Saturday, July 31, 2010

Collected Fitness Wisdom #24

Seriously, if you can read or watch TV while doing any exercise, you're not concentrating enough on what you're doing, plus you're probably not working out hard enough to see any real results.

~Mike Geary

Yes, I do love to use my favorite gear, but I feel it is important for everyone to remember that the best piece of fitness equipment is the one that doesn’t cost a dime, is VERY portable, and offers a plethora of exercise progressions that build upon the basic patterns of human movement.

So…what is it? You own bodyweight.

~Sarah Rippel

Getting "toned" simply means building muscle and burning fat. You can't tone a muscle any more than you can paint a cloud. You have to build the muscle to have it and you have burn the fat so you can see it.

~Nick Nilsson

Fat burning foods are the "unicorns" of the nutrition world. They do not exist.

~ Craig Ballantyne


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Need Your Opinion

This is a dilemma that I've debated off and on for over a year now. Does the term "boot camp" scare people off?

I had one adviser flat out tell me not to use the term because it was too intimidating to most people and it would scare them off. At the same time, one Body & Soul member who owns a marketing company told me that I should stick with "boot camp" because the style of training is trendy.

The teller at my bank said I didn't look mean enough to run a boot camp. One of my new campers was explaining to her stylist that she was dressed to exercise because she was going to boot camp after her haircut. The stylist's response? "That sounds painful."

Here's the thing. I use the term "boot camp" because I think it gives people an idea of what to expect. To me, "boot camp" conveys the fact that it's going to be tough. It's pretty clear that it's not for people who are looking for the easy fix and aren't willing to challenge themselves. To be blunt, whiners and slackers aren't welcome.

On the other hand, I don't want people to think they have to be G.I. Jane or G.I. Joe to join.
No Pink Dumbbells Boot Camp has been around for over a year now and, during that time, I've worked with people of various fitness levels. For those who need it, I adapt the exercises. Boot camp is not about being the fittest person in the room; it's about being fitter than you were yesterday/last week/last year.

So, help me out. Would you hesitate to inquire about exercise sessions called "boot camp"? Leave a comment below and tell me if I should I continue to call this training "boot camp" or should I go with "group personal training"?


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fitness Pros Against Cancer

For a donation of $20 to the American Cancer Society, you can get live AND mp3 access to 18 life-changing calls on July 27th and 28th. Some of the best fitness pros in the business are participating: Craig Ballantyne, cancer survior Alwyn Cosgrove, Holly Rigsby, Tom Venuto, Jon Benson, Shawn Phillips, Mike Geary and more!

100% of proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

For full details go to ==>

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Does Fruit Make You Fat?

Do you think that the sugar in fruit makes people gain weight or that you can't eat great tasting food while you're trying to get lean? Craig Ballantyne addresses those 2 fat loss myths below.

Fruit Makes You Fat?
By Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Time to crush 2 more nutrition myths and prove to you that you can eat your favorite foods while losing fat.

Nutrition Myth #1 - Fruit Makes You Fat

This. Is. Ridiculous.

No one, and I repeat, NO ONE is fat because they eat too much fruit.

Let's clear things up. Yes, fruit contains sugar. But fruit also contains fiber and water and fills you up for just a few calories.

Check out this calorie chart of our favorite fruits:

* 1 cup of cherries = 75 calories
* 1 medium apple = 75 calories
* 1 medium banana = 100 calories
* 1 cup blueberries = 80 calories
* 1 date = 25 calories
* 1 grapefruit = 80-100 calories
* 1 orange = 60 calories
* 1 peach = 40 calories
* 1 cup pineapple = 65 calories
* 1 cup strawberries = 45 calories
* 1 cup watermelon = 50 calories

So seriously, let's just say you ate that entire're still only at about 750 calories.

Compare that to these common foods - the ones that really make us fat.

* Grande Iced Caffe Mocha = 200 calories
* Grande Caramel Frappuccino = 430 calories
* Starbucks Low Fat Blueberry Muffin = 430 calories (only 1g fiber!)
* Plain Bagel = 300 calories (2g fiber - whoop-de-doo!)

You see my point? And we're worrying about "fruit making us fat"?


