Friday, August 29, 2008


If we were all as persistent as this young lady, more of us would meet our fitness goals. She also demonstrates that you don't need a big, fancy gym to get a good workout.

Have a great holiday!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last Chance To Help Someone Win $2000

I've been really busy the last few days but I wanted to remind you that the voting for the Turbulence Training Transformation Contest winner ends tonight at midnight.

If you haven't already, please take a minute to stop over at the website and vote.

Turbulence Training Transformation Contest

Remember, there are BIG-TIME prizes on the line here, such as...

1st Place - $2000
2nd Place - $1000
3rd Place - $500

The finalist's accomplishments include...

1) "Catherine Beats Fat Loss Plateau By Losing 14 Inches, 14
Pounds, and 5% Body Fat - And She Looks 14 Years Younger!"

2) "Kerry Cuts Cardio and Loses 6 Pounds to Get 6-Pack Abs at Age

3) "Abby Lost 13 Pounds and 5% Body Fat, Fits Into Size 4's, and is
Back to Her High School Weight!"

4) "Karla Got Her Rock-Hard Body and Lost 15.2 Pounds, 6.65% Body
Fat, and 14 Inches While Exercising LESS Than Before"

5) "Mark Burns 6.2 Pounds of Belly Fat and FINALLY Gets Abs"

6) "Barry Finds It is NEVER Too Late to Burn Fat & Regain Health,
Losing 11.5 Pounds and 11% Body Fat, While Burning 5.5 inches of
DEADLY Fat From His Waist"

7) "Shanda, a Turbulence Training Skeptic, Loses 16.2 lbs, 6.3%
body fat, and 17.25 inches in ONLY 12 Weeks"

So who do you think is better?

Cast your vote here --> Turbulence Training Transformation Contest

Remember, you only have until midnight to help decide the winner.

The next Turbulence Training contest begins Aug. 31st.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vote for Your Favorite

The Summer 2008 Turbulence Training Transformation Contest is now over.

Check out the fat loss success stories (click on the link under each contestant's photo to read his/her story and to see all their stats) and help select the winner. Remember to vote for your favorite.

Turbulence Training Transformation Contest

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One Last Lesson From the Olympics

As I mentioned in a previous post, there's a lot you can learn from Olympians that will help you reach your goals and improve your life.

One thing I didn't mention in that article was coaching. Even though they've be involved in their respective sports for many years, even world class athletes have coaches.

Regardless of whether your goal is...

* getting stronger

* dropping body fat

* improving sports performance or

* preventing osteoporosis

... a well designed program, proper instruction and good form will help you meet those goals safely and effectively.

Although I have clients that do so, you certainly don't have to meet with a trainer every time you work out to get the benefits of professional coaching. Some clients have sessions once a week or once every two weeks and exercise on their own the rest of the time. Most of my members and clients just see me every 4-6 weeks for a new routine.

Unless you love learning about exercise and staying current on the research, why waste time trying to create an effective workout program for yourself? Find a knowledgeable fitness coach and get the most out of your exercise time.

If it's good enough for elite athletes, it's good enough for you.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wii Fit Video

One of my members has a Wii and really likes it. I have no first hand knowledge of the thing but if I understood her description correctly, one of the exercises used is a Turkish Get Up. If that's true, the Wii Fit is probably not quite as useless as the video below portrays but it's really funny so check it out.

Wii Fit Parody - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Age Ain't Nothing But A Number

I had planned on writing about Dara Torres but found the article below from Jon Benson in my inbox this morning. Jon says it better than I could so I'll leave it to him but I have posted a few notes of my own at the end.

This Woman is My Hero!
by Jon Benson

I want you to remember this quote for the rest of your life:

"Don't put an age limit on your DREAMS."
-- Dara Torres, Olympic Champion

Dara is truly one of my heroes.

Not too long ago Dara Torres did the unthinkable: She dared to enter the 2008 Olympics and swim a "kids race": The 100 Meter Free.

It's an all-out sprint. One length of the pool. Winner takes the gold-medal.

Dara lost the gold by 1/100th of a second. That's almost too short to measure.

She won silver.

