Thursday, March 25, 2010

HIIT Training - The Most Effective Fat Burning Workout

Check out this great video of my friend Ray Wetterlund III, CSCS - Owner of High Voltage Fitness & RW3 Fitness in La Jolla, CA, as he brings you his HIIT workout - High Intensity Interval Training for MAXIMUM fat loss and afterburn. HIIT workouts help you burn calories up to 36 hours AFTER your workout. It's 9x more effective than traditional cardio - slow cardio that lasts for 45-60+ minutes.

Who wants to spend countles hours on the treadmill just wasting time and productivity? HIIT is not only the MOST effective fat burning workout but also the BEST for time efficiency.

Typical exercise-rest ratios: 1:1, 1:2. 1:3 which are all dependent upon exercise mode/fitness level. Ex: 30:30, 30:1:00, 30:1:30. You can also split the difference on either the speed(intensity) or the rest (low intensity).

Now get to it and do some work son!!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Investing in Your Motivational Dollar

Guest blog by Leigh Peele - NASM Certified Personal Trainer & Fat Loss Expert

Motivation is a living thing. It breathes, it eats, and it begs of you everyday to help drive it. The biggest mistake that people make when thinking about motivation is that it does all the work. Let me give you an example.

Darren is 35 years old. His story is average, his pains are average, and his dreams are average. He is stuck in the world of trying to be realistic and getting by. Everyday he goes to work, and everynight he comes home. Perhaps 1 out of every 50 days something happens that is worth remembering to Darren. Sometimes that 1 day ends up being a bad thing, not a good one. He says to himself “If only I were motivated by something! If only there was something out there worth being excited about and worth working towards!

Darren doesn’t work for motivation, he expects it to just be there. Like they say in business, “you need to spend money to make money,” the same is true for motivation. Sometimes you have to spend motivation to make it.

Motivational Currency

A few weeks ago I saw via email, twitter, facebook, blogs, forums, and TV the tail of the frumpy woman who stole the hearts of the world while singing on Britain’s talent show. You will never find a negative story being passed around in the same manner. You will never find a mediocre story passed around in the same manner. The value of the dollar, euro, franc and yen is dead. The stock in motivation is the highest it has ever been.


People put their motivational hopes in others. They hope, like a virus, they will catch some small part of that magic. Like in the movie “Outbreak” it will go airborne and through osmosis that woman will be enough motivational currency to get us out of debt.

25,000 Mornings

They say the average person has 25,000 mornings to a lifetime. Some more and some less, but overall that is our average. How does reading that make you feel? I don’t know about you, but that scares the sh*t out of me. I see that number, I think about my mornings, and I think “Have I done enough? Have I made my mornings worth it?

If the answer is no, then the immediate question should be, “Why didn’t I have a great and memorable morning today?

How many mornings are you in debt?

Everyone has different reasons for missing the chance to change their lives. The top reasons are…
  • Fear
  • Un-education
  • Laziness
  • Apathy
There is one common thread among those 4 reasons. Can you guess what it is?


Education can be gained.
Apathy disappears with expenditure.
Fear usually dies in the hand of education

Laziness is the killer of motivation. Most people think it is the other way around. They think we are lazy because we lack motivation. This is the furthest from the truth. You have to work for motivation.

3 Steps to motivating motivation

#1- Balance out Negativity

This might sound negative, but I see positive people screw up positivity all the time. They seem to think that if you ever think a bad thought, or have any kind of quality control or selectivity, that you are welcoming negativity. It doesn’t work that way, and 100% goes against balance.

Then there are the other people who think that thinking positive is for new age people who are naive and don’t understand the real world. They think that being positive, means being unrealistic.

Balancing out negativity means that for ever negative thing that occurs in your life that you balance it out with a positive reaction. The catch is that the positive has to be stronger than the negative. Think of it as a 2:1 ratio of positive to negativity. Here are a few examples.
  • For every bad news you happen to cross, find two pieces of good news.

  • For every time you eat badly, eat twice as good.

  • For every one workout you miss, make two.

  • For every bad thing you say about someone, say two nice things about someone else.
#2- It isn’t just a goal, its your life

Motivation shouldn’t waiver unless your love for the life you live does. To some degree, the less motivated and inspired we are, the closer to death with live. Since I believe in that message, I believe that everyday is a day worth of having motivation.

