Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Goal Setting – The Map to Your Success

After finishing up with a client the other day, I was gathering my stuff and there was a woman who asked me how to properly perform an overhead triceps press with a dumbbell.  After showing her how to do the exercise, I asked her if she was a bodybuilder.  She looked at herself, looked at me, laughed and said, “NO!”  To which I responded, “Then why are you doing an isolation exercise?  Why don’t you train your entire body and focus on mutli-joint movements rather than single joint movements?”  It was obvious that she had no clue and merely followed what everyone else is doing.  The sad reality is that it is not her fault because the fitness industry and magazines have done a crappy job explaining how to get into great shape for years.

"Why are we doing this? I don't know, just smile and keep pressing!"

One of my good buddies and fellow strength coaches, Kyle Newell of Newell Strength was talking to me a few weeks ago and we spoke about how he and his athletes / clients never perform direct arm work and instead perform lifts which have a systemic effect on the body, like the Barbell Back Squat.  Do you want big arms?  Read the rest of this entry »


Benefits of a Gym Membership On Your Life

This is a guest post done by some friends of mine across the pond in the UK, enjoy!

Joining a gym is a big commitment but when balanced against the benefits you will gain, the scales are firmly tipped towards the plus points. Many people do not take full advantage of their gym membership, but by understanding what is offered and how it can improve your life, you will stay motivated and keep going. 

Joining a gym in Brighton offers major advantages over going it alone. At home, it is easy to put off exercise and turn on the TV, but a motivating trainer can really aid your work out. Not only that, but your work-outs will be designed to suit you as an individual and help you progress in a safe and healthy way. Your trainer’s knowledge and experience will outweigh that fitness DVD any day! And remember at the gym there are several others just like you, who will be happy to partner up as exercise buddies. Working together with someone else in a Milton Keynes gym will keep you going back time and time again, especially as you develop new friendships.

Facilities are varied and up-to-date, ensuring you never get bored and you can exercise in a manner that suits you. The Brighton gym has its own pool, as well as the latest equipment and a relax room. You will also find a whole range of classes on offer, from Step to Yoga and Pilates. This is also true of the Milton Keynes gym and others around the country and the beauty is that you can access the pool at any time of the day, not just at set times.

Of course one of the major benefits is the improvement to your health. Going to the gym on a regular basis will help use up unwanted calories, burn fat, strengthen the heart and prevent cardiovascular disease. The other benefits that exercising regularly at a Milton Keynes gym gives are increased energy, stress relief, and a better night’s sleep which leads to a more fruitful day.

You may be looking to lose weight and attending the gym Chester offers two or three times a week will make this goal more achievable. Building muscle helps increase metabolism, which means that the effects of exercise are increased even when you have finished your session. Your body will continue to burn fat at a higher level for the next couple of hours. Taking classes, swimming, and attacking the cardio machines will all help use calories and tone your shape at the same time. Trainers will also be happy to advise you on your diet and will do their utmost to help you achieve your goals.

Being a member of a gym is a lifestyle change for the better so whatever your reason for joining, you will not be sorry you took the plunge. Be consistent, make sure you attend two to three times a week, and in a few months you will be amazed and delighted at the transformation.


Caffeine and Performance – Part 2

In my last post (Caffeine and Performance – Part 1), I looked at the benefits that Caffeine provides in fat loss and burning calories as well as the best form of Caffeine for the greatest results (pill form is better than coffee).  In Part 2 of this 2 part series, I am going to look at how Caffeine impacts Cognitive Performance (Brain Function) and Endurance & Strength.  There are numerous studies which look at the combination of Caffeine & Creatine and Caffeine & Carbohydrates as it relates to Endurance and Strength, but I am focusing on Caffeine specifically so, for our purposes, these pieces of research are excluded from my analysis.

