“What should I eat to lose weight?”

As a fitness professional, I constantly hear the question: “What should I be eating if I want to lose some weight?” 

Rather than asking this question, we should be asking: “What should I NOT be eating in order to lose FAT?”

Unless you are a wrestler or compete in some other event that requires you to be in a certain weight class, you should never be concerned with losing “weight.” Weight can be anything! Want to lose weight? Just stop eating carbohydrates and within a week you will drop 10 pounds just in water weight!

Let’s focus on losing FAT.

Losing fat is not necessarily about what you should eat, but what you shouldn’t be eating. That is the most important thing. The next most important is about nutrient timing with your consumption of macronutrients. Nutrient timing can be extremely complex and hard to nail down, so we generally stick with the basics unless you are a competitive athlete. 

Foods that will inhibit fat loss and promote fat storage:

– Soda

– Fried foods

– Alcohol

– Pasta

– Mayonnaise

– Candy

– Potato chips

Preventing high insulin spikes is also a very important key to losing body fat. Insulin spikes occur after the ingestion of sugar/carbohydrates. Carbs are a necessity in most cases, but staying away from overloading in one sitting is important for fat loss.

The basics of nutrient timing are important for making sure your body responds correctly to the foods you are putting in your body.

– Include some source of protein with every meal

– Stop carbohydrate intake in the afternoon

– Eat good fats with most meals

– Ingest appropriate, relative amounts of protein within 2-3 hours post-workout

– Also ingest an appropriate amount of carbohydrates post-workout to replenish stores and promote an insulin spike (the ONLY time you want an insulin spike)

           – An insulin spike will open up hormone receptors in cells, promoting muscle growth and fat loss 

– The only proven pre-workout supplement is caffeine (although it should never come via soda)

Keep it simple and follow the basics. Only make it more complex once you have mastered the simple steps. 




Move to the beat of your own drum.





Strength Training for Women: The Myths

There are a myriad of myths regarding females and strength training – too many to count. Yet despite the growing number of women out there slowly converting to lovers of iron and ditching their cardio bunny ways, there are even more women who still believe that strength training is for men only, and that no proper lady would touch anything more than a pretty pink dumbbell.

What makes me happy is when I have a new female client who comes in and says: “I want to get stronger and add more muscle to my body.” YES! I love to hear this. It means that some women are truly getting it! Adding lean tissue to your frame via strength training not only helps you burn more fat faster, but also raises bone mineral density (BMD). BMD is extremely vital for middle-aged women as they age. Low BMD leads to osteoporosis, which leads to your later years being NO fun at all. Women are MUCH more at risk for osteoporosis than men, which makes strength training just as important for them–if not more! 

Myth #1: You should steer clear of heavy weights because it will make you look like a man.

This is the most ridiculous myth out there! Women commonly use the phrase “bulk up” when referring to what they want to avoid. Men have 20 times the amount of testosterone as women have flowing in their blood…TWENTY TIMES THE AMOUNT! The little testosterone that women do have plays no role in muscle building…therefore, bulking up “like a man” is physically impossible (this does not count for anyone on PEDs).

With more strength training, a spiked increase in appetite will follow. Women (along with men) must beware of this increase in appetite. Don’t go off thinking you can eat whatever you want and not put on body fat. Sure, you can get away with more in the 2-3 hour window post-workout, but don’t succumb to poor nutritional choices with your newfound hobby. 

Myth #2: Protein powder is bad for women because it will make them huge.

There is NOTHING special about protein powder. It’s not magical fairy dust that meatheads throw into a shaker bottle and it makes their veins surface to their skin and protrude. Pure whey protein powder is simply taking the best part of animal protein and putting it into a canister for quick and efficient digestion. The biggest perk (and one of the only) about protein powder is its convenience! Adding water to it enables a faster process of protein being absorbed into the bloodstream.

Protein repairs the muscle fibers that have been broken down and torn (yes, little micro-tears) during your workout, and then it also plays a large role in building the muscle fibers back up–making them stronger.

So, if you just finished your strength training session and have plans to have a big, balanced meal in the next couple hours, then there is no reason for you to slam a protein shake. Save it for another day. You will get all you need from that chicken breast, turkey burger, etc…!

NOTE: Protein in excess amounts can increase body fat. The protein consumption method is not a “the more you eat, the stronger you get” type of thing. 

Myth #3: All the fitness models and fitness competitors are on steroids; the average woman could never achieve that look.

Before I go any further, I will qualify this point by emphasizing the fact that yes, there are very few people out there who are able to maintain a lean, stage- or photoshoot-ready physique year-round. I’ll also argue, however, that that’s not because it’s impossible. Rather, many choose to switch over into the offseason, during which time they likely intentionally put on some weight in an effort to make improvements to their physiques and dial even sharper than before come next season.

But all of that aside, here’s a cool fact: we all have abs. They’re there. That six-pack? Yes, you’ve been sporting it. The only thing separating them from showing themselves off to the world is a cozy coat of fat.

If you’re looking to achieve the look of a bikini competitor or fitness model, chances are good that you have most, of it not all, of the muscle mass necessary to start off. This is great, because all that means that is you have to lose bodyfat in order to unveil that coveted physique. Easier said than done, I’m aware, but think of it as an art. Over a period of several weeks and months, you’ll chip away at your body, slowly uncovering the sculpted arms and curvy legs you’ve been after.

Myth #4: You should switch up your training routine every week to keep your muscles guessing.

I recommend a minimum of four to six weeks on any given training program before moving onto something different. By this I don’t necessarily mean utilizing the exact same exercises for the same reps and sets week after week. There are multiple ways to go about implementing progressive overload besides increasing the load on the bar: varying speed, shifting body position in relation to the load, changing stability, and so on.

With that said, sticking to the same program gives you time to become better at the prescribed exercises by providing more opportunities for repetition.

I know what you may be thinking. “But I need to confuse my muscles and keep them guessing!” Unfortunately, muscles do not get confused (sorry, Tony Horton), nor do they participate in guessing games. And if you’re afraid you might get bored, then I ask you, what is so boring about making improvements from one workout to the next? What’s dull about going to the gym and lifting 10lbs more than the week prior or to mastering perfect technique? Boom…I’M FEELING SKINNY, TONY!! — What movie??

Myth #5: To lose fat, you need to crank up the cardio.

Actually, doing more cardio is the best way to… do more cardio. Doing it for the calorie burn will ultimately leave you disappointed, cranky, and tired.

This may be a hard pill to swallow, but steady-state cardio burns surprisingly fewer calories than you’d think. One study found that it takes an average of 86 hours’ worth of aerobic exercise to lose 1 whopping kilogram, and a meta-analysis revealed that steady-state cardio in and of itself is not an effective weight loss therapy.

I don’t know about you, but I can think of about a thousand other more useful things I could be doing with those 86 hours than peddling away on a bike. If you do it because you love it, or because you are training for the events that you love, that’s different! I totally get it! I love it, as well…but, it’s not going to give me the results I’m looking for. 

Rather than steady-state cardio, interval training is the way to go. Other names for this include metabolic conditioning, circuit training, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These short bursts of high intensity activity alternated with periods of active have been found to produce equal, if not better, results as traditional steady-state cardio with just “a fraction of the time commitment” (namely, 0.75 hours versus 13.5 hours). This is likely due to the increased excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or energy expenditure in the time following the workout. Basically, go harder for shorter bursts…and take very brief rests in between each bout. 

I hope I’ve inspired at least one woman to begin, or get back to,  their strength training. 


Happy New Year’s Resolutions!



Move to the beat of your own drum.

Triglycerides: Foods that will lower lipids in your blood

For my 1 year anniversary of starting this health and fitness blog, I will try to keep this one short and sweet…

When it comes to the health of adults, blood pressure and cholesterol readings seem to get most of the lime-light. Family physicians may point to your triglyceride number and explain what it means, but rarely will you be given much advice on how to lower that number. THAT number–not your cholesterol or BP reading–is MOST important for keeping heart and artery diseases at bay. High numbers of triglycerides causes inflammation; and inflammation causes heart disease. 

“But, what exactly are triglycerides…?”

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn–particularly “easy” calories like carbohydrates and fats–you may have high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia). 

The higher end of normal to borderline would be considered 150-199 mg/dL. Generally, you want to keep your number below 200. If you are above 200, something in your diet needs to change. 

“What’s the difference between cholesterol and triglycerides?”

Triglycerides and cholesterol are separate types of lipids that circulate in your blood. Triglycerides store unused calories and provide your body with energy, and cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones. Because triglycerides and cholesterol can’t dissolve in blood, they circulate throughout your body with the help of proteins that transport the lipids (lipoproteins).

Here are 5 types of foods that will lower your triglycerides if they become a steady part of your diet:

Omega 3’s: healthy fats that can be found in most fish (salmon, tilapia…) or via supplement (see previous post on supplements).

Olive Oil





Here’s to lowering your triglycerides, having an even healthier 2014, and many more anniversaries of health and fitness blogging…


Happy Holidays!



Move to the beat of your own drum.

Consume Like Your Life Depended On It




Nutrition and cellular interaction is an extraordinarily complicated game.

Macronutrients, micronutrients, phytochemicals…what does it all mean? Like I said, it’s just too complicated. So, how about I just give you the facts and you trust that I’m telling you the truth? It literally takes a textbook to break it all down into the finest of terms so that we can truly understand how metabolism works. 

Different foods possess specific nutrients and other bioactive components that can actually change the message expressed by our unique genes. Yes: it really DOES matter what you eat when looking for physiological changes and long-term health goals (such as living disease free). 

Today, I’ll start with three things we should all be consuming.


Broccoli contains compounds called isothiocyanates that can switch on a specific gene in the liver that detoxifies cancer-causing chemicals and other toxins. Without the broccoli, this gene remains inactive and our bodies look for other detoxifiers. With the broccoli, this gene is upregulated and participates more actively in the detoxification process.

Cooked Tomatoes:

Cooked tomatoes contain compounds called lycopenes that switch off growth-promoting genes in the prostate. With cooked tomatoes in the diet, prostate cancer risk decreases; without the tomatoes, risk increases.

Fish Oil:

Fish oil (specifically DHA–a fatty acid found in fish oil) signals genes in the brain to produce a chemical that keeps Alzheimer’s disease at bay. People who take fish oil have better cognitive function as they age, relative to those who don’t take fish oil. 

There are many more examples just like these of how nutrition can influence our gene expression to promote or degrade health. This emerging area of research is called nutrigenomics, and is changing our world as we know it. 


Yours in Health, 



Move to the beat of your own drum.

Brief Review: Tabata Training

I have been approached about my thoughts on Tabata training a few times…and I have good news–it has definitely been proven EFFECTIVE. 

Tabata training–a protocol in which 20 seconds of high-intensity activity are followed by 10 seconds of rest, with that cycle repeating for 4 minutes–could be considered one of the earlier versions of high-intensity interval training. Researchers from Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama, recently looked at Tabata training to determine its effectiveness. 

The small study was led by Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM, professor of Exercise Science at the university. It involved 15 individuals (12 women, 3 men) whose caloric expenditure was measured before, during and 30 minutes after a Tabata workout. Results showed that participants burned 13.5 calories per minute. Olson also discovered that at the 30-minute mark, each individual’s metabolic rate was double what it had been before the workout.

This style of interval training clearly has profound effects even on short-term, post-exercise metabolism. It would take 5 times the amount of typical cardio exercise, such as a 20-minute brisk walk, to shed the same number of calories that are burned in a 4-minute Tabata. 

Tips for a safe and successful Tabata workout:

– Be sure you are sufficiently warmed up (this means being near the onset of having a sweat)

– Use exercises or equipment that rely on large muscle groups (i.e. jump squats, airdyne bike)

– Use modifications if you or your client are less fit individuals at this point (i.e. body weight squats, treadmill walking at  brisk pace)

– If you or your client are new to Tabata, start with four or six rounds, working up to the full eight

This research was presented at the 60th annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the fourth annual World Conference on Exercise. An abstract was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 


Tabata on, 



Move to the beat of your own drum

Ways to BE GREAT: Installment 5 (Final Installment)

Here is #81-100…This is the final installment. I’m not sure why it is. I guess 100 is just a good place to stop. If you haven’t already, see Installment 1, 2, 3, 4 so you don’t miss out on anything! 

Okay, so no more movie references; but there are more life lessons…and you guessed it, all are important.  I hope each person that reads these installments have at least implemented something they’ve read into their own training/life. I appreciate all of you who follow my posts…it means the world. Please continue to follow and PLEASE send me feedback. I would love nothing more than to create a post for somebody on a topic that they can appreciate. “Envision it. Be patient. Make it happen.” 

81. Strongman training for athletes is great, but introduce it slowly and choose the right events
82. Strength training can happen with every tool on the market or with NONE
83. PERFECT your trade. Whether you’re in the fitness industry or not, be the best at what you do. Always think, “What can I do now to make myself better at this.” Never settle.
84. Try to get 100 jumps with a jump rope without missing, try 200, 300…
85. Precede every row with a shoulder retraction, makes the exercise 10 x harder and hammers your subscapular muscles–which will take pressure off the rotator cuff muscles.
86. Front squats and zercher squats are BADASS. Think your 400lb back squat was sweet? Try a 225lb front squat on for size. 


87. Knee sleeves and elbows sleeves are more important as you get older. Don’t wear them just to look awesome.
88. Remember, no one cares about your opinion, they only care about their own.
89. Internet comments? Don’t succumb to them. 
90. Do you have a dream? What did you do today to move closer to that dream?
91. Stop taking notes and take action.
92. Do pull-ups with chains
93. Fat Gripz are a great tool. 


94. Interact with other strength coaches in the field, hit them up on their site, email, skype, message in a bottle, Mike Tyson carrier pigeon.
95. Don’t forget to say “thank you”, “yes sir”, “yes ma’am”
96. Power cleans are great with a barbell if they don’t irritate the shoulders and you have good form. If you can’t do them, use dumbbells, sandbags, kettlebells and work on your shoulder and upper back mobility.
97. Watch a lot of tv? Hit push-ups, mobility, foam rolling during the commercials.
98. Watch Bear Grylls and do 20 push-ups every time he eats some weird shit.
99. Chaos training is important. 


100. The torso should be developed to promote stability and resist movement. Don’t just train your core in one plane. 
101. Think about what they’ll say about you when you’re gone? What is your LEGACY?




Move to the beat of your own drum. 


Ways to BE GREAT: Installment 4

Here is #61-80…if you haven’t already, see Installment 1, 2, and 3 so you don’t miss out on anything! 

More movie references, more life lessons…all are important. Check out the links to the videos on 63. These movements are something you would never think of doing. Many of our clients have been very successful in fixing range of motion due to, in-part, these exercises. “Envision it. Be patient. Make it happen.” Enjoy.

61. Never forget those who helped you along the way.

62. Push yourself harder than you ever have in your next workout. 

63. Shoulder hurt? Move to a neutral grip for dumbbell exercises, work on upper back mobility (http://freefitnessvideos.com/exercise_detail.php?exerciseID=247), stretch and roll the pec with a tennis ball,  work on trap, serratus and rhomboid activation (http://freefitnessvideos.com/exercise_detail.php?exerciseID=750)

64. Do more than the next guy

65. Sit back on the kettlebell swing, don’t sit down, you have to load the hamstrings, glutes and hips
66. If you have tight pecs, don’t bench
67. Getting more mobile? Don’t forget to strengthen in this new range of motion…flexibility can weaken if strength is not maintained through training

 68. Send flowers unexpectedly

69. Don’t text and drive
70. Quit playing video games…okay, you are allowed “throwback nights” every once in a while with your old gaming buddies
71. Don’t program an exercise or workout unless you know the effects of the exercise or workout. You must know the requirements to perform the exercise correctly. You should be able to explain what you’re doing to an expert and not look like a fool. 
72. If you want to be powerful, use short bouts of high intensity…if you want to increase stamina, use longer bouts with lower weight/intensity
73. Bands and chains are NOT restricted to exercises performed with a barbell

 74. Watch Road House, 23 x

75. Have you ever seen Deer Hunter, Jeremiah Johnson, Apocalypse Now, Scarface, Cool Hand Luke? Classic Man-Flicks

76. Be VERY specific with dreams and goals. Envision it. Be patient. Make it happen. 
77. Check Facebook less frequently.
78. Don’t stop learning. The best coaches always try to get better.
79. Get respect, not money.
80. Spend time on the warm-up, it isn’t a quick arm cross back and forth before benching.

The last 20 coming next week!


Move to the beat of your own drum.