What does it take to get results?

Over the past 14 years I’ve had the opportunity to train hundreds of individuals.  All with their own stories, histories, and expectations.  And during that time I’ve developed a pretty keen sense in reading people.  More times than not I know within the first five minutes of meeting someone if they are truly going to “make it” when it comes to changing their lifestyle.  That’s not to say that it won’t happen for them at some point, but they simple aren’t ready yet.  You see…people come to me in hopes of being inspired and motivated, but the fact of the matter is the ball is always in their court.  At best all I can do is create opportunities for success, guide them along, and be their cheerleader.  But ultimately…if you REALLY want to change it’s something that only you can do.  Don’t get me wrong!  Having a trainer and a strong supporting cast does play a major role in the process, but it’s still a secondary one and putting those pieces in place is only the start.  At the end of the day it’s you that has to find the motivation to get up and burn while the rest of the world continues to sleep. It’s you that will have to spend less time with people who subconsciously want to keep you exactly where you are.  It’s you that will have to indulge less and actually start acting like you give a shit about what you put into your body.  And it’s you that will need to realize that you deserve to feel and live better than you currently are AND also do what it takes to get there.  So the question is how do you do it?  Or even better…what type of person do I need to become to do it?  Lately I have been reflecting on that exact question and even more specifically, I have been thinking of those I’ve had the pleasure of training over the last 14 years who were truly awakened, embraced the process, took power and ownership of themselves back, and became the change.  So without further ado…here’s what I have discovered.

Finding a purpose: It all begins here.  Getting into shape just for the sake of being in shape will not create the solid foundation and driving force to keep you in the game for the long haul.  Nor will body image goals like “getting skinner” or “losing the beer gut.”  Body image goals are the equivalent of chasing a carrot on a stick.  We constantly keep the lens focused on what we don’t like about our bodies even once we have reached our original weight or body fat goal, ultimately leaving you in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction.  There’s nothing “healthy” about that.  Besides, results are measured far beyond “how we look.”  I understand the nature of wanting to look better, but it’s the feelings we associate with it that we are after.  Having more confidence, feeling empowered, increasing our self-esteem, and overall happiness is what we are truly after.  Once you start training with more of a purpose you quickly make a mental shift towards the feelings you are after.  Your purpose can be a wide variety of things.  Being able to have the stamina to keep up and play with your kids…being their role model.  Participating in a event you’ve always wanted to like a 5K, Spartan Race, Backpacking Trip, or even playing in a sport you enjoy.  Getting out of a state of chronic pain.  I’ve known too many people dealing with back, shoulder, and knee issues on a daily basis.  Getting your body to the point where it complies to what you want to do instead of limiting what you can do is incredibly empowering!  Find and establish what is going to drive you as soon as possible and let that be the life force to your workouts.  Then fitness becomes a part of who you are opposed to something that you “have to do.”

Get Competitive: There’s nothing wrong with being competitive and this is something I encourage you to fully embrace.  I’m not saying that you have to beat everyone in the gym at everything.  But at least be competitive with yourself.  Establish goals within the workout.  How many reps you want to do?  How much weight do you want to lift (safely)?  How fast do you want to complete a circuit?  Drive yourself.  Challenge yourself.  Push yourself.  Your here to get better right?  Then train like it.  Begin to get a sense of where your fitness comfort zone is and push yourself just outside of that when you train.  The only exception would be on a recovery day or unloading week.  But even then you want to stay focused on being disciplined and seeing the benefit of holding back in that moment.  Once you discover where you fall in this fitness realm then you can begin to size up everyone else if it suites your personality and drives you.  It is said that we are the average of the five people closest to us.  This goes for training too.  Trying to hang with someone that’s just a little more skilled and fit can propel you to the next level.  So again…embrace being competitive…you’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll accomplish.

Know your numbers: We use 12 fitness tests in our gym that measure strength, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular endurance.  We track these numbers and test quarterly.  This is how fitness is measured.  More specifically, this is how RESULTS are measured.  Bigger, stronger, faster it what we are after.  Ironically, this is how you catch both the carrot and the stick.  I’ve never seen a person with an elite level of fitness that didn’t look like they were chiseled out of stone.   Working to improve in all of these areas will have you accomplishing more physically and mentally that you could possibly imagine.

Be a Weekend Warrior: Workouts should carry over into life outside of the gym.  Don’t get me wrong…I enjoy my workouts and improving at my fitness test, but not nearly as much as what it allows me to do everywhere else.  Continuing to play at a high level in all areas of life is what the workouts give us.  For me personally it’s being able to participate in Spartan Races, play football, softball, volleyball in recreation leagues at a competitive level, having the endurance to play all weekend with friends and family without feeling like I got hit be a bus for a week afterwards.  It can be different or the same for you.  These are just my examples.  But I implore you to find something that keeps you active and that you’re passionate about outside for the gym and let that be another source of fuel for your workouts.

