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Friday, December 25, 2015

The One Thing You’re Not Doing that Could Jeopardize Your Workout Success

Getting that warrm-up in...for all the right reasons
“What do you MEAN we haven’t even started the workout yet?” my client breathlessly asked me, wiping her forehead with her sleeve. “This couldn’t just be the warm-up!”

I attempted a mischievous smile. Admittedly, I derive a modicum of pleasure knowing even my warm-ups begin to push and challenge my clients. I explained that this was her chance to get the blood flowing, muscles moving, and her head in the game.

I cry a little bit on the inside every time people run into the gym and immediately start throwing a bunch of weight around (and I see it ALL the time). Their only warm-up entails putting on headphones and filling up a water bottle. If you want a surefire way to guarantee injury, head straight into some deadlifts.

If you asked me the most important part of a workout, without hesitation I would reply the warm-up.

Every session I do includes a dynamic warm-up, which involves moving while you’re stretching compared with

Saturday, December 19, 2015

5 Ways to Cultivate More Gratitude in 2016

Living in gratitude
“How can you be so freaking positive at 5 a.m.?” a client recently asked me as we finished warming up and proceeded into the weight room. I took a big swig of my Starbucks dark roast and gave that query some thought.

Full transparency: Most days I want to punch my alarm clock. Plus, come on, it’s almost 2016. We can send vacationers to the moon; can’t we have our dark roast door-delivered?

But you know what? I always show up with a smile, a kind word, and a let’s-get-it-done attitude no matter how lousy I might be feeling.

Even a top-shelf trainer has days where we want to punch the alarm clock or, nothing  goes right so we want to crawl back in bed with a pint of Chunky Monkey and fantasize about running away to a secluded hammock on some remote North Shore cottage.

What’s the difference between not being able to crawl out of bed and face the day and feeling like you can tackle the world and come out on top?


And I’m not talking about some rah-rah forced version of gratitude. I’m talking about

Friday, December 11, 2015

Can A Fitness Tracker Change Your Life...and Do You Want It To?

Fitness gadgets: help or hinder?
“Fabulous bracelet,” I recently remarked to my best friend while enjoying a mostly healthy lunch. (Sometimes you have to get the mixed berry cobbler or what’s the point of living, right?)

She quickly pointed out it wasn’t just a bracelet; it doubled as her latest fitness device that tracked precisely how many calories she burned, how many steps she took, and whether or not she needed to reapply her lipstick.

OK, I might be slightly exaggerating about that last part, but it certainly seemed to do everything else.

While I fully support optimizing health and getting in better shape, sometimes these gadgets bring with them, a certain

Saturday, December 5, 2015

5 Gym Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Just writing me a check won't  get you fit
“I showed up. What more do you want?” my client smugly announced, trying to impress me while sipping a soy latte.

“Give me a second while I reach into my desk and get your trophy,” I wanted to say.

But I didn’t, and maybe I was being a little hard on her. She did show up, yes, and “only” five minutes late. (Starbucks being the priority.)

Give me a break though, people do harder stuff every day. Brave soldiers go overseas for months. Scientists toil for years trying to find a cure for cancer. Octogenarians run triathlons. Just showing up wasn’t going to get the results my client wanted.

I might sound a little mean here, but only because

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Everything You Need to Know about Natural Sweetener Alternatives

...but there are not calories!...
“Come on, it has zero calories, and besides, aren’t there bigger fish to fry in this whole freaking health-whatever echelon?” my friend said, casually gulping her diet soda while I reviewed her pre-workout performance chart.

As a personal trainer, I get the is-the-artificial-sweetener-thing-OK? question a lot. Don’t shoot the messenger, but I’ve got a rather dismal, science-based answer.

They’re all awful.

Sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium... They sound innocuous but aren't.