When you pin your hopes on one goal only, that hope will die when the goal is achieved or changed. Instead of doing that, your need to make your life a constant motivation, constant new goals, and constant test grounds for those goals. In doing that you end up living a life of motivation.

#3 Like attracts like

Here is a sad, but true statement. Most people don’t have the friendships and partners they desire to have. People settle for what is there, instead of reaching for what could be. We settle in friendship, in romance, in jobs, etc. We do this all in fear of not being alone, or rocking the boat too much. You have to change this pattern as soon as possible. I assure you that good people are always looking for more good people. I also want to assure you that misery loves company.

Which crowd would you rather hang with?

This article isn’t about putting a picture on your fridge or hanging up the clothes you want to fit in. This is about going deeper and becoming inside the kind of person that will achieve their dreams. Not once or twice on a fluke, but for life because they are rich with motivational currency.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Best & Worst Exercises for Bad Knees

Every now & then I'll have someone tell me, "I don't do any leg exercies at all because I have bad knees!" I look at them and respond rhetorically by saying that NOT doing any leg exercises may probably be a reason why they have bad knees.

Exercise may be the best medicine for chronic achy knees. Strengthening the muscles around the joint protects you from injury by decreasing stress on the knee. However, you must use good form and technique.

Never bend your legs to a point where your knees stick out past your toes. That puts a lot of pressure under the kneecap (patella). This not only applies to the following exercises but also when you're stretching or doing aerobic activities such as step aerobics.

Except where stated, do 10 - 12 repetitions of each of the following exercises, 2-3 times per week.

Best Exercises to Do

Partial Squats
Stand about 12 inches away from the front of a chair with your feet about hip width apart and your toes forward. Bending at the hips, slowly lower yourself halfway down to the chair. Keep your abs tight, and check that your knees stay behind your toes.

Using an aerobic step bench or a staircase, step up onto the step with your right foot. Tap your left foot on the top of the step, and then lower. As you step up, your knee should be directly over your ankle. Repeat with your left foot.

Side-lying Leg Lifts
Wearing ankle weights above the knee, lie on your left side, legs straight and together, with your left arm supporting your head. Keeping your right foot flexed and your body straight, slowly lift your right leg to about shoulder height, then slowly lower. Repeat with your left leg.

Inner-thigh Leg Lifts
Wearing ankle weights above the knee, lie on your left side, slightly back on your butt. Bend your right leg and place it behind your left leg with your right foot flat on the floor and your left leg straight. Support your head with your left arm. Slowly lift your left leg about 3 to 5 inches, then lower. Repeat with your right leg.

Calf Raises
Using a chair or wall for balance, stand with your feet about hip width apart, toes straight ahead. Slowly lift your heels off the floor, rising up onto your toes. Hold, then slowly lower.

Straight-Leg Raises
Sit with your back against a wall, left leg straight and right leg bent with your foot flat on the floor. Slowly raise your left leg straight up about 12 inches off the floor. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat with your right leg.

Short-Arc Knee Extensions
In the same starting position as the straight-leg raises, put a ball (about the size of a basketball) under your left knee so that your leg is bent. Slowly straighten your leg. Hold, then slowly lower. Repeat with your right leg.

Hamstring Stretch
Lie on your back with your left leg flat on the floor. Loop a towel or rope around your right foot and pull your leg as far as comfortable toward your chest, while keeping a slight bend at the knee. Keep your back pressed to the floor throughout the stretch. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and then release. Repeat three or four times with each leg. Do this stretch five or six times a week.

Worst Exercises — Avoid These

A few of the following exercises can be done safely if you have chronic knee problems; they're on this list because they're more likely to be done improperly. The exercises above are safer, while still giving you similar results.
  • Full-arc knee extensions
  • Lunges
  • Deep squats
  • Hurdler's stretches

- AR

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Should You Stick to the Recipe?