Workouts are non-negotiable: It’s simple.  The ones who “make it” always find a way to get a workout in opposed to finding an excuse for why they can’t.  This is because of all the previously stated points.  The workouts are now a part of who we are and not only improve the nature of who we are physically, but who we are mentally.  Workouts make you sharper, more focused, more efficient, and overall a friendlier and better human being day to day.  Cheating yourself from a workout now means you are cheating your true self.  Whether it’s your stress reliever after your work day, recharging at lunch, or setting the bar first thing in the morning, it becomes a necessity.  Again…it’s a part of you.

Take Nutrition Seriously: There are two extremes that need to be avoided.  One is the thinking that exercise gives you a hall pass to eat whatever the hell that you want.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Garbage in garbage out.  And your exercise performance and results will reflect that.  Two is thinking that food needs to be restricted to ridiculous proportions in order to get lean and mean.  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.  You shouldn’t fear food or fear calories!  If you deprive yourself of food you’re only slowing metabolism down and increasing how much fat your store because your body thinks there is a famine. Food is fuel.  Do you freak out every time you put gas in your car? No. Food is the same thing for our bodies.  Want to get lean and mean?  Then you better start eating clean…and often!  Fruits. Veggies. Whole grains.  Lean Proteins.  Health Fats.  And the occasional indulgence is acceptable and healthy as well.  I’m not the food nazi…far from it!  I love a good beer.  Sometimes several.  A small dessert after dinner…etc.  But 80-90% of what goes in is high efficient fuel that will drive my performance, give me energy, and keep me healthy.  So I encourage to gain knowledge in this area.  Pay attention to what you are eating and how you are eating.  There isn’t a one size fits all approach and nutrition is highly individualized.  Start with the basics, then tinker and modify to until your body responds in the most positive way and you discover the formula that works best for you.

Always Expect more:  Continue to be driven and expect more out of yourself.  Limitations are only illusions that the mind creates.  Avoid self-limiting phrases like “I’ll never be able to do that.”   You immediately build a ceiling for yourself be doing so!  Keep your mind and expectations open to all possibilities.  Be an inspiration to yourself and to others.  Find a way and get it done whether if it takes days or years.  Keep moving forward.  Whether it’s completing your first marathon or coming back from an injury, focus on the desired outcome and let it pull you forward.  And last…never become complacent.  We are designed to grow and evolve physically and mentally.  There is no place that we arrive.  Our journey if forever going.  Take the time to enjoy your accomplishments along the way, but continue to strive for more as you continue on your quest.  It’s your body.  It’s your mind.  It’s your soul.  You are the author.  Write your story the way you want it and go out and get it.

Post-Workout Nutrition is Critical for Quicker Recovery

When food and fitness are in the same sentence, most people instantly think of fat loss. Far less often do people think about the role of nutrition in workout recovery.

But consider the things that happen to the body after a demanding workout:

▪ The body is in a “catabolic” state (that means the breakdown of muscles exceeds muscle protein synthesis).

▪ Muscles have experienced micro trauma (a precursor to delayed muscle soreness).

▪ Muscle glycogen levels are depleted.

▪ Muscles are dehydrated.

▪ The body can experience a certain degree of inflammation.

In other words, your gas tank is empty. And when workouts are done repeatedly, the cumulative effect can begin to take its toll, resulting in lack of energy, nagging injuries and stagnant results.

However, with optimal post-workout nutrition, we can flip the switch. Ideally, this window of opportunity peaks within 30 minutes of a workout.

Because of these aforementioned workout effects, the muscle cells are primed to take in and utilize the key nutrients needed to facilitate recovery, build lean tissue and burn up fat. The body’s cell transporters of glucose (carbohydrates) and amino acids (protein building blocks) are in a heightened position to recharge your body fast.

Your body is practically begging you for what it needs right after you finish.

When we take advantage of this post-exercise window, when muscles are most receptive to nutrients, exactly the opposite happens:

▪ We reverse the catabolic phase and shift to anabolism (when muscle building exceeds muscle breakdown).

▪ We rapidly replace glycogen.

▪ ▪ We reduce the potential for delayed onset muscle soreness.

▪ Muscles are rehydrated quickly.

▪ Inflammation is reduced.

So now that we know the why, let’s examine the what and how.