Where do I start? 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

3 “More” Hacks to Become Your Leanest Self in 2016

Realistic goals have the best chance to succeed
“I admire your lofty ambitions, but your reach far outweighs your grasp,” I said matter-of-factly to a client who recently showed me her 2016 resolutions list.
Among her herculean goals included ditching 20 pounds, putting on muscle, constantly changing up her workout regimen with her trainer’s help, getting therapy for a recently terminated,  messed-up relationship, and…
Well, I stopped there. She had about 20 goals listed. I felt overwhelmed just reading them.
During my two decades coaching clients, I’ve learned rather than implementing a bound-to-crash Lose 10 pounds by this weekend! mentality, successful people create

Friday, November 13, 2015

7 Science-Based Benefits of Essential Oils

Cinnamon, Clove, Rosemary, Lemon: Thieves is my favorite essential oil 
"Kind of woo-woo, huh?" I said sarcastically, turning to my friend and rolling my eyes skeptically as the New Age-infused aroma engulfed our senses.

Admittedly, I wasn't keen about visiting this new Silver Lake massage place, especially after I learned the owner heavily promoted a crappy supplement line (decidedly not Thorne Research) and, even worse, essential oils.

Full disclosure: I had long ago dismissed essential oils as un-scientifically proven.

But I did remember something about their use in the recovery of my friend JJ Virgin's son. An MD that we know had brought them in to help Grant heal from his life-threatening injuries

That massage actually ended fabulously. I felt

Friday, November 6, 2015

9 Ways to Get Lean, Toned & Happy… By Fixing Your Gut

An icky tummy WILL mess up  your workout
Recently I worked with a 30-something female client who unenthusiastically was seeing a functional practitioner to fix her leaky gut.  I get it. In the echelon of sexy, stimulating health concerns, digestive health falls somewhere above the normal-bowel-movements category.

“What if I told you when you fix your gut, you’ll also become lean, toned, and happy?” I asked.

Understandably, that got her attention.

Listen, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, and bloating hardly become sexy topics, but digestive issues have become far too common in our mindless-junk-stressed-eating society. We’ve all experienced their miserable aftermath, craving the couch and Sex and the City reruns over hitting the gym or otherwise being our best selves.

Even when you’re not belching, passing gas, or

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Water...It Isn't Boring!

Water "service" break at a conference  at an upscale, L.A. hotel
I graduated from high school in 19XX.  The actual year isn’t important (I keep telling myself.)  

That year, our yearbook was titled “It’s the Water.”  I remember thinking to myself at the time, “what water?”  Our school wasn’t located near a beach, lake, river or other waterway so why was water so important that it had to be our yearbook’s theme?  

I never found out why it was chosen for The Quixotion that year.  It might have just been a random title for the Agoura High School yearbook but I actually wondered about that...

Time went on and I couldn’t read anything health without hearing about the importance of water. Most articles touched on keys points such as how important staying hydrated is to your health, or the 

Friday, October 23, 2015

7 Strategies to Not Screw Up Halloween

Treats: They're ALL tricks
“I hate these childhood memories and all their enabling consequences,” my client told me recently, clearly perturbed that a few bites of her favorite Halloween candy (not naming any names, but it goes after a particular Peanuts character) became half the bag.

These days, early October seems to initiate the holiday season’s official start. You know, the one where every “special occasion” becomes an opportunity to indulge in some sugary-sweet concoction that provides a few blissful moments but inevitably leave us cursing the scales and stalling our workout.

Part of me wants to scream, Come on! You’re a freaking adult. Pull yourself together with that high-fructose-corn syrup, rot gut-ingredient stale candy that populates every dentist office, drugstore, and office space come October.

But that

Saturday, October 17, 2015

9 Overlooked Energy Thieves

Are you sooo tired?
“That alarm clock just didn’t go off this morning,” my client said breathlessly, running into my office 15 minutes late and spilling a gargantuan cup of Dunkin Donuts dark roast all over her new turquoise Lulu top. 

As a single mom with two kids who often worked doubles waiting tables, no jury in the land would convict my client for blowing off a workout or otherwise complaining her battery felt drained. 