3) Cognitive Performance
Several studies have shown that Caffeine improves both cognitive performance and mood in the general population (1,2).  A study by McLellan et al. (3) showed that soldiers given Caffeine were able to complete a vigilance task with less errors and an obstacle course faster than their non-Caffeinated counterparts.  These tasks were performed in a sleep deprived state (4 hours of sleep) where Caffeine was supplemented 3 times at 200 mg per dose (600 mg total) with about 2.5 hours between doses.  The last dose was given 30 minutes before the testing.  The Caffeine was administered via a caffeinated gum.  The Vigilance task involved observing a building for 2 hours and recording any observations.  Within each 20 minute block, an activity lasting 5s was presented.   The Caffeine group had fewer errors than the placebo group.  There were 3 Obstacle Courses and the Caffeine group completed them faster and with fewer errors than that placebo group.  The study concluded that Caffeine “maintained both vigilance and physical performance during sustained operations that require periods of overnight wakefulness and restricted opportunities for daytime sleep.” (3)

Another study by Lieberman et al. (4) looked at cognitive performance of U.S. Navy Seals in a sleep deprived state when supplementing with Caffeine.   Participants were randomly assigned doses of either 100, 200 or 300 mg of Caffeine in capsule form.  One hour after consumption, participants performed a battery of tests related to vigilance, reaction time, working memory, motor learning and memory.  Caffeine had the most significant effects on tasks related to alertness.  Results were also significant for assessments related to vigilance & choice reaction time for those who received the Caffeine treatment.  What was really interesting was that there was no statistical advantage of taking 300 versus 200 mg (i.e. the 300 mg group did not perform better than the 200 mg group) though there was a significant improvement in performance of the 200 mg group versus the 100 mg group.  In fact, 100 mg was no more advantageous than a placebo! (4)

"Caffeine makes me more alert and helps me function better!" - Brain

These studies (3,4) demonstrate the effects of Caffeine on cognitive performance Read the rest of this entry »


Caffeine and Performance – Part 1

Go to any gym on the Planet early in the morning what do you see?  Alright wiseguy, fat people walking on treadmills was not the answer I was looking for!  Coffee, and lots of it, as far as the eye can see.  The majority of these folks are drinking it to make sure they don’t fall asleep and knock their front teeth out while walking on the treadmill.  Little do they know that caffeine can aid them in performance and their goal of fat loss, though drip coffee is not the most efficient nor effective method. 

In this 2 Part Series, I am going to look at:
1) The Best Form of Caffeine to consume (i.e. drip coffee vs. powder (caffeine anhydrous))
2) The effectiveness of supplementing Caffeine for Fat Loss (lipolysis)
3) The impact of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance (i.e. Brain Function)
4) The Ergogenic (performance-enhancing) effects of caffeine on Endurance and Strength

Here is a brief overview of caffeine:
- Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance(1)
- In North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily(1)
- It is the most commonly utilized substance in “energy” drinks
- It stimulates the Central Nervous System (CNS), making us feel alert

1) BEST Form of Caffeine
When consuming caffeine for performance, the best form is to consume is caffeine anhydrous (caffeine powder in a capsule).  The reason for this is that it is a) cheaper and b) more effective than consuming coffee in liquid form (i.e. drip coffee).

WARNING: This is NOT the best way to get your caffeine!

a) Cheaper
I use NSI Caffeine Anhydrous which I purchase from  There are 240 capsules and each contains 200 mg of caffeine.  The whole bottle costs $7.  So, let’s do the math… Read the rest of this entry »


Achieve the Body You Desire

The biggest problem that we have in the United States is the concept of Instant Gratification.  Whatever we desire, we want it now and if there is a way to get it now then, we will do it.  We don’t consider whether it is sustainable or optimal, we just consider the time aspect of it and the sooner, the better.  Achieving the body we desire is not an exception, we want a lean and strong body and we want it NOW!!!  First, let’s go through what I mean by Instant Gratification with several real world examples:

Problem: Want to Lose Weight
Instant Gratification Solution:  Get Bariatric Surgery or Liposuction

Problem:  Want to Feel Great
Instant Gratification Solution:  Go to Doctor and ask about the numerous “options” (pills) you see advertised on TV.

Problem:  Want a new car or other material object
Instant Gratification Solution:  Put it on a Credit Card or get “no money down” financing.

"I can only afford a Hyundai, but this Lamborghini will make me feel important!!!"