You need both carbohydrates and protein

In most cases people think primarily of protein when it comes to recovery, but as we covered earlier, glycogen stores needs to be filled as well, and this is done with carbohydrate intake.

Even more interesting, the two combined actually boost one another and lead to more protein synthesis, less protein breakdown and faster muscle glycogen storage than if each were taken alone. Here is what you need.

Protein: The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming about 0.2-0.225 g/lb of your weight in protein. For example, a 150-pound person should consume at least 30 grams of protein post-workout (150 x 0.2 = 30). And at a bare minimum, you should aim for 20 grams.

Good sources of protein include dairy products (especially milk, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt), chicken, fish, meat, soy (e.g., soy milk, tofu), protein bars and shakes, and nuts.

Ensure that the protein contains a large amount (5 or more grams) of branched chain essential amino acids, or BCAA (e.g. leucine, isoleucine, valine), as these cannot be synthesized in the body on their own.

Specific examples with BCAAs:

▪ 1 cup of 2 percent fat cottage cheese contains 31 g protein (approximately 7 g BCAA)

▪ 1 hard boiled egg has 6.3 g protein and 1.3 g BCAA

▪ 3-oz. chicken breast (w/o skin, roasted) has 28 g protein and 5 g BCAA

A 2015 article by Mike Roussell called “What Are the Best BCAA Food Sources?” at Bodybuilding.com gives more examples of foods high in BCAAs, from canned tuna to wild salmon to roasted peanuts.

Carbohydrates: Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard guideline for how many grams of carbohydrates to ingest post-workout due to a variety of factors (e.g. body type, performance goals, fat loss vs. muscle gain).

With that being said, a lot of it will come down to personal trial and error. Based on a variety of research, you should aim for at least a 1:1 ratio of what your protein intake is post-workout. In other words, if you consume 20 grams of protein post-workout, you should consume at least 20 grams of carbohydrates.

Of course, needs can be higher if you are looking to add muscle or participate in more endurance activities. Good sources of carbohydrates can be found in fruit, potatoes, wheat, rice, pasta, whole-grain bread, oats or in meal replacement shakes.

Many people turn to chocolate milk as a recovery drink, and there is research that lends merit to that practice. Although 1 cup of low-fat chocolate milk can have 25 g of sugar to only 8 g of protein, the simple sugar can actually help replenish glycogen stores quicker if consumed in that 30-minute window, and the milk proteins (whey and casein) help in the rebuilding of muscle. Just make sure you supplement chocolate milk with additional protein from other sources to hit that 20-gram minimum.

What about inflammation?

Exercise induces an inflammatory response which is normal and even desirable, but too much impairs the ability of the muscles to recover from exercise. Taking an omega-3 supplement is a great way to combat this and has been shown to significantly reduce the signs of inflammation regardless of exercise.

Recent studies have shown that amounts of omega-3 supplements that contain both EPA and DHA in the range of 540-3,000 milligrams/day can significantly help. The general recommended daily recommendation of 2,000 mg/day will suffice in most cases.

Don’t forget the water!

After a workout, fluid intake is necessary to aid in recovery since losses in both carbohydrates and sodium hinder the process of rehydration. As a general rule, drink 24 ounces right after a workout or, more specifically, 24 ounces per pound of body weight loss.

Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian, has more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at championfit@live.com or championfit.net. He writes a monthly fitness column.

Nutrition Tips to Get You on the Right Path

There is no shortage of information when it comes to nutrition. And unfortunately there isn’t a universal method or diet that will work for everyone either.

You hear about diets like Paleo, Atkins, The Zone Diet, eating for your blood type, etc. Each author will make a sound argument for the benefits of that approach, touting it as the “holy grail” of all diets, while critics will quickly line up to point out all of its pitfalls.

Now I’m not here to decipher or break down the pros and cons of each. Most plans are effective in helping the dieter to consume fewer calories than they burn, resulting in weight loss. But many other factors like genetics, environment, food allergies and daily energy demands will influence how an individual responds to dietary intake.

For example, a weekend warrior training for a triathlon will naturally have a higher need for carbohydrates and overall calorie intake compared to an office worker who hasn’t been physically active for five years. But regardless of individual differences and nutritional needs, the commonalities all people need is consistency, behavior change and an environment for success.

Let’s face it: Change is hard. Especially when it comes to nutrition. But if we start by implementing the right strategies first and foremost, our likelihood of success can only increase. Outlined in this article are three areas to begin with to get you on the right path and on your way to better nutritional wellness.

Weekly Prep

The majority of us have busy lifestyles and need to hit the ground running first thing in the morning each week. This means that gaining control over our food consumption will require setting aside a few hours or so weekