Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Big 7

This is a quick overview of what I consider to be the "7 most important weight training exercises". Please note that the exercises listed below are not necessarily in order.

The Big 7
  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Chest Press/Bench Press
  • Rows
  • Chin-up/Pull-up
  • Military/Stranding Press
  • Dips

There are many variations of each of the exercises listed above. Variations consist of: dumbbells, barbells, seated vs. standing, different grips & angles, etc.

The key things about "The Big 7" are:

a) they are all compound movements, NOT isolation exercises

b) as a group, they hit every major muscle in the body (yes, they even work your abs for those of you who spend countless and useless hours doing hundreds of crunches)

c) they produce RESULTS!

d) they form the basics of any good resistance training program/routine; if your routine doesn't include each of these at least 1x per week, even if you're a beginner, it's time to get a new plan!

e) with the variations, you could do just these 7 exercises for years and never get bored; since I'm a firm believer in keeping things fresh, I suggest you add as much variation as possible which will limit your body's ability to adapt to a specific exercise program/routine.

Train hard & have fun!


Friday, September 18, 2009

TRX Suspension Trainer

As most of you know, I'm a HUGE fan of total body resistance training. Expand and create awesome workout programming variety by adding the TRX Suspension Trainer to your arsenal of fitness equipment. Get yours today by clicking here!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity."
- John F. Kennedy


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

480's - Metabolic Circuit

Check out this Metabolic Circuit that uses the training methodology of the Tabata Protocol - 20 sec. on, 10 sec. off/recovery.

Here's the details of the circuit:

Circuit one:

- Push ups
- MB Whirlwinds
- Shoulder shuffles
- Band Hooks

Circuit two:

- Mountain Climbers
- Split Squat Screamers
- Band Jumps
- MB Pick ups

Perform 20s on, 10s off and go through the entire running order twice.
Check out more at Nick Grantham.com


The NEW Old School of Fat Loss

Guest blog from Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT
-- (http://www.kettlebellworkouts.com/)

The times are a-changing and it's back to basics for everyone. Plus, it's back to school and back to work for almost everyone in North America.

And because so much more is expected of the "everyday" person - multi- tasking at work, coming home to a family, religious & community obligations - there hardly is ever any time to do much for ourselves.

And sadly, getting a workout in is usually at the bottom of our list of priorities.

When we do find time to train, we usually revert to something that we picked- up out of a magazine or even worse, try to remember what we did back in the old college weight room.

So when the time comes for us to realize that we do need to get in shape and start to live healthier lives we are faced with a dilemma - do we "make the time", be it an extra 3-5 hours per week, to go to the gym and train and cut out excess in our lives?


Can we find a sensible alternative that will...

1) create an environment in our bodies that will allow us to burn fat even if we're not training and

2) be flexible enough for our hectic schedules so that little (time) will be sacrificed.

My question is this...

Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can't it be both?

Can we focus on the essential allowing us to do what we love and still make enough to support our lives?

Can we alter our lifestyle to pare down to only what's necessary thus making room for more important things?

Can our workouts follow the same philosophy where we can do only what's necessary to get the results that we want?

The answer of course is YES and this is a change that I am noticing in health & fitness from our clients and those who look to us for advice.

People now are sick of the excess and are learning to live with less. They are realizing that living a simpler life is more fulfilling than living a life of having too many things, spending more than they're earning and consuming more than they need to.

That's why it's time to...

Let the Kettlebell Revolution Begin

From a training standpoint, nothing provides more efficiency than combining kettlebell training with traditional bodyweight exercises. Separately they still will yield impressive results, but together, NOTHING can compare.

And for busy people, who don't have time to get to the gym, this is the ONLY style of training that provides better and faster results - I believe it even beats sprint interval training - and I challenge you to give it a try.

Kettlebells are compact, transportable and efficient. Combining a series of swings with kettlebell rows, presses & squats can not only improve your physical strength, but your body composition as well.


Because revolution kettlebell training is done in a circuit format with little to no rest between exercises.

Revolution training demands that body transforms - shedding fat and scultping muscle - in order to improve with your performance to complete these circuits in less time each workout.

As Alwyn has said many times before, "Improve your performance and your physique will follow." It's impossible to get better at Kettlebell Revolution training without your body shedding fat and building a sexy, athletic body.

The high intensity kettlebell revolution training applies turbulence to the muscles and causes the largest AFTERBURN response possible - so you'll be burning calories long after your session is complete.

Kettlebell training, an ancient and basic physical artform, truly IS the future of fat loss training.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Start A Revolution

Guest blog from my good friend, colleague and college classmate Todd Durkin, CSCS - owner of Fitness Quest 10 (San Diego, CA)
-- (http://www.todddurkin.com/)

It's September 2009 and there's change in the air. We could say this everyday, but the month of September symbolizes change for so many American families. Kids are going back to school, and with the new school year comes new schedules and routines, new goals and new dreams. Even though summer may not technically be over for a few more days, Fall is on its way. The weather will start to cool, football and other fall sports have started and for those of us with school-aged children, we have a moment to take a deep breath and look around us.