As you can see, these “Solutions” are very typical, though they are not SUSTAINABLE and they are far from OPTIMAL, they are quick fixes.  Neither Bariatric Surgery nor Liposuction address how or why a person became obese.  It addresses the symptom (obesity) of a greater problem (overeating, addiction to refined carbs, etc.).  Not feeling great usually has more to do with dissatisfaction with one’s situation (job, spouse, home life, etc.) not a chemical imbalance.  Buying something that you can’t afford may feel good in the short-term, but saving up for something, and sacrificing other purchases in order to get it, is more gratifying and it is SUSTAINABLE.  Think of the things that you have saved up for in order to purchase.  Whether it was your first car, a bicycle or a baseball card, you always think fondly about what you did to get it and you treat it with care and pride.  Read the rest of this entry »


10 Ways to Succeed in Strength Training and Life

1) Define your goals

At one point in the children’s story Alice in Wonderland, Alice comes to a fork in the road.  She is confronted by the Cheshire cat and she asks which path she should follow.  The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what path you take.”  It is very simple, before you can figure out what path to go down, you have to figure out where you are going!

“If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what path you take.”

Strength Training:  Do you want to build muscle?  Do you want to Burn Fat?  Add 50 LBS to your Deadlift?  Become a Powerlifter?  Become a Bodybuilder?  Without defining your goal, you cannot determine what program and protocol is optimal.  Figure out your goal and work backwards from there.  Once you implement a plan, you can determine your progress.  You can track whether or not you are getting better, stagnating or falling behind.  If you are getting better, keep going!  If you are stagnating or failing, assess the situation and determine why.  One thing is for sure; you can’t progress if you don’t have a goal to strive towards.

Life:  The most frustrating feeling in life is to feel that you have stagnated or that you do not have a purpose.  Every time the lottery gets big, people go out and buy the tickets and decide what they will do if they win.  Once they lose, that excitement goes away, but why?  Most of us feel that we have no control in our lives and if you do not have a goal or a list of goals that you want to accomplish then, you are wandering aimlessly through life.  As the story goes, many years ago in the early 1900’s, a consultant named Ivy Lee approached Charles Schwab and asked him what it would be worth to him to discover the greatest productivity enhancer known to man.  Schwab was skeptical and asked what it was.  Lee said to him that every day he should write a list of the most important things he needed to accomplish for that particular day and cross them off as he accomplished them.  After a few weeks, Schwab was so amazed at the effectiveness and results of this seemingly simple piece of advice that he sent Ivy Lee a check for $25,000 as a sign of gratitude!!!  Set long-term and short-term goals that you want to accomplish.  Start simple: make a To Do list and do it.  Read the rest of this entry »


Single Leg Training – An Athlete’s Perspective

About a month ago, I wrote an article regarding Single Leg Training (CLICK HERE: “Single Leg Training with Mike Boyle”) and the Strength Coach who popularized it, Mike Boyle.  It generated a lot of interest so, I decided to build off of it.  I have the good fortune of knowing an athlete who trained under Coach Boyle while he was in college.  That Athlete is Antonio Valverde and he trained with Coach Boyle while he played Football at Boston College.  The following is my interview, enjoy!

Player Profile from Senior Year at Boston College in 2006.

1) At what age did you begin weight training and what type of regimen did you do?

AV: I guess I started using weights at 17 during my junior year in High Sschool.  I went to a Private Boarding School in Massachusetts called Governor Dummer Academy.  We had a decent gym and we also had Athletic Trainers, but no strength coaches. Read the rest of this entry »


IMPACT! – The Methods of Todd Durkin

What do Drew Brees, Aaron Rogers and LaDanian Tomlinson have in common?

If you answered “A lot more money than me!”, you are correct, but the answer I am looking for is, “They are all trained by Todd Durkin.”  Not a bad group of guys to have on your resume :) Read the rest of this entry »


Single Leg Training with Mike Boyle

“You do almost everything in sports in a split stance, or by pushing off one leg from a parallel stance, so it just makes sense to train your body that way” – Mike Boyle

I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Boyle at the Perform Better Seminar at the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, NJ on 12/4.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to learn more about his hallmark single leg training protocol. Read the rest of this entry »


Get Fit and Get Fast – Speed Training with Martin Rooney

Martin Rooney gave a phenomenal presentation at the Perform Better seminar at the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, NJ on December 4th.  His presentation focused on getting back to basics by utilizing sprinting to get in shape.  The following are excerpts from his presentation.

Compared to our ancestors, we are out of shape, tired and weaker.  This is the result of having a bad diet, not getting enough sleep and not getting enough of, nor the right type of, exercise.  Read the rest of this entry »

Fat Gripz