Sunday, December 31, 2017

Everyone starts off with good intensions. However, researchers have indicated that the first two weeks everything is usually going along beautifully but, by February, people are backsliding and by the following December.  Most people are back where they started.  In fact, recent studies have indicated that 45-50% of the population make resolutions every year but, only 8% achieve their goals.

There are literally tons of research and studies as to why the failure rate is so high. I think it's best illustrated by Timothy Pychyl, professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada. He says that resolutions are a form of "Cultural Procrastination", an effort to reinvent oneself. People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves but aren't ready to change their habits, particularly
bad habits. This procrastination, along with setting unrealistic goals, accounts for the high failure rate.

No one said it was going to be easy but if you keep it simple, realistic, and hold yourself accountable your resolution will become a reality. Let's take a look:

1. Set realistic, specific, and time bound goals that are broken down in digestible pieces. 

Don't let yourself get overwhelmed. Take small steps.  For example: I want to loose 35 pounds in 12 months as follows:
  • 10lbs by March 31st
  • 20lbs by June 30th
  • 25lbs by August 30th
  • 30lbs by October 31st
  • 35lbs by December 31st
Make sure you are able to reconcile at each benchmark and either celebrate your success or make the needed adjustments to stay on track.

2. Hold yourself accountable:
  • Log and track your workout progress.  This is the only way you will be able to determine what's working and what's not working.
  • Log and track your daily food intake.  I have always recommended Fooducate.  It not only tracks your intake, but provides you with the needed information to adjust and stay on track. Remember, you are 80% of what you eat.
  • Have an accountability buddy.  This should be someone who is close to you that you have to report to; this could be a Personal Trainer, a family member, a close friend, or even someone who is taking the same fitness journey as yourself.
I have always emphasized proper, realistic goal setting and accountability as the key to better health and fitness. Below I've linked past posts for you to browse that offer more details into achieving your resolutions.  For those that are close, I provide hands on training that would be tailored to your goals for 2018.  If you spend most of your week traveling or live outside the Atlanta area, I encourage you to checkout my remote training program.  Just click here and complete the questionnaire and we can get started.

Helpful posts from the archives:
Gauging Success
Tracking Daily Progress with Fooducate
Staying on Track while Traveling
Fitting in a Workout on Your Busiest Days
Nutrition Tips
Remote Training Program

I wish everyone the best as you reach out and accept new health and fitness challenges in 2018.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

It's not only the most wonderful time of the year, but the busiest.  Finding time for all of your family and friends, shopping, parties, and travel plans is a juggling act in itself. Much less finding the time and effort to keep your fitness goals on target. Unfortuntely, for many, that is easier said then done.
So how do you stay focused and maintain the integrity of all your progress?  Here is what you need to keep in mind:

1. Find Your Balance 

  • Time management will be your biggest hurdle. Even the best of intentions are challenged this time of year. Things just pop up out of no where. So, each day you will need to evaluate, prioritize, and adjust to accomplish your objectives for that day.
  • Squeezing in those workouts is usually the biggest challenge. Remember its all about quality not quantity. So, keep those workouts at 20-30 minutes with highly efficient verticle workouts that include combo type exercises. You can refer to my post on creating effecient workouts by clicking HERE. As far as cardio, there are more accessible resources in walking, running, jumping rope, bike riding, etc.
  • There is certainly no shortage of food, holiday "spirits", and over indulgence. Know your limits and hold yourself accountable. 
2. Keep It Simple

  • When it comes to cardio, you can do 10, 20, or 30 minutes at a time which makes it a much easier fit into those busy schedules.
  • If you haven't already, check out the Fooducate App to track your food choices with ease. Click HERE to review my post on Fooducate.
If you have made a lot of progress to date, you don't want to lose that momentum.  So stay focused, be consistent, and hold yourself accountable.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts

Monday, November 20, 2017

We have all been there and done that.  We know it's time to get in better shape or start eating better and it makes the perfect New Year's resolution. Unfortuntely, and for many New Year's fitness goals are easier said than done. In fact, fitness resolutions are the most popular with an estimated failure rate of 42.4%.  Fitness is not a race or a quick fix, but rather a life style that should direct your goals, activities and motivation on a consistent basis towards healthier living.

