Monday, January 27, 2014


In my opinion inequality is necessary to exist, grow and a natural part of life.  Without inequality nothing would get done, move or exist.  Imagine how boring sports would be if everyone's abilities were equal, or if all the animals were equal in abilities.  What if everyone's mental and physical abilities were equal.  We probably would not exist or have made it this far.

There is a reason why bacteria grows in pools of water with no movement, why nature has created opposing abilities in creatures.  Many forget at the end of the day, we end up following nature's blue print, like it or not.  Stay motivated and never settle for equal!

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Numbing the Pain

My prayers and thoughts go out to the families of the Connecticut shootings, may God give them strength to make it through the hard times.
I have a daughter that age and the thought of something like that happening is unbearable.  As I drove home after hearing about the tragedy and the number of innocent kids, I could barely contain my emotions.  The anger and sorrow I felt was just too overwhelming and I had to figure out a way to release the emotions that kept on rising to the surface, lucky for me my first stop was the gym.  Exercise plays a big role in my emotional state and in my opinion, on the emotional state of humanity.  At the end of the day, the majority of what ails us can be taken care of through some form of exercise. 
 As I pulled into the gym parking lot I was already feeling like a zombie and my poor body was going to take the brunt of my pain.  As I began my exercise routine, I found myself increasing the speed on the treadmill, faster and faster, I’m lucky I didn’t fall and injure myself.  The amount of reps and weight increased way beyond what I normally do and still I could not get the tragedy out of my mind.  The televisions had the news on all screens and it just fueled me even more, “numb the pain” I said to myself and before I knew it I could barely move.  My muscles were stiff, my mouth was dry, my head ached and I realized I was smoked well beyond my “redline.”  My physical pain may last a few days but the sorrow of this tragedy will remain with me for some time to come.
I’m not sure what the point of my story is other than this tragedy has impacted me and probably all of us in one way or the other and we all have our ways of dealing with emotional pain, I only wish I could do more for the families.  What has happened or is happening to humanity these days, one can only wonder.  I guess all we can do is try and prepare ourselves and our families for the battle that at some point some of us will have to fight, so stay fit, motivated, and be consistent.…… “Fitness for Battle” my friends!
"God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” - Reinhold Niebuhr

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fitness Future

Many of us have often fantasized about knowing the future and how we would take advantage of that knowledge to improve our lifestyle in one way or the other.  There are also many things in life we can’t stop, change or control, even though we know they will be occurring in the near future.  One future all of us can see and change is our “Fitness Future.” 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we will all age, our muscles will deteriorate and gravity will over power our bodies, if you get my drift!  One of the things I try to tell people and a large part of my exercise philosophy is that you must keep an eye on the future, your fitness future that is.  After all, at the end of the day one of the many reasons people get into fitness is to look good.  Looking good when you’re young is easier than when you’re older, that is why exercise selection and developing a good routine early is crucial to long term fitness.


What the future has in store for us is a saggy butt, arms, chest and an oversized waistline, this is one future we can all see coming.  Obviously there are other body parts (muscles) that will be affected by age.  The body parts shown, in my opinion, have the most impact on external appearance and have a wider impact on surrounding muscles when exercised.  In order to prolong this particular “saggy” future, an exercise routine that consistently, efficiently and safely works these muscles must be developed and utilized.


As I have mentioned on earlier postings and on my website "Exercise Philosophy" certain body parts must be exercised every time you exercise or hit the gym, every time you go, not every day.  I also mention the importance of having a base routine or foundation that provides the consistency needed.  There are hundreds of exercises, moves and routines available, but not all are efficient, safe and long term capable, so be careful when developing your base routine, some are just show-off moves. 

For those that get bored or feel they must do something totally different, just keep your fitness future in mind and realize that at some point you will have to be more consistent and realize it just has to be done, bored or not.  In the working environment, the longer you perform a certain task the better and more efficient you become.  When it comes to fitness the more consistently you perform a certain group of exercises the stronger and more shapely you become.  So when it comes to exercising pay particular attention to these muscles that have a “saggy” future.

                 “It is not enough to take steps which may someday lead to a goal; each step
                   must be itself a  goal and a step likewise.”
                                                ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Trans Fats - Dancing with the Devil

From hunters and gatherers to the hunted and herded, that seems to be what the food manufacture’s marketing schemes have done to society.   The drive for company profits has driven many food manufactures to push the envelope and hide one of the body’s biggest enemies, which in my opinion is “Trans Fat” (fully hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil or fat) and it should be outlawed!  In 2006 the FDA required manufactures to list the amount of trans fat in products, this was a good step in the right direction, but the FDA allows manufactures to state “0 Trans Fat” as long as the amount is below 0.5 grams per serving.  Any amount of trans fat is poison to the body and should be avoided, after all who eats one serving?


