Friday, February 27, 2009

Today I Will Make A Difference by by Max Lucado

Found this in my inbox this morning. It's a good reminder for me. In moving the gym, I have encountered a bunch of challenges; some large, some small and some that I'm convinced are totally unnecessary B.S. In dealing with all of it, I've been spending far too much time thinking and complaining about petty bureaucracy and the associated costs.

I needed this reminder. I hope you find it worthwhile, too.

For those of you who beat yourself up for not losing weight or for regaining weight or for not maintaining your exercise program, check out the third paragraph.

Today I Will Make A Difference

by Max Lucado

Today I will make a difference. I will begin by controlling my thoughts. A person is the product of his thoughts. I want to be happy and hopeful. Therefore, I will have thoughts that are happy and hopeful. I refuse to be victimized by my circumstances. I will not let petty inconveniences such as stoplights, long lines, and traffic jams be my masters. I will avoid negativism and gossip. Optimism will be my companion, and victory will be my hallmark. Today I will make a difference.

I will be grateful for the twenty-four hours that are before me. Time is a precious commodity. I refuse to allow what little time I have to be contaminated by self-pity, anxiety, or boredom. I will face this day with the joy of a child and the courage of a giant. I will drink each minute as though it is my last. When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever. While it is here, I will use it for loving and giving. Today I will make a difference.

I will not let past failures haunt me. Even though my life is scarred with mistakes, I refuse to rummage through my trash heap of failures. I will admit them. I will correct them. I will press on. Victoriously. No failure is fatal. It’s OK to stumble… I will get up. It’s OK to fail… I will rise again. Today I will make a difference.

I will spend time with those I love. My spouse, my children, my family. A man can own the world but be poor for the lack of love. A man can own nothing and yet be wealthy in relationships. Today I will spend at least five minutes with the significant people in my world. Five quality minutes of talking or hugging or thanking or listening. Five undiluted minutes with my mate, children, and friends.

Today I will make a difference.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Are Those New Year's Resolutions Coming?

We are now 8 weeks into 2009. How are you resolutions coming? Are you on target or have you given up on them? Spring is right around the corner. Are you going to be in better shape than last year? Will you be enjoying outdoor activities or will you still be complaining about your winter weight gain?

If you've fallen off the exercise wagon, now is the time to get back on.

If your workout routine is feeling stale, get a new one.

Set some reasonable goals for regular exercise and reward yourself when you meet them with a massage, facial, CD, DVD box set, a concert or a play, etc. Or, take the opposite approach and penalize yourself for missed workouts. Pledge not to watch your favorite TV show unless you've worked out a minimum of twice within the last 7 days or fine yourself $5 or $10 for each missed workout. To keep you honest and accountable, give the money to a friend, co-worker or your spouse for safe keeping. When you reach a certain dollar amount, let them decide where to donate the money.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's Not Just About Calories Burned

I know I haven't been doing as much personal blogging lately. I've got so much on my mind with Body & Soul's upcoming move and I just don't have the time. Rather than temporarily abandoning the blog, I've been posting a lot of articles from other fitness pros. I hope you understand and find them helpful.

If you've been to No Pink Dumbbells before, you probably know that I'm a big proponent of cardio intervals over long, slow, steady state cardio sessions.

Below is an excellent article from Alwyn Cosgrove about the results of a study that compared low intensity cardio to high intensity cardio in regards to their effects on abdominal fat loss in obese women.

Here is a compelling excerpt:

The interesting thing was the researchers controlled the groups for total calories burned -- so they adjusted the duration of the high intensity group's workouts so that they didn't burn any more calories than the lower intensity group. So both groups burned the exact same number of calories (400 calories per session) - and obviously the higher intensity group exercised for a shorter period of time on those days.

This is where the results are interesting. Despite burning the exact same amount of calories over the sixteen weeks - the low intensity group did not see any changes in abdominal fat. The exercise program did not do anything. However the high intensity group saw a significant reduction in abdominal fat.

You can read the entire post here ==> Alwyn Cosgrove blog.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Step Away From The Cardio Machines, People!

I ran across a great blog post from Kim Ball the other day. It's the same things I'm always preaching but it appears that some people need to hear something from lots of sources before they're ready to believe it.

Check it out here ==> Aw, jeez...I'm gettin' annoyed

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Little Pollyanna Is A Good Thing

I just came across the article below this morning. Obviously, the concept applies to every aspect of your life but I started thinking about how it specifically applied to getting in shape.

Too many people sabotage themselves through their attitudes and beliefs.

"I'll never be able to lose this weight."

"I'm too busy to work out regularly."

"Healthy food is boring and bland."

"I'm too old to exercise."