 Let's take a look at why the failure rate is so high:
  1. Unrealistic expectations
  2. No plan or accountability - "No plan is successful without regular checkups"
  3. Feel out of place and intimitaed by others at the gym
  4. Commute or excessability to the gym
  5. Lack of guidance and don't know what to do at the gym
  6. Time Availability
  7. Expenses
  8. Lack of motivation - No support system
My new Remote Coaching and Nutritional Guidance program is designed to minimize these roadblocks and let you focus on established goals and accomplishing a more fit and healthier lifestyle. Here's how it works:

You will be provided with a training app that will initiate our communication.  This app is unique to you and is password protected.  This app includes:
  • Assessment categories BMI, Body Measurements, Weight, Height, etc., which provides us with a starting point to establish realistic goals and check points that will be updated quarterly
  • The ability to insert pre and post photographs for visual tracking and progress updates
  • Weekly plans that will provide the pre-designed workout sessions and activities 
  • Generates a complete diary of all of your workouts that also allow you to add informative photos and comments
  • A private messaging system within the app (text) to ensure we keep the channels of communication open to help you with and questions or needs
To take a quick tour of this app click here
Key Points:
  1. All of your workout sessions will be designed based on the quipment that you have available to you.  This may be equipment available through a gym membership, equipment you plan on purchasing, or just stuff you may have around the house.  I always suggest starting slow with stuff you can use at home. As you can see from the photo below, you can create a complete gym/workout atmosphere for $60.00 and get results. Importantly, it's convenient and maximizes your time investment.  For you travelers or road warriors, the resistance bands and jump rope will be your best tools.
  2. There is an instructional video with every designed exercise included in your daily plans.
  3. Each Sunday your weekly plan will be posted in you app for your review and any needed preparation.
  4. We will develop checkpoints at 90 day intervals and will make any necessary adjustments to ensure you stay on track with established goals.
  5. In addition to your training program, as a certified Nutritional Specialist, I can provide the needed support and direction that will coincide with your goals.
  6. Each weekly plan includes 2 lifting/resistance/toning sessions and two cardio workouts designed around your schedule and time requirements.  Your financial investment is $30.00 per weekly plan through either PayPal or Venmo.

Here's what one of my clients has to say about this new program:

"The workouts have been easy to follow, yet challenge me as well. I always feel sore the next day which makes me happy because I know my body is being challenged and the workouts are building muscle. I recommend working with Rand. He is very encouraging and quick to respond to any questions I have had...I also love the flexibility-I have two young children and am able to complete the workouts on my schedule." -- Testimonial from Remote Training client Katy Hirschel (For the full testimonial, as well as others, click here.)

There is no doubt, the Remote Coaching and Nutritional Coaching program will get you off to the right start, and continue to support your efforts towards a healthier lifestyle.
  • Perfect for any schedule whether you are a stay at home mom, commuter, or road warrior
  • Provides the needed information to establish a realistic goal
  • Establishes accountability with designed checkpoints/benchmarks that allows us to make any neccessary changes or adjustments to stay on track.
  • Maximizes your available resources and time avaialble
  • Provides targeted guidance for all designed workouts and nutritional needs
  • Provides a support system that will continue to peak your motivation
If you are ready to get started on your remote training journey or would like more information, just click here and complete the remote client survey. Also, if you have any friends or family members that you feel would benefit from this program, please feel free to share this post.

Until next time. Enjoy your workouts.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Cardiovascular (cardio) exercise is one of the key ingredients to any successful fitness program. A well balanced cardio program strengthens the heart muscle. It improves the heart's ability to pump blood to your lungs and throughout your body, builds endurance, helps lose excess fat that hides muscle definition, and improves coordination and range of motion. You would think that these health benefits alone would be sufficient motivation. However, many are derailed by those ever present excuses: it takes too much time, the weather, "I'll do it tomorrow", and the list goes on. Excuses are just that, and when you take a closer look it's all about results versus expectations.  This is usually a direct result of biting off more than we can chew or we hit a plateau with our current cardio efforts, get discouraged, and quit. Case in point, how many treadmills do you think you would see at ten garage sales? My guess is at least seven.

So, how do we fix it and get back on track?

1. Set realistic Goals: These goals should be time dated with established benchmarks or checkpoints to monitor your progress. For example, if you are trying to lose 20 pounds in the next 6 months establish checkpoints every 30 days. It might look like this:

Goal: Lose 20lbs by June

Total Pounds Jan Feb Mar Apr May June
Lost 3.5 7 10.5 14 17.5 21

At these checkpoints, reward yourself if you hit the mark.  If you didn't hit the mark, evaluate why and make the necessary changes to get back on track. This provides you with tangible results in digestable bites and keeps your fuel tank full.

