Monday, September 29, 2008

What's Wrong With Bicep Curls?

Someone recently took issue with some advice I gave an exercise newbie on an online forum.

I basically posted that if your main goal is fat loss, I recommend 3 total body strength training sessions per week on non-consecutive days.

As I've written about before, although many of us did body part splts back in the day, many of the best fitness pros now believe total body workouts are superior for fat loss.

I also said that the majority of your exercises should be compound movements- exercises that use multiple muscles and joints. Examples would be Squats, Pulldowns, Deadlifts, Presses, Lunges, Pullups, Rows, etc.

As I stated on the thread, all of those exercises are more effective for fat loss than the type of exercises most women seem to gravitate toward - Bicep Curls, Tricep Kickbacks, Abduction / Adduction machines, etc.

One poster seemed to have a problem with my advice and along with some other comments asked, "What's wrong with Bicep Curls?"

Nothing's "wrong" with Bicep Curls, especially if people have lots of time to spend in the gym. For efficiency and fat loss, however, I recommend compound exercises- they work more muscles and burn more calories. Rows and Pulldowns will work the biceps along with the back so I prefer those over Bicep Curls, especially when time is a factor.

Does that mean that I think people should never do Bicep Curls? No but unless you're a bodybuilder or figure competitor, you're going to get more bang for your buck with compound exercises.

You'll see better results from a shorter but more challenging workout than a longer, less intense one. So, if you're primary goal is fat loss, concentrate on the exercises that will give you a bigger metabolic boost like Squats, Lunges and Deadlifts (rather than Leg Extensions and Leg Curls) and Rows, Pullups, Presses and Pulldowns (rather than Bicep Curls and Tricep Kickbacks).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Change Is Good

"It’s too funny, how people think they are going to do the same thing over and over and get a different result. Why is that with exercise?

If you read the same page of a book over and over would you learn anything new?"

~Jim Labadie

When was the last time you changed your strength training routine or did something different for cardio?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Do You Really Value?

We pay for what we truly value with our time. ~Pat Rigsby

That was one sentence in an e-mail that I received today. Pat was writing primarily about building a business but it applies to everything in life, doesn't it?

Do you claim you have no time for exercise but never miss American Idol, Grey's Anatomy and/or Dancing With the Stars?

Have you told yourself for years that you were going to start writing the novel that's been rattling around in your brain but end up spending your free time surfing the 'net?

Do you find time to read the latest tabloid gossip but never get around to taking that class or learning that new skill that interests you?

It's not really a lack of time that holds us back; it's our priorities. Not the ones we say we have but the ones our actions reveal.

Decide what it is you really want, make a plan and then commit fully to it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Was It The Nutrition Or The Workout?

Yesterday, I wrote about a fitness trainer who was recently featured on T.V. with one of her celebrity clients.

The post was pretty long as it was so I didn't add this important info regarding the results her featured client got.

The client changed her diet.

That is a key fact. The celebrity admitted to going through a stage of consuming too much junk food. She went back to her previous good nutritional habits of eating healthy, fresh foods with little or no processed crap.

So, what do you think? Is her body primarily the result of two-hour workouts with practically no resistance or good nutrition?

Maybe I should rephrase that for more clarity. If the star hadn't cleaned up her diet, do you really think that all those reps with little or no resistance would have made her lose 20 pounds?

Any decent trainer will tell you that you can't out-train a lousy diet but maybe those 3 pound dumbbells have magical powers that I'm unaware of. ;-)

Disclaimer: I'm not dissing anyone who uses 3 pound dumbbells if that is truly a challenging weight for them. Some of my older clients use them on certain exercises until they get stronger. It's not about the weight / resistance; it's about the challenge / intensity of your workouts.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Women Should Not Lift More Than 3 Lb. Dumbbells

The name of this blog tells you that I totally disagree with that statement but I actually heard a celebrity trainer say that on T.V. recently. Unbelievable.