Guest blog from Mike Boyle, CSCS - Asst. Strength & Conditioning Coach at Boston University & Co-Founder of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning

Anyone who knows me knows how much I like analogies. One area that continues to frustrate me is talking to trainers about programming. Often the conversation goes something like this, “I use a little of your stuff, a little of Mark Verstegen’s stuff and mix in a little of …”. In trying to describe how this works or potentially doesn’t work I’ve decided that a food analogy may be the best route. Some people can really cook, others need cookbooks and recipes. Some people write cookbooks, others read cookbooks. Even in the restaurant world, there are cooks and there are chefs. Cooks follow the recipes, chefs create the recipes. Even those who know anything about cooking understand that every ingredient in a recipe has a purpose. You wouldn’t bake and simply leave out flour would you? The key is to figure out if you are a cook or a chef. Here are some basic guidelines.

If you are writing your first program, you are probably a cook. You should find a recipe and follow it exactly.

Think about it this way. If you were making something for the first time would you take two recipes from two different cookbooks and combine them? Would you add ingredients from one of the recipes while subtracting ingredients from the other? If you did this, would you expect the end product to taste good? What if you took two pancake recipes and both called for pancake mix and eggs but, you decided to double up on the pancake mix and simply omit the eggs. The end result would probably be pretty lousy pancakes, correct? What if you said, “I don’t like water, I’ll just put the dry powder in the pan and see if it will cook?” All of this seems foolish doesn’t it.

Unfortunately, when it comes to program design, this is exactly what many coaches do. I have athletes who have trained with me for years and then become coaches themselves. Instead of using the program that was so successful for them, they alter it. Then they email me the program and say “can you look this over?”. Invariably the program is a little of mine and a little of theirs, with maybe a touch of third party. A combination of recipes if you will. Also invariably the program is poor. These are not experienced “chefs” yet they have chosen to alter the recipe to suit their taste. The better choice is to choose a recipe designed by a chef and then do a great job of making the meal. In other words, coach the heck out of the program.

If you have been writing programs for few years, perhaps you are a sous-chef.

The sous-chef is the second in command in the kitchen. Many third and fourth year coaches are sous-chefs. They have developed the ability to alter the recipe without spoiling the meal. They understand that ingredients can be altered but that there should be a plan and it should be followed. The sous chef also understands that the ratio of ingredients matters and that you don’t simply cook to your own taste.

After five years of successful program design, you might now qualify as a chef.

At this point you can contemplate bold changes to the recipe because you have extensive experience “cooking”. Vern Gambetta used to say “it’s OK to break the rules, just make sure you understand the rules first”. After five years you should no longer be looking at a DVD and abandoning your whole program. Chefs don’t abandon their chosen cooking style after watching an episode of Hell’s Kitchen, instead you are now making small changes to what should be a system.

The purpose of the strengthcoach website is found in the saying “give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. However, what I am beginning to realize is that some readers need more direction. Figure out if you are a cook or a chef. Don’t be afraid to copy if you are a beginner. In fact, I would encourage you to copy rather than to mix. We are adding more programs so that many of you can in fact copy. I have said in previous writings that it is a mistake to copy programs. I guess what I should have said is it is a mistake to blindly copy programs. It is a mistake to copy bad programs. However, it may be very beneficial to copy good programs. I would rather you copy my program than attempt to add bits of my recipe to the recipes of others. If you are not confident yet in your ability to create a program, feel free to copy. I guess cookbooks were created for a reason.

The idea is that eventually we all can become chefs but, we all start out as cooks.


Sunday, March 14, 2010


Guest blog from Jim "Smitty" Smith of the Diesel Crew.

An open letter to all athletes from their coaches.

I remember the first time you walked into the weight room. So cocky and self-assured, it made me smile. I smiled at your child-like view of the world and your innocence. It is these qualities that I hoped would never be taken from you. It is also this view that I hoped to build upon and develop as you grew older.

You would learn the meaning of “no regrets” through years of consistency, hard work and pain. It was this pain that I witnessed with every set, every rep and every loss. It was this pain that I shared with you every step of the way.

Now, as you move on to fulfill your dreams, I have some words of hope for you.

I hope that you understand that the lessons you learned in the weight room and on the field represent life and its never-ending obstacles that you must overcome.

I hope you remember that one workout where you were broken and couldn’t continue…but you did.

I hope that you remember that feeling of winning when you were way behind because you kept fighting.

I hope you remember that no one will ever give you anything. If you want something you have to take it.

