Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Eat, Drink And Be Merry

This is a nice time of year to party with friends and family. Unfortunately many people gain five or more pounds. The good news: it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few things you can do, enjoy yourself and not feel cheated.

The main thing to realize is that pounds usually come as a result of a week’s behavior.  You are allowed to have a bad day here and there. Actually you will make more progress with weight loss if you vary calories from day to day.

The reason for this is called starvation mode efficiency. If you have fewer calories than you need for a long period of time the body begins to thinks food is scarce. The thing that suffers most is your metabolism. You begin to conserve energy, feel sluggish and will have a hard time losing any weight at all. This is why so many people eat like a bird, are tired all the time and never achieve permanent weight loss.

Here is a simple proven suggestion. Budget you calories like you would your finances. Figure how many calories you have to spend for the week. If you have 1500 a day you can spend 10,500 for the week. You can have a few frugal days of 1000 and spend 2500 when you need to at a special occasion.

If you are real into numbers you can actually make this pretty scientific. If you’re like me, make it simple. Forget the numbers and just guess a little. Have a few light dinners and lunches leading up to your blow it days. When you do hit the parties you’ll have calories to burn and won’t feel guilty.

Another suggestion is eating a little before a party, especially when appetizers are served. Eating a small lunch before your 4:00 Christmas meal is a good way to save you from overeating when you finally sit down.

The rules that apply here will also be maximized with a few extra walks or workouts. Don’t forget the calories you burn during workouts are only a part of the overall benefit.When you add workouts you also increase your metabolism even after you’re done. This is what we call the afterburn. For more tips visit us at

Thursday, November 15, 2012

You are not the biggest loser

This a blog for anyone discouraged about weight loss. Although I find the show “The Biggest Loser” very entertaining, it also makes me very mad. I have helped hundreds of  clients lose thousands of pounds. This show makes normal weight loss seem like underachieving.

The solution is to weight loss is very simple on one hand but following through is another story. The first thing to consider is basic math. Your metabolism begins to slow after age 30 and you need to burn more than you consume. So basically just move more and eat less. The trouble comes because we live in a microwave society and we all want it yesterday.

To lose one pound a week, we need to burn off 3500 calories or eat 3500 calories less. This is not a quick process. People need to think of a pound or two a week as a major success and look at the big picture. You didn’t get it over night and it you won’t lose it overnight either. If you lose a pound a week for a year you’re down 50.

One thing to feel good about: your success rate doubles if you take the weight off slowly. Rapid weight loss increases in abundance a hormone called lipolipophase. This is the body’s defense mechanism to return fat stores anticipating times of famine. The “yoyo syndrome” is caused by more than a lack of willpower. Be patient and you’ll have better long term success.

The final point that most people miss is, you need to continually challenge yourself with regard to muscle fitness. You can lift small weight and still get the benefits. The most important thing is to change it up. If you’ve been doing the same thing for more than a month, you’re not maximizing your efforts. If your muscles never get sore, chances are you need to change what you’re doing.

For more tips visit us at

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tips To Help You Get healthy

Most people know what they should do. The problem usually is finding the time or just digging down and making the tough choices. If you’re looking for a way to get fit and become healthier I have some suggestions.

First, you need to make a regular time to exercise that doesn’t revolve around your busy schedule. You need to pick a day of the week or maybe two that you’ll keep on a weekly basis. Weekends for most people will give you one day for starters. If you have to decide on a daily basis you’ll never make exercise a routine.

The most important thing is to choose something that you don’t hate. If jogging is too hard, try walking. If walking on a treadmill is work, go outside on the trails. Set the bar to a level you can jump over easily. Fitness can be fun, if not at least tolerable.

Another winning tip is to start with a goal that’s easy to attain. To go from a couch potato to a gym rat is unrealistic. Exercising three times a week for an hour is a great weight loss recipe, but not for a beginner. If you just want to get going try moving more two times a week for 15-20 minutes. You can build from there little by little.

If weight loss is you goal, try to eat more fish. It has been said, if you eat fish twice a week you will improve your health. The good news, there are frozen fish dinners that I am amazed by. Costco has a tilapia with pesto that even fish haters would enjoy. If you check the labels you’ll find most fish dinners are high protein and lower carbs. and calories.

Finally, the new reality for weight loss means stay away from starch. This means breads; pasta and even rice should be used sparingly. What you can do here is have a lean protein source with your meal but have double veggies or start with a salad. This is a hard one in the beginning but is guaranteed to yield positive results!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Beauty Of Stretching

I want to spend some time on the biggest bang for your fitness effort. Most people know about eating right and keeping at a proper weight. You often hear about the importance of doing regular exercise which usually includes cardio and weight bearing lifting.

Little is spoken and less written about stretching. The best thing before I continue is the length of time required to reap these terrific benefits. In two to five minutes you can begin to improve flexibility and relieve tension in tight muscles.

The first thing to do before you stretch is to warm up for a few minutes. The easiest way to warm up is walking. If you don’t have a treadmill or elliptical you can hit the streets or walk around the yard for a few minutes. 
I’ll give a few of my favorite stretches but first some simple rules to follow. You should hold every stretch for at least 15 seconds. The muscle only begins to let go after it is gently pulled in a controlled manner. This also means no bouncing. Yes what we saw in the Olympics from the Russian Gymnasts is called ballistic stretching and it’s not for us.

