Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting Our Priorities Straight

Recently one of my Twitter friends wrote a blog post about body image, diet and health. I totally understand her frustration and I agree with her to a point but I have some frustrations of my own, and I tried to comment on her post. Unfortunately, it's one of those sites that don't believe in paragraphs which makes for tough reading, plus it cut off much of my post (without telling me there was a word limit).

Anyway, you can read Brenda's article here Pretty in or Pretty Out?, then come back and read my response below.

Great post, Brenda! Now if you could get the rest of the country thinking that way. Regular exercisers who are overweight have lower risk factors for disease than sedentary stick people.

I totally agree about the bombardment of media images and their detrimental effect on us. That said, it's frustrating that so many people focus only on appearance when it comes to exercise.

I've been fighting this battle for 15 years now. The brochure for my gym says, "At Body & Soul Fitness Studio, the emphasis is on exercise as a means to improve the quality of your life." But which of my blog posts do you think get more attention- something on fat loss or something about the health benefits of physical activity?

Unfortunately, that mentality often continues even after someone sees tangible benefits from exercise. I've had women tell me they feel better since starting to work out, they're stronger, they don't get as winded, they're less stressed, their blood pressure is down, their energy is up, they sleep better, their back hurts less or not at all, they’re more patient with their kids, etc., etc., etc. and then too often comes the but. But "I haven’t lost any / much weight."

I don’t think most people in this country appreciate their health until they lose it. Sadly, too many Americans would rather take pills for diabetes or high blood pressure than make the effort to clean up their nutrition and exercise. Of course, we all know stories of someone who never smoked getting lung cancer or some healthy, active person having heart problems but most of the leading causes of death are at least partially related to our lifestyle choices. In fact, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the nine leading causes of death were strongly related to lifestyle choices: “what we put into our bodies and what we do with our bodies.”

Let me just end by saying that I’m certainly not opposed to anyone deciding to drop excess body fat, it’s a smart and healthy thing to do. I simply wish that people would start focusing on living a healthy lifestyle rather than obsessing over a number on the scale. As Jack Dixon says, "If you focus on results, you will never change. But if you focus on change, you'll get results."


Thursday, December 30, 2010

7 Keys To Finding The Right Boot Camp For You

Yesterday, I wrote about the many benefits of fitness boot camps. There's also been a lot of buzz lately about boot camps being one of the hot trends of 2011 so I expect to see just about every gym and trainer starting a boot camp. I obviously think this style of training is a great option for people; that's why I started No Pink Dumbbells Boot Camp a year and a half ago.

I'm glad boot camp training is becoming more popular but if you're interested in getting started, it's important to know that all boot camps are not created equal. 

What to look for in a boot camp:

1. An experienced and knowledgeable instructor. A good workout program (in the gym or in boot camp) involves more than just throwing together a bunch of tough exercises or running, running and more running.

It's easy to just run people into the ground and that's what a lot of boot camps seem to do. Unfortunately, many exercisers think that if they're not totally exhausted at the end of a workout it wasn't hard enough, which makes it easier for these types of camps to exist.

2. Make sure the instructor conducts a proper warmup and cooldown. Your warmup should include movements similar to the exercises you'll be performing, not just jogging around the park or 5-10 minutes or using some cardio equipment.

3. How many people are in the camp? If there are 30-40 people exercising along side of you, how much attention will you get?

There's a reason why I describe my boot camp as group personal training. It's extremely rare to have 15 or more people in a training session and boot camp is not my workout time. I'm watching my campers; making sure they're doing the exercises correctly, encouraging them, suggesting heavier or lighter weights, giving them easier or harder versions of exercises, etc. Which leads up to...

4. Does the trainer give variations of exercises or optional exercises to those who aren't yet capable of performing certain moves? You're much better off doing easier exercises with good form than trying to do a harder exercise poorly. If you focus on good form at whatever level you're currently at, you will get stronger and be able to progress to more challenging moves safely.

5. Any good workout includes a strength component. Whether your goal is fat loss, general good health, stronger bones, aging independently, disease prevention, etc., strength training is a must. Running and doing hundreds of jumping jacks and crunch variations does not make a good workout, regardless of how breathless you get.

6. Find an instructor who challenges you but never encourages you to work through pain or injury.

7. Do you feel welcome? If you try out a boot camp and the other members aren't welcoming, think twice about signing up. A main advantage of group training is the camaraderie and encouragement of the group. If people are cliquish or act superior, find another camp.