"I joined a gym before but I stopped going. I'll just do the same thing again if I sign up."

"Healthy food is too expensive."

"Sure celebrities can get in shape. They can afford personal trainers and chefs; I can't."

If you believe any of those statements, they will become self fulfilling prophecies. There are people who, at one time, believed the same things but did succeed when they changed their attitudes.

None of those above statements are "fact." You're never too old, you don't need a personal trainer or even a gym to exercise, healthy nutrition can be very tasty, etc.

Your negative expectations have so much to do with your success or failure at anything in life. See how you can change your life by changing your attitude...

The Expectation of Something Good
By John Carpenter Dealey

Ernest Holmen once said "Today I live in the quiet, joyous expectation of good." That's good advice for all of us. Generally speaking, we find what we expected to get.

So, when you got out of bed this morning, what kind of day were you expecting? Each morning you have a choice of what you will focus on. Were you anticipating a marvelous day filled with many blessings? I hope so!

Read the rest of the article here ==> The Expectation of Something Good

Sunday, February 15, 2009

10 Minute Workout

No time for a full workout? Perform the following circuit with no rest between exercises:

10 Prisoner Squats
10 Incline Pushups (or standard if you’re a pro)
10 Lying Hip Bridges
10 Slow Mountain Climbers (10 each side)

The circuit takes about 2 minutes. Repeat 5 times.

Too easy? Go for 12 or 15 reps of each exercise.

Too hard? Do fewer rounds and rest for 30-60 seconds after each completed circuit.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 13, 2009

10 Best Ab Exercises...that don't include crunches!

If you haven't already taken advantage of Craig Ballantyne's "Ballantyne's Day" Special, you only have until 10:00 PM EST tonight.

I rarely have members and clients perform crunches anymore. Instead, I use one of the many crunch-less ab exercises I learned from CB's Turbulence Training workouts.

Last year, I even heard Jillian Michaels, one of the trainers on The Biggest Loser, recommend Turbulence Training to a caller on her radio show who wanted a 6-pack.

Anyway, here are Craig's 10 best ab exercises (along with his comments) that you can do without cables, ab crunches, or sit-ups:

1. Plank with your arms on the Ball (30% more effective than plain ol' planks, according to Men's Health magazine)

2. Ball Rollouts (probably my favorite ball ab exercise)

3. Hanging Knee Raises (classic exercise that most folks do wrong...but if done right, will work your abs safely and effectively)

4. DB Renegade Row (this is the biggest surprise on the list...but it works your lower obliques incredibly hard)

5. Ball Jackknife (always a tough one for beginners to get the hang of...but when they do, they get a lot of six pack ab benefits)

6. Ball Jackknife Rotation (a tougher version of the jackknife)

7. Ball Jackknife-Pushup Combo

8. X-Body Mountain Climber (one of my simple yet so effective)

9. X-Body Mountain Climber with Hands on Ball

10. X-Body Mountain Climber with Feet on Ball (an even more effective version of the regular X-Body mountain climber)

Don't waste you time doing hundreds of crunches. You'll work your abs far more effectively with the Turbulence Training system.

Don't miss Craig's Ballantyne's Day Ab Workout Sale here ==> Craig's Ballantyne's Day Ab Workout Sale.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Ballantyne's Day!

No, that's not a typo. Craig Ballantyne, creator of Turbulence Training is having a "Ballantyne's Day" special.

To celebrate, he's giving you TWO free workouts and 25% off his NO-crunch Turbulence Training for Abs workouts. You'll also get 3 months free access to the TT Member's site. There, you can get even more workouts and you'll be able to ask Craig himself your personal workout and diet questions.

You can check it out here ==> Ballantyne's Day Special.

I've been so busy preparing for Body & Soul's move at the end of the month that I haven't been posting much.

Unfortunately, that means you have even less time to take Craig up on his offer. His sale ends tomorrow, Friday, February 13th at 10:00 PM EST.

So, if you want to burn belly fat, check out TT For Abs Ballantyne's Day Special.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Better Choice: Olive Oil or Nuts?

We’ve all heard about the health benefits of olive oil. Nuts, too, are chock full of health benefits but many people fear the calories. However, the well known Nurses Study showed that those who ate nuts frequently were actually a little thinner than those who almost never consumed nuts.

Another study found that people on a Mediterranean-style diet, who added an extra ounce of nuts (about 20 almonds, 18 Cashews or 14 walnut halves) had a lower incidence of metabolic syndrome compared with those who ate the same diet but instead added 4 to 5 ounces more of olive oil every day. (Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of medical conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.)

The best choice? Incorporate both nuts and olive oil into a healthy nutrition program.