Still, I had a reputation in my gym as a no-excuser, and I wasn’t offering any sympathy for her sob story. (I did feel badly about her coffee spill though!) Instead,

Friday, October 9, 2015

7 Ways I Helped My Client Overcome Her Worst Sleep Challenge

Sleep like a baby
“I’m doing everything you told me, yet I’m still barely coasting by on five hours a night,” a client – let’s call her Alyson – recently confessed about her seemingly insurmountable sleep struggle.

In a previous blog I discussed strategies for a better night’s sleep. Many readers and clients found them incredibly helpful, yet occasionally I meet someone like Alyson – in her mid-40s, a single mom with three kids and a high-stress job – who hurdle through these strategies without much success.

Alyson fell into the “extreme cases” category, where she did everything correctly yet

Friday, October 2, 2015

5 Ways to Boost Antioxidant Levels

Exercise: Increases  or decreases antioxidant levels?
“Wait, my jerk of a boss stresses my life, and these training sessions just create more stress?” a client recently asked, giving me a strong what-on-earth? look. She had just read a recent article explaining how exercise “stresses out” your system, creating all sorts of havoc.

Let’s get clear. “Stress” becomes a loaded term. There’s psychological stress, like when you get stuck in rush hour LA traffic and you’re late for that 3 p.m. meeting. Studies show consistent exercise decreases psychological stress.

But there’s another kind of stress exercise does create, churning out damaging free radicals in the bargain.

In case you forgot college biochem (you are forgiven), free radicals are like those sleazy guys you meet at the bar who will do anything to pick you up. These single electrons are desperate to find a hookup, and they create serious cellular damage in the bargain.

Here’s the bad news. Studies show high intensity resistance exercise increases free radical production.  Another meta-analysis that looked at 300 studies over 30 years found “single bouts of aerobic and anaerobic exercise can induce an acute state of oxidative stress.” 

That contributes to increased free radical production, and subsequently, oxidative stress. In fact, rigorous exercise can

Friday, September 25, 2015

5 Reasons the Glycemic Index is a Total Load…

Glycemic Index vs Glycemic Load
If you love to count and micromanage your food, the glycemic index (GI) or glycemic load (GL) might be perfect for you.

The GI measures how quickly a food converts to sugar in your body and raises your blood sugar. Higher-glycemic foods spike your blood sugar quickly, whereas lower-glycemic foods create a slower effect.

What the GI doesn’t measure is how much of that food you eat. That’s where the glycemic load (GL) comes in: It measures quality and quantity.

You can determine a food’s GL by multiplying the GI times the amount of carbohydrate grams and dividing the total by 100. So while carrots have a GI of 47, whole-wheat spaghetti clocks in at just 32. 

You’re better off eating the spaghetti, right?

Nope. Carrots carry far fewer carbs than pasta, and the GL accounts for both. So: 

Carrots – 47 x 6/ 100 = 2.82
Pasta – 32 x 48/ 100 = 15.36 

Wait: Is this nutrition or math class? Are you getting excited yet? (Me neither.) 

While the GI and GL become infuriatingly confusing, nutrition experts

Friday, September 18, 2015

Why Pot Smokers Really Get Fat & Out of Shape

"...just a hit or two to relax me..."
A new study found young adult pot smokers had a 40 percent increased risk for pre-diabetes (but not Type 2 diabetes) as middle-age adults compared to those who didn’t use the drug. 

Researchers weren’t entirely sure why, but they surmised pot could have a bigger impact on blood sugar in the pre-diabetes rather than diabetes range. Just speculating, but munchie-induced, sugar-fueled midnight fridge raids might also contribute here.

Whatever the culprits, chalk up another reason why even recreational pot – marijuana, cannabis, whatever you want to call it – smoking becomes a bad idea, and not just in that OMG-afterschool-special-you’ll-eventually-become-a-heroin-addict way.

Ever wondered why pot got classified as a gateway drug?