My favorite stretch is what I call the “good morning”. Lie on your back and bend your legs to one side. Put your hands over your head and bend to the other side. Do this for 15-30 seconds and repeat to the other side. This helps relax the lower back and shoulders.

Another feel good stretch is to bend over and pull the door frame with one hand at about waist level. Keep the knees bent and keep your back flat from your shoulders to your butt. This gives a good pull from the wing muscles of the upper back all the way down to the lower back.

I took a seminar from Paul Check a world renowned fitness authority. He taught us that the two major causes of back pain were poor posture and tight hamstrings. This one is not a feel good stretch but a good way to stretch your hamstrings. Lie on your back, keep one leg bent so your back remains flat. Raise the other leg up and try to straighten it out. It’s OK if  the leg stays a little bent. Pull the leg gently towards your stomach. I find this hurts the neck of people who aren’t that flexible, so here is an easier method. Put a towel around your leg so you can pull the towel with both hands with your leg in the middle. Keep your head flat on the matt and pull very slowly until the hamstrings start to give. You will be surprised how much the leg starts to move after a few seconds.
Do these stretches every day for best results. If you forget a few days it’s OK. The more the better so find a time that works. For more stretches and tips visit our website at

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Improve Your Balance and Have Some Fun

As we age our muscles get weaker if they don’t get challenged. As a lifelong fitness buff I have always done conventional weights and cardio. The more I work with seniors the more I see the need to work the muscles that effect our balance.

The first place to start is with the feet and then the ankles. After that we can work on the legs and hips. The good news is that many of the exercises that help one area will also build strength in other areas as well.
A good example is standing on one foot. Go to the corner of a room or stand by something you can grab when you need to steady yourself. Lift one foot and count so you can access tangibly how well you’re doing. You may only last five seconds but don’t worry improvement is guaranteed as you practice.
The surprise for many is how hard this is on the feet and ankles. Every time you sway corrections are made by tiny movements, from the feet all the way up to the hips. This is one way you can work multiple muscle groups by just doing one move.

The next thing is to try various things while standing on one foot. Swing your arms over your head like “The Wave” at sporting events. Lift your arms out to the sides up to your ears. Do some curls while alternating hands. If you do this in front of a clock with a second hand you can keep track of how well you’re progressing.

If you want to have some fun, get a Swiss Ball. These come in various sizes and colors and only cost about $20. You can do a whole workout while seated on these balls and when that gets easy, try lifting one foot while doing the exercises. One of my favorites is to lay on the ball with the ball under you stomach. Start with the feet and hands touching the ground. Lift the right arm and the left leg at the same time and hold for a
second or two then switch. This will not only improve your balance but work more muscles than almost any other exercise you can think of.

Finally for the advanced: get a Bosu Ball. These are the blue half dome balls that you can stand on. Without exception this is the best piece of exercise equipment for the advanced fitness buff who want a challenge. They cost about $100 but you can do about 50-60 real tough and effective exercise that you can’t do with anything else. Look forward to more info on the Bosu Ball in future blog entries.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Best Reason to Exercise You've Never Heard

Most people who call a personal trainer are looking to lose weight and tone up. There are lots of people who want to look younger. If you want to beat depression you may also look to start an exercise program. In a nut shell most of the reasons for exercise come under the category of wanting to look and feel better.

One of the best reasons to start your fitness program may be staying healthy. A little known fact to most: even moderate exercise helps bolster the immune system. After every session, people who workout experience a heightened T-Cell count. T-Cells are the tiny elements in the body that fight infection. They basically attack little things that grow up to become big things. One the small scale this means the cold and flu. The bigger problems include cancer and other terrible disabling diseases.

I’ve worked with cancer patients who have come to me by way of Doctor's suggestion. Other clients have contracted cancer and tripled their medical prognosis in terms of longevity. Many of my clients have beaten the odds and are in total remission. They live lives like nothing has ever happened. Google “exercise and cancer” and you’ll find a limitless source of reinforcing data.

If you don’t worry about cancer, exercise can just help protect you from getting sick. If you talk to a lifelong fitness enthusiast, ask them: when was the last time you got sick? I once heard a simple analogy that made a dramatic impression on me. After a workout, think of a cleaning lady going through your body for four hours and cleaning out all the garbage. What this references is the increased immune response that takes place after every exercise session for about four hours. Like the expression goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Drink More Water to Feel Healthy and Lose Weight

If you want to lose weight and be healthier, you may have heard to drink more water. The first reason you may have already heard. Our bodies are composed mostly of water and enough water helps us stay hydrated and makes everything run more efficiently. There are a variety of other reasons so I’ll bring up one you may not have heard of.

Our liver and kidneys only function at full capacity if we drink lots of water. There are various opinions but most stress eight to ten glasses a day. If we make an effort and do these two things happen. Our liver functions at full capacity and our kidneys don’t have to help the liver clean the blood supply. This frees up the liver to help remove fat and cholesterol from our bodies. In short drinking lots of water will make us lose weight!

If you already know you should be drinking more water, I have some tips that may help you fit more water into your daily routine. 1) Find a container that hold about 16ozs. Bring it in the bathroom as you get ready in the morning and you’ll see how easy it is to finish it. You will already have achieved 25% of your daily quota.