2. Establish a Game Plan: Avoid those plateus created by redundancy. Evaluate your resources and mix it up.  There is the gym, parks, schools for running, jump rope, rowing, hiking, swimming, and cycling.  There are no real established time tables for cardio exercises. So, invest the time that best suits your needs, schedule, and established goals. As food for thought, my schedule includes 20 minute cardio sessions every other day either jumping rope, rowing, or spinning.  This fits well and compliments my weight training schdeule. For a little more insight on the positive impact of rowing, check out my post all about rowing HERE.

As you can see, there are plenty of avenues to help you find the cardio exercises that best fit your needs.  Just remember to set realistic expectations, establish an applicable plan, enjoy the challenge, and you will get better results.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I have to tell you, I'm pretty pumped. After 10 months of in-depth reading, study modules, and a 90 minute final examination, I've now added NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist to my resume. It's funny, as a health and fitness professional, I really thought I had a good working knowledge of nutrition. What I found out is that we actually only use and support bits and pieces of information without knowing the whole story.

The history of nutritional studies is storied with previous diseases, plagues, and the impact of essential nutrients, water, water soluble vitamins, fat soluble vitamins, major and trace minerals. Studies also include how all of these affect the digestive system, the importance of absorption, and the results of either levels of deficiency or toxicity on our overall health. The bottom line is a person who has a diet that includes the recommended levels of essential macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and lipids), fruits and vegetables, and the daily recommended value of vitamins and minerals will be satisfied. Of course, this does not include those with serious illness or preexisting medical conditions.

As you can see, just using bits and pieces of information could prove detrimental to your health. Which brings me to the point of my post.  In general, our nutriental knoweledge is easly influenced by friends, family, marketing, and the latest media hype. Outside of family and friends, the other resources are just trying to sell you something without disclosing everything you need to know. Just take a look at the vitamin and supplement market today.  It's a multi-million dollar marketing/media success. This is not to say they are all bad.  Just make sure you do your due diligence and rely on the right resources. My money is on those resources that don't benefit monetarily, but through your good health and well being.

These are the resources I would consider reliable:

1. Your Doctor:  There is really no one else who can better determine if you have any kind of vitamin or mineral deficiency.

2. Registered Dietician or Certified Nutrition Specialist: They deal in factual information, studies, and any input from your doctor.

3. (Click here to go to the site) This is a goverment sponsored site that provides recommended dietary intake, recommended daily values, nutrimental meal planning, exercise suggestions, daily food intake journals, and guides.  This is just a small sample of the benefits available on this site.

4. Product Information Labels:  This is government mandated information for all products and supplements.  Pay close attention to the percent of daily recommended values.

5. Fooducate:  I illustrated the impact of this smart phone app a couple of months ago
(click here to read), and after receiving my nutritional certification, I'm even more convinced this is a great resource.  You will note their set standards are in line with all of the regulating goverment agencies.

Using these resources will keep it simple and put you in control of your healthier lifestyle needs.  OK, I'm off my soap box now.

Until next time enjoy your workouts.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Efficient; Adjective
Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.

When creating the most efficient workouts, it's all about the quality, not quantity. They should be compact, goal oriented, and encourage consistency and accountability. There are several resistance training systems that include vertical loading, horizontal loading, split routine, and circuit training.
You will probably see most gym members use the split routine, which is training different parts of the body on different days and performing all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next. Most people use the split routine due to equipment availability and because they don't want to loose their spot if they move on to a different exercise. To be honest, I really don't see the efficiency in this type of routine.  For example, if you work legs and shoulders on a Monday, then consider scheduled cardio, recovery, and days for the other muscle groups (i.e. biceps, hips, etc),  you may not work your legs and shoulders again for at least another 8-10 days. In addition, it increases the total time of your workout, lacks flexibility/creativity, and at times can be counter productive.

Let's face it, we all know that exercising is a large part of a healthy life style and we want to see the results. However, we wish it was more fun, didn't take as much time, and, of course, that dreaded leg day. So, here's how you make it more fun in the least amount of time and get noticeable results.

To get started, we will be using a combination of the vertical loading and circuit training.  This means your exercises will focus on all muscle group in each session. Depending on your designated time frame and endurance levels, you will need to plan one to two exercises that incorporate the chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, and legs. As you plan your routine, make sure you address your specific goals, be creative, and ensure flexibility. When you execute your routine, you will do a single set of each exercise (12 Reps) with no rest in between exercises. Once you complete the cycle take a two minute rest break. After your break, you will repeat this cycle three more times. This is where the  flexibility comes in. If someone is using the equipment you prefer, find alternatives for that exercise to keep the cycle moving.  For example, if there isn't a weight bench available, use a stability ball (adds in a core exercise) or you may need to switch from dumbbells to cable equipment. Also, be creative in your exercise design and incorporate one, two, or even three muscle groups in one exercise.  To better illustrate, I've included examples at the bottom of this post.