I'm not going to post the trainer's name or those of her star clients. I googled her and found her website but, not surprisingly, it listed absolutely no exercise credentials. Then again, maybe she has a degree or a certification and just didn't bother to mention it (although I did find multiple comments around the internet claiming that she had no certifications or degrees).

I'm also the first one to say that there are trainers out there with alphabet soup after their names who say / believe some pretty stupid stuff. So, I'm not automatically dismissing this trainer's opinion strictly due to her lack of formal education. I'm slamming it because it makes no sense.

So, what's her magic formula for a killer body?

Two-hour workouts 6 days a week doing hundreds of reps using no more than 3 pound dumbbells.

Are you kidding me?

1. Who has the time for this?

2. How incredibly monotonous to be performing moves over and over and over and over, all because of the irrational fear that actually challenging muscles with some decent resistance will "bulk."

I would think that even most celebrities have better things to do than spending 2 hours exercising every day. Oh, excuse me, it's not every day- it's "just" 6 days a week.

Many actors spend months at a time working 12 hours on a T.V. or movie set. Two-hour workouts are an incredibly inefficient use of time. They could use those wasted hours playing with their kids, enjoying a hobby, reading, visiting friends, or a million other things.

Any of my clients who could workout for 2 hours straight are not working hard enough. Period.

You want the kicker? During the clip, the celebrity said that because she carries her child around in her one arm that her trainer makes her exercise the other arm more because the arm that she carries the kid in is in better shape. Did you follow that run on sentence?

The arm that lifts and carries the obviously heavier than 3 pound child is in better shape than the other arm!

Can you say contradiction? Too bad it's lost on this fitness "guru" who's making a tidy sum bilking uninformed celebrities and other moneyed clients.

If you're in the Lancaster, PA area and looking to drop body fat, get stronger and improve your health, call Mickey at (717) 509-7777.

If you're not close by and you're not afraid of quick, challenging workouts, check out the programs listed below, all of which were designed by knowledgeable, reputable fitness pros.

Turbulence Training

7 Minute Muscle

Fighter Workouts for Fat Loss


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Random Thoughts #4

I'm b-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-c-c-k-k-k-k

Did you miss me? I was on vacation for a week. Sorry for the lack of content- I thought I'd have more access to the internet.

As you can imagine, with just getting back yesterday, I'm pretty busy catching up on things but I wanted to do a quick post and let you know that I didn't drop off the face of the earth.

* I'm far from a fanatic about eating perfectly when I'm away but I sure wouldn't be feeding my kids cheese popcorn (or eating it myself) at 9:30 in the morning.

* Speaking of junk food, does anyone else think that Thrasher's french fries aren't as good as they used to be? What a bummer to decide to indulge only to be disappointed.

* Don't let what anyone thinks or what you imagine they might think, affect you. Three days last week, I did intervals on the Boardwalk. Although I was always focused straight ahead, I'm sure that a fifty-something woman sprinting down the Boardwalk elicited some odd looks but so what? Just me, my trusty Gym Boss and a quick, intense workout.

* Why are there always some people who insist on bucking traffic? Whether it's on the Boardwalk on in a mall, there's always a few people who feel the need to make others get out of their way. Why?


Monday, September 15, 2008

Navigating The Restaurant Minefield

Often times, Body & Soul members and personal training clients find it challenging to eat at restaurants if they are trying to drop body fat. Although in many cases it's just easier (and better for your wallet and body) to avoid eating out regularly, sometimes it's unavoidable.

Here are some tips from Craig Ballantyne about not blowing your entire day's calorie allotment on one meal.

The 1000 Calorie Diet Tip
by Craig Ballantyne

If you eat at restaurants, it's easy to eat over 1500 or 2000 calories per meal. Yikes! That's a full day's worth of calories in one dinner...

Pre-dinner bread & butter -> 200 calories
Pre-dinner cocktail -> 150 calories

Appetizer -> This could be a 500-1500 calorie bomb on it's own!

(Mickey's note: if you read my What the Restaurant Industry Doesn't Want You To Know post from 8-4-08, you know that some restaurant appetizers are even higher than that. Anyway, back to Craig.)