Second, fill a glass pitcher with the remainder of the six to eight glasses. Glass I find is helpful because it makes the water look more appealing than plastic containers. In addition you may want to cuts some lemon or lime slices or even add some fresh mint to the pitcher. When the pitcher is empty you know you’ve hit you goal.

Third, drink your water when your home out of a nice glass tumbler. Plastic bottles are fine on the run but seem silly to me if your at home. One of my clients told me she used a champagne glass to make the water seem special. If you like your water cold put your pitcher in the fridge. If not keep the pitcher where you’ll see it during the day.

If you work at an office try to have a water container on your desk. Having a big glass before all your meals is also a good way to not only get your water but also make you feel full and eat less.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bust Through That Weight Loss Plateau

There is a large group of people who do everything right and still have a hard time making weight loss progress. I have little sympathy for people who want to look better and lose weight but don’t eat right or attempt to increase their activity. There are a few solutions I can share that may help people break through their weight loss plateau.
The first thing makes perfect sense, modify your diet. If you eat low cal. all the time you can be slowing down your metabolism. Most people eat the same thing every day. If you have 1500 calories a day, switch to 1200 one day and 1800 the next. Go really strict with only 1000 calories and the next day have 2000.  Try adding more protein and more veggies and cut out the starchy carbs. It’s hard to believe but sometimes it’s more than just math.

Like the first tip of modifying your diet, you can also change up the times you eat. You can actually reset your metabolism by changing your eating schedule. The one exception is breakfast. Eat as soon as you wake up. This will give your body a nice jump start to begin the day. Also you can make your snack more like a meal and your meal more like a snack. It may be hard to switch your times during the weekdays, so try different eating times on the weekend.

For people who already exercise, change your workouts. It has been proven for years that the body respond better when challenged. If you do the same thing for over a month it begins to get easier. Advanced workout buffs change their workouts daily. Most people need something new at least every few weeks. Change the exercises, speed, order, pairing and even frequency of workouts. You will not only get stronger and more fit but will also avoid injury.

The last tip is to assess your diet. If what you’re doing doesn’t work, it may need to be modified. The biggest mistake people make is portion size. Most food manufactures make servings smaller than what an average person would usually have. If you get a food scale you will be amazed at what an ounce of cereal looks like. Buy a book on food calorie counts and keep a food diary. Information is power, so get informed and get the scale moving in the right direction.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lose Weight and Keep It Off

Most of the people who come to a personal trainer don’t have trouble losing weight. Many of the people I work with have lost hundreds of pounds. The trouble is that most have regained all the weight back and then some. There are a few things I can share that will help people from making the common mistakes.

The best and most effective thing you can do is to keep a food diary. You don’t have to carry around a notebook either. At the end of the day most people can remember every meal and even the snacks they’ve eaten. The amazing thing to me is this one fact: You double your chance of permanent weight loss success by adding this one behavior. 

The second no-brainer is to plan ahead. If you get home from work and there’s nothing to eat, what do you do? Most people eat out or pick up some delicious food to go. The problem is that most places keep you coming back by giving you food that tastes great. A restaurant’s main priority is repeat business, not your weight loss goals. If you’re off Sunday, go shopping for the week and bring a list. Plan your meals and shop when you’re not hungry. It may take more time in the beginning but it gets easier after a while.

You’ll love this one. Allow yourself to cheat once in a while. When I had my promo pictures done 20 plus years ago, I followed this strategy. It was football season. After six days of being really good, I went to Sunday Brunch. I had everything I wanted, watched the first half and then had a smart dinner. I have never looked better. The occasional feast lets your body avoid starvation mode efficiency and rewards your hard work during the week. A word of caution: Eat pretty well all week and feast for one day and you’ll gain weight. A more moderate option is eat with discipline most the time so you can splurge once in a while.

Finally, try to boost your metabolism by sticking to an activity you like. If you hate to do something, you probably won’t adopt it as a lifestyle. Most people don’t exercise because the last time they did it they hated it. Walk the dog, take a hike in our beautiful foothills or pick up those dumb bells you have in the closet or under the bed. In a few hours I can show anyone how much better they’ll feel by spending an hour or two a week moving in the right direction.

For more tips visit us at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Taper 0ff Carbs and Lose Weight

I want to share something I saw on Dr. Oz this morning. We train in a closed private studio and I often prefer music or informational programming to straight news. I feel what ever makes the time go more quickly is best. The guest put very simply what many other like myself have said for years. I have heard: Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner. Unfortunately this is opposite to the way most people eat.

What I heard today put this cliché into straight percentages and had solid logic to back up this radical reform. If we eat a 40% of our breakfast in the form of carbs it will help fuel our daily energy needs. When lunch comes around we can scale that percentage down to 25 and then for dinner beef up the protein and scale down the carbo’s to 15%.

What is important to note is the quality of the food should remain the same. Sorry but a high carb breakfast is not pancakes with syrup. You can have some whole wheat toast, a small bagel, oatmeal or even smart potatoes (vs. hash browns). Make sure you also have a protein source with it that has at least 20-30 grams of protein. What I find nice is the fact that we Americans like a lot of protein for dinner anyway. You can have broiled fish, chicken, pork tenderloin (even red meat once in a while) but have it with veggies instead of rice, rolls, potatoes and starchy carbs.

What I like best about this program is that all the meals are good size. You may actually be eating more but finally starting to lose weight. One note of caution: If you do all this but have a few drinks and some snacks while you watch TV, you’ll add back all the carbs you just subtracted.