If you want to learn more about my boot camp, please visit

New to boot camp training? Mention this blog post and get one week free.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's So Great About Fitness Boot Camps?

There's a lot of buzz lately about fitness boot camps and you may be wondering if joining one would be right for you.

So, what's so great about boot camps?

* Motivation. Exercising in a group is more fun and more motivating. It's human nature; you push yourself harder when everyone else is pushing themselves, too.

* Variety. Are you tired of the same old boring cardio and strength training routines? At many boot camps, you never know what you're going to get from one day to the next (besides a great workout). You may end up doing a circuit, a challenge workout, an all-bodyweight routine, a partner workout, etc.  

* Accountability. If you're someone who has a hard time getting your workouts in each week, a set schedule and accountability may be just what you need.

* Savings. You get the instructional benefits of personal training, along with the support and camaraderie of the group at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one personal training.  

* Efficiency. No need to spend mindless hours on the treadmill or elliptical. You'll get a whole body strength and cardio workout in each boot camp training session. The workouts are done for you; no need to think about or research what exercises you should do, what type of training will get you the best results, etc.

If you're looking for a fun and challenging way to get results, spice up  your boring routine, or push yourself to a new level of fitness, try a  fitness boot camp.

If you're near Lancaster, PA, you can get more details on my fitness boot camp at 


Monday, December 27, 2010

Get In Great Shape And Win Money!

Would you like to transform your body like these folks?

If so, it's time to sign up for the 10th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest. The 9th TTT Contest, that just ended recently, featured 2 RECORD BREAKING fat loss performances.

If you haven't seen the results of previous Turbulence Training contests, go here ==> Turbulence Training Transformation Contest Finalists

By signing up, you can not only drop fat but you have the chance to win $1000.

These are the four divisions...
  • Men Under 40
  • Women Under 40
  • Men Over 40
  • Women Over 40
    ...and each division will reward the following prizes:
    • 1st Place Grand Prize - $1000 plus a 3-Year Platinum TT Membership
    • 2nd Place - $500 plus a 2-Year Platinum TT Membership
    • 3rd Place - $250 plus a 1-Year Platinum TT Membership

    Here`s the contest rules page ==> TTT Contest Rules

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    Get 2011 Started Off Right!

    Let's get this year started off right! Eat your pork and sauerkraut for good luck on the 1st and then join us the next day for a group training session at Body & Soul.

    Everyone is invited. Exercises will be adapted or substituted, as necessary.

    I promise not to have the door open during the workout.  ;-)

    So that there's accountability...

    $15 by December 31st
    $20 on January 2nd

    Here are the details...

    Sunday, January 2nd at 10:30 AM

    Body & Soul Fitness Studio
    618 Columbia Avenue
    Lancaster, PA
    (717) 509-7777

    Plenty of free parking.

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Transform Your Body With Turbulence Training

    Craig Ballantyne has announced the finalists in the 9th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest.

    You've got to check out these results! Here are just 2 of them...

    You can go here, see the rest of the contestants and vote for the winners ==> 9th TT Transformation Contest Voting

    And Craig has even bigger news...

    "The 2010 TT Workout 50% Off Sale" Starts today and runs until the end of Wednesday, December 22nd.

    All of his 2010 monthly workouts, which regularly sell for $29.95, have been reduced to only $9.95!

    Even better? He's offering ALL of his 2010 monthly workouts PLUS his not-for-sale-anywhere-else ""TT Clash of the Titans" program for only $97! (Ladies, don't be intimidated by some of the workout names; these workouts are suitable for women and men.)

    Here's a complete list of every 2010 monthly workout and you'll get every one for just $97...

    1) Turbulence Training 2K10 (the hottest trends of 2009 all in one)
    2) TT Beginner Total Torso Training (best beginner program)
    3) TT Transformation (Spin-off of Buff Dudes-Hot Chicks manual)
    4) TT Adrenaline (The program that DOES out-train a bad diet?)
    5) TT Big 6 Circuit (Improved version of legendary Big 5 program)
    6) TT Bootcamp 2K10 (features 6 bootcamp style workouts)
    7) TT Booty for Wife (12-week booty program!)
    8] TT Addiction (you'll get hooked on this challenge workout)
    9) TT Hardcore 2K10 (the 2006 classic has been updated)
    10) TT Bodyweight Cardio 3 (NO-equipment workouts to replace intervals)
    11) TT Bodyweight Bodybuilding 2 (advanced bodyweight training)
    12) TT for Meatheads V (instant classic)
    13) TT Dumbbell Depletion (20 minute workout)
    14) TT Meatheads 4x4 (shorter Meathead-style workouts)
    15) TT Resistance Evil (most extreme TT workout EVER)
    16) TT Meatheads Bench Press (add 25 pounds to your bench in 4 weeks)
    17) TT Clash of the Titans - Not available for individual purchase ANYWHERE else!