Here's a cool chart that shows the nutrients in various nuts:

Nutrients in One Ounce of Tree Nuts and Peanuts

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Trying To Lose Weight? The "Ideal" Body In Perspective

Brad Pilon posted the article below on his blog recently. It is a MUST read for anyone who is dissatisfied with their body. It's not a license to stop eating right and exercising but it's important to remember that the "ideal" body does not exist.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to look good but focus on dropping fat and getting in shape for your health. Chasing after some unattainable ideal is a recipe for constant disappointment and frustration.

A Special Reminder to ANYONE who is trying to lose weight
Brad Pilon

Here is a quick reminder for anyone who is trying to lose weight:

Consider the model on the cover of a fitness magazine.

First the model diets for months to prepare for the photo shoot.

After dieting, the model may even dehydrate specifically for the shoot.

(The model will only look good and that lean for a couple of hours on the day the photo shoot).

During the photo shoot oil and makeup is applied to make the model look as perfect as possible.

Different types of oils are used to make muscles look defined, and make up is used to make everything as perfect as possible.

A high priced professional photographer will set up lighting and angles to make the model look as good and lean as possible (lighting makes a WORLD of difference!).

The model may do a pump-up style workout to make certain parts of his or her body look bigger than normal (arms, chest, shoulders..that sort of thing) - I did an example of how much a pump and a tan can effect the way you can check it out HERE.

Sometimes, duct tape is used to ‘hide’ any extra fat (duct tape across the lower back helps pull love handles out of site for a photo shoot)

Clothes are chosen and altered to make the model look as good as possible.

After 2 to 3 hours of shooting (maybe a dozen rolls of film), the photo shoot is over.

The model (who is probably exhausted) goes and eats.

But the magic doesn’t stop here.

The photos are developed/downloaded.

From the two hundred or so photos, 2 or 3 are chosen.

These photos are sent to a artist who does the necessary touch up work with photoshop.

Moles and birthmarks are removed, shoulders made broader, waist made smaller, skin toned smoothed out, smile whitened, hair cropped, definition added and background removed.

Finally the picture is ready to appear on the cover.

Obviously this is not a real representation of how the model truly looks. It is idealized and stylized….In a sense..EVERYTHING was made perfect.

This should NOT be your inspiration for how you want your body to look.

Create realistic expectations based on YOUR body, and NEVER trust pictures in magazines.


Brad Pilon is a nutrition professional with over seven years experience in the nutritional supplement industry. He lives in the greater Toronto area and is the author of Eat Stop Eat

Brad has had the opportunity to travel the world. From China to Germany, Scotland, and England and all over North America he has had the privilege of meeting some of the world's greatest minds in sports nutrition and exercise sciences.

Brad's goal is to help people navigate through popular nutrition fads and gimmicks to find real-world nutrition strategies that work.

Brad Pilon’s Nutrition Help Blog
The Science of Food, Fasting and Health

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Truth About Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

~Dwight Lundell MD

If you or anyone you love is being treated for high cholesterol, you need to read this...

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labeled "opinion makers." Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The full article is here ==> Heart Surgeon Admits Huge Mistake Pt. 1

I received part 2 today via e-mail but it doesn't seem to be posted on the Total Health Breakthoughs website yet. I will post a link when it's available.

Part 2 is now available here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

11 Reasons Why You'll Stay Fat

Can you handle the truth?

The more of the following statements that describe you, the lower your chances of dropping fat and reaching and maintaining your goal weight. Sorry to be politically incorrect but, in no particular order, here are...

11 Reasons Why You'll Stay Fat

1. I don't like lifting weights, I just do cardio.

2. I hate to sweat.

3. I don't want to write down everything I eat.

4. I could never join a gym that doesn't have TV's.

5. It's too much trouble to cut up veggies/prepare healthy meals. I'll just grab a granola bar/"Healthy" microwave meal.

6. I worked out today so I can have a candy bar/cookies/piece of cake/ice cream.

7. I only lift light weights and do lots of reps so I don't bulk up.

8. I don't want to plan my meals ahead of time.

9. My cardio workout consists of walking on the treadmill for 45-60 minutes while I read a magazine.

10. I don't like vegetables and most other healthy food.

11. I don't have time to exercise (but I never miss Law & Order/Gray's Anatomy/American Idol/Burn Notice/CSI/Biggest Loser/House/The Closer/Dancing With The Stars).


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Top 8 Reasons Why You Fall Off The Wagon - Tom Venuto

For years, Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle system has been a highly regarded and top selling fitness ebook. Tom has now turned his attention more to the mental side of fat loss with his new hardcover book, The Body Fat Solution: Five Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscles, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight

His current focus is on why why people don't stick to their programs, and what they should do about it.