If you live in La Crescenta, La Canada, Sunland or Tujunga you can stop by for a free consultation.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Improve Your Posture and Balance

Here is a good way to improve your balance and posture with one move. The first thing you’ll need is a Swiss Ball. If you want more info on Swiss Balls go to my website and look at older posts ( Basically all you need to do is read the box to find which size is right for your height.

Sit on the ball and make sure your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees are not pointed up and your legs form a right angle. For the beginners, just sitting and balancing will be a good place to start. When you feel this is too easy try to raise one foot off the floor. The higher you raise the foot the harder the exercise. For the advance, try to raise one foot straight and hold it for a few seconds and then lower it up and down ten times.

The above “ball sitting” will help your balance. If you want to improve your posture at the same time try this. Put you hands up as if to surrender or make the “field goal” sign in football. Next press your hands over your head to the middle. This is called a dumbbell press. Start with just your arms and then add a few pounds. This is not only one of the best exercises for the shoulders but if will do wonders for your posture. 

To kill two birds as they say combine the first “ball sit” with the second dumbbell press. The first thing is to do both moves with both feet on the floor. This will become easy at some point and then you can try lifting the weight while holding one leg up.

As I continue to train seniors in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s I notice one common problem. Forward head posture seems to force people to lift the arms in front of the forehead instead of over the top of the head. You may have a hard time in the beginning raising your arms over your head to the middle. As you continue to perform this exercise you will be amazed at how you can correct the way you sit, stand and walk.

For more info visit us at

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Good Way To Get Started

This entry is for anyone who wants to look and feel better but hasn’t gotten started. The majority of the people I talk to want to stick to an exercise routine. The biggest problemis often the approach that they take. Most of my clients come to me after several attempts on their own to get in shape. Here is my take on how to get started.
There has been new research that suggests it may be more productive to break up your cardio session in two or three segments. The study used two 30 minute sessions but then suggested that two or three 10 minute session would also be effective. The reason has to do with the fact that a break in the middle helps you breathe better and absorb more oxygen.
You may not have time for a half hour walk but you probably have time for a few ten minute walks. Also you burn the same amount of calories if you walk or run a mile. The difference is how much you get done in a given time frame. I know running is great exercise but have you ever looked at the face on a runner. There are not a lot of smiles.
Think of less as more if you want to get yourself going. The biggest mistake is to do too much, too fast. Bootcamp was intended for military men in their 20’s. If you have any problems with knees or sore ankles this may not be for you.
So in summary, if you want to get started try a few ten minute walks. Take a watch and pay attention to how long it takes you to walk a given distance. As you progress you inevitably will try to go a little farther or a little faster. Remember a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Swiss Balls Make Exercise Fun

A Swiss Ball is a large ball between 45-65 cms. It’s the one you can sit on that comes in several bright colors. There are several things you can do to target every part of the body and I would like to give some basic information to help your fitness needs.

For your legs you can put the ball between your back and a wall and do squats. Start with the ball behind your lower back and walk out a step or two and go to a sitting position. Make sure your legs are at a right angle at the down position. If you can see your toes when you are sitting you know your form is right.

You can tone your stomach with crunches. Sit on the ball and lean back until you’re looking up at the ceiling. Your lower back will be right below the middle of the ball. Put your hand behind your head to support your neck and crunch up and down. You don’t need to come up very high, just about for to six inches.

Strengthen your lower back by lying on the ball. Start in the push up position with the ball under your stomach. Your hands and toes will be touching the floor. Raise your right leg and left arm and hold it for a second or two. Lower and then repeat the other side. Start with five reps per side.

A good move the for saddle bags (thighs) is side raise. The ball makes it more challenging than the mat. Lie on your side with the ball at your hip. Keep one foot on the ground and raise the upper leg. You can hold the ball with you hand to make it a bit easier. Try about ten reps each side.

You can also help your balance by sitting on the ball and then raising one leg out straight. Hold it for two 
seconds and then lower it. Try this ten times with one leg, then go to the other leg. If you want to work the 
shoulders you can raise your hands over your head while holding the leg up.

Swiss balls are not only fun but effective. To find the right size read the box. They usually tell you which one 
to buy according to your height. For more tip visit our website at

Monday, May 7, 2012

Turn That Keg Into a Six Pack

Most of my new personal training clients come to me this time of year looking for that summer beach body. The girls as well as guys always want to target their abdominal s. The good news is you CAN target the abs. The bad news is the key to showing that six pack is more about low body fat than stomach exercises.

What works best is a combination of challenging stomach exercises, a good cardio program and a smart diet. There was a recent study that evaluated the 20 most popular stomach exercises. The winner was the much hated move called the bicycle.

To perform the bicycle lie flat on your back. Put your hands behind your head. Bend the right leg towards your stomach and try to touch your left elbow. Repeat the other arm and leg. To make sure your back won’t hurt start with your legs higher so they are at about a 45 degree angle. As you get more comfortable you can begin to lower your legs closer to the floor. Keep the arms and legs moving and don’t let your heels touch the floor.

Another good core exercise is the knees to the chest. Lie flat, put your hands under your butt and bend your knees to your chest. To protect your back start with your legs at a 45 degree angle and then bend them towards your chest. Try to keep the heels off the floor. Start with five to ten repetitions.

