't budge.

They already knew themselves that they didn't take care of business. They either didn't eat as well as they said they did in their journals or skipped a workout or two. Either way, they had to hope that they were going to see something good because they certainly knew they didn't do all they could.

After a while with the vast majority of clients, their answers changed. "Yes, I lost weight."

I even had a couple clients tell me it was time for the weigh in, clients who formerly shuddered when they thought about stepping on the scale.

What changed?

Their mindset had evolved from one of skepticism and defeatism to one of confidence. Once they knew what had to be done to lose weight, it took them a while to actually do it. They bought in and developed confidence in their efforts. They knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they had earned their results.

It's that mindset - the difference between being defeated and being confident - that makes all the difference. Many people head into gyms with a history of failing in their weight loss efforts. They are skeptical about anything and everything related to fitness. And that skepticism prevents them from throwing all of their beings behind their efforts. They don't work out as hard or as often as they should. They let themselves maintain the same crappy diet. They hope that something is different this time around, but they're missing the point.

There's a Henry Ford quote that sums it up nicely. It goes, more or less, "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." If you think you can't lose weight - that it's not for you because you've failed before - it's going to show in your efforts. It's going to keep you from giving it your all because you're scared to try as hard as you can and fail.

Success in fitness can be attributed to so many factors - exercise, diet, genetics, just to name a few. But the overriding factor that contributes to everything else is your mindset.

So do you think you can, or do you think you can't?

What Exactly Is Intense Exercise?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I talk a lot about short, high-intensity workouts, but I don't think I talk enough about what "intense exercise" really means.

I'll use a sport that I draw upon a lot as my example. Watch a track & field meet, particularly the sprinters compared to distance runners - I'll use the 100 meter dash and the marathon as my examples.

Both groups are essentially doing the same activity - they're running. Both groups finish their races completely exhausted. Yet one group finishes in 10 seconds and the other finishes in two hours.

How are they both finishing so exhausted? Shouldn't the marathoners be way more tired than the sprinters?

This, as well as any example I can give, demonstrates what intensity has to do with exercise. The sprinters are working SO much harder than the marathoners at any given point that it only takes them a matter of seconds to be spent.

The point of exercise is to sweat. It's to get your heart pumping and your muscles burning. You can do this in two hours or you can do this in 10 seconds. The point is that you have to match your intensity to the duration of the exercise. The longer you work out, the less intense you'll be able to work and still finish. The shorter you work out, the harder you must work.

If you tried to run a marathon at the pace a 100 meter sprinter runs his race, you wouldn't make it more than a couple hundred meters before slowing greatly, and then maybe another couple hundred before you'd have to stop all together - if you even made it that far. And you'd probably be screaming for mercy for a couple days after the fact because you'd be so sore!

By the same token, if you ran 100 meters at a marathon pace, you couldn't even call it exercise.

In my 30 minute women's fitcamps, I typically only have them actually exercising for 12 minutes. The rest of the time is warm up, cool down and exercise demonstration.

I've had people ask me why I don't have them exercise for longer. My answer is simply that they don't need to.

You see, a lot of people think that 12 minutes isn't enough exercise because it's too easy to keep going for 12 minutes. This is because most people have learned to "guard" themselves from working too hard. It's easy to give into the voice that says something is too hard, and it's easy to pace yourself, but exercise should be hard, and you've got other stuff to do in your life besides exercise.

Just keep in mind that how hard something is has nothing to do with how long you're doing it.

I guess my point is this - if you can end up completely spent after 10 seconds, why would you want to take an hour to achieve the same effect?

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like... Fall

Monday, September 22, 2008
Well, I had to contend with rain while going to my early morning fitcamp for the first time in months.

It's looking like fall is beginning, and for too many Americans, that means it's time to pack on the pounds.

This time of the year brings lousy weather, short days, and the holidays - all major foes to anyone who's looking to lose weight (or maintain it, for that matter). Fall and winter bring out the excuse-maker in just about everyone. Who wants to exercise when you could get a little extra sleep, right?

The fact is that the deck is stacked against you from the middle of September until daylight savings rolls around in March (or sometimes longer than that), especially when you live in a place like Seattle.

It takes a lot of effort and a lot of planning if you are to spell the coming months, but it's more than doable.