She beat the American 16-year-old who was swimming just a few lanes over.

She beat her personal record set when she herself was a teenager.

She smashed the American world record.

She bested her last Olympics, and the one before that, with a time that, except for a slight start mistake would have won her a gold-medal.

Dara is 41 years old.

Let me put that into perspective: Dara lost by 1/100th of a second to a girl young enough to be her daughter.

In fact ALL the racers were young enough to be her daughter!

It staggers the mind, doesn't it?

It shouldn't.

Dara is not "old". She's not even "middle-age." These are all terms we create to limit our ability to achieve.

Dara is simply an athlete. A mom. A true woman of power. Someone who lives in the present.

Dara is a champion, and there is not an age criteria required to be labeled "champ". Even Olympic champ.

The New York Times article had it right: "Getting Older, Swimming Faster."

That's right: She beat her personal best at the age of 41, set almost 20 years prior, and did it in the toughest arena the world has ever created.

If you are fed up with putting an age limit on your dreams, I encourage you to read or re-read my book, "Fit Over 40" --

Fit Over 40<--- no age limits!

I devote an entire section of the book to champions between 40 and 80 who simply refuse to buy into the rumor that says, "I'm too old to..."

So...what do you think you're "too old" to do?

Be an Olympic champion perhaps?

Oh, just for your information: Dara was not the oldest Olympian this year. John Dane III was 58. He crewed a Star boat for the Olympic Sailing Team.

Libby Callahan, 56, became the oldest U.S. female Olympian of all time. She competed with the shooting team.

So, I'll ask you again: What do you think you're too old to do?

Think again.


I'll add just a few notes to Jon's thoughts:

* Not only are many of the swimmers young enough to be Dara Torres' children but Michael Phelps and 3/4 of her female Olympic teammates had not even been born in 1984 when Torres won her first gold medal.

* Although it wasn't quite fast enough to catch the Australians, who had built up a sizable lead, Torres' 52.27 split on the 4x100 medley relay ranks as the fastest 100 freestyle split in relay history.

* That amazing performance by the 41 year old came only about 1 minute after the emotional medal ceremony for the 50-meter freestyle (where Torres' had missed the gold by 1/100th of a second).


Friday, August 15, 2008

What You Can Learn From Olympians

I know lots of people have been recently showing up to work bleary eyed from staying up late watching the Olympics. Most of us are in awe of the physical abilities of these athletes and think of them as very different from us.

While I doubt that any of my readers will one day win a medal at the Olympics, there are traits and habits of these elite athletes that anyone can emulate to help them reach their goals.

* Believe in yourself.

If you don't really think that you're capable of decreasing your body fat, learning a new skill, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, starting a business, going back to school, etc., you won't succeed.

Remember what Henry Ford said,

Whether you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.

* Have clear, definable goals.

Saying "I want to get healthy" is too vague; it's not measurable. Completing a 5K race, eating 5 vegetables every day for a month, strength training a minimum of 10 times a month for 6 months, trying out 50 new, healthy recipes, performing a certain number of Chin Ups or Single Leg Pistol Squats- those are definable, measurable goals.

* Be passionate.

You can't be wishy washy. The goal has to be something you really desire and you must be fully committed to achieving it. If your goal is based on what someone else wants- spousal nagging, parental expectations, societal pressures, medical warnings, etc. - you will ultimately fail. You may succeed in the short term but it's unlikely that you will be successful in the long run.

* Learn and master the fundamentals first.

Athletes don't start out running marathons, powerlifting hundreds of pounds, doing triple flips, etc. They learn and practice the basics and build up to more difficult challenges.

If you can't perform a Bodyweight Squat or Lunge with good form, don't use weights. If you get winded walking down to the corner, don't start out trying to jog a mile a day. And, sorry guys, but if you can't do 25 strict Pushups, you shouldn't be loading up the bar with a bunch of plates to Bench Press.

Let's be honest, is it really doable for most people to go from a primarily fast food diet one day to a super restrictive nutrition plan the next? Does it make sense for a couch potato to follow Mike Musclehead's 25 sets per body part routine from the latest issue of Muscle & Steroids magazine?