When you put it all together, you have a routine that is aerobic, compact, time efficient, and provides a balanced impact on all muscle groups. Plus, it's challenging, fun, and gets results. As a good total weekly program, try your circuit day on day one, 20-30 minutes of cardio on day 2, and recovery on day 3. So, your cycle would be two days on and one day off for recovery. It provides great balance and is a perfect fit for a healthier life style.

Below are a few examples of including multiple muscle groups in your exercises. I hope you find them helpful. To view a full video click on the name of the exercise.

1. Lateral Lunge and Lean: ( 6-12 Reps on each side).  The lateral lunge captures the upper leg, butt, and hip. On the way back up, you are focusing on the shoulders and the lean hits the obliques.

2. Chest Press/Leg Drop: (12 Reps) Here you hit the chest area and increase flexibility in the leg lift while impacting the lower abs.

3. Bicep Curl Squat: (12 Reps) This exercises actually encourages a deeper squat while working your biceps.

These are just a few examples. If you would like to see more, please let me know.  I'm working with a good friend, Nickie Summers, founder of It's All You Fitness, and she has developed several exercises that incorporate multiple muscle groups that would have a positive impact on your progress.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts,

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Whether it's your vacation or work, keeping up with your exercise goals while traveling can be a big challenge.  Keeping that balance while you are at home is hard enough as it is.  When you are on the road, your time and resources are often limited and working out is usually not at the top of your list. Your schedule is hectic, you're exhausted, and you want to relax. I get it.

I get it because I spent a large portion of my forty years in the corporate world on the road so, I know it can be done.  You CAN stay in shape while traveling. It's all about knowing the limitation of your resources, finding your balance, planning ahead, and being prepared.  You will actually have more energy while spending time with your family on vacation or those longer work hours as a road warrior.

If finding time to exercise is a challenge when you are at home, it will become even more difficult when you are on the road. So, whether it's work related or vacation, plan short sessions. Focus on the quality and each workout will have an impact.

Most hotel "gyms" are outdated and usually inadequate at best. Think about what you can accomplish in your hotel room or outside. Here are a few suggestions that should address most situations:
  1. You can do bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, planks, squats, and jumping jacks.
  2. Go to YouTube on your smart phone or tablet and try yoga or Pilates.  You can always find a session that meets your scheduling needs.
  3. Pack a resistance band and your room is now your personal gym. I actually used to pack a jump rope as well. It makes for great cardio either in your hotel room or outside. Don't worry, the ceilings are always high enough.
  4. You can go outside for a walk and use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  5. If you enjoy running, make room for tennis shoes when you pack.
  6. If most of your travel is work related and you frequent the same locations.  Look for local gyms close to your hotels. They usually have good travel programs or membership incentives for travelers.  At one time, I actually had three memberships that cost just $30.00 a month.  
Working out while traveling is about maintaining your fitness. So address those limited resources as an opportunity to be creative, find your balance, keep it simple, and make it fun.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts (wherever you may be).

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Where has the time gone?  It seems like it was just yesterday when my daughter Kelly and I took this picture to launch her post baby exercise program. It was actually October of 2015, and her second son Roman was just 8 weeks old.

Kelly's goal was to lose the remaining baby fat, tone up, and regain the energy and endurance needed to raise two boys.  When I look back, Kelly's progression was almost text book.

Kelly started planning for this journey when she was still 6 months pregnant. She loves her busy lifestyle and scripted her goals accordingly. Her plan provided the needed consistency and flexibility to make the necessary adjustments to stay on track.  Her biggest adjustment was actually to make sure she had enough rest time. However, as all you mothers know, with two young children that is easier said than done. She is always looking to find ways to maintain the best levels of nutrition and the ever challenging task of meal planning around all the daily activities.  Again, all you moms know what I'm talking about.

Well, Roman is now 21 months old and Kelly has turned the baby weight into toned muscle with a BMI of 22.3. Kelly has created the healthy life style she was looking for, but she knows it doesn't end here.  She continues to raise the bar, accept the ever changing challenges in daily life, and make the necessary adjustments to get results.

Seeing positive results is the great motivator, but the journey to get there can be overwhelming.  That is why you need to find your balance before setting your goal.  Once you've developed your plan, keep it simple and make room for adjustments to avoid any road blocks to your success. Importantly, keep it going.  Raise the bar , accept those new challenges, and be awesome.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

When you think about it, without flexibility, balance, and coordination you really can't do much of anything. We all know this, but how do we address this need in our daily lives and fitness efforts to ensure long term results?