One of the biggest things I preach is paying proper respect to your goal setting. If you only give a cursory thought as to why you want to lose weight, it's far easier to make excuses when it comes to Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dessert and all those Christmas parties. When you go through the process of writing down what you want, when you want it, why you want it and how you're going to get there, you've got ammunition against that little voice that tells you it's okay to skip a workout. But you have to ask yourself those questions seriously. You must spend some time with your thoughts and ponder why your goals are important to you.

Once you've taken your goal setting seriously, you need to take your efforts to get to your goals seriously, as well.

Though you should be doing it year 'round, make a point of penciling in your exercise just as you would with any other appointment. Don't just exercise when you think you have time - make time! Having structure to your fitness is key to getting results, and it's why having something there to keep you accountable is important. The women in my fitcamps are making a great choice to take control of their goals - they're making them a priority and keeping themselves accountable to their fitness appointments.

When springtime rolls around, you can be in better shape than you are right now - but don't carry the "one day at a time" mentality with you. Make your plans to get in shape (or stay in shape) now!

Congrats To My 6:30am Fitcamp...

Friday, September 19, 2008
... for having just finished their first week of our four week camp.

Some of the women in the camp hadn't exercised the way I exercise before, and though it was no surprise to me, they were certainly surprised by how sore they were after the first couple workouts. Most people shudder at the thought of having tender muscles for a day or two. Then again, most people don't do in a month what these women did in a week. It's that very soreness that is going to amount to big results in the very near future for these women.

Exercise is a valuable tool, but I get the impression that a lot of people have too liberal an interpretation of what constitutes exercise.

Some people get very offended when I tell them that what they're doing is not exercise - that walking, gardening and cleaning the house just don't qualify. It's not intended to be an insult. Non-exercise activity is important and healthy, too. But it's not a replacement for exercise.

This is why I bring up my morning fitcamp. The soreness that many of the women are either feeling now or will feel tomorrow is a sign - that they have, in fact, exercised. The key exercise is right there in the word: exertion.

Your body loves equilibrium - its survival depends on things being on an even keel. This makes your body resistant to change. But we want our bodies to change, and furthermore, we're not concerned about the impending winter affecting our survival. So we have to provide a fairly substantial challenge to get our bodies to adapt. It's only exercise if you exert yourself to such a degree that your body is forced to adapt to the challenge.

Walking, while a great, healthy activity, is not exercise for the vast majority of people. Yes, it burns calories and is a great tool for clearing your mind or having a good conversation with a friend. But your body can walk for a very long time without being challenged enough to change.

Do not interpret this as me saying that you shouldn't go for walks or work in your yard or any other activity. Just make sure you don't confuse activity with exercise.

The Biggest Loser

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
So for those of you who don't know much about the show, the Biggest Loser is a weight loss competition reality show on NBC. The new season started last night.

If you haven't seen the show, I really recommend it. I always feel like there's a million things I want to talk about, both praise and critique. I barely even know where to start (I feel like I could blog every day for the next week about the first show alone).

I guess I'll play glass is half empty this morning and go with critique. Many people who watch this show desire to emulate what the contestants are doing, so this show has a huge influence over the exercise habits of many Americans.

Last night, they debuted their new gym. It's twice as large as any of the gyms they've had in the past. They dubbed it "state of the art."

That's something that I always have a problem with. The fitness industry, especially health clubs, spend a lot of time and money trying to convince us that they're state of the art - that better equipment is the answer to better fitness. But you don't need fancy machines to be fit. In fact, the simple concept that technology is a viable means of achieving fitness is absurd.

Think about it - technology has allowed us as a society to become lazy. It makes our day to day lives easy, and it gives us the option of being sedentary. And we're supposed to believe that more technology is the solution?

You shouldn't be using the same tool that created a problem to solve it. What's the saying again about insanity? Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results?

Fellow fitness pro Juan Carlos Santana says it very well in the September issue of Men's Health magazine:

"Don’t use a hammer for everything. Instead, use the right tool for the right job. Nothing is ever the next big thing; someone’s just found another screwdriver."

For our purposes: don't pretend that a thousand plus dollar health club treadmill is somehow better than a track and your Nikes.

I'm not totally adverse to running on a treadmill now and again, but if you think technology (by definition, something that exists to make things easier for you) is the best tool to get you in shape (by definition, something that requires you make things hard on yourself) then you're bordering on an Eskimo buying ice.

We all have plenty of technology in our lives. We don't need to make it a part of our exercise.