Steak -> 300-500 calories
Potato -> 150-300 calories
Vegetable -> 100 calories
Dinner Drink -> 150 calories

Dessert - 300-750 calories
After Dinner Drink - 150

And that's only if you CONTROL yourself. If you go on a rampage, you could be looking at 2500 or even 3000 calories in one sitting. Those numbers are scary.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this dietary nightmare while dining out. Here are 5 rules to cut 1000 calories from your dining-out diet...

1) Plan ahead and avoid restaurants that offer huge portions.

2) Skip the bread. It won't stop you from eating your full meal anyways, so just send it back.

3) No booze or liquid calories of any type.

4) No potatoes. Stick to your protein and your vegetables.

5) Reward yourself with only the tiniest bit of dessert, if at all.

It's all about taking responsibility for your choices. And yes, choosing between the "Pain of discipline or pain of regret". What's your choice?

For more diet and exercise tips, visit:

=> Turbulence Training


If you need any more info, just send me an email!


Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

Friday, September 12, 2008

Still Think That Cardio Is The Key To Fat Loss?

Rachel Cosgrove (wife of Alwyn) recently trained for and completed an Ironman triathlon. She was already a proponent of weight training and cardio intervals for fat loss but even Rachel was surprised at how her body reacted to all that endurance training.
Fortunately, I now have first-hand experience that steady-state aerobics is absolutely, completely, utterly ineffective for fat loss. After working my way up to twenty training hours a week, I can tell you that long, steady-state endurance is not the answer for a defined, lean physique and it's a waste of time if your goal is fat loss.
It's only the answer if your goal is to complete an endurance event.

You can, and should, read the entire article here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Turbulence Training Membership Fees Increasing

If you've ever considered investing in the TT members website, you've got a decision to make (unless you're independently wealthy). Craig Ballantyne, creator of Turbulence Training is raising rates on Monday, September 15th for his TT members site.

As a member, you get access to tons of content- articles, videos, monthly workouts, interviews, as well as the TT members forum. A key ingredient to fat loss success is social support and besides Craig himself, forum members are extremely helpful. You'll find tips on everything from motivation to healthy recipes to recommended fitness products.

If you sign up for the Platinum membership (which averages out to just around $16 a month), you get every Turbulence Training program Craig has designed for the last 7 years. Even if for some crazy reason you don't renew next year, you will have workout programs to last you for years!

I know some of you easily spend more than $16 a month on Starbucks or getting your nails done. A healthy, trimmer body is worth at least that much, isn't it?

Monday is also the last day to sign up for the latest Transformation Contest (to get the full 12 weeks).

You can check that out here --> TT Transformation Contest

No, It's Not Your Genetics

Lots of people like to blame being overweight or obese or their genes. Too bad for them that a recent study has proven that excuse invalid.

The study found that the key is... drum roll, please...physical activity.

Yep, researchers studied a group of Amish in my neck of the woods and found that activity trumped genetics.

I've included the link but posted the entire article because yahoo is notorious for having articles disappear.

Exercise trumps obesity gene, U.S. study finds
By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Vigorous physical activity can help even people genetically prone to obesity keep the weight off, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

They said a study among a group of Amish people found those who had an obesity-related gene called FTO but were very physically active weighed about the same as others who did not carry the gene.

"When we looked at the Amish who were the most active, there is suddenly no effect of that gene," said Dr. Soren Snitker of the University of Maryland, whose study appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The findings, which suggest physical activity can overcome a genetic predisposition for obesity, may help inform the debate over whether changes in diet or physical activity will make the biggest difference in fighting obesity.

Consumer groups have pushed for laws such as July's moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in certain Los Angeles neighborhoods, while the food industry often maintains that a lack of exercise is more to blame.

Researchers focused their study on a group of 704 Old Order Amish men and women in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a religious group whose members often do not drive cars or have electricity in their homes.

Snitker said the group offered a unique mix of activity levels, with some farmers in the community still using horse-drawn plows while others holding more conventional jobs, including factory work.