Tom has put together a new list (below) of the top 8 reasons why you fall off the wagon.

The Top 8 Reasons Why You Fall Off The Wagon

Rather than worrying about the minutiae of your diet plan, like whether you should be on low carb or high carb, Mediterranean or Okinawan, vegetarian or meat eater, I propose that if you simply focus on these 8 issues, you'll start getting more lasting results.

How? By being able to stick with whichever plan you decided was best for you!

After all, even if you have the best nutrition program in the world - on paper - it doesn't do you much good if you can't stick with it in practice!


1. NO FOCUS: you didn't set goals, you didn't put your goals in writing, and or you didn't stay focused on your goals daily (by reading them, affirming them, looking at a vision board, etc.)

2. NO PRIORITIES: you may have set a goal, but you didn't put it on or near the top of your priorities list. For example, your goal is six pack abs, but drinking beer and eating fast food on the weekend is higher on your priorities list than having a flat stomach.

3. NO SUPPORT SYSTEM: you tried to go at it alone; no buddy system, training partners, family, spouse, friends, mentors or coaches to turn to for information and emotional support when the going got tough.

4. NO ACCOUNTABILITY - you didn't keep score for your own accountability - with a progress chart, weight record, measurements, food journal, training journal, and you didn't set up external accountability (ie, report to someone else or show your results to someone else)

5. NO PATIENCE: you were only thinking short term and had unrealistic expectations. You expected 10 pounds a week or 5 pounds a week or 3 pounds a week, so the first week you lost "only" 1 or 2 pounds or hit a plateau, you gave up.

6. NO PLANNING: you winged it. You walked into the gym without having a workout in hand, on paper, you didn't plan your workouts into your weekly schedule; you didn't
have a menu on paper, you didn't make time (so instead you made excuses, like "I'm too busy").

7. NO BALANCE: your diet or training program was too extreme. You went the all or nothing, "I want it now" route instead of the moderate, slow-and-steady wins the race route.

8. NO PERSONALIZATION: your nutrition or training program was the wrong one for you. It might have worked for someone else, but it didn't suit your schedule, personality,
lifestyle, disposition or body type.

So there you have it - 8 reasons why most people to fall off the wagon! Have you been making these mistakes? If so, the solutions are clear and simple:

focus, prioritize, get support, be accountable, be patient, plan, balance and personalize.

Train hard & Expect success,

Tom Venuto

Tom Venuto is an internationally recognized fat loss expert, nutrition researcher and natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder. Since 1989, Venuto has been involved in virtually every aspect of the fitness and weight loss industry - as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, motivation coach, fitness model, health club manager and freelance writer. Tom is the author of the best-selling e-book, Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle. His newest book, The Body Fat Solution: Five Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscles, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight (Hardcover Avery/Penguin), is a #1 best seller, focusing on accountability and the psychological, emotional and social factors that sabotage fat loss success.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

If you hate counting calories, can't or don't want to turn food planning into a fulltime job, balk at the regimentation of eating every 3 hours, or have tried every diet in the book to lose weight, you might want to look into intermittent fasting.

Over a year ago, I read Eat Stop Eat, an eBook by Brad Pilon explaining his research surrounding intermittent fasting. Brad debunked the hysteria over starvation mode and thoroughly explained the research that he had studied.

Recently, intermittent fasting has been getting a more balanced look by some mainstream media outlets, doctors and nutritionists. Below are excerpts from a Los Angeles Times article.

Called intermittent fasting, this rather stark approach to weight control appears to be supported by science, not to mention various religious and cultural practices around the globe. The practice is a way to become more circumspect about food, its adherents say. But it also seems to yield the benefits of calorie restriction, which may ultimately reduce the risk of some diseases and even extend life. Some fasters, in fact, ultimately switch from regular, if comparatively rare, periods of hunger to permanent deprivation. They limit calories all the time.

"There is something kind of magical about starvation," says Dr. Marc Hellerstein, a professor of endocrinology, metabolism and nutrition at UC Berkeley, who studies fasting.

Adds Mark P. Mattson, chief of the laboratory of neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging: "In normal health subjects, moderate fasting -- maybe one day a week or cutting back on calories a couple of days a week -- will have health benefits for most anybody." Mattson is among the leading researchers on the effects of calorie restriction and the brain.

What they do know is that occasionally going without food or reducing calories daily makes the body more sensitive to insulin, which helps maintain normal blood sugar levels. And animal studies suggest calorie restriction may reduce the risk of cancer by slowing the growth of abnormal cells.

Of course, there are also some naysayers. You can read the entire article here ==> Running on empty: the pros and cons of fasting

For more info on intermittent fasting, check out Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat. I found it really interesting and easily understandable to us non-scientific types.