We all incorporate some sort of stretching in our daily lives. Sometimes it's to get moving in the morning, after sitting for long periods of time, or preparing ourselves for an athletic or fitness activity.  However, we need to incorporate activities within our fitness efforts that encourages ongoing muscle elasticity, giving our muscles and joints a greater range of motion. This elasticity and increased range of motion can help you prevent injuries, back pain, and balance problems.

In discussion with my clients and friends, their initial reaction is that we already do that. We stretch, do squats, and incorporate the stability ball in our work routines. That's a great start. You have to be careful, however, not to be too routine in your efforts. That type of redundancy will start to dilute your results and really doesn't focus or encourage the full range of motion of all joints and muscles. The key phrase being "all joints and muscles".

So, what do we do or what is the alternative? Workout fads that address flexibility, balance, and coordination come and go, but virtually no other exercise programs are as enduring as Yoga and Pilates. They each have a lot of similarities. Choosing one or the other is really a personal preference.  Let's take a look:

  • Yoga: It's been around for more than 500 years and does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It's a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation. While it may seem mellow compared to most training programs, yoga's health benefits keep pace and often surpass what many people would call traditional forms of exercise.
  • Pilates: Uses controlled movements, primarily focused on your core to build body strength, flexibility, and endurance. It's a body conditioning routine that won't result in bulky muscles.  Instead, the movements serve to lengthen your muscles as they strengthen them. It emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength, and muscle balance.

I can't think of a better way to ensure a consistent effort toward establishing a greater range of motion, improved balance, endurance, and coordination. Importantly, it provides the needed variety to avoid redundancy and creates the real potential for better results. I engage in both Yoga and Pilates at least once a week and encourage my clients and friends to do the same.

Keep it simple. It's not hard to find the right avenue to enjoy either Yoga or Pilates with really no additional investment or interrupting your current schedule.  If you are a gym member, most gyms provide a variety of Yoga and Pilates classes.  If you want to do this at home, there are plenty of Yoga and Pilates routines on YouTube, as well as free apps for your phone or tablet. As in any new exercise or fitness endeavor, start slow and progress at your own pace.  You will enjoy the results for a lifetime.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts.

Sources: Google for Yoga and Pilates Definitions 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Photo: Google
For years we have been programmed to measure our fitness efforts in weight lost or gained.  There is, however, so much more to managing a healthy lifestyle than the weight scale. In fact, when you take a closer look, the weight scale can give you a false sense of security and is more of a deterrent than anything else.

Don't get me wrong, managing your weight to fit established medical standards is the foundation to building a healthier lifestyle.  However, it's how you get there, how you stay there, and making needed adjustments to stay on track that will determine the longevity of your success. If the weight scale is your only measurement to manage your plan, you are setting yourself up for failure. Let's take a closer look.

How You Get There: There are some essential components that need to be in place to build the right foundation that ensures a healthy and sustained journey.
  • A nutritional plan that includes the right sources of energy or macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats), the Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and ample hydration that supports the healthiest avenue to any needed weight loss or gain.
  • A comprehensive fitness plan that outlines the needed activities that will enhance your nutritinal plan and support the longevity of your efforts.  
How You Stay There: Your plan should include time dated benchmarks that will determine your progress outside any targeted weight loss.  These benchmarks should indicate:
  • muscle mass gain
  • inches lost, gained, or moved 
  • how your clothes fit (sizes up or down)
  • how you feel physically and mentally
  • do you like the way you look?
  • do your endurance levels satisfy your fitness efforts?
These are all measurements that are pivitol to the longevity of your health and fitness plan that cannot be determined by the weight scale.

Making Needed Adjustments: Making sure your progress is in line with your set benchmarks is pivotal to making needed adjustments in a timely fashion. Some examples:
  • If your nutrients are in line with your fitness efforts, you should be losing targeted inches and either dropping a size or fitting into your cloths better while maintaining you current weight. 
  • If you are using the right supplements and hydrating appropriately, your skin should feel better and you should feel better physically and mentally.
Keep in mind, your health and fitness plan is always a work in process and is vunerable to any changes if they are not addressed in a timely fashion. So, once you make any needed adjustments, you will need to align and adjust your benchmarks accordingly.

A great example of how you get there, how you stay there, and when you make needed adjustments is illustrated in the photo below of my good friend, Nickie Summers, founder of "It's All You Fitness." As you can see in the time dated photos, Nickie has made substantial changes in her body composition while maintaining a weight of 130 lbs. You will also note that this transformation began in 2010 and is a work in progress as we speak. Her results are consistent with building the right plan and understanding her progress.  She will tell you that her adjustments are consistent with how she feels mentally and physically, how she looks, how her clothes fit, and her level of endurance during workouts. Not the weight scale.