Change. It's a fact of life. You've heard the saying, change or die... well, it's true for all parts of our lives - personal and professional. This anonymous abridgement of Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer is a real favorite of mine, "God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me." So, take a deep breath, look around you and then look straight in the mirror. What are your goals? What are your dreams?

My goal this month is to help you to get started on your future by choosing change before it chooses you! If it is true that change comes in two forms, evolutionary and revolutionary, maybe now is the time to START YOUR OWN REVOLUTION. Revolutionary change is planned change. Change you choose. Change you lead. Change you celebrate. Here's how you can become an agent of change in your life.

Choose a healthier you. Now is a great time to get back into your routine and focus on making steady progress toward a healthier you! Hire a trainer, get back to your favorite classes, get outside and enjoy the beauty of autumn while walking, running, biking or hiking. Re-establish healthy fitness and nutrition routines NOW! September and October are the "teetering" months. On the one hand, we are still anchored in 2009 and hanging on to the goals we set earlier this year. But, on the other hand, we teeter toward the chaos of the holiday season, as it draws us closer to the fresh start of a new year. It's tempting to put our goals on hold and wait to renew them in January. Don't fall for this annual temptation! Jump in hard and jump in fast to close 2009 stronger and healthier than ever! Lock into fitness and nutrition routines NOW! Wait too long, and you'll be climbing a steep hill in January!

Choose a lower stress you. The first ingredients of a lower stress lifestyle begin with a healthier you, and this means proper exercise, nutrition and sleep. But, you can't lower your stress without supportive relationships - spouse, partner, family, friends, coworkers, classmates, teammates, etc. For years, research has shown that a lower stress you means a more social you. One positive outcome of these more challenging economic times is the increase in casual social gatherings among families and friends, without having to go out and needlessly spend money. Make the effort to be more social. Seek out healthy relationships. Take care of yourself by taking care of and enjoying those who love you. Turn off your cell phones, CHILL out and don't be afraid to smell the roses.

Choose a successful you. Are you passionate about what you do? Do you love going to work everyday? I can tell you that as a personal trainer and massage therapist, I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything else. I deeply believe that when you find your true purpose in life and aren't afraid to live what you love, true happiness is found. It doesn't mean it will be easy, but it will be right, and it will feel right. Follow your passion and live your purpose. If you are not, it's time for change.

Choose a positive you. Now, as always, it is absolutely critical that you keep your mindset positive. Nothing bothers me more than people who whine and complain about how bad everything is. GET OVER IT! Start a gratitude journal - it's one of the most powerful ways to keep life in perspective. Each night, simply write down 5 or 10things for which you are grateful for that day. This keeps things in perspective and allows you to be more centered and balanced in all aspects of your life. Additionally, I recommend you read great books, listen to motivational tapes, surround yourself with positive people and laugh often. Shut down your internal critic. Remember - it really is about attitude, not platitude. That is why the old saying says, "Your attitude determines your altitude."

Notice that I never said that change is easy or comfortable. Many times, it isn't. Many of us resist change because we fear losing control. At Fitness Quest 10, I often encourage our clients to try new trainers, therapists, or instructors. My message to them is to experiment with change - play with it and see what happens. Whether it's a new trainer, a new class, a new project or a new friend, there's something in it for you - something new you get to discover. Life is a series of discoveries and events, some bigger than others. Take it one day at a time. Keep change in perspective and realize that sometimes it isn't as hard as we make it out to be. Laugh, smile and rid yourself of the need to be always in control. Live in the present and stay focused on positive change and the future you desire.

Here's a little test to win you over. Name the three happiest days of your life. Maybe your list includes your wedding day, or the birth of a child, a graduation, a goal accomplished or an honor received. Now, of this list of three, how many caused change? You got it - all of them. Change - it's around every corner. It's attached to everyday, everyone and everything. Choose change. Seek it. Embrace it. START A REVOLUTION IN YOUR LIFE TODAY!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Power We Speak

Guest blog from Parella Lewis - our local NW weather anchor & news reporter
-- (http://theparellalewis.blogspot.com/)

Every one of us has a purpose in life. Without exception, every human spirit is meant to burn with an excitable passion and anticipation of what the future holds. Each has very specific gifts and skills that others wish for, yet so many live dormant and defeated, missing out on the life intended for them. Why? One reason is that we fail to understand the power of our words.

“The Power of Life and Death Is In The Tongue.” -Proverbs

Words are like open flames burning a lasting impression on the soul. Most of us walk around with an imprint that becomes a gaping hole over time as we burn away the fiber of our spirits… one word at a time.

“Every time we open our mouths, our words feed either success or destruction”

I work with a man that never has anything positive to say. And when I say never, I mean over the course of two years, I have never heard him do anything but complain. If he won a million dollars in the lottery, he would complain that the taxes are too high! And sadly, in the time I have been honored to listen to his constant stream of negativity, nothing in his life ever gets better. He always seems to be sick and when he is asked to do a very small task, he responds as though you’ve asked him to climb Mt. Rainier on his way home! We all know someone like him. Every day of his life he is defeated by the power of his own thoughts and words!