Whooooaaa, don't eat that 75 calorie apple, you might get fat! (Note: Sarcasm)

Heck, there are days this summer when I've had:

* 1/2 a watermelon
* 2 apples
* 1/2 cup blueberries
* 1/2 cup strawberries
* 2 peaches
* 5 dates
* 2 bananas
* 1 pear

And you can see from my Facebook photos that fruit isn't making me fat.

So the myth that fruit makes you fat is a joke. The truth is that fruit is healthy for you and fills you up and helps you LOSE fat.

Nutrition Myth #2 - You can't eat delicious foods while losing fat

This is not true. However, "delicious" is a subjective term, right?

So what I might think is awesome (natural peanut butter sandwiches on flax bread with blueberries), might be your idea of boredom.

You do not have to give up your favorite foods completely when you are on a fat loss program.

Now I'm not going to lie and say you can eat whatever you want, and however much you want, every meal and every day.

You just need to harness the power of portion control and improve the overall quality of your diet, and you'll still be able to get a lean and sexy body this summer with your favorite foods.

So keep your nutrition SIMPLE. Focus on whole, natural foods and limit high-calorie, high-sugar foods to just a couple of treats per week. Combine that with your favorite Turbulence Training workouts and you'll lose fat fast.

To check out Craig's Simple Nutrition for Fat Loss System go to Nutrition

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don't Be An Idiot

Yesterday, on my way home, I passed a guy wearing a sweatshirt. He looked like he had probably been exercising. In case you live in Alaska, this part of the country has been experiencing oppressive heat and humidity.

That guy was an idiot. And sorry to be blunt but so are you if you wear a bunch of clothes or a sauna suit in a misguided attempt to lose weight.

Here's the deal. Any weight that is "lost" through excess sweating is just water. As soon as you re-hydrate, you'll replace it. If you're stupid enough to refrain from drinking enough, your metabolism will slow down. Not exactly the outcome you were looking for, right?

Water is involved with just about every bodily process.

Water is critical to digestion and brain function; it lubricates joints, increases energy, keeps skin healthy, helps flush waste and toxins from the body, and lots more.

You can survive far longer without food that you can without water.

Why anyone thinks that losing a few pounds of water weight is going to change their body is beyond me. You may register a few pounds lighter on the scale but dehydrating yourself is not going to give you the lean, trim body most people want. To do that, you need to drop fat. Period. And that comes from proper nutrition and a the right kind of exercise program.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Everybody Wants A Pill

I heard the other day that the pharmaceutical companies have submitted 3 new weight loss drugs to the FDA for approval.

Apparently, we learned nothing from the fen-phen debacle of a few years ago.

Everyone wants a quick fix...I'm diabetic/overweight/depressed/have high blood pressure but I don't want to change my diet and exercise. Can't you just give me a pill, Doc?

Americans are on all kinds of drugs. It's almost a surprise nowadays when I get a health history and the person is not taking any medication. That's just sad.

Then we have the drug companies.

Big pharma wants big profits. I don't have a problem with anyone making money. What I have a problem with is the unethical path to those riches. It's too often done at the expense of people's health.

Biased "research" funded by the drug companies, concealing side effects, publishing only studies that support a favorable outcome from a drug, continuing to push medication after problems arise and on and on.

These companies have become legal drug pushers. I detest the fact that they now advertise on television, prompting people to "ask their doctor" about this or that medication. When these insipid ads first started, you couldn't even tell what the drugs were suppose to "cure"! How ridiculous.

Here's a novel idea... how about letting physicians decide what course of treatment might be best for their patients? (I know, I know, two words- drug reps but that's a post for another day.)

Anyway, back to the new weight loss drugs.

The FDA has decided that weight loss drugs only need to reduce total body weight by at least 5% after a year to be considered effective. So if you tip the scales at 300 pounds, a drop of 15 pounds using a pill would be good enough for the FDA to consider that a success.

Fifteen pounds in a year is just 1-1/4 pounds a month. That's less than 1/3 pound per week! And we're talking about someone who's 300 pounds! With medication!

If you're "only" 200 pounds, the minimum weight loss to be considered effective would be 10 pounds in a year- less than 1 pound a month.

Can you imagine how much this medication will cost per month? I wonder what it'll work out to be per pound.