He and colleague Evadnie Rampersaud of the University of Miami were looking to see if physical activity in this group might offset the effects of the fat mass and obesity associated with the FTO gene, found in more than half of all people of European descent.


People with two copies of the FTO gene on average weigh nearly 7 pounds (3 kg) more and are about 70 percent more likely to be obese than those who do not have the gene.

The volunteers wore a device called an accelerometer to track motion for a week.

The researchers compared body mass index or BMI, a measure of weight to height, and found those who were less active and had the FTO gene variant were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese.

But among the most physically active, the FTO gene made no difference.

Snitker said the study gives some perspective on how the obesity epidemic has evolved, as modern conveniences have reduced the need and opportunity for physical activity.

People in the most physically active group expended about 900 more calories per day than the low-activity group. That would equal three to four hours of moderately intense physical activity such as brisk walking, house cleaning or gardening.

"We probably carry genes that 150 years ago were not risk factors for obesity, but because of changes in our environment, they become liabilities," he said.

Snitker believes societies should step in to make more opportunities for what he called "free" exercise, making it easier to walk or bike to work, or to use public transportation that requires some walking.

The World Health Organization estimates 1.6 billion adults worldwide are overweight and at least 400 million adults are obese. That includes a third of all U.S. adults.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Todd Eastham)

Exercise trumps obesity gene

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

From Your Belly Fat

Below is a great e-mail I received from Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence It's a very creative way of stressing the value of training the right way to get rid of body fat.

How's it goin'!

This is a letter from your ol' pal, Belly Fat. We had a great run this summer, didn't we? Lots of good times, great food, and plain ol' sitting around eating too much.

Well, I'm thinking about sticking around another year if you don't mind. But you might need to get a bigger pair of pants, as I was thinking about expanding my place down here.

So do me a favor, avoid that interval training you were thinking of doing. The last time you did that stuff, I nearly had to look for a new place to live. I felt like the Wicked Witch of the West in the land of Oz. Did you hear me yelling, "Help me, I'm melting!"?

Instead, stick to that slow cardio stuff. Sure I get a little sweaty, and the ol' brain up there thinks it's doing "a real fat burning workout", but it's never enough to melt me outta here.

Another thing, keep listening to those experts who say strength training doesn't burn body fat. Since research shows they're wrong, if you added strength training to your program, you'd practically need to throw me a going away party!

After each one of those superset workouts you tried last January it felt like someone lit a match under our collective butt. I was burning up down here!

But boy oh boy, I sure was glad you gave that up and went back to just lifting utensils and not dumbbells. Otherwise we wouldn't have been able to celebrate another summer together this year.

Sometimes I wonder, what did you ever do in college without me, your trusted belly fat? Back then, you were probably one of those people that couldn't wait to get to the beach to show off your body, unlike these days.

Nope, stay in the shade and keep the cover-up clothes on, that's the way to go now. Besides, its a lot closer to the cold beer and the BBQ when you're sitting in the shade avoiding all the fun down on the beach.

Well, it sure was good catching up with you. I'm sure we'll be in touch more often, as long as you stay away from that Turbulence Training workout routine.

Brings a tear to my eye whenever I even think about that workout program and all the belly fat it's burned. Heck, it's fried more fat than a short order cook at a roadside truckstop.

So again, if you want to keep your dear old belly around for another year and another summer, do NOT use Turbulence Training - otherwise, its all over pal, and you'll never see me again.

Belly Fat says, "Don't use this"


Your friend and spare tire,

Belly Fat

PS - Seriously, don't go near that Turbulence Training program unless you want to see me, Thunder Thighs, Manboobs, Jigg Lee Arm Fat, and Luv Handles pack our bags and hit the highway.

It will be a sad farewell, and you'd be stuck with ripped abs, gorgeous glutes, and toned arms, and you know how much attention those guys get from the opposite sex. Who needs it, I say.

PPS - Don't do what this guy and gal did. They used Turbulence Training and look what happened to their belly fat. Now please go get me some more comfort food...