Friday, September 11, 2015

The #1 Secret How Lean, Healthy People Stay Successful

Fail to plan or....?
During my two decades as a personal trainer, I’ve become very curious about why some people succeed while others veer off course.

Initially, I took quitters personally. You know the insecurities, like, had I been too much of a drill sergeant during our training?

But I dove deeper, and over time something revealed itself. One significant thing separates winners and losers:

The winners plan ahead.

They leave nothing to chance. That might mean prioritizing an hour workout on a crazy day, or packing raw almonds with protein powder for a three-hour layover.

Mind you, these tasks require forethought. You can easily neglect them among juggling kids, demanding jobs, and unsupportive significant others: Perfectly valid reasons to neglect planning ahead.

At the same time, successful people – those who show up for 3 p.m. lifting workout but still get a healthy dinner on the table –

Friday, September 4, 2015

5 Secrets Gyms Don’t Want You to Know

Gym?: Optional
“What’s the dirtiest secret in the fitness industry?” I half-jokingly asked a coworker recently as we hibernated in my office, sipping a late-morning organic dark roast between clients.

The answer, ironically, resided within the very building we sat.

You don’t need a gym to get in great shape.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a personal trainer for two decades and love my gym, but you don’t need super-fancy equipment to get lean, toned, and healthy. You can transform your body at home without bells and whistles.

My favorite at-home workout includes squats, lunges, deadlifts, planks, chest press, push-ups, rowing exercises, and pull-ups.

Rather than focus on individual body parts, organize workouts into

Friday, August 21, 2015

One of the Most Important Habits for Making Progress

You HAVE to track your metrics!
What gets measured gets managed. A successful coach in my industry once told me this and I adopted it.  I've always been a note taker/writer so jotting things down comes naturally to me. Other people?  Well, getting them to write anything down in detail is like asking them to spend their weekend cleaning out the garage…every weekend.  

If there was a way to impress upon my clients the importance of logging/recording/journaling, I would do it. Unfortunately, I only have my words. I'm not the drill sergeant type and I’m not your mommy so getting you to write things down by calling you a maggot, or nagging you until you move out, aren’t going to happen.  

Back in 2011, Craig Ballantyne, trainer and fitness expert of Turbulence Training fame included journaling as one of his

Friday, August 14, 2015

Reduce AGEing with these 5 Strategies

Sugar is AGEing
It all started when the presenter poured maple syrup on protein molecules.

No, I wasn’t at IHOP. I was attending a grueling nutrition conference where, after sitting through a day’s worth of lectures, my brain felt fried. Feeling like an introvert with a low tolerance for hype or networking, I simply wanted to hang out in my hotel room and regroup before our evening social gathering.

Yet my coworker remained adamant about this late-afternoon seminar titled “How AGE-ing Destroys Your Life.” 

I reluctantly attended, where I watched as this doctor demonstrated how, in a maze-like structure, oyster-looking proteins slithered around in your body.
Turns out when you pour sticky sugar on proteins, they slow down and get sticky. “That’s what happens when you eat too much

Friday, August 7, 2015

The #1 Strategy to Maintain Vibrant Brain Health

Guess what helps minimize Alzheimer's risk?
As if you needed another reason to exercise: Three new studies found people with mild memory impairment who engage in vigorous workouts – we’re talking 45 minutes to an hour, three or four times a week – improve quality of life. 

“Physical activity improved mood, memory and ability to think for participants in all three studies,” researchers noted.

While participants were older (50s to 90s), these and numerous other studies clearly suggest you can never become proactive too early, and that regular, consistent exercise might be the best strategy to maintain brain health as you age.

"These findings [strongly suggest] exercise can impact Alzheimer's-related changes in the brain," said Laura Baker, lead author in one of the studies and a cognitive neuroscientist at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. "No currently approved medication

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Ultimate Exercise Dilemma

Time for a nappy nap
As I sheepishly ordered a large organic French roast, fatigue overtook me and I wondered whether even this gargantuan caffeinated goodness could work its invigorating magic.