At the molecular level the trans fat configuration is straight, a normal configuration will have a slight bend (cis formation), the human body does not know what to do with this unnatural “trans formation”, so it’s treated as a toxin.  The trans fat molecule attaches itself to the cell walls, blocking cells from absorbing the needed nutrients.  When these fats go rancid and oxidize they cause inflammation.  The body then sends LDL to repair the damaged area.  HDL is then sent to clean up the mess, but the LDL pattern B remains stuck in the nooks and crannies of the inflammation.  This contributes to plaque build up, heart disease and many other negative health factors and why cholesterol is proclaimed to be the enemy.
Cis-9-octadecenoic acid
Trans-9-octadecenoic acid 
Due to the inflammation and the trapping of LDL pattern B particles, LDL gets a bad rap and the manufacturer’s marketing campaign begins hunting and herding us by pushing their “Cholesterol lowering” products.  Limiting this inflammation is one of the many reasons for including Omega-3 and anti-oxidants in our diets.


Read food labels and avoid anything that contains the words “trans fat”, “hydrogenated” and “mono-diglycerides.”  Mono- and di-glycerides are the new label tricks that are designated as “emulsifiers” rather than fats, so the trans fats they contain don’t count until you ingest them. 
For more information on Label Tricks reference the following links:

Vegetable oil subjected to high heat is just as bad and is used often by fast food places due to its low cost.  The alternative would increase cost and would be bad for business.  Believe it or not, frying in lard or coconut oil would be a healthier alternative because at least the body can burn it for fuel.  

"Shocker" avoid eating at restaurants; they are not required to display nutrition information about the food they serve.

These poisons are all around us and are used by many food manufactures; however these manufactures live by profit, so they can die by profit.  Don’t purchase their products and that might get their attention!

Continuing with my belief in the power of Visualization, I hope visualizing the damage that food containing trans fats can do, gives you the needed will power to avoid the next order of french fries or donuts!


Feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Zombie Effect

Ever feel like a zombie at the gym, no energy, sleepy and just don’t feel like being there? I feel your pain and it happens often to me.   Of course, once I get going the “zombie” effect goes away, that is why I like to start off with a run, but I digress.  There may be several reasons why we may lack energy or enthusiasm at the gym, what we eat or drink before a work out may make the difference.  Eating before exercise may cause cramping or nausea to some, but in order to maximize your potential the body needs fuel, so try to find something that works.


For the most part when it comes to gathering up energy for a run or a workout, a long duration energy source would be ideal as oppose to a short term energy source.   How many times have you heard someone suggest that loading up with carbohydrates before an event will provide you with energy?  Carbohydrates are chains of sugars (Strand, 2005).  Long chains are said to be complex carbohydrates and short chain carbohydrates are said to be simple or simplex.  The body breaks down the carbs and extracts the glucose; complex carbs provide a longer steady source of energy, simplex carbs will give you a quick charge but with that comes the crash.  It is very tempting to down an energy drink or take some sort of powder drink to pump you up before a workout, be aware of what the body has to go through to adjust.

When choosing a good energy source, use the Glycemic Index for assistance.  The GI is a numerical system that rates how fast carbohydrate foods break down into glucose and enter the bloodstream (Strand, 2005).   The GI index is based on a scale of 1 to over 100, the lower the number the slower the food will raise the sugar level of the body.  A rapid rise in sugar level will trigger a rapid release of insulin in order to neutralize the high sugar levels.  For example, if you eat food(s) with a high GI, the rapid rise in sugar levels will trigger the release of insulin, but often times the level of insulin released is too high.  This will often cause the “crash” effect and leave you feeling like a “zombie”, compelling you to eat a sugary snack or caffeine for a quick pick up, therefore starting the roller coaster ride!


Insulin is a fat storing hormone produced by the pancreas and has the primary duty of controlling the rising blood sugar.  Another role of insulin is to shut off the breakdown of fat, therefore causing the body to hold on to the fat like a sponge holds on to water (Strand, 2005).  Glucagon is a fat burning hormone released by the pancreas; the release of this hormone is stimulated by the intake of protein and suppressed by carbohydrates.  So eating a high-glycemic carbohydrate meal will release high levels of insulin causing the glucagon levels to drop.  Foods made from white bread, white flour, rice and potatoes are absorbed faster than a spoon full of sugar.  Glycogen is a readily available fuel source stored in the muscles and liver and is needed for any short, intense or immediate energy needs, so try to fuel up before exercising (Strand, 2005).

Knowing how the body processes energy and how to provide the best sources of energy can make a difference on how you perform and feel before exercising.  Reference the GI Index Table for a list of foods and their GI Index.

  • Depending on what foods you eat, it may take 1-2 hours before energy is available.
  • High fiber foods draws more blood to the stomach for processing.
  • Stay away from processed foods and white flour foods.
  • If you’re out of time, try baby food, it will digest faster.