* Consistency.

They, "Just do it."

Even elite athletes are human. I'm sure that there's plenty of times they feel like staying in bed rather than getting up and training but they do what they need to do to get where they want to go.

Whatever your goal, you need to take consistent action. And it can be done; we find ways to do the things we really want to do. If people spent as much time finding solutions as they do making excuses, their capabilities would amaze them.

* Work hard.

Yes, it's obvious but it needs saying. Regardless of your goals, going through the motions won't cut it. If you want to drop fat but can read a magazine while on the treadmill, you're not working hard enough. If you want to learn to play the piano but only practice 15 minutes a week, that won't cut it. If you want a promotion, doing a half-assed job won't get you far (at least in most cases).

* Don't allow others to impose limitations on you.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team his sophomore year. Instead of giving up, he worked harder and ended up making the team and leading it to the state championship. Jordan was named college basketball player of the year in 1984 and went on to win 2 Olympic gold medals and multiple NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.

Who would have ever thought that a 41 year old swimmer and mother of a two-year old could have qualified for the Olympics, let alone be competitive? Had Dara Torres listened to "conventional wisdom", she'd be sitting at home right now instead of collecting more medals to add to her collection.

As Harvey Firestein says,

Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Diet Myths Revealed

Check out the video below for 6 weight loss myths. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to embed the video here so you have to click on the link. Sorry, you'll also have to watch a short commercial first but the info is worth it.

Diet Myths Revealed

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How To Boost Metabolism with Supplements or Exercise by Craig Ballantyne

How To Boost Metabolism with Supplements or Exercise
By: Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

You can't boost your metabolism with supplements. Or at least not enough to cause weight loss. This is hope in a bottle, but this hope doesn't stand a chance. It doesn't work.

One misconception is that caffeine boosts your metabolism, but I’ve also heard that fish oil, protein, CLA, and green tea will do it, too. As with the fat burning zone, this myth comes from a distortion of science.

Green tea, for example, was shown to increase the daily energy expenditure of young men by eighty calories per day. Now, that’s great news for the people who make supplements because they can put that claim on their label, but what that doesn’t take into account is that people’s bodies adapt to a stimulus.

If there is any benefit to taking a particular supplement, by the end of the week, your body has adjusted to the chemical and no longer reacts to it. And that’s why, as a recent study showed, that taking Green Tea supplements for 12 weeks did not cause any fat loss. Most supplements seem to be nothing more than glorified caffeine pills.

Let’s think of this another way. Say for example that green tea extract actually did help you burn an additional eighty calories per day. It is agreed upon by most trainers that one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. Even if the supplement worked as intended, then it would take nearly a month and half to lose one pound!

Unfortunately, you’ll find big promises from supplements in every magazine, and it is very difficult to avoid the allure of the quick fixes that supplements present. Supplements make you think, “Why work out when you can take a pill?”

And as long as there are people who aren’t willing to work for their results, there will always be a product claiming to work miracles.

Unlike these “miracle” supplements, research repeatedly shows that both strength training and interval training can help boost your metabolism and burn fat.

In one study, women did a strength training session with eight repetitions per exercise and had a significant increase in their post-exercise metabolism. This is just another example of how short burst training will burn more calories and more fat. These are proven results that no diet pill can compete with.

Boost your metabolism with hard work, not the easy way out,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

About the Author

Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Are You Juiced?

It seems that a lot of people think that an easy way to meet their daily requirement of fruits and veggies is juicing. Although convenient, even homemade juice is nutritionally inferior to whole fruits and vegetables. Brad Schoenfeld explains why.

Juice Your Way to Better Health…?
Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS

I recently happened upon an infomercial where none other than Jack LaLanne is seen touting the benefits of his "Power Juicer." Listening to his spiel, you'd think that the juicer was the best thing since the invention of the wheel. Now I have nothing but respect for Mr. LaLanne. He is unquestionably one of the people who brought exercise into the mainstream and for that deserves a huge amount of credit. Unfortunately, his claims regarding juicing are simply off-base. Way off base…

Fact: fruit juice is generally a poor substitute for whole fruits. Why? Well, juicing removes fiber and phytonutrients from a fruit or vegetable. Not only does this deprive you of important nutritional benefits, but it also decreases transit time through the gut. Since liquids require very little digestion, they quickly pass through your gastrointestinal tract and are rapidly assimilated into the bloodstream. This is detrimental on a couple of different levels.