The last move I suggest is the standard crunch. Lie flat, bend your legs and reach over the knees. The biggest mistake people make with crunches is they go too fast and don’t pause and concentrate when they come up. Lee Haney won more bodybuilding contest than Arnold. He once said if you can do 21 crunches you did the first 20 wrong. Don’t waist your time and effort. Go slow do them right and you’ll see the difference.

All this work is fine but without getting your body fat down you won’t see the hard muscles you’ve built. It all comes down to math when it comes to weight loss or low body fat. Burn more than you consume and you’ll get where you want to go. If you don’t walk, start. If you already walk, walk more (add a day) or walk faster. Sometimes by just adding one more session a week you’ll begin to see progress.

The most crucial element as you may already know is a smart diet. The best thing you can do here is to keep a food diary. Most people know what they should do and writing things down is a great way to become more accountable and proactive. Stay away from  sweets, starch based carbs. and high calorie drinks (energy drinks included ). The few seconds you take at the end of the day to start your food diary may be the one element you need to strengthen your resolve.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Build Your Upper Body and Your Abs

Can one exercise improve your upper body strength as well as the abdominal? The answer is yes. The name of the move is the plank and you can perform a variety of versions to accommodate most every fitness level.

What you want to picture in your mind is a plank of wood. The easiest and most effective version is to hold the up position of a mans pushup and start counting. Get on the ground and act like you are going to do a pushup. Don’t go down like regular pushups just hold at the top. You can start with 15-20 seconds and work up from there. 
Most men can do this with little effort in the beginning. They’re even happy they don’t have to go up and down. After 30-45 seconds the arms start to shake and you get why this is also a core or stomach exercise.

I have several women in their late 70’s do this. They are really exceptional for their age group and started with only 20 seconds. An easier way to start for beginners is to hold the pushup position on an incline angle. Push a chair or bench up against a wall and act like you are going to do pushup. Hold it at the top and count. You can also lie on your belly. Bend you arms so your fists are by your armpits. Go up on your toes and up on your forearms. This is easy on the wrist and not as tough on the upper body.

If you are advanced and want a challenge, raise your toes on a box. You want to be in a position so your feet and shoulders are level. The guys in good shape can hold this for one to two minutes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Break That Weight Loss Plateau

If you are really making an effort to lose weight and have hit a sticking point, this info is for you. There are two kinds of people, the one’s who wish they were smaller and the one’s who do something about getting better. The frustrating thing is to make a real effort and still fail to make progress. The following tips may help.

Don’t eat past 8:00 PM if possible. Our bodies burn calories at different rates during the day. We burn food more rapidly the earlier we eat. This is a good reason to eat a big breakfast, medium lunch and smaller dinner.

The previous fact leads nicely into my advice on snacking. Pay careful attention to the time and amount of calories in our snacks. Avoid trail mix, dried fruit and nuts. They all are calorie dense. Try instead low calorie popcorn or cut up veggies. If you snack while you watch TV, keep it around a hundred calories per night.

Drink more water that you think is possible. No matter how much you drink, drink more. This is the biggest no-brainer on the list. There are so many reasons it really deserves a blog entry all to itself. Trust me, I heard one authority say shoot for a gallon a day.

Skipping breakfast or skipping meals in general is a real way to stall your weight loss progress. You may thing you’re saving calories by skipping, but statistics prove otherwise. The bump you get in your metabolism from a small healthy meal out weighs what you save by avoiding your meal in the first place.

Finally, you probably need to move more. Unfortunately our metabolism is our own worst enemy. As we age it continues to decline. If we don’t plan in advance to walk or do some resistance training it probably won’t happen. When you look at your week on Sunday set two or three day’s aside. If you wait until the end of a busy cay to decide you know what the answer will be.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easy Changes for Permanent Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight you may be making a few mistakes that are pretty easy to avoid. First make sure you have breakfast. So many people are in a hurry and feel that the calories they save by skipping breakfast will help their weigh loss efforts. The opposite is true. You should eat a smart breakfast (visit my website for examples) within the first hour of waking. This will jump start your metabolism and give you the energy to get through your busy day.

 Another thing to avoid is constant weighing. People who start a weight loss program are often discouraged by the lack of quick results. Our weight fluctuates one to three lbs. a day and progress in weight loss is often offset by muscle gain. I would weigh no more than once a week and try to be patient. If you begin to eat better and move more, you already have something to be proud of.

Drinking water is probably the easiest way to make progress with the battle of the bulge. If you did everything the same and drank eight to ten glasses of water (not coffee or soda), you would lose weight. Most people need only change from soda or coffee to water to start the scale moving in the right direction.

Use your thoughts to help you not hurt you. If you have a past history or failing at losing weight you need a new mindset. It may sound funny but try visualization for a few mins. before you fall asleep at night. See yourself as you once were or as you want to be. There are several authors who have made a lot of money saying this for an entire book. (Maxwell Maltz- Psycho Cybernetics.) It works, try it!

Finally stop putting off what you know you should be doing. If you’re not exercising and easting healthy on a routine basis you know you should be. I could give you a dozen reasons why you should but they wouldn’t be as personal as the ones you already know.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Imporve Your Balance And Tone Your Butt

One of the most common requests for every personal trainer is: “How can I firm up my butt?” There are over 20 good exercises, some require equipment this one does not. All you need is a little instruction and then some perseverance.