I hope you remember that mental toughness drives everything.

I hope you know that hard work beats skill.

I hope you never have to feel the worse pain; the pain of regret.

I hope you remember, “I Can, I Will”

I hope you remember every rep, every set and every laugh.

I hope you remember those workouts late at night when every one else was resting.

I hope you set your goals high and smash right through them to the next ones.

I hope you treat others with respect and give to others when no one is looking.

I hope you learned more from the losses than from the wins.

I hope that others will be as inspired by your actions as I have been.

Yes, training has changed you. Your cockiness has given way to confidence. Confidence is real and is built. Cockiness is fake and anyone can have it. You now know the difference.

Live your life with no regrets.

Your coach and friend,


Do It For the Kids! Health Genie

Another great video from Josh Trent, NASM-CES of Wellness Force and FitnessSD. Check out Josh as he goes out in public in full character as "The Health Genie" in hopes to help educate parents & kids about the foods they eat. Though his video is very comical & light-hearted, the message that Josh is promoting is a lifelong lesson.

Eat well & be well. Oh yeah, don't forget to get your workout in too!


The IHRSA Workout

Check out this awesome video of my friends Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness and Josh Trent of Wellness Force & FitnessSD at the 2010 IHRSA Convention & Trade Show in my old hometown of San Diego, CA. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) is the fitness industry's only global trade association. This convention provides a tremendous opportunity for those of us in the fitness biz to check out the latest & the greatest in fitness equipment, nutritional products, to learn current fitness training & conditioning protocols by attending lectures and hands-on workshops, and to also meet & network with other fitness pros in our world of health & fitness. Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fitness On a Low Budget

These days, times are tough and money's tight. And as you look for ways to cut back on expenses, the high cost of your fitness regime may be the first to go. But don't let the poor economy effect the way you exercise. You can still stay fit without busting your budget, and here are four ways to do just that.

Get Fit from Home
Itching to ditch your high-cost gym? I don't blame you. You’re more than likely to spend anywhere between $30 and $50 a month for those workouts. Throw in the initiation fee and you could blow through as much as $800 a year. A simpler - and cheaper - solution? Put that gym membership on hold and get fit at home instead. Gather some budget-friendly equipment, like a jump rope, stability ball, resistance bands and dumbbells, then carve out some calorie-blasting time to try these at-home fitness moves for a solid sweat.

Click and Get FitFitness classes may be an awesome way to blast those calories (depending on what format it is), but their steep prices can add up to mega bucks – especially if you don’t belong to a gym and are paying for them a la carte. To scale back on your fitness fees, check out various resources online or check out ExerciseTV. You can even peruse for free fitness how-to videos or check if your cable provider has on-demand workouts available right on your TV (they may cost a small fee but it will be less than attending class at the local gym).

Make Use of Your SurroundingsYour surroundings is what I refer to as your "Fitness Playground". If the indoor routine just doesn’t do it for you, then slip outside and pound the pavement. You can use just about anything for your personal fitness equipment - park benches, jungle gyms, fences/fence posts, tree limbs (just make sure they're sturdy enough), etc......the list goes on.

You can also map out a route in your neighborhood or in a nearby park and see how long it takes you to walk or run it. Then try to go a bit faster each time, or log a longer distance every time you step out.

Don't forget about your strength training - by using a variety of body weight exercises vs. gravity. Things such as:
  • Squats/Bulgarian Squats
  • Lunges
  • Push-Ups
  • Inverted Rows
  • Dips
  • Pull-Ups
  • Burpees
  • Planks
If you really want to keep things rockin' & rollin', try the TRX Suspension Trainer! It's one AWESOME piece of equipment that durable and most importanly, portable!

Go for Cheap Chow
NO...I'm not talking about fast food! When it comes to staying fit, the food you eat is just as important as the type of workout you do. While it’s great to go all organic (or at least all natural), these body-friendly foods are typically more pricey than more generic fare. But you can take simple steps to getting organic foods for less, like buying in bulk, sticking to in-season produce (or preserved goods in the off-season), and shopping at your local farmers’ market. Shopping at discount shops can also help you keep the costs down on staples like milk, eggs and non-perishables. And of course, it never hurts to clip coupons!

Train smart & stay strong!