I would like to thank Nickie for providing me the inspiration to write this article and hope you will find measuring your success outside the scale to be helpful in your continued journey to better health.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Find Your Balance - Hydration for Health and Performance

How much water should you drink on a daily basis? It's a simple question with no easy answers.  Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years but, in truth, your water needs depend on many factor including your health, how active you are, and where you live.

Although no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body's need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day. First, let's take a look at the health benefits of water, and then the factors that influence water needs.

Health Benefits of Water
Water is your body's principle chemical component and makes up about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital
organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose, and throat tissues.  Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions.  Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

How much water do you need?
Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. Again, your water needs depend on many factors such as your age, exercise, the intensity of your exercise, environment, illness or health conditions, and pregnancy or breast feeding.

How do you stay safely hydrated?
Generally, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow, you're doing ok.  If you were to keep track, that would measure at least 6.3 cups (1.5 liters) , or more a day. Everyone has heard the advice that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, which is not to far off.  Although this thoery is not supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it is easy to remember.  Keep in mind, the rule should actually be reframed to say "Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day" because all fluids count toward the daily total.

Beyond the tap: Other Sources of Water
You don't need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs.  What you eat also provides a significant portion of your total.  On average, food provides about 20% of total water intake. For example, there are several fruits and vegetables that are 60% or more water by weight:

  • Watermelon - 92%
  • Spinach - 92%
  • Grapefruit - 90%
  • Broccoli - 89%
  • Blueberries - 85%
  • Avocado - 81%
  • Potato - 75%
  • Roasted Chicken - 64%
In addition, beverages such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water. Even caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea or soda can contribute, but should not be the major portion of your daily fluid intake. Water is still your best bet because it's calorie-free, inexpensive, and readily available.

As you can see, determining how much water you need is not really rocket science. It's an awareness to better maintain hydration levels that fit your needs and leads to a healthier lifestyle.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts (and stay hydrated)

Sources: Mayo Clinic Healthy Liniving
              National Academy of Sports Medicine

Thursday, May 11, 2017

No matter where you are in life, healthy habits such as diet and exercise never lose their importance. But for those of us managing our health after the age of 50, fitness becomes an even more essential factor in daily life. It can reduce the impact of illness, enchance mobility and improve daily moods. In fact, a recent study published by JAMA Network suggested that regular, moderate to vigorous exercise can also significantly reduce early mortality.

So, how can you get started on fitness after the age of 50? Here are a few guidelines that I think will provide you with the needed direction to create the most positive experience:

Find Your Balance
Fitness is not a race or a quick fix, but rather a lifestyle. This lifestyle is like developing a plan on how you want to live a healthier life moving forward.

1. Incorporate functional fitness: Exercise is crucial to keeping our muscles and bones strong, preserving our balance, flexibility, coordination, and even enhancing the health of our brain.

2. Keep up the nutrients: After the age of 30, we begin to lose valuable muscle mass and flexibility. So, you need to ensure that your nutrition plan includes the right balance of adequate protein, carbohydrate, and essential fats.

3. Get started and keep going: You need to commit to your plan and be consistent in everthing you do. Importantly, you need to hold yourself accountable. You will be pleasantly surprised how things start to fall in place and become a noticeably healthier way to live.

Keep It Simple:
Start slow and progress gradually. As mentioned earlier, this is a lifestyle.

1. Develop goals that allow you to monitor your progress and grow into your plan:
Include time dated benchmarks so you can make any necessary adjustments to stay on target.

2. Establish a Support System: Everyone one has those not-so-great days. So, encourage your children, spouse, or friends to help keep you accountable.

3. Reward yourself: There is nothing like a pat on the back to keep you motivated.  Find ways to reward yourself as you hit those benchmarks.

Some these changes and adjustments will be big changes, while others will need only minor adjustments.  Change is difficult for many, but realize that there is absolutely no downside to this journey especially when you consider the average life expectancy has reached a new record. It is not about how long we live, but rather the quality of those years that truely matters. There is no better time to start than now.

Until next time, enjoy your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Source: JAMA Network

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Recovery from training is becoming recognized as one of the most important aspects of physical activity and overall wellness.  While there are a myriad of recovery strategies and their varied levels of scientific support, it's important to remember that both scientific and anecdotal evidence point to the value of an appropriate recovery plan to encourage adaption, wellness, and performance.