The first thing to do is stand up straight with your arms by your side. Lift your right leg up slightly as if you were taking a step up. Bend over and touch your left foot with your right hand. Most people won’t get all the way down, that’s OK. The first thing you’ll notice is how hard it is to balance. You may need to put down the right foot occasionally or even hold on to something stationary. Repeat this move ten times and then start on the other side.

A few things to remember never do anything that hurts the knees. When you bend forward to touch the right foot you can put the left leg back in the air to help your balance and avoid knee pain. As you bend down if you keep the legs straight you shouldn’t have any knee issues. Some people will only get as far as the knee and may need to hang onto a chair for stability. This move may seem easy to some but do a few sets of ten and
wait a day or two.

Another by product of this exercise is leg strength and improved balance. When you perform ten reps. you may feel it working in the upper leg and hip as well as the butt. Give this one a try because in a few minutes a week you can improve your balance while you strengthen your hips and gluteus maximus.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Get More Energy And Lose Weight

If you want to lose weight you may be cutting calories. Restricting calories can often make us tired and less likely to do the things we want to do. The following are some tricks that will give us all the energy we want and need.

The first suggestion is to take a short walk first thing in the morning. Walking for as little as 20 minutes can jump start your metabolism. The second thing to do is have a smart breakfast with at least 20 grams of protein. I like Greek yogurt with berries. It has twice the protein of regular yogurt.

When it comes to eating, you want more small meals instead of the way most of us eat. Too many people are stuck in the pattern of a small or no breakfast at all, a little lunch and a big dinner. If we make a point to eat medium sized meals throughout the day we will have more energy and actually lose weight more easily. Having small mini meals also keeps our blood sugar stable and provides us with constant energy.     

Here are some additional tips: Make sure you get enough sleep, reduce you sugar intake
(you experience lows after short initial highs), eat more unprocessed food like fruits and veggies, avoid alcohol during the week, take a power nap for 10-20 minutes and manage stress by meditating ( or just close you eyes and think of happy thoughts a few times a

Monday, March 19, 2012

Reasons To Stick To Your Fitness Program

Most people are aware of the obvious benefits of exercise. If you are already in a fitness routine, you are a rare exception. The majorities of adults don’t exercise or talks themselves out of exercise on a regular basis. Here are some less talked about reasons that may help get you motivated.

A good fitness routine will raise your metabolism and help you lose fat. You will not only become smaller in all the right places but you will need to eat more to support your new muscle growth. Who doesn’t want to eat more? The average person between the ages of  20 and 80 loses 35-40 % of their muscles mass. We have less energy and feel softer than we did when we were in high school.

As we get stronger we gain confidence and maintain independence. One of the main reasons we put off activities is a fear of getting hurt. With greater strength we do more and ask for help less. I train a lady in her 70’s who wouldn’t think of asking for help with  a large bag of dog food.

The biggest motivator for calling a personal trainer is definitely aesthetics/vanity. We all want to look better. One of the most important side benefits however is a decreased risk of heart disease. The beer belly on men or apple shape on women is the worst place we can store fat. It promotes fat circulation throughout the blood stream.

If you want to prevent injuries or help stabilizes injuries you have, strength training is a proven remedy. Most of the mid to late life injuries come to us in the form of joint, tendon, or ligaments issues. When we strengthen the muscle correctly we not only fortify the joints and muscles but also the tendon and ligaments that often go first.

A fitness program can also improve our flexibility and balance. Many people don’t realize that when you improve your flexibility you also do wonders for your balance. Better balance and flexibility leads to better posture which makes you look younger and taller.

So in conclusion, here are a few reasons to stick to your exercise routine: You’ll raise your metabolism, lose fat in all the right places, you’ll be able to eat more,  have increased energy, decrease the risk of heart disease, look better, younger and taller, live longer, prevent or help injuries, improve flexibility, balance and feel more confident and independent.  

If you need more tip or reasons visit us a

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Get Rid Of Low Back Pain

20 years ago I took a low back and abdominal conditioning seminar. The class was taught by Paul Check, an expert with credentials like I have never seen before. He told us that the two major causes of back pain were poor posture and tight hamstrings.

The first thing to do is easy; stretch the hamstrings a few times a week. Lie on your back and put one leg up straight up in the air. Pull from behind the knee with both hands or use a strap. You want to hold each stretch for at least 15-20 seconds. As it beings to give you can pull a little harder. Breathe while you stretch and don’t pull so hard that it becomes uncomfortable. Repeat and do the other leg.

The issue of less than perfect posture is not as easy to remedy. The first thing to do is to stand with your back to a wall and see if you can touch your heels, butt and head while your shoulders are also straight back. This is perfect posture but lets face it nothing is perfect. You would actually get a lot of funny comments if you walked around like that. You probably want a compromise between the way you stand now and the back to wall posture that look so unnatural.

Improving your posture takes three things: 1) be aware of how you stand, walk and sit, 2) stretch the shoulder and arm muscles and 3) strengthen the upper back, shoulders and lower neck muscles.

Today I’ll give some suggestions on how to mentally become aware of improving the way you sit, walk and stand. Sitting is the easiest. You want a slight arch in your lower back when you sit. I use a small rectangular pillow (about 6 x 10 inches). You may be more comfortable on a soft couch but just add a little low back pillow and you’ll be fine.