    Talk about variety! Bodyweight strength workouts, quickie workouts, boot camp workouts, circuit workouts, bodyweight cardio workouts, challenge workouts and even a workout to get a better booty! You'll get well over a year's worth of great fat loss workouts.

    Check it out here ==> The Complete 2010 TT Package

    Treat yourself this holiday season (to something healthy!) and start the New Year off right. Pick up your Complete Turbulence Training 2010 Workout Package today!

    If you're not ready to take the plunge for the entire 2010 package, do yourself a favor and pick up 1 or 2 monthly programs for just $9.95 each. That's way less than you'd pay a personal trainer - even an online trainer.

    The Complete 2010 TT Package

    Remember, this offer is only good until midnight EST Wednesday, December 22nd.

    You can use any TT program to enter the 10th TT Transformation Contest and you can sign up for that starting Sunday, December 26th. Yep, the day after Christmas.

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    How USA Today Got It Wrong (And What They Got Right)

    I just came across an article from USA Today about 2011 Fitness Trends ==> Boot camp, strength training will top 2011 fitness trends

    What they got right...

    • "everyone from teenagers to the elderly should be strength training"
    • "Boot-camp workouts, strength training and core exercises are among this year's top 20 trends."
    • Regarding boot camp workouts: "These structured, high-intensity workouts, modeled after military-style training, include cardiovascular, strength, endurance and flexibility exercises." 

    What they got wrong...

    • Regarding boot camp workouts: "Expect the workout to be led by a drill sergeant who has little to no patience for people lagging behind."

    Someone didn't do their homework. There ARE boot camps run that way, some led by former military members and there's nothing wrong with that. They cater to those who are looking for a certain kind of atmosphere and are most likely more physically active than the average American. However, the majority of fitness boot camps are not like that.

    My boot camp, No Pink Dumbbells, has members in their teens up to the late 50s but it's far less about age than the desire to challenge yourself and improve.  My regular boot campers could put people half their age to shame, not because they came in fit but because they worked at it and persevered. 

    Yes, it's a tough workout; it's supposed to be! But it's tough at YOUR level. The best boot camp instructors can adapt an exercise if it's too tough or offer a substitute. As you get stronger, you'll challenge yourself at your new level of fitness. That's how you get the body you want.

    • "some fitness professionals now use such novelties as kettlebells and stability balls."

    Stability balls and kettlebells are not novelties. Kettlebells originated in Russia and have been around since the 1700s. Stability balls (also known as "Swiss balls”, "physio balls”, “fitness balls”, "resistance balls", "exercise balls", etc.) have been around at least since the 1960s, originally used primarily in rehabilitation settings.

    The Shake Weight is a novelty. 

    Vibrator Belts are a novelty.

    The Hawaii chair is a novelty. (If you haven't seen it demonstrated on "Ellen", you need to check out this video. You'll definitely burn a few calories laughing.)

    All the electronic muscle stimulators are novelties...

    as are the myriad of ab gadgets...

    but kettlebells and stability balls are definitely not novelties.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Fitness Gift Suggestions For The Holidays, Part 2

    In yesterday's post, I wrote about personal training, the GymBoss interval timer, the TRX Suspension Trainer, and fitness boot camps. Here are a few more gift suggestions for the fitness enthusiast in your life.

    If your budget is tight, you can also find last year's recommendations, all for less than $30 here ==> Holiday Gifts For Your Favorite Fitness Buff

    Gym Membership

    If you know what someone is looking for in a fitness center, you could get them a membership or take care of their enrollment fee. Be careful though because this option can be tricky too. If the intended receiver hates crowds, don't sign them up for a gym with thousands of members. If the gift is for a woman who is intimidated by muscleheads, don't enroll her at the place where all the bodybuilders lift. If she'd prefer a women-only facility and lives or works in Lancaster, check out Body & Soul Fitness Studio.

    Ironmaster Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System

    If you are buying for someone who wants to work out at home and doesn't have the space or the resources for a fully equipped dumbbells rack, consider the Ironmaster Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System. It adjusts from 5-75 pounds, in 2 1/2 lb increments, and gets glowing reviews.

    These adjustable dumbbells are not cheap but I hesitate to recommend other brands due to numerous complaints about them coming apart. Safety is paramount when you're lifting weighted objects over your body.