Strand, R.D. MD. (2005). Healthy for Life. Rapid City, SD: Real Life Press.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Redlining" Yourself

Most vehicles these days have a tachometer designed to read the engines Revolutions Per-Minute (RPM) which allows the driver to operate the vehicle at a proper and safe engine RPM level, exceeding the RPM levels can cause serious damage to the engine.  The gauge typically marks the maximum RPM level with a set of numbers highlighted in a red or by a red line.  Therefore, the term “redlining” refers to pushing the engine to its breaking point. 

*** Caution***
As usual thanks to all those sue happy people that don’t take responsibility for their own actions I must post this disclaimer:  The following are my own opinions, follow them at your own risk and consult your physician before starting any physical activity.

Just like different vehicles have different RPM red line levels, different people have their own red line levels or breaking point.  However, our red line levels are not pre-set and can be increased through proper exercise.  I will use this analogy to describe a workout routine that I often attempt at least once or twice a month.  I call this routine “redlining”, (original I know:), it's not a routine I look forward to and its purpose is to take me to my breaking point, little by little.


In my opinion, a good “redlining” routine should make you fear it, hate it and make you feel like avoiding it all together, otherwise it may be too easy for you.  The ideal custom “redlining” routine should challenge you at all levels to include, fitness, mental and motivation levels.  Use extreme caution when performing your custom “redlining” routine, don’t rush it and pay close attention to your body.  This is why I put so much emphasis on the “Self-Awareness” connection and why I always suggest more anaerobic activity. 

The idea is not to create a routine that you can master on the first try; the idea is to create a routine that gives you a long term challenge.  Believe me, I didn’t get to this level overnight, so don’t set your sights too low.

My “redlining” routine: (rest < 30 seconds between sets and stages, complete all 5)
  • Run for at least 18 to 20 minutes on tread mill at a speed setting of 8
  • Perform 100 pull-ups in 6 minutes or less
  • Perform 200 push-ups in 5 minutes or less
  • Perform various types of abdominal exercises, from the supine position, for 10 minutes without stopping 100 situps in 3 minutes or less
  • Perform 100 dips in 5 minutes or less
As you meet your targets, increase the requirements.  Some will take longer to reach than others.  Pull-ups are very difficult, if you find yourself doing less than 3 reps, feel free to substitute some dumbbell presses instead.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

                                                ~ Michael Jordan

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The W.I.N. Syndrome

The summer is coming to an end and my local gym was busier than usual this year.  I was glad to see a large number of youth, both females and males motivated and highly engaged in achieving fitness.  The sooner they get started the better, within reason of course.  I also noticed a large number of youth walking around with shaker bottles filled with, red drinks, blue drinks, vanilla drinks, orange drinks, etc… I was a little concerned and disappointed as they walked around texting, talking on the phone and sipping their concoction.  But then I realized they must be suffering from what I call the "Want It Now" (WIN) syndrome.  There seems to be a growing trend in society these days where people just don't have the patients to work for something they truly want.   It's bad enough that technology has made us "Tools of our Tools", don't let your body and health suffer the same fate.

We all suffer from a little WIN syndrome once in a while when it comes to material things or careers, but for now I will focus more on the physical fitness impact of the WIN syndrome. The desire to succeed and achieve certain goals faster and better than the next person drives us all, not just the youth.  The high expectation society and we place on each other drives many of us to take short cuts when it comes to achieving our fitness goals.  We want to be stronger, faster, skinnier, and sexier than others and the less effort we have to put into it the better right?

In my opinion, the human body is amazing, very intelligent and capable.  At the same time it’s innocent and looks to you for direction and assistance.  The human body depends on you and trusts you like a child and at times it can be as forgiving as your favorite pet (dog), so be careful what you feed it and how you treat it.  In my opinion feeding the body chemicals before and after a workout can offset the body’s natural processing balance and functions.  You may not notice it right away and you may even feel like you're making progress, but there will be a price to pay in the long run. 

The body adapts very quickly, if you train it to perform on a good natural diet, after several years you will have a very efficient body capable of dealing with stressful and emergency situations better than a body dependent on chemicals.  At the same time if you accustomed your body to chemicals that provide a short cut to its normal processing routine, it will let you down when you need it the most.  The body will become lazy, weak and totally confused, potentially causing serious injury when you stress it or force it to perform without its chemicals.  Read my earlier posting Fitness for "The Battle" for another take.

In my opinion, if you must take supplements, stick to a good multi-vitamin and limit your intake of supplements that claim to improve physical gains.  It is better to take the pain now than later, I realize we all have our demons; it just depends how strong our cage is.  As always, remember the “Tortoise and the Hare” story, take your time and do it right!

   "Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor".  ~Dr. Alexis Carrel

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