Many recognize the need for recovery after exercise, but do we understand what it takes to fully recover and have we actually acheived that state? Though recovery is a critical phase of the exercise-adaption cycle, it is among the least understood and most under-researched components of training. Essentially, recovery is the process that includes rest, refueling, rehydration, regeneration (repair), resynthesis, reduction of inflammation and restoration that ultimately returns the body to homeostasis.  Homeostasis is a state of balance within the body that occurs when the variables in a system (e.g. pH, temperature) are regulated to keep internal conditions stable and relatively constant. However, physiological stress that is not followed by adequate recovery can, over time, compromise homeostasis and immune function.  This increases the probability of injury, illness, and the onset of nonfunctional overreaching and/or overtraining.

Considering these implications, it is important to develop a strategy that encourages adequate recovery and fits your individual needs. You may need to experiment to determine which one proves the most feasible.  The guideline that I provide my clients is that their recovery time should match the intensity of their workout program.  So, if they are "hitting it hard",  they need to devote equal time to "quitting it hard" to appropriately recover. This could be one day or two which ever works for you.  In fact, a light cardio day in between lifting can be just as benefical as resting.  Again, it needs to fit your needs.

As you can see, recovery is just as essential as exercise when it comes to finding the right balance and maximizing your fitness efforts for better health.

Until next time enjoy your workouts (and recovery),

Source: Exploring the Science of Recovery, Fabio Romana, MA, MS

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Photo via

So, did you ever really want to indulge, but thought I'd better stick to the script? Well with this spinach, cheese, and bacon bread pudding you can have your cake and eat it too. It's packed with 20g of protein and 34g of carbohydrates.  It's a little high in fat at16g but on the plus side, it's low in sugar at 8g netting 355 total calories.

My daughter, Kelly, and I tried it a few weeks ago and it's off the charts awesome. Everyone at the table loved it. At first, the preparation time appeared to be a little cumbersome, but it was actually very easy. If you want to go vegetarian, the recipe also provides suggested substitute ingredients as well. Don't let the serving size dish fool you.  It's actually very filling and will satisfy the largest of appetites.

Give it a shot.  Just click here or go to

Until next time, enjoy your workouts.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tracking your activities, workouts, and eating is the only way you can measure your progress towards your established fitness goals.  This information lets you determine what's working and what's not working. Importantly, it provides you with the information to make the neccessary adjustments to stay on track. It's almost like when you are using your GPS, take a wrong turn, and you hear the message "recalculating."

In today's fast paced world of technology, there are countless fitness apps that allow you to easily track your progress. There are some that track workouts, some that track running and walking, some that help you track your eating habits, and some that provide nutritional facts.  I don't know about you, but I find having to use that many apps very cumbersome and time consuming.

To keep it simple, I would like to tell you about the one app I personally use.  I think you will find it to be a real benefit to track your efforts. While this app is basically designed to help you eat healthier, it does that and more:

Health Tracker: This is where you track your workouts, meals/snacks, and water consumption and it compares your calorie intake to what is suggested for you.  It also provides a breakdown of percentage of carbohydrates, protein, and fat as well as the level of processed foods.

Food Finder: This allows you to scan products while you are shopping to determine the nutritional value of the product.  It actually gives it a grade based on nutritional value and level of processing.  It's easy to use, quick, and encourages feedback if you scan an item that is not in their data base.

Community:  This allows you to interact with others in the Fooducate community to exchange ideas, recipes, successes, etc. with the ability to upload and download photos.

Recipes: A wide range of healthy recipes that are updated daily.

Diet Tidbits: Great facts on everyday foods and separating fact from fiction in the diet/nutrition world.

This app also interacts with many of the fitness trackers on the market today.  I use the Apple watch
and it applies all my workout data to the health tracker.

I'm sure everyone has their favorite apps and preferences, I just think this app captures the information I need to stay on track, and keeps it simple.  Take a closer look by clicking here.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The rowing machine has been around for decades, but it's only now that people are beginning to realize the full benefit of this piece of equipment. The health and fitness benefits of rowing machines are not only impressive but inherently results driven. Here's why:

1. Improves Cardiovascular Fitness 
Whenever you perform sustained exercise that increases your heartrate and breath volume, you're working on your cardiovascular fitness.  Rowing is great for the heart and lungs because it engages every major muscle group of your body. That, in turn, requires your heart to pump more blood to your working muscle tissue to deliver energy and nutrients to your cells while buffering away waste byproducts, including carbon dioxide and lactic acid.