    Ironmaster 75 lb Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System

     Turbulence Training

    Looking for an exercise program for someone who wants to exercise at home, needs some guidance and doesn't have hours to spend exercising? Check out Craig Ballntyne's Turbulence Training.

    Turbulence Training spells it out, workout by workout, exercise by exercise, set by set, and rep by rep, for a full 16-weeks of advanced fat loss workouts. Plus, the program also includes additional beginner workouts that will help any newcomer get started on their fat loss plan.

    Craig is a fat-loss expert and has his fat-burning workouts have been published in national magazines such as Men's Health, Women's Health, Oxygen, Prevention and Men's Fitness, along with online newsletters EarlyToRise and Total Health Breakthroughs. You've probably come across his videos on YouTube and Men's Health, as well.

    Turbulence Training workouts are so much more efficient and effective than what the majority of people are doing. Craig's fat loss philosophy is backed up by research, including his cardio workouts that are far superior to the common long, slow cardio workouts that too many people are doing (unsuccessfully, I might add).

    Read more here ==> Turbulence Training


    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Fitness Gift Suggestions For The Holidays, Part 1

    In past years, I've recommended gifts for fitness buffs, almost all of which cost less than $30. You can find last year's post here ==> Holiday Gifts For Your Favorite Fitness Buff

    This year, my recommendations run the price gamut.

    A fitness gift is a great option for someone who already works out or for someone who has expressed interest in getting started. However, giving such a gift to someone because YOU want them to exercise is a bad idea.

    That being said, let's get started.

    I'm still a huge fan of the GymBoss.

    GymBoss Interval Timer

    I'm not usually not one of those people who gets off on gadgets but I love my GymBoss. Interval training is a great form of exercise and the GymBoss is an inexpensive and convenient way to keep track of your intervals.

    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 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 30 second work and 60 second recovery (or any combination of times) for other cardio intervals. There is also a handy clip and it comes in hot pink, silver, black or camouflage.

    You can get a GymBoss here.

    Personal Training

    Personal training is a great gift for the beginner or the experienced exerciser.

    The safest and most effective way for a novice to get started is to have a program designed specifically for them and to learn to do the exercises correctly from a qualified professional.

    Experienced exercisers often get into a rut of doing the same things over and over. A new workout routine can not only eliminate mental boredom but can also jump start their fitness results. Our bodies adapt to doing the same program over and over so it's important to change workout routines every 4-6 weeks for best results.

    Personal training will generally run around $35-$100 per one-hour session, with most trainers offering discounts for multiple sessions. Half-hour sessions are also usually available.

    If you're in Lancaster, you can call me at (717) 509-7777 for more information and to pick up gift certificates. I train both women and men. 

    Small Group Training

    If your fitness enthusiast enjoys exercising with others, small group training is a great option. You get the instructional benefits of personal training along with the support and camaraderie of a group.

    At Body & Soul, I offer No Pink Dumbbells Fitness Boot Camp. This program is designed for women and men who want to get fit but don’t want to spend hours a day exercising. The training sessions are challenging but are adapted for the fitness level of the participants.

    You can get more details at

    TRX® Training System

    Suspension training is the latest trend in fitness. Notice I said trend, not fad. The TRX is a portable workout system that allows the user to use his/her own body weight to perform a variety of strength, flexibility, endurance and balance exercises.

    TRX Suspension Training:Deck the home gym
    You may have seen it on The Biggest Loser or in stories about quarterback, Drew Breees', workout program.

    The TRX provides a great total body workout for athletes, beginners, military personnel and fitness enthusiasts. The package comes with everything you need to get started: a ceiling or wall anchor, the adjustable straps, training tips and a comprehensive full body workout that can be adapted as your fitness improves.

    You can save 20% and get free shipping if you purchase tonight (Sunday 12-12-10) by 11:59 PM, PT which is 2:59 AM Eastern time.

    Edited to add: Check out the graphic above; it looks like they lowered the discount but are still offering free shipping until the 16th.

    Check back tomorrow for part 2.

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Collected Fitness Wisdom #28

    Strategy trumps willpower. Studies show that willpower is actually in limited supply. Meaning, resist the cookie now, it might be hard to resist it later. Therefore, I believe it is more important to build in good strategies. For example, if you eat ice cream every night, rather than trying to "be good" and resist it, simply remove it from the house. If you consistently visit the vending machine because you don't have time to go to lunch, your strategy would be to pack your lunch the night before and bring it with you.