One of the drugs up for approval, Qnexa, an antidepressant/anticonvulsant, showed the best results in clinical trials. Participants lost between 13-15% of their body weight. (That's, of course, if the trials were on the up and up.)

Unfortunately, Qnexa, also had the highest level of participant dropouts due to side effects which included memory and concentration problems. In fact, 18% of study participants taking a high dose of Qnexa withdrew from the trials due to side effects and about 40% all participants taking Qnexa failed to complete the study.

Another submission, Contrave, is also an antidepressant/anticonvulsant combo. Study participants using it lost 5-10% of their body weight. Contrave's main side effect was nausea.

Drug #3 is Lorcaserin. As opposed to Qnexa and Contrave, it's not a combination of other drugs. It's a brand new medication that, according to its maker Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., acts on serotonin- the feel good brain chemical.

Lorcaserin just made it within the FDA guideline. Patients in company trials shed just 5% of their body weight. The "good" news is that they reported the fewest side effects.

Is it really worth it? Besides the financial cost, what about the effects of these chemicals on your body?

You don't need a pill to dump fat and get healthier.

UPDATE: After I wrote this blog post, the FDA's Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10-6 against recommending approval for Qnexa. They expressed concern about the increased risk of psychiatric and cognitive issues uncovered in the company's trials. They also said there was a lack of data to rule out cardiovascular risks and were concerned about the drug's potential to cause birth defects in women who become pregnant while taking it.

It's important to note, however, that regardless of the recommendations of the advisory committee, the FDA can still go ahead and approve the use of Qnexa.

Lorcaserin and Contrave go before the FDA for approval later this year.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Scathingly Brilliant Idea

Anyone know where that title came from? Leave a comment below with the answer and, if you're right, I'll dig up some kind of prize.

Members, training clients and others often approach me about donating money to their cause or charity. Being a small business, I'm not in a position to support all the requests I receive. So, rather than upsetting anyone by picking and choosing between worthy causes, I simply focus on Body & Soul's main charity, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

I felt bad not being able to help. I've had/have members involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training, American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. You really need to raise a lot of money to participate in those events. Right now, there's a local woman I "met" on Twitter who's raising money for Sarcoma research in memory of her late husband.

Anyway, on to the idea. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Well I sort of did but I couldn't figure out how to effectively and successfully promote it that often by myself.

I'm going to start holding a charity boot camp training every Saturday morning. If you are raising money for a worthwhile cause, just reserve the date with me and then invite people. Your invitees will pay to participate and all money raised from them goes to your charity. I will be donating my time, the equipment and the space - there is no charge to you or the organization.

Call me at area code 717, phone number 509-7777 for more info or to get on the schedule. (If Skpe wants to convert our numbers to clickable links, they should stop screwing up my posts when I include the standard phone number format.)

I think this will work. I just wish I had figured it out sooner.

What do you think? Am I missing anything? If so, let me know in the comments section.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why You're Not Getting The Results You Want, Part 5

Let's say that your nutrition is good, your exercise program includes strength training and was properly designed. Could there be another reason why your results aren't great?


Reason #5: You're not challenging yourself.

Your body adapts to the physical stress you place on it. It's a survival mechanism. If any of you ever had a physical job- roofing, farming, old school factory work- the first few days you probably got pretty sore. After that you quickly got used to the demands of the job - your body adapted.

It's the same with exercise.

I once worked at a gym where I'd see the same group of ladies during the day. Most of them had been members for many years and coming to the gym was a habit, which was great. Unfortunately, the instruction and service at that gym were terrible.

These ladies would perform rep after rep of exercises at the same weight they'd been using since they started. I'd see lots of bicep curls with 3 or 5 pound dumbbells. They'd stand around holding conversations while mindlessly pumping out 25 or 30 reps (at least) of whatever exercise they were doing.

This women is older than most, if not all, of those women. Check her out. She's using a weighted bar AND added band resistance. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself, regardless of your age. That's how you get results.

I'm glad the gym ladies weren't sitting on their butts watching game shows or playing Bingo. And yes, any activity is better than none but that kind of "workout" did little to strengthen their bones and muscles and keep them independent as they aged.

You need to challenge your body to get optimum results. To drop fat, to get stronger and more fit, to burn more calories - you need to push yourself.