"If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't, you're right." -Henry Ford

What we say has tremendous power. Partly because we say, we think and dwell on. Words are a reflection of who we are and where we stand. Once we release our words into the world, they are often followed by actions that determine our ultimate destiny. When we set forth our “verbal fire,” we must realize that it will either burn for us or against us. There is no middle ground.

“Attitudes are contagious. We can have one that makes us sick and weakens those around us or we can have something worth catching.”

If we could take our eyes off of the mountain before us just for a moment, we would find ourselves suddenly aware of those around us. More importantly, we would become more open to their needs. And pretty soon, before you know it, opportunities to be effective begin to present themselves. And as you help shape a new chapter for someone else, your perspective on life suddenly becomes broader, making that former mountain seem a little smaller. If we can speak into someone’s life instead of spewing verbal garbage at them and ourselves, we would open a door to unlimited rewards.

“If you want to experience peace, provide peace for another.” -Dali Lama

The bottom line is this, the human spirit wants to be alive with passion, vision and joy. But if all we say are negative words, our soul has no fighting chance to build and become stronger. And our purpose in life may never be discovered because we fail to understand the power that helps get us there.

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” -Helen Keller


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Raising Metabolism - the Afterburn Effect

Guest Blog from Alwyn Cosgrove, CSCS - owner of Results Fitness (Newhall, CA)
-- (http://alwyncosgrove.blogspot.com/)

Here's a study I looked at recently and mentioned in the Fat Loss University Manual

Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM.
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC): implications for body fat management.
Eur J Appl Physiol 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7

This group looked at the effects of circuit weight training on EPOC. EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) is defined scientifically as the “recovery of metabolic rate back to pre-exercise levels”.

The exercise routine consisted of three exercises (the bench press, the power clean and the squat), performed with 10RM loads as a circuit. The circuit was performed four times (i.e. twelve total sets) and took 31 mins.

EPOC was elevated for 38 hours post workout (possibly longer as this was when the researchers stopped measuring). The duration and magnitude of the EPOC observed in this study indicates the importance of the role of high intensity resistance training in a fat loss program.


This type of information should go a long way in helping fitness professionals design and implement effective fat loss programs. It's not the workout - it's the effect of that workout on caloric burn over the other 23 hours of the day.

This ties in with some of the interval training studies we've already looked at. They showed that despite burning less calories during the session (when compared to other workout), more calories were burned by the body outside of the workout - which quickly added up and resulted in more real world fat loss.

I call this post-workout phenomenon Afterburn - the post workout period that results in metabolic disturbance, elevating EPOC, fat burning enzyme activity and total body fat oxidation to maximize caloric burn for the other 23+ hours per day.

Is there much of a real world effect of burning 300 calories per workout (e.g. aerobic work) if I don't create some form of 'Afterburn'?

If we could elevate metabolism even an apparently insignificant 1/4 of a calorie per minute for the 38 hours that the study showed, then that 31 minute resistance training workout would burn X calories during the session plus an extra 570 calories over the next 38 hours. That becomes significant.

As a side note - this was a pretty simple workout plan with fairly profound results. The study itself was designed to look at the effect of a simple weight training workout (4 sets of 3 exercises) on EPOC.

But what if we actually designed a metabolic resistance training program that was designed to create an afterburn effect? A workout that was designed to create fat loss in the first place - not as a side effect?

And then we combined that program with a cardio routine that did the same - and added a nutrition program that in and of itself resulted in significant fat loss? Everything would combine synergistically for a better effect overall.

The key is to look at the programs effect on the entire 24 hours, week, or several months on a program. Ignore the acute effects and look at the long term results.

In the past - fitness professionals and researchers have looked at how much fat is burned during the exercise session itself. This is extremely short-sighted.

As my colleague Alan Aragon said:

"Caring how much fat is burned during training makes as much sense as caring how much muscle is built during training."

Think about that. If we looked at a weight training session that started at 9am and finished at 10am - how much muscle would we see built if we stopped looking at 10am? None.

In fact - we'd see muscle damage. We could make the conclusion that weight training does not increase muscle - in fact it decreases muscle right? It's only when we look at the big picture - and look at the recovery from the session - that we find the reverse is true - weight training builds muscle.

Fat loss training is the same way. Someone talking about the benefits of the "fat burning zones" or "fasted cardio" is a sure sign that the individual has stopped looking at the end of the exercise session. They have come to the conclusion that fasted, lower intensity steady state exercise burns the most fat and made a massive leap of faith to suggest it is best for real world fat loss.

Using that same logic these same people would suggest avoiding weight training if you want to grow muscle.

Take home message - focus on the Afterburn effect not just what happens during the exercise session.

PS - My question is - could we get ANOTHER boost if we trained again using a similar or different workout routine less than 38 hours later? Could we raise an already elevated metabolism further? These are the questions that keep me up at night....


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

BOSU Rolling Ropes

Check out this video of my bro Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness as he hooks up with BOSU inventor David Weck (http://www.bosufitness.com/) for a Rolling Ropes workout session. Talk about a great way to add great variety into your workout! Awesome stuff!