First, rapid assimilation of a carbohydrate source increases blood sugar levels, causing a corresponding spike in insulin secretions. Insulin is a storage hormone that turns on various fat storage mechanisms and blocks certain enzymes that are responsible for lipolysis (i.e. fat breakdown). When insulin levels are high, excess
nutrients are more readily shuttled into adipose cells, facilitating increases in body fat deposition.

Worse, the rush of insulin clears sugars from your circulatory system in such an expeditious fashion that it creates a rebound effect, producing a sudden and dramatic drop in blood sugar levels. A hypoglycemic state is induced, causing hunger pangs and food cravings. This creates a vicious cycle that encourages binge eating.
As a result, more calories are consumed (especially in the form of high-glycemic foods) and fat storage is heightened even further.

Second, juices don't satisfy hunger in the same way as whole fruits and vegetables. When whole foods are consumed, they activate satiety-inducing stretch receptors in the gut. The stretch receptors, in turn, send signals back to the brain indicating a sense of fullness. The end result is that you eat less than you otherwise would. Juices, though, don't stay in the gut long enough to activate these stretch receptors. The net effect is that you tend to be hungrier and thus inclined to consume excess calories.

The one time it is beneficial to consume juice is immediately after a workout. The reason: during the post-exercise period, it is actually advantageous to spike insulin. You see, insulin has both anabolic and anti-catabolic functions, helping to increase protein synthesis, decrease protein breakdown, and shuttle glycogen into cells. Just as importantly, the elevated insulin levels won't promote increases in
body fat. Because your muscles are in a depleted state, nutrients will tend to be used for lean tissue purposes rather than fat storage. It's a win/win proposition.

Take home message: stick to whole fruits and veggies except for after a hard workout. It will keep you leaner and healthier in the long run.

Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS, is an internationally renowned expert on fitness and sports nutrition. As the owner/operator of the exclusive Personal Training Center for Women in Scarsdale, NY, he is regarded as one of the leading authorities on women's fitness. He is a lifetime drug-free bodybuilder, and has won numerous natural bodybuilding titles including the ANPPC Tri-State Naturals and USA Mixed Pairs crowns.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fitness Products Recommendations

I originally posted this on the 6th but realized yesterday that it had disappeared from the blog. I didn't know how long it had actually survived so I decided to repost it. After a frustrating search for a cached copy, I finally found one. My apologies to anyone who may have already read this info.

I often see people on the internet asking about different fitness products. Sometimes there's little difference between the cheap brand and the more expensive brand; sometimes there is.

You don't need a ton of equipment to get a good workout but there are some items that I definitely think can enhance the experience.

Here are a few items I recommend:

GymBoss Interval Timer

I'm not usually not one of those people who gets off on gadgets but I love my GymBoss. If you're a regular reader, you know that I'm a big proponent of interval training. Cardio intervals, bodyweight intervals, Tabata training, etc. The GymBoss is an inexpensive and convenient way to keep track of your intervals.

You can set it for 1 time or 2 different times. For example, you can program it to beep every 30 seconds if you're doing a bodyweight circuit or you can program it for a 20 second work and 10 second rest Tabata workout or any combination of times for other interval training. There is also a handy clip, which is helpful when I'm running outside.

To get the most out of your workout, you need to focus on the exercise at hand. Trying to keep track of the time is an unnecessary distraction which the GymBoss eliminates.

You can get your's here.

Plate Mates

In lower weight dumbbells, you can easily find a slightly heavier weight to progress to. At Body & Soul, I have 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10 and 12 pound dumbbells. However, once you hit 15 pounds, the dumbbells increase by 5 pounds.

That can be a big jump, especially for some exercises and that's where Plate Mates come in. Each pair contains two 1 1/4 pound magnetic weights that attach to each end of the dumbbell. So, instead of trying to jump from 15 pounds up to 20, you can make 17.5 pound dumbbells using Plate Mates.