Do The Puyallup

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Well, last night I did the Puyallup, and it was an absolute blast. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting much from the Fair because I hadn't been since elementary school, so I was almost sure that it would be a little underwhelming. That said, there's just something about a carnival ride at sunset that makes it hard to wipe the smile off your face.

But enough about my evening. The real reason that I'm bringing up the Fair is that, as a fitness professional, what I saw while I was walking around worried me a little.

It may be a politically incorrect, and some might even say rude, thing to notice, but there were so many people at the Fair with weight issues. I couldn't help but wonder what, if anything, these people were doing to ensure that they would be, at the very least, setting a good example for their kids.

I think everyone knows that food you get at any fair is just about as unhealthy as food can be. That said, the Fair is an annual event, and if you want to go to there and eat greasy food, go for it - you can still be perfectly healthy because hopefully you're not eating that crap all year 'round. No, what concerns me most is that these people are clearly not exercising regularly.

I hear it from so many people when I start to talk with them about exercise.

"Yeah, I had a pretty busy weekend but it got me some good exercise. I did a lot of yard work and went for a walk."

Sorry to be so blunt, but are you kidding me?

I'll add the qualifier before I go on - getting outside and being active is great. It does wonders for your mind, especially. But it's not exercise.

Your body only changes when it is challenged to such a degree that it has to. And doing a lot of walking on your vacation, while healthy, won't change your body composition one iota.

We live in a society where huge portions of fast food and sedentary lives are the norm. But even though both need fixing, I feel exercise is the place to start. You can eat as healthy as you want, but if you go months on end without real exercise, you will still end up with aches, pains and an unhealthy heart.

When you challenge your body (and I mean really challenge your body - it'll involve some sweating, panting and having your muscles burn), you increase your metabolism.

When you don't, your metabolism follows the age old dictum - if you don't use it, you lose it.

Most of the people I saw at the Fair had lost their metabolism because they haven't challenged it. Call that statement presumptuous if you must, but the smart money says it's true.

The positive is that it's never too late to start exercising. At the risk of sounding cliché, there's no time like the present. Why not exercise tonight?

How I Really Feel About Cardio

Monday, September 15, 2008
Ah, a brand new blog.

I like it, but please, let me know what you think when you visit - I always welcome input and comments from everyone about my thoughts (and about the design of this new blog).

I'll be trying to post here regularly (hopefully on a daily or semi-daily basis).

Without further ado, I decided to start things off by writing about my most controversial thoughts on exercise.

I don't like "cardio." I use the quotes because cardio means something very different in practice and reality.

In reality, cardio is jogging on the treadmill, riding the exercise bike and gliding on the elliptical. It's spending at least 20 minutes of continuous, moderate effort on the exercise. It's "aerobic" exercise. That's the cardio I don't like.

It's never the most popular opinion, and I get a lot of funny looks from people who have always been told that that is how you exercise. It's how we've been taught to lose weight and get a healthy heart. Yet I still don't like it.

I don't like it for many reasons:
-It takes a long time
-It's boring
-It's repetitive
-It has absolutely zero bearing on how we live our lives (i.e. unless you're an athlete, the only time you need aerobic endurance is when you're training for aerobic endurance)
-It's an inefficient way of training, especially if you want to lose weight, which most people do

Yet cardio is something that everyone should be doing. And no, I don't have some crazy double standard here. I guess the best way of expressing it is this: Everyone should do cardio, but few understand cardio.

Cardio isn't what I wrote above - it is simply a challenge for your circulatory system. The best way to tell if you're doing cardio is simply to notice if you're breathing hard. If you are, your heart and lungs are being challenged. And your heart, like any other muscle, adapts to regular challenges. And if you get yourself out of breath regularly, you will strengthen your heart.

I honestly believe that one of the biggest reasons people don't exercise enough is that they think it just takes too much time. And traditionally, it does. Traditionally, you work your heart by doing aerobic exercise. Then you work your other muscles with weights, one muscle at a time - biceps then triceps then abs then whatever other "problem area" you have (more on this in a later blog entry).

My goal is to help people understand that this piecemeal method of training (and the supposed differences between resistance training and cardio) has nothing to do with nature - nature has no regard for such arbitrary distinctions - and everything to do with old knowledge about exercise. My goal is to help you understand that exercise is one thing - regularly challenging your body to be better.

You can work every muscle in your body, including your heart, all at once. You just have to set aside what you've been taught about exercise and make better use of your time training.

Simple as that.


P.S. Don't forget to leave comments! I'd love to hear everyone's response to my newsletters/blogs.