Whether you’re a distance runner, heavy lifter, or even yoga devotee, you’ve confronted this existential dilemma I faced that afternoon: Workout or nap?

The latter seemed too path-of-least-resistance easy: Shut my office door and curl up on the sofa. Or swim upstream and sluggishly push through my workout.

Had a client expressed such a dilemma, I would become

Friday, July 24, 2015

The #1 Secret to Stay on Course

What gets measured gets managed.
A recent Associated Press (AP) story, appropriately entitled “Like gym memberships, enthusiasm for fitness trackers drops,” noted momentum popular tracking devices provide eventually drops significantly.

Although sales of Fitbit and other fitness trackers are strong, many of their owners lose enthusiasm for them once the novelty of knowing how many steps they've taken wears off,” writes Anick Jesdanun.

I wrote about tracking devices about two years ago. Clients had long enquired about the latest technology to measure, track, improve, or otherwise monitor their workout, so I evaluated then-popular tracking devices.

“Today’s gadgets, I wrote, “monitor everything from sleep to recovery to hormones released when you work out… Do you really need these cool, sleek gadgets to measure, track, and record every rep, spoonful, and hour slumbering? Not really.” 

Today, we have Apple Watch and a zillion other fitness tracking devices. The question remains:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sweat Smartly with these Strategies

The sweatier, the better
Confession: I secretly love those hovering-on-triple-digit, sweat-inducing heat waves that sometimes engulf Los Angeles during summer.

Sweat has a bad reputation. Talk about sweat at your next dinner party and someone will probably quickly change the topic.

You’ve heard someone say, “Don’t sweat it,” you remember like yesterday breaking into a miserable sweat before that make-or-break high school chemistry final, and excessive perspiration probably became an undesirable part of a first date or job interview.

Sweat serves a practical purpose. When something like exercise increases your body’s core temperature, fluid rises to your skin’s surface and then evaporates. If you didn’t sweat, even a comfortable-temperature workout room would quickly become unbearable.

Interestingly, fit people sweat

Friday, July 10, 2015

5 Ways to Fit Fitness into Your Overloaded Schedule

No time? Make time?
I recently read a dismal study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that found on average, only about half of American adults got sufficient aerobic exercise and 29 percent performed sufficient muscle-strengthening activity.

National Exercise Guidelines were admittedly less than stringent: just two and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of higher-intensity exercise weekly. In other words, a 20-minute daily stroll or 15 minutes of more vigorous exercise five times a week.

Regardless of these minimal federal recommendations, the study found

Friday, July 3, 2015

Prevent these 5 Guaranteed-to-Fail Diet & Exercise Myths

A harder or  a smarter workout?
Perfect beach body by July! a women’s weekly recently blared as I awaited checkout at my local supermarket.

Curious, I thumbed through to the article. Nothing new: Its celebrity-coddled author trotted out several over-worn nutrition and fitness clichés that should have become permanently retired around, oh, 1994.

These myths didn’t work then, they don’t work now, yet every year I see women’s magazines, social media pages, and so-called health gurus promoting these refuse-to-die nonsensical ideas.

As a personal trainer for two decades, I’ve watched fads come and go. While most become debunked and disappear, a few stubbornly stick around. Let’s look at five refuse-to-die myths, coupled with smart alternatives that really do work.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why I Don’t Want You to Eliminate Sugar

“Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine,” she declared as I deviously eyed the dessert menu. “After everything I’ve read, I’m heading for sugar sobriety.” 

Stop being an effing killjoy and let me enjoy my chocolate mousse, I wanted to say. Instead, I probably appeared doubtful and even dismissive, even if I loved her phrase “sugar sobriety.”

Needless to say, my friend could be a tad dramatic, believing nearly every dramatic health proclamation she read. Just a few weeks ago, she was telling me about green coffee bean extract’s many benefits based on some blog she had just read. Eye. Roll.

I resolved to write a blog entitled “In Defense of Sugar,” dismissing this sugar backlash as a grand attempt from so-called experts to push hyperbole and sell books. I felt a little cynical that sugar could really be that bad. Besides, God help anyone who tries to take away my chocolate.

