Cardio VS Weight training

I love the questions that come from a new client about exercise that start with “I heard from a friend…”  My first response is to find out exactly who the friend is.  Usually the friend is someone who is not remotely in the exercise/fitness/wellness field, possibly an insurance agent or car salesman.  Now I’m not saying that every insurance agent and car salesman doesn’t know a thing about exercise but my experience has been that the advice given is typically off the mark.  I will say this again that I don’t think what I do is rocket science.  Now that I think about it there is no job out there that is rocket science except, of course, that of a rocket scientist, so that makes me feel a little better.  I will try to clear up a few of the myths out there to the best of my ability and I encourage you to send me some that I don’t cover that I may be able to help with.  Hopefully, this will help you to streamline your workout and be able to get more from what you are doing.  Here we go.

If I am trying to lose weight I should work on cardio for a while then incorporate weight training.  MYTH.  Lets take a 30 minute session of cardio vs a 30 minute strength session.  You most likely burn more calories during the cardio, so that is good.  However muscle uses more energy when you aren’t exercising.  Making the muscles stronger from the start can actually kick up the  weight loss, and more importantly, fat loss.  It is important to do both for a complete workout.

I shouldn’t eat before I exercise because then I will burn fat.  MYTH.  The more important part of this is the fact that you need energy to exercise and get the most from the exercise session.  You definitely should not eat a full meal before exercising but I can’t tell you the number of times that I have trained someone late in the day and they get light headed. The first thing I ask is when is the last time they ate and usually they will say breakfast.  You need energy, i.e. food, to exercise.  The key is what are you going to choose.  An apple or banana before working out is ideal.

I have a belly that I want to lose so I need to do a lot of crunches. MYTH.  I know you have heard this before but it always needs repeating.  You cannot spot reduce.  Going back to question 1, making muscles stronger will use more energy.  While the abdominals are a key muscle group and one that should not be avoided, you will get more bang for your buck by working your entire body to lose that gut.  The big 5 for me are:

1. Chest press for chest, front of shoulders and tricep.

2. Row for the back, bicep and back of shoulder.

3.  Leg press or squat for legs.

4. Ab crunches on the stability ball.

5.  Lower back on the stability ball.


These are obviously just a few things that come to me.  As I said at the beginning I encourage you to ask me your own questions and I will answer to the best of my knowledge.  I am a proponent of something is better than nothing so if you are out there moving that is the biggest part.  If you want to make what you are doing more efficient, thats what I’m here for.

Until next time…



The Power of Food

Working as a personal trainer since 1998,  I have had that epiphany on what exercise can really do for each of us.  The same can be said about how I see the value of what we eat.  I don’t make the claim to be a dietician so when someone would ask me what they should do as far as nutrition I would reply that they should just take a “good multivitamin”.  At the time I had no idea what it was that food did for us.  Eating was really nothing more than getting calories in to satisfy hunger.  

The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has been around for a while but I don’t think anyone knows how powerful those words are.  What I didn’t know when giving that brilliant advise of taking a good multivitamin was how much is in the whole food, such as an apple, that really can keep the doctor away.  I have been involved with  Juice Plus for 10 years and the education on whole foods from them has been tremendous.  Research is our greatest tool and what has been found through research on food, and synthetic vitamins, over the recent years is incredible.  The have found that there are tens of thousands of phytonutrients in food that man simply cannot replicate when making vitamins.  These phytonutrients are vital in the absorption of the whole food.  If those additional nutrients are not there our bodies simply don’t know what to do with that synthetic vitamin C, for example.  

Our bodies are incredible machines that do amazing things.  If you don’t believe me take a course on Anatomy and Physiology and see all the different things our body has to keep in check from fighting cancer cells to healing a simple paper cut.  We take for granted that this machine is functioning properly.  More importantly God made these machines for us and I believe he gave us the fuel needed to ensure that machine functions properly.  That fuel comes in the form of fruits and vegetables, not in the form of a vitamin tablet.  Experiment with what you eat.  Notice how you feel when you consume a high fat meal compared to eating a healthy meal.  We should be energized after eating, not run down and sleepy.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy a good cookie from time to time and when Thanksgiving comes around there is nothing better than that second… okay third… helping of turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie followed closely by a nap.  What we have to keep in mind is that should not be our daily habit.  