    ~Valerie Waters

    As a fitness professional, I have heard every excuse in the book why someone chooses not to exercise: Not enough time, too busy, the gym is too crowded, the gym is too far away, I have other stuff to do, it's too hot outside, it's too cold outside, I forgot my sneakers, I don't have my workout clothes with me. And the list goes on and on. And you wonder why we're so fat and obese as a society.

    ~ Scott Colby

    Do people think there are invisible fat sucking trolls living beneath the treadmills? Well I have looked and let me assure you there are not.

    If people spent 1/4 the time doing exercises like squats and deadlifts as they did on the damn treadmill they would be leaner, stronger and (last but not least) healthier. Plus they would be out of the gym in a fraction of the time.

    ~Joshua Carter

    Now upon hearing the idea that you've got add muscle to your body to ensure the maximum fat burning environment, a lot of people, women especially, start thinking, "But I don't want to get bigger, I want to lose weight!"  But this is such a shame, because it's very unlikely to happen, and countless women are losing out on
    these fat burning benefits because of it.

    ~Rob Poulos


    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Holiday Home Workout Options

    Since I own a gym, I'm partial to gym workouts most of the time. At home, people (especially women) often have too many distractions. Also, fitness centers generally have a lot more options so you don't get mentally and/or physically bored.

    That said, there are definite benefits to home workouts, especially during the holidays. Home workouts are one way to ditch the all-or-nothing mentality that I wrote about in my last post. You don't need to spend hours exercising to get results; you just need to know how to get the most benefit from your time and effort.

    For the first time ever, fat loss expert and Men's Health magazine contributor Craig Ballantyne, has bundled 3 of his best home workout programs into a complete "Holiday Workout System" for over 75% off the regular price but only if you order by tomorrow, Thursday, December 9th at midnight, EST. 

    The complete Holiday Workout System includes "31 Interval Training Workouts", "The Bodyweight Cardio No-Equipment Workouts", and the "TT Bodyweight Cardio 1000"!

    Most people spend too much time doing the wrong type of exercise and too much cardio to get real fat loss results. Check out Craig's research-proven workouts that DO work here ==> $19.95 Holiday Workout System

    You'll discover that the key to proven holiday fat burning are bodyweight and interval training workouts and, with Craig's programs, you'll avoid common interval training mistakes.

    Interval training and even bodyweight circuit training are the keys to burning holiday belly fat at home - especially when you don't have much time to work out (like over the busy holidays). And you need to do it right.

    To learn more about interval training, bodyweight circuits, and how to lose fat over the holidays with this combination, please read this special report here ==> $19.95 Holiday Workout System

    But hurry, this 75+% discount is only available until midnight EST Thursday, December 9th.

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Ditch The "All Or Nothing" Mentality

    Yesterday, I was boasting on Body & Soul's Facebook page about two members who came to the gym to do an abbreviated workout even though one was injured and the other had been called in to work early. They get it! Either one of them could have blown off the gym entirely but they didn't. I was trying to encourage others to follow in their footsteps and ditch the excuses. Unfortunately, I didn't go into as much detail as above and the post was misinterpreted by some people.  

    It's baffling to me that anyone would think I'd disparage an injured member for not doing a full workout but that's life on the internet. I definitely want members and boot campers to challenge themselves during their workouts but I STRONGLY discourage people from trying to push through injury or illness.

    My members and anyone else who regularly read my posts, emails, blog, or newsletter know that I am not an exercise fanatic. In fact, I spend a lot of time encouraging people to break out of the "all or nothing" exercise mentality. Between this blog and Facebook, I've posted lots of "quickie" workouts that can be done at home when people are time crunched.

    My philosophy is, and has always been, that regular exercise should be a lifestyle because it will improve your quality of life. Not because you want to be a size 0 or as punishment because you pigged out but because it will improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. You'll have more energy, be less stressed, and less likely to get sick. Regular exercise improves mood so you're less likely to get depressed. It reduces arthritis pain and stiffness. Your muscles will get stronger, making everyday activities easier- playing with kids/grandkids, carrying groceries, shoveling snow, taking the stairs, raking leaves, moving furniture, etc.

    The holidays, especially, are a time when people neglect their fitness and it's a time when it's most important. 

    We often overeat and experience increased stress or emotional issues. We have little problem making and keeping commitments to others but no one has an unlimited gas tank.

    Taking care of yourself will make you a better mom / dad / volunteer / friend / spouse / employee. So, make a commitment to your health, even if it's just 10 minutes a day.