Then I did some research.

Turns out, any jury in this great land would convict sugar. One thing’s for sure:

Friday, June 19, 2015

If I Criticize this Workout, Will I Get Sued?

Is Crossfit  fit  for the masses?

“A barbaric, potentially dangerous workout that refuses to die,” I said to a friend recently over lunch, referring to a recent 60 Minutes expose about Crossfit and its hubristic founder, Greg Glassman. “Trouble is, if I write anything un-squeaky clean about it, I could get sued.”

Why all the fuss about, as 60 Minutes described it, a “workout program that mixes elements of weightlifting, calisthenics, and gymnastics” that takes place in a notoriously Spartan environment?

Because business is booming, with about 12,000 CrossFit “boxes” (as they’re affectionately called) currently existing around the world, where soccer moms and dad-body guys eagerly congregate, lured by hyperbolic promises of a super-hot physique and wholeheartedly swallowing the no-pain-no-gain fitness philosophy.

That might sound a tad snarky, and indeed I got some flak about my not-so-flattering 2013 CrossFit blog. (Though no lawsuit threat, knock on wood…)

No, I have not conducted a formal study that evaluates every CrossFit trainer or participant. But I maintain that most are out of shape and in absolutely no condition to do a grueling workout as clueless CrossFit trainers push them with herculean brutality.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Naturally Reduce Anxiety with these Strategies

Help for anxiety
“I’ve tried everything, from hypnosis to Xanax to psychotherapy,” my client confessed. “They all helped a little bit, but your work became the big needle mover.”

I felt humbled. My client had struggled with chronic anxiety for years, triggered by overbearing parents, a type-A personality, and then a psychologically abusive relationship that recently ended. 

Without oversimplifying the issue, 45 minutes three times a week of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) became her ticket to – well, not eliminate anxiety, but at lest reduce its detrimental impact.

"Exercise has favorable effects on anxiety," says Dr. Jade Teta. He points to studies that show "exercise as both a preventative and alternative treatment strategy for anxiety. The acute effects of exercise might even be able to allay panic attacks."

Let's be clear: No responsible expert would position exercise as a cure-all for anxiety, which often becomes a multi-factorial issue that requires

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Groundbreaking 1 – 2 Punch for Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Producing  more BHB to fight  inflammation
“Really, another study extolling exercise’s benefits?” I said to my coworker, motioning to a recent study sitting on my desk"Do we really need researchers telling us exercise increases energy, protects against illness, or puts us in a more optimistic mood? I mean, duh."

Well, yes and no.

Any athlete, personal trainer, or gym buff can rattle off a killer workout’s countless benefits. Studies simply validate our predilections. And every so often, a study catches even our attention.

This one on my desk certainly did.

Researchers here found a novel mechanism whereby exercise could decrease susceptibility to inflammatory diseases. That mechanism involves a ketone metabolite called β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which helps block inflammatory processes.

You want plenty of this anti-inflammatory metabolite around, because

Friday, May 29, 2015

Oil Pulling: Whiten Your Teeth, Detoxify Your Body and Prevent Cavities?

I don't often feature guest posts but this one is an excellent exception to my rule. In this post, my friend Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD, discusses the benefits of coconut oil "pulling," (something I do every day.) Intrigued? Never heard of it? Prepare to be educated. This is good stuff!

Coconut oil pulling - learn the benefits!

It’s been said that total body health begins in the mouth. But why? 

Well, for one thing, it’s the gateway through which you either nourish yourself with life-supporting food and drink or burden your body with toxins from alcohol, cigarettes, drugs or processed foods.

Furthermore, a clean mouth may also be the key to preventing disease, and studies are beginning to highlight the relationship between poor oral health and conditions like inflammation, diabetes and even heart disease.

If you’re a twice-a-day brusher and religious flosser, bravo – you probably have nothing to worry about.