As I said earlier, I am a believer in Juice Plus.  This is not a replacement for a healthy diet, but a way to bridge the gap between what we eat and what we should eat.  17 fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day!  I doubt that anyone comes close to  getting that on a daily basis. if you want more information and you can certainly contact me.  We are not going to be perfect when it comes to eating but I do feel it is our responsibility to give our body what it needs to work properly.  

Until next time…

Why I love what I do

When I was 14 I wanted to join a gym, lift weights and get BIG!  I was a skinny teenager and just knew that if I had muscles that would complete my life.  Funny how at 14 I thought such simple things would make me happy.  So my dad took me to the few weight rooms in the area and we checked them out.  After finding out the cost of the facilities he sat me down and “suggested” that instead of joining a gym at that time, I could buy a weight bench and weight set for the basement and start working out at home.  He had this crazy idea that people joined gyms all the time and then never go, and we all know that is just not true! Even though at the time I thought it was the worst advice that was ever given it turned out to be a great “suggestion”.  I see young guys all the time in the gym trying to impress the ladies by doing things that are just crazy. Being by myself in the basement I didn’t have that pressure.  It was me, the Arnold Schwarzenegger poster/workout and the 80 lbs of weights that was more than heavy enough.  I had no idea that 30 years later I would still be exercising and showing people what they need to do to get in shape.  I also didn’t know that my attitude towards exercise would have such a drastic change.

I still get the fact that we all want to look good and that is a driving force behind exercise.  I have yet to have someone meet with me in February and tell me their reason to get on an exercise program is to look bad in a swimsuit when the pools open on Memorial weekend.  One of the outcomes of working out is looking good and there is nothing wrong with that.  The reason my attitude has changed is because of the other things that I have witnessed exercise doing for people.  Here are just a few examples of clients and what they have achieved through hard work and dedication.

*Going from a sendentary lifestyle and overweight to running 5k’s and riding century rides.

*Stroke victim being able to get up out of a wheelchair and use a walker to walk down a hallway when they were supposed to be confined to that chair.

*80-90 year old men and women who keep that active lifestyle, walking without a cane, getting up from a seated position without it being an incredible challenge.

This goes along with all the athletes that have become bigger and stronger because of how they challenge themselves.

Look, I don’t think that what I do is rocket science.  I don’t claim to have that one incredible workout that is going to get you to lose 50 lbs in 2 weeks.  I do, however, think that you too can see incredible changes in your life with exercise and there is an effective/efficient way to do this. That I can help you with.

Until next time….

What is the best way to exercise?

This is a question that, depending on who you are talking to, will get you a variety of answers.  If you are like me and periodically wake up at 2am and can’t get back to sleep, you turn on the T.V. and see the P90X or Insanity programs.  Crossfit is all the rage in some areas.  You can choose yoga or pilates.  Then there is Zumba, Spinning, TRX, Kettlebell class, lap swimming, aqua classes, weightlifting, running, cycling…you get the idea.  The point here is there are many different ways to get exercise into your life.  So that leaves us with, what is the best way?

I’ll make this as clear as mud.  There is no best way.  We have to get the heart rate up for heart health and do some sort of resistance work to strengthen the muscles and bones.  This can be accomplished by combining the above list in a variety of ways.  You can run for your cardiovascular and lift weights for resistance.  Crossfit and cycling.  Swim and P90X.  Yoga, spinning and weights.  The thing to remember is we have to do something.  For myself, I enjoy a variety of things.  I cycle, lift weights, spin, run ( well actually jog), and swim.  This may sound like I am constantly exercising but actually I don’t believe in spending all of your time in the gym.  You can spend 30 minutes lifting weights 2-3 times a week and accomplish a lot!  Higher intensity cardio such as Spinning will get that heart rate up.  It doesn’t matter what you like or what you don’t like, there is always something that will help you achieve your goals.  

I would be more that happy to help guide you to your goals…feel free to contact me!