2. Increases Total-Body Muscular Strength and Endurance
When rowing, as with swimming, you can actually increase both your muscular strength and muscular endurance (although endurance is the primary benefit). This is because you're repeatedly pushing and pulling against resistance for the entirety of the workout, spurring physiologic adaptions that enable a muscle group to continue. What really makes rowing standout is that it works your entire body.  During the drive phase, you're engaging the major muscle groups of your legs, then your core, and finally your upper body and back.  This repeated exertion helps improve muscular endurance across muscle groups.

3. Low Impact
As long as you maintain good form, rowing is easy on the joints.  Your feet remain in contact with foot pads and your hands keep in contact with the handles, therefore, there's little to no impact being placed on joints that are prone to injury (i.e. ankles, knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders). This also makes it an appropriate form of exercise for those who are recovering from an injury or who feel physically uncomfortable during weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, or other aerobic activities.

4. Can Be Performed Individually or as a Group
Just like water-based rowing, workouts performed on rowing machines can be done individually or in a group setting. In fact, group rowing classes are popping up across the country as an alternative to group cycling classes. They're held much the same way with high-energy instructors, pumping music, and a loosely choreographed routine set to the beat of the playlist.  It's a fun option for those who want the benefits of rowing, but don't want to exercise alone.

5. Accessibility
Not everyone has a lake or river nearby,  not to mention a boat. Machine rowers are available at almost all gyms, they're available year-round, and they don't require users to wear a life jacket or know how to swim.  In other words, pretty much anyone can give them a try.

As you can see, there is nothing but positives to using the rowing machine and it compliments any workout plan.  The benefits/results are there whether you add a 10 minute ride to the end of a current workout or incorporate 20-30 minutes to a cardio day. If you have never used a rowing machine before, ask for tips from a trainer to ensure you're using it properly.  And, as with any form of exercise, start slow and work your way up.

Let me know what you think and enjoy your workout.

Image Source
Rowing Stats: Health & Fitness

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Ever have those days where everything seems to get in your way? The days where everything seems to pile onto your already busy schedule and the time you've set aside for your workout gets buried.  If you're like most people, this probably happens more often than you'd like and finding that balance becomes a real challenge.  In fact, lack of time is the number one reason for not working out.

I would argue that, thanks to technology, we are also busier than ever before.  Finding a full hour to exercise is difficult for many.  However, it is important to recognize that there is nothing inherently "magical" about working out for an hour. It's the quality of the workout and the consistency of your program that matters, not the realitive duration.

The great news is that shorter workouts sprinkled throughout the day are extremely effective and will keep you in touch with your fitness goals. Just because a workout is short doesn't mean it is any less important to your overall health.  Here is one great example of a quick yet effective workout:

  • Squats - 30 Seconds (Lower Body)
  • Jumping Jacks or Jumping Rope - 30 Seconds (Cardio)
  • Push Ups - 30 Seconds (Upper Body)
  • Planks - 30 Seconds (Core)

This micro-workout keeps it simple. You can do one set or as many as your schedule permits. It requires absolutely no equipment, very little space, keeps you on track with your fitness goals, and helps you find that balance on the busiest of days.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Good Eats ... White Pizza With Broccoli and Mushrooms

image via
My daughter and I like to get together and try recipes that look tasty, fit a nutricious lifestyle, are relatively simple, and require minimal prep/cooking time. Well, we hit the jackpot with this white pizza with broccoli and mushrooms.  We aren't vegetarians but it just looked too good not to try.  It was awesome!  This pizza is surprising light, but very satisfying. It's definately a thumbs up and I encourage you to give it a try.  Just click HERE and you are on your way.


Friday, March 24, 2017

As my first official post, I would like to provide you with an overview of the focus for “Fitness for Better Health”. My focus is simple:
  • Find Your Balance
  • Keep It Simple
  • Be Awesome
Find Your Balance:

My objective is to help my clientele find their balance between fitness goals, lifestyle, career demands, family, and friends. Keeping the focus simple and establishing targets that will ensure we maintain that needed balance, the client will enjoy the journey to a healthier and more stable future.

Keep it Simple:
  • Write it down and make sure you have very specific and realistic goals.
  • Prioritize and set time dated benchmarks to assess your progress and ensure you stay on target.
  • Make time for your goals and minimize commitments that don’t add to your life, well-being, and happiness.
  • Take ownership, only YOU can achieve your goals and no one else can make healthy choices for you.
Be Awesome:
  •  Gain admiration for your progress and accomplishments.
  •  Inspire others on their journey to better health.
As we take this journey together, my future posts will include time savers, healthy recipes that I have tried myself, research insights, and actual success stories.