The way we stand can be easily corrected by crossing your arms behind your back. The men may think of this as the military term “at ease”. Don’t put your hands in your pockets or cross you arm in front of you.

The way we walk is a habit that takes real determination if we want to make a change. I tell my clients to use some mental imagery to facilitate the process. Think of a helium balloon that is attached to your breastbone. Imagine it pulling up your torso as you walk. If you have the normal head forward posture the string will hit you in the nose. Say to yourself, chest out shoulders back. Check out your posture when you pass store windows. You may want to enlist the help of friend or family. Have them give you feedback but be careful who you ask. The wrong tone or delivery may turn good intentions into something that sounds too much like a nag.

Look forward to more entries on this topic in the future or visit our site at

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Good Move For The Back Arms

One of the problem areas for men as well as women is the triceps. The good news, this muscle is one of the easiest muscles to isolate or tone in the entire body. There are three heads to this muscle which give it the first part of its name (tri). The long head is the part of the back arm that gets the least work and therefore the flabbiest.

A good exercise to firm up this problem area is the chair dip. Sit on a hard chair and position your hands on the side of your butt. Scoot out a little until you butt is just off the edge of the chair and lower the body up and down a little. You don’t need to go down too far. Six to ten inches is more than enough.

You can tell you’re doing it right if you feel a burning in the back arm after just a few repetitions. Two things to watch out for are pain in the shoulders and a feeling of fatigue in the legs. The first means you went down too far and the second means you’re using the legs and not the back arms.

If you’re new to this move you only need to do it five to ten times. Wait a few days and try it again. Gradually work up to 10-15 a few times a week. For those of you who want an advanced version, put your legs out straight out in front of you. The really advanced can put their leg up on a chair so the feet are level to the hips.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Make Your Legs Stronger With This Home Exercise

If you want to get stronger legs, here is an exercise you can do at home without any gym equipment. Most people who walk only bend their legs slightly from about 10 to 20 degrees. The more you walk the more you work the same muscles over and over again. This is great for the calves and part of the front quads but you don’t work the leg muscles the assist you in getting up from a seated position.

The main thing to be careful of is knee pain. Any attempt to add something to your walking will only be beneficial if it doesn’t involve sore joints in the long run. The “wallsit” is an easy exercise to do at home because it requires no weight or equipment.

Stand with your back up against a wall. Walk out two or three little steps with your back still flat on the wall. Then you want to slowly lower yourself, stop and count to five or ten. Make sure you can see your feet and that your knees don’t go in front of your ankles. As you start you may not go all that low or count past a few seconds. The longer you practice the lower you can go and the longer you will hold the down position.

The goal position is a right angle (legs of a chair) and the time to shoot for is 60-90 seconds. The beginners need only slide down the wall a foot or two but still make sure you can see your toes. I tell my clients to wear a watch with a second hand and keep track as you hold so you can compete with your last time. You will be amazed after a few weeks how much longer you can hold yourself in a squat position. I had a lady go from
ten seconds of pain the first time to a 30 second hold in less than three weeks.

For more tips and weight loss advice, visit our site at

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Some Weight Lose Tricks For My Foothill Neighbors

When you wake up in the morning drink two 8 oz. glasses of water. Most of us have a hard time drinking during a busy day. People who drink an extra six to eight glasses of water lose an extra five pounds over non drinkers. Try this before every meal and you’ve accomplished ¾ of the battle.
Eat within an hour of waking. Ghrelin is called the “feed me” hormone and it’s triggered as soon as we wake up. If we ignore this nasty hormone and don’t eat, it will make us more ravenous when we do.  A good idea is a mix of low fat protein and some complex carbohydrates.
Ghrelin also begins to rise again a few hours before lunch. If you get a mid morning break, have a small snack to make lunch more productive. I like a stick of string cheese. It’s portable and you can make it last.
Another hormone creeps up around lunchtime called Galanin. When you eat dietary fat you produce more Galanin. This all goes on without us even knowing. If you eat more cleanly you stop the insidious cycle of craving more or the artery clogging stuff that can actually kill you.
If you want a caffeine boost, make sure you have it before 4 PM. Sleep is a factor that all the experts agree can affect weight loss. As we age we produce less melatonin. If you want to sleep better, avoid caffeine of any type after 4:00 and try some melatonin after dinner. With this natural supplement, less is more. All you want is one to three mgs. It’s not a sleeping pill so you shouldn’t fall asleep watching TV after you eat.
If you want to maximize fat burning spend 30 minutes of strength training between 4:00 and 8:00 PM. Studies show that’s when your metabolism is lowest and your temperature is highest. The best time to exercise is when you know you’ll do it. For some people early is better than later. If you have a routine that works, stick with it. If you don’t and want to get a bang from you weight loss efforts, hit the weights. You don't need any fancy equipment and don't need to spend a long time learning how to lift. We can teach anyone in a few hours the proper form and technique. Give us a call if you need a little help getting started.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Best $20 You'll Spend On Fitness