Just a reminder- because they are magnetic, they only work on metal dumbbells. Also, you'll need to get two pairs because you need two Plate Mates per dumbbell.

PlateMate Micro Loading 5/8 Pound Hex Weight Plate - 1 Pair

Thera-Band Stability Balls

When I first saw exercise balls popping up at gyms, I thought they were probably just another gimmick. I was wrong. While I have no use for the crazy acrobatic "functional" exercises some trainers have their clients perform, I have found stability balls to be a valuable addition to any gym. If you work out at home, an exercise ball is an excellent way to greatly increase the number of exercises you can do.

I have always used Thera-Band stability balls at the gym. They're a quality product used by many physical therapists and they're very sturdy.

I've read comments by exercisers who had to constantly refill their balls or whose cat had burst multiple cheap exercise balls, etc. I very occasionally need to top off my Thera-Band balls with some air but they get used every day by many members.

If you are 5'1" - 5'6", you would get a 55cm (red).

For those 5'7 - 6'1", go with the 65cm (green).

If you have exceptionally long legs and are close to the upper height range, you may want to go with the next size up.

Thera-Band Exercise Balls

Spri Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are another item you can find at many discount stores and they may be fine. I haven't had a lot of experience with different brands. An aerobics instructor once told me that she had tried different kinds in her classes and found Spri bands to be the most durable. They're the ones I use at Body & Soul and I've been happy with the quality.

Each band below comes with a door attachment and exercise chart. Regardless of which brand you buy, you will probably do best to get at least two different resistances because you'll be able to use more resistance on some exercises than others- just like with dumbbells. (Please don't tell that you do all your exercises with the same weight. If so, you're definitely doing yourself a disservice.)

The different colors signify different resistances, going from "light" to "very heavy"

SPRI ES500R Xertube Resistance Band with Door Attachment and Exercise Charts (Green, Light)

SPRI ES501R Xertube Resistance Band with Door Attachment and Exercise Charts (Red, Medium)

SPRI ES502R Xertube Resistance Band with Door Attachment and Exercise Charts (Blue, Heavy)

SPRI ES503R Xertube Resistance Band with Door Attachment and Exercise Charts (Purple, Very Heavy)


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Kids and Exercise - Safety First

I stumbled upon this video yesterday. It was so cute I decided to do a quick search for other videos with kids exercising. Big mistake.

I was surprised at the number of videos I saw with kids goofing around on cardio equipment. It's bad enough that parents allow, and even encourage kids to "play" on potentially dangerous equipment, but the fact that they advertise it on the internet blows my mind.

Exercising with your child is great and I applaud parents who encourage children to be active. If more parents did so, we wouldn't have the childhood obesity epidemic that we have. However, I would like to see some common sense used where adult sized equipment is involved.

From the Consumer Product Safety Commission website:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that each year about 8,700 children under 5 years of age are injured with exercise equipment.There are an additional 16,500 injuries per year to children ages 5 to 14. Types of equipment identified in these cases include stationary bicycles, treadmills, and stair climbers. Fractures and even amputations were reported in about 20 percent of exercise equipment related injuries.

That's over 25,000 injuries and that's just kids up to 14.

I saw very small children on ellipticals. I saw a kid totally goofing around on a fast moving treadmill while barefoot. These are accidents waiting to happen.

All it takes is one slip.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Fountain of Youth is Made of Iron by Joseph McCaffrey, MD, FACS

This article should be required reading for every doctor who only advises his/her patients to walk for exercise and for every person who thinks walking, running, biking, aerobic classes, and other cardio exercise is all they need to be healthy.

The Fountain of Youth is Made of Iron
By Joseph McCaffrey, MD, FACS

Aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, bike riding and such) has long been the darling of the wellness folks. For years, these people wouldn't consider lifting weights. They somehow thought they'd morph into a bodybuilding freak if they so much as touched a dumbbell.

As if…

They also didn't think that muscle mass and strength had much to do with health. More and more evidence shows the error in that way of thinking. A recent long-term study reported in the British Medical Journal adds to this body of evidence.1

In this study, researchers followed 8,762 men between the ages of 20 and 82 years of age for an average of 18.9 years (as I said, this was a long-term study).

When the men signed up for the study, their comprehensive evaluation included measuring upper and lower body strength as well as their performance on a treadmill.

Adjusting for age, the risk of death during the course of the study was highest in the weakest men and lowest in the strongest. This difference persisted even when other factors such as lifestyle, family history, and other medical conditions were allowed for.

The difference persisted even allowing for cardiovascular fitness. That is, the men who were both aerobically fit and strong did better than men who were equally fit aerobically but not as strong.

(Emphasis mine.)

As I said, this ties in with a lot of other evidence supporting the importance of strength training.

It used to be taught that losing muscle mass and strength was an inevitable part of aging. We now know this isn't the case at all.

Training with weights minimizes the strength loss that would otherwise occur. Studies show resistance training benefits even nursing home residents.

The image of an ideal exercise program has shifted dramatically in the last decade. Gone are the long hours of repetitive aerobic exercise sessions at 60-80% of maximal heart rate.

The new model rests on shorter, more intense, and highly varied exercise periods. It definitely includes resistance training.

Body weight exercises such as squats and pushups are a great beginning. And you'll find many good fitness programs recommended here on the pages of Total Health Breakthroughs. The main thing is to begin. The "use it or lose it" maxim definitely applies to muscle mass and strength.


1. BMJ. 2008; 337:a349.

[Ed. Note: Joseph F. McCaffrey, MD, FACS is a board-certified surgeon with extensive experience in alternative medicine, including certification as a HeartMath Trainer. His areas of expertise include mind-body interaction and cognitive restructuring. Dr. McCaffrey strives to help people attain their optimum level of vitality through attention to all aspects of wellness. For more information, click here.]

This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs, offering alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription, visit


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Healthy Lifestyle Motivation

Recently, Scott Colby recorded a 7-call teleseminar series to raise money for some needy kids who live in an orphanage.

The subject of his first call was motivation and mindset. The roundtable included experts Scott Tousignant, Kevin Gianni and Jim Katsoulis.

Previously the call was available only to participating donors but Scott has now made the information available to everyone. Even better, you can listen online or download the call and listen at your convenience.

Skyrocket Your Motivation


Monday, August 4, 2008

What The Restaurant Industry Doesn't Want You To Know

The other day I wrote about a study where people who kept an accurate food journal lost twice as much weight as participants who didn't. You can find it here.

Below are quite a few reasons why that's the case. I think most people know when they're eating high calorie food but many times I don't think a lot of folks realize how many calories are in those foods.

For example, Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion contains 2210 calories. Even if you split it with 2 other people you've just consumed over 700 calories on just an appetizer.

Want to go one worse? Another Outback appetizer, their Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing has 2,900 calories! It ranked #1 on Men's Health list of The Worst Food in America.

Here are some more:

Burger King Whopper with Cheese - 770 calories

Dunkin' Donuts Supreme Omelet Cheese Croissant Sandwich - 490 calories with more than half (270) from fat

Dunkin' Donuts Egg Cheese Bagel Sandwich - 470 calories and 1130 mg of sodium

Dunkin' Donuts Sausage Egg Cheese Croissant Sandwich - 1300 mg of sodium and 630 calories, 400 of them from fat (a whopping 68%!)

So you're smarter than that, right? You know better than to order a sandwich on a croissant or bagel if you're trying to cut back. Think you'd be safe ordering a Turkey sandwich at Dunkin'? Think again. Their Turkey and Cheese Sandwich contains 510 calories and 1380 mg of sodium.

Are you a fan of the Dairy Queen Blizzard? Of course, everyone knows that ice cream is not diet food but do you know how much that DQ splurge could cost you? Here are calorie counts for a variety of large Blizzards:

Thin Mint Blizzard, the July flavor of the month - 1080 calories and 31 teaspoon of sugar.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard - 1300 calories

Heath Bar Blizzard - 1260 calories

Oreo Cookie Blizzard - 980 calories

M&M's Blizzard - 1150 calories

Banana Split Blizzard - 780 calories

Snickers Blizzard - 1140 calories

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard - 1060 calories

Strawberry CheeseQuake Blizzard - 930 calories

Think you can't go wrong with a salad? Guess again. Check out the calorie and fat count in these popular chain restaurant salads.

Chili's Southwestern Cobb Salad - 970 calories

Pizzaria Uno's Chicken Waldorf Salad - 920 calories and 62 grams of fat

Arby’s Santa Fe Salad - 844 calories and 55 grams of fat

T.G.I. Friday's Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad - 750 calories and 50 grams of fat

I'm not saying you should never enjoy a Blizzard or other less than perfect food choices but if you're interested in dropping fat you need to be aware of exactly what you're taking into your body. How something is prepared - deep fried, drenched in high calorie cream sauce or salad dressing, battered, etc. makes a difference. Even fat-free and sugar-free muffins, including bran muffins, still contain about 600 calories and are not your best choice.

Here's an eye opening article to check out:
16 Secrets The Restaurant Industry Doesn't Want You to Know


Sunday, August 3, 2008

More Benefits of Interval Training

I've been singing the praises of cardio intervals for fat loss for quite a while now. However, if you've ever wondered whether intervals produce heart related benefits like those of slower cardio training, check out the article link below.

Don't get hung up on the fact that the study participants performed all-out 30 second sprints. Regardless of your age or current fitness level, you can do interval training.

For example, if you currently walk on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes at 3.4 mph, you could instead try walking at 3.7 for 60 seconds and then slow down to 3.0 for a 60 or 120 second recovery. That's considered one interval. Repeat that pattern 6 times, cool down and you're done.

(Obviously, you need to prepare your body properly for this type of workout. If you're doing nothing but cardio that day, warm up for at least 5 minutes before your first interval. If you're doing intervals after a a strength training session, you can probably get by with just 3-5 minutes on the treadmill before starting the intervals. Listen to your body. If you feel like you need to warm up longer, do it.)

You just need to understand that performing cardio intervals is not a matter of speed; it's about intensity. The goal is to challenge yourself in short bursts at a intensity that you couldn't maintain for longer periods.

Everyone is different. While 3.7 mph for 60 seconds would be a challenge for one person, it would be too slow for someone else but it doesn't matter. The actual speed or resistance you use isn't important.

On a scale of 1 to 10, you want to feel like you're working at an 8 or 9 during the hard part of the interval. If you're currently really out of shape, work up to that level.

The recovery (slow) part of the interval should be performed at a much easier level of 3 or 4 out of 10.

So if 3.7 mph challenges you, that's what you should do. If it's too easy go faster; if it's too hard, slow down.

Because of the intensity of this type of exercise, limit interval training to 3 times a week.

Fat loss, time saving, and cardiovascular health benefits. If you're not currently doing cardio intervals, why not?

Brief, Intense Exercise Can Benefit The Heart, Study Shows

Friday, August 1, 2008

Randy Pausch October 23, 1960 - July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch lost his battle with pancreatic cancer one week ago today. Originally, I hadn't planned to post anything about it, thinking that almost everyone had already seen his now famous "Last Lecture" (or at least his abridged version on Oprah), had bought his book or had seen him on any number of TV appearances.

After thinking about it, I decided to post the entire 76 minute lecture and the Oprah version for those who haven't seen it or those (which would include most of us) who could use a refresher.

I didn't know Randy Pausch but when I think of his life and death it reminds me of the final lines of Brian's Song:

Brian Piccolo died of cancer at the age of 26. He left a wife and three daughters. He also left a great many loving friends who miss and think of him often. But when they think of him, it's not how he died that they remember - but how he lived. How he did live!

If you aren't aware of this very talented man with the tremendous attitude or if you could use some inspiration regarding reaching your goals, take the time to watch this video.

You can go here for an article on Randy from Carnegie Mellon University, where he had been a professor.

The Last Lecture

If you don't have time to watch the entire lecture, you can check out the 10 minute abbreviated version he delivered on Oprah.