Here's a simple guideline to follow regarding strength training. When you can do 12 repetitions of an exercise with good form, raise the weight slightly. If you're using 3 pound dumbbells go to 5s; if you're currently using 8s, try 10s. On a machine (and you're only using one or two of those, if any, right?), increase by 5 pounds.

You should be able to complete at least 8 reps at the new, heavier weight. Now your goal is to increase your reps back up to 12. Try to do a little more each workout. When you reach 12 reps, increase the weight again.

You should always be trying to increase the resistance or do more reps...but only with good form. Nine perfect reps is better than 12 sloppy ones.

Be honest. Have you just been going through the motions at the gym? Start challenging yourself and you'll get better and faster results.

You can find all the previous articles here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Friday, July 9, 2010

Collected Fitness Wisdom #23

It’s not about heart rate. It’s about the EFFORT and the QUALITY that you put into the training and the INTENSITY that then changes the hormone profile, decreasing the insulin, making you more insulin sensitive, increasing the adrenalin immediately after training and during training so that fat burning occurs, and possibly, because it’s such a debatable subject, increasing the metabolism for hours, or 24 hours after training, or 36 hours after training, like some studies suggest. Again, heart rate does not dictate fat loss.

~Craig Ballantyne

The truth is this: it's rarely a lack of ideas, opportunity or knowledge that prevent people from accomplishing big things.

It's a lack of action.

~Pat Rigsby

Jennifer Garner's toned arms and Jennifer Aniston's fab abs are not created by some "magic" exercise that mysteriously melts fat off a particular area of the body. It is time to banish the "Spot Reduction Myth" once and for all.

There simply is no "one" exercise that acts like a "magic eraser" to rid your body parts of unsightly fat. That's not how the body works.

~Holly Rigsby

The average guy's biceps are composed of about 1 pound of muscle. For both of your arms combined, that's just 3 percent of the amount of muscle mass in your entire body. Remember that number: It's a good way to keep a perspective on how much you train your biceps compared with your other muscle groups.

~Men's Health


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Traditional Cardio Is Not The Answer To Fat Loss

Are you one of those people who thinks that lots of cardio is the best way to drop excess weight?

In most gyms, you see the same people on the cardio equipment. Day after day, week after week, month after month (until frustration sets in and they quit).

Now, think about it. When was the last time you saw a significant body transformation in any of them?

Contrary to what we were told for years, traditional cardio exercise is not the key to fat loss.

Did you know that a study published in the medical journal, Obesity, found that women who performed 300 hours of "moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise" per year lost only 4 pounds? That comes out to 75 hours of cardio per pound! Does that sound like an effective fat loss tool to you?

Men in the study fared only slightly better, losing 6 pounds per year. It would only take them 50 hours of cardio to dump one pound.

(Obesity 15:1496-1512 (2007). Exercise Effect on Weight and Body Fat in Men and Women. Anne McTiernan*, et al.)

I'm not telling you not to do traditional cardio. It definitely has health benefits. I'm trying to get people to understand that if your primary goal is fat loss and/or if your exercise time is limited, traditional cardio is not your best option.

So if you're not already strength training, start. And in place of hours on the elliptical, stationary bike or treadmill, try cardio intervals or metabolic circuits.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Why You're Not Getting The Results You Want, Part 4

I think you'd agree that someone might be able to get to a destination just by getting in his :-) car and driving but that he'd get there faster if you he had directions.

The same holds true for fitness.

Reason #4: You're winging it.

Why waste time cobbling together a routine from magazine articles or internet websites?

First of all, just because something's been published somewhere doesn't make it correct or up-to-date or right for your goals.

Second, do you know which exercises are most effective? Do you know how to make sure your opposing muscle groups are balanced? Do you even know which muscles oppose one another? Probably not and why would you?

Third, on the off chance that you did put together a balanced and effective program, are you sure you know how to perform all the exercises correctly?

Would you defend yourself in court, install your own roof or pull your own infected tooth? Most of us would not. So, why do the majority of people insist on winging their exercise program rather than having a workout routine designed specifically for them by a qualified fitness coach?

You don't have to work with a trainer all the time. You can just get a program and go through it as many times as you need to be sure you're doing the exercises correctly.

It's definitely a safer and more effective option than winging it.

In case you missed any of them, here are the previous parts of Why You're Not Getting The Results You Want...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3