"Hi Craig - First, I LOVE your program. In just under two weeks, I have already started seeing definition - that has been my goal for as long as I have been working out (a LONG time). Keep up the GREAT work, and thanks!"
Susan Siceloff


"I lost 14 pounds this month and the weight is just falling off me. My wife says I now look like when we first met and I still have more to go. I can fit into my old jeans again which is a big deal for me. I just cut back on starches and bread and do your routine 2-3 times a week. I never thought in a million years that just 10-20 minutes of weight training followed by some cardio would get me such steady results. I even cheat a bit on the weekends."
Billy Williams

If you're in Lancaster and are serious about dropping body fat, call me at (717) 509-7777. Craig and I share a belief in challenging workouts using supersets and cardio intervals for best results.

If you're not in the Lancaster area, do yourself a favor and check out I now design my own client workouts based on Craig's system and I highly recommend it.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Working Out For A Cause

During yesterday's continuing downpour, I was afraid we were going to have to reschedule this morning's group workout session but it ended up being a beautiful day.

I did take a few kettlebells along but the workout consisted mostly of bodyweight exercises. If anybody tries to tell you that you need a gym full of equipment to get a good workout, have them talk to today's participants. ;-) I don't think any of them would say that this morning's session wasn't challenging.

All proceeds from today's workout benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Here are a few photos...

If you want to join in the fun and contribute to a good cause just keep an eye on this blog. We should get in one or two more of these workouts before winter.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Workout for St. Jude 9-7-08

Do you enjoy the outdoors? If so, what could be better than being outdoors, getting a good workout and contributing to a very worthy cause?

Well, if you live in Lancaster, PA or surrounding areas, you're in luck.

Sunday, September 7th at 10:00 A.M.

Join me at Hamilton Park on Maple Avenue in Lancaster for a fun and challenging group workout session.

Please spread the word among your friends, family and co-workers. The donation is $10 per person before Sunday and $12 on the day of the workout.

I need to have an idea of how many people will be attending so please contact me at (717) 509-7777 or at NoPinkDumbbells at (I'm trying to avoid the spambots getting my e-mail address so you'll have to replace "at" with @.) You can also sign up in person at Body & Soul Fitness at 833 Second Street, Lancaster.

The workout will last approximately 60 minutes. Anyone 12 and older is welcome to participate.

So, start your week off right. Come enjoy some fresh air and vitamin D, get a good workout and contribute to a very worthy cause.

If the kids in your life are healthy, show your gratitude by helping those who are not.

Hope to see you there!

Mickey Glick
Certified Personal Trainer
Owner, Body & Soul Fitness Studio

All proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where no child is ever turned away due to parental inability to pay and no patient’s family is billed for charges not paid by insurance.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Forced Fitness by Joshua Carter

Here's an excellent article from Josh Carter.

Forced Fitness
by Joshua Carter

I don’t like being told what to do (just ask my wife). I know, big shock.

But what you might be surprised to learn is I’m not particularly fond of telling other people what to do either - unless they want (pay) me to.

But dontcha just love it when the government tells you what to do? I’m not talking about “please don’t stab people” or stop at a red light. I’m talking about stuff that is none of their business. Or is it?

Well it seems in a few places in the US “The Man” is telling people what to do in regards to their fitness. The places in question: Alabama & New York.

I’ll start with New York (City, actually).

I have frequently been accused asked if I was from New York. Nope. My sparkling personality was fostered right here in sunny California. I do actually have some family in New York though. Why do I bring this up? I have no idea. I’ll continue…

New York has passed a law requiring certain restaurants (those with 15 or more locations nationwide) to post caloric contents out in the open for all to see. No longer is nutritional information hidden on photocopies the manager can’t find, it’s right there like or not.

Fat Free or Fat Ass - you decide.

Is this a good thing? Fuggedaboutit.

Some like it, some don’t. Me… well…

New York’s agenda is clear: “They say calorie labels could reduce the number of obese New Yorkers by 150,000 over the next five years, and prevent 30,000 cases of diabetes.”