But what if your daily oral hygiene

Friday, May 22, 2015

7 Traits of a Top-Notch Trainer

Have you hired the best trainer?
“Just like everything else, coaches are a dime a dozen in LA,” my trainer friend lamented over guacamole, crudités, and tequila shots one recent Friday night.

I understood her frustration. Working in gyms for decades, I’ve watched vigilant, just-graduated personal trainers get burned out, overworked, get nudged out of their profession, and eventually abandon their would-be career. Disappointedly, I’ve also seen shoddy, barely-there coaches flourish.

That’s too bad, because as more people become determined to get in great health prioritize fitness (read: create the time and budget to do it regularly), we need smart, eager, enthusiastic personal trainers.

What helps some trainers stay the course while others eventually choose another profession, crash and burn, or otherwise jump ship when the going gets hard? I’ve pinpointed seven characteristics I almost always see in top-notch trainers.

If you’re studying to become a personal trainer or already work as one, you’ll want to

Friday, May 15, 2015

This Multitasking Nutrient Belongs in Every Athlete’s Supplement Cabinet  versatile 
“Mostly useless amounts of potentially beneficial nutrients loaded with aspartame and some other junk,” I said, setting the container onto my desk as my client looked disappointed. Over my years as a personal trainer, I’ve evaluated numerous supplements high on hype but low on actual benefits.

That’s too bad, because a few supplements actually can provide benefits whether you’re a heavy lifter or a gym dabbler. After all, you’re always looking for better ways to build and maintain muscle mass. You want to get the most out of your workouts, and you know how undervalued recovery can become.

Besides a quality whey powder or branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), the one supplement I always recommend is L-glutamine (also called glutamine), a true nutrient rock star.

Glutamine is the most prevalent amino acid in your bloodstream, and numerous organs house it. Skeletal muscle contains the highest amount, and your muscles become the primary storage place and exporter of glutamine into other tissues.

Glutamine boosts a wide range of impressive

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fast Food Your Ideal Post-Workout Fuel? Not So Fast…

What should your post-workout meal really be?
Years ago, I had a late-20s client who fortified his grueling workout with a double cheeseburger and fries at In ‘N Out. At that age, you can get away with such dietary debacles, but once I got wind of his habit I explained how eating crap jeopardized his hard work in the gym.

“But it’s not like I’m getting fat or anything,” he replied. From his misguided comment came my blog "7 Dietary Mistakes Fitness-Minded People Frequently Mess Up."

Michael Cramer, a graduate student at the University of Montana, evidently didn't read this blog. His recent study (I use that word loosely), published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, reminded me of my former client’s comment that radically missed the bigger picture when it comes to fitness and optimal health. 

In this study, Cramer compared post-workout supplements like PowerBar and Cytomax energy powder with a few McDonald’s foods (hotcakes, hash browns, hamburgers, and fries).

Cramer used 11 male athletes, who fasted for 12 hours and then completed a 90-minute endurance workout. Then they either ate

Friday, May 1, 2015

5 Ways to Effortlessly Upgrade Your Diet

Garbage in, garbage out
Rarely do I get worked up about a study. Okay, that’s not true: I actually often become excited about emerging research. Almost never, however, do I ask readers to actually read a full study. That’s my job to dissect and provide you the highlights.

Well, this recent editorial published in the British Medical Journal became a game-changer. I started highlighting stuff and… Well, I pretty much underlined the entire thing.

As a personal trainer, I see this all the time. “I train hard so I can devour a deep dish pepperoni and a few Heinekens while watching Game of Thrones” practically becomes the mantra for some guys at my gym.

Females show a little more self-restraint, but I’ve busted quite a few athletes self-permissively pigging out, I mean, dabbling at Friday girls' night out with gargantuan burritos and even bigger margaritas a few hours after doing deadlifts or squats.

I’m not talking once in a blue moon. No, these people think a few hardcore workouts license them to thrice-weekly, massive-caloric (and sugar!) food orgies.

As I often remind these well-intended folks, garbage