A personal trainers advice on what the neighbors in La Crescenta, La Canada and the Glendale need.
If you own a “home gym machine” or have nothing at all, a fit ball or Swiss ball is a good addition to your home. You have an option of various sizes and they only cost about $15-$25.
When inflated these multi-colored balls are about 45-65 diameter. If you want the right size just have a seat and make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your legs are at a 90% angle. You can work your legs, core and upper body and you’ll need little or no extra equipment.
To get started, walk for a few minutes to warm up. For the legs put the ball up against a wall and lean back with the ball by your lower back. Squat up and down with the legs in an L position (right angle). If your knees are a little sore don’t go all the way down or you can hold it in the down position (or ¾ way down) for a count of ten.
For the upper body you can do a variety of push ups. Lay on the ball and walk out until the ball is on your upper thighs. Push up and down and as you get more confident walk out a little further until the ball is by your shins and eventually your feet.
You can work the core (stomach), legs and upper body but doing a variety of plank exercises. Kneel down and put your forearms on the ball. Walk back or push forward until you’re on your toes. It’s like a push up position only inclined. Hold it for a count of ten and build from there. An easy version is to put yourself in the push up position (hands on the floor, shins on the ball) and hold it for 30 seconds.
To isolate the abdominals all you need to do is sit on the ball and walk yourself back until the ball is under your lower back. Put your hands behind your neck and curl you body up.The range of motion is really small, only about four to six inches.
If you have a set of dumb bells, you can sit on the ball while pressing overhead or curling the weight up and down. Most any exercise you do standing will be more challenging and thereby more effective when sitting on a ball that moves.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Two Best Exercises To Get Fit

If you're already in a fitness routine, this post may not be for you. If however you're not in the swing of things, here is some simple advice. Most people who call a personal trainer want two things. They want to tone up and lose some weight or fat.
To tone up you need to challenge your body which means doing more today than you did yesterday. In my opinion the best thing to do is a variety of exercises. This makes the workout more fun and effective. It also helps overcome the biggest problem, monotony.
If you want to get started the best exercise is the pushup. What beginners may not know is that there are about ten different types. Seniors can begin standing two feet from a door and pushing out. Keep the arms close to the frame. You can gradually move back a little and eventually go to all fours. On your hand and knees you can perform about three types depending on your fitness level. Basically start with your butt in the air and gradually lower you body as you get stronger. After this there are several advanced pushups like incline, decline. close grip, clap hands, triangle and for the elite one arm pushups.
The second thing I recommend is walking. You can start with 10-15 minutes and go from there. It's also a good idea after a while to try intervals. This just means going faster and then slower. Wear a watch and go at moderate pace for five mins. For the next two mins.speed it upa little. This fast and slow pacing is more of a
challenge and really makes the time go faster. There have actually been Swedish studies that prove this principal (speed play) to be more effective than steady speed walking.
This all may sound a little confusing but it's not. We can show anyone this methodology in one session. Give us  a call if you want to finally get started or visit us at

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do Those Vibration Machines Really Work

Are you a resident in the La Canada, Montrose/La Crescenta area who wants to lose weight and get fit? Would you like to spend 12 minutes a few times per week to get there? There are a few vibration machines out there that promise just that.
The VibePlate, Power Plate and the VibraSlim are three of these machines currently out there and available. The good news is that there is some research that supports the benefit of these types of machines. The only problem I have is the claims they make in reference to time. I think with a price tag from between $2000 to $10,000, they need to justify the cost.
These vibration type devices look basically like large waxing machine. You stand on or put one foot on a platform and perform exercises similar to the old standards. There is definitely a additional challenge to keeping good form while fighting the vibration.
As a personal trainer with 20 yrs. experience, here are two things I believe. If you don't like something you won't keep it up and if it sounds too good to be true if usually is. These machines take something already hard and make it even harder. You may hit a muscle group more thoroughly with vibration but you won't get a cardiovascular workout in  twelve minutes.
My philosophy with exercise is to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible. Make it hard enough to be effective and then keep changing it when it gets too easy. If you are already at the top of your game and want to give it try. I think you are the best candidate for vibration machines. If you are like most of us and want to get to the next level, just be consistent and keep changing up your workouts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Increase Your Metabolism to Burn More Fat

If you are just starting or if you've hit a plateau here are some tips to help you lose weight and get fit. Limit your fruit to berries or grapes. These fruits are lower in carbs. and actually help the body burn and eliminate more fat. I like Greek yogurt with berries for breakfast.

Limit you caffeine to back and green tea. Add lemon to help even more. I've heard that green tea has more anti oxidants than most fruits or veggies.

Eat more greens: Spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, kale and butter lettuce help the body release toxins that help store fat. They also have fewer calories and contain nutrients that help prevent many diseases.

Change your exercise program. The body unfortunately gets used to anything you do for longer than a month. If you do the same thing for too long, you actually will become less fit after a while. The body adapts and gets the work done more efficiently. It has been scientifically proven that you can make more progress  with a different routine even if its easier.

If you lift weights, stop the three sets of ten/fifteen mentality. So many of the people I start with have been doing the same routine for way too long. They do an exercise ten or fifteen times then repeat the same thing two or three times. This in not only unimaginative and boring but more importantly not all that effective. You want to hit the muscles from different angles to maximize fatigue which in this case is a good thing.

If you are already walking, very good. If you want to make more progress, add some intervals and some strength training. Walking a little faster than a little slower it's a well know way to speed up you metabolism.
Finally if you don't strength train, you are missing the boat. You can spend 15-20 minutes a week and make a major improvement in your sticking point. Remember a little of something is better than a lot of nothing.