That’s a a hard statistic to ignore.

Thus I can see why some would like it. Take the above “fat free” banana chocolate chip cake. It’s fat free so it must be good for you right? Uh, not necessarily. 390 isn’t a huge amount of calories, but I would bet that most of those calories come from sugar. So it is not a great choice for anyone watching their weight. It probably tastes great though.

Regular consumer, Nora Cara, was surprised to find out her normal breakfast order had over 690 calories in it. That seems to be a common trend. People are shocked to find out the caloric load they are plowing through without even blinking.

Well they are blinking now.

With the new labeling law in place Nora can now make a better and more informed choices. She along with 149,999 other New Yorkers will be healthier and hopefully happier within the next 5 years.

Others are just plain pissed off.

I can see that too. Sometimes with bad news I would just rather not know.

Ignorance is bliss, or in this case, fat.

My take: I have mixed feelings on this one. But I think if push came to shove and there was a vote in my area I would vote for it. The more information we have the better decisions we can make. Listing calories is a step in the right direction, the next one is for consumers to be educated about the make-up of those calories.

Also, we can always ignore the labels and eat whatever the hell we want.

Now Alabama is a place I have never been accused of being from.

37,527 state employees are being told to get is shape or pay - literally.

As a state employee in Alabama you are entitled to free health insurance, unless you are fat (but not until January 2010).

Workers who are deemed overweight will be charged a $25 per month premium. This is similar to legislation already passed for smokers who have to pay a $24 per month fee.

So I guess if you are a fat smoker you are have to pony up near $50 per month.

So who’s to say who’s fat? Apparently they are using BMI or Body Mass Index. It is a simple ratio of height and weight. Based on the BMI scale, anyone with a BMI score over 30 is obese, and if they work for the state in Alabama out $24 per month.

I’m not a big fan of BMI. It is very simple to calculate, so that’s good - but it just isn’t that accurate. For example with me, based simply on my height and weight, I am borderline obese.

Is this fair or unfair?

For the state, which otherwise has to cover the insurance costs, the matter comes down to simple math: overweight people have more health issues and simply cost more to insure.

The Associated Press quoted William Ashmore, executive director of the State Employees’ Insurance Board, who said research shows someone with a body mass index of 35 to 39 generates $1,748 more in annual medical expenses than someone with a BMI less than 25.

Damn math.

I’m sure many of those with a BMI of 30 or above don’t see it quite the same way as Mr. Ashmore. As opposed to the “informational” nature of the New York law (here is the information, do with it what you want), this Alabama law is more like negative reinforcement.

It could be argued that excessive weight might not be fully under the control of a given worker (unlike smoking). It could be due to hormonal imbalances or other legitimate medical conditions and not a simple overactive addiction to fast food. (FYI- If they know you by name at the local McDonalds you most likely have a problem.)

Anyway, I would hope there would be some appeal process.

Again, Fair or Unfair?

I know this, I do not want to be waiting in line of a heavy worker at the DMV in Alabama in January 2010.

So if I were a hypothetical employer, and I had to insure my workers and certain workers cost more to insure than others due to actions not relating to work I would be inclined to pass any extra incurred fees onto said worker. It sucks, but that is just business.

Right or wrong, fair or unfair, Big Brother or just a big bother it all comes down to one thing: Accountability. Take responsibility for your health and what you put in your mouth and you’ll be better off no matter what.

Then you can tell “The Man” kiss your flat abs.

If you do not want to know the content of what you put in your pie hole, do not eat at the place that has that info on the menu. If you are costing your employer more to insure because you eat like crap and do not take care of yourself (assuming no medical exemption) then guess what, you are going to pay (one way or the other I’m afraid).

Do I eat perfect all the time? Hell no. Do I take responsibility? Hell yes. Do I even want to eat healthy all the time? Hell no, how boring is that?

If you have read my stuff in the past you know my basic thoughts- take responsibility for your actions and hold yourself accountable- it’s really that simple. It applies to fitness and to life in general. You can do it and you are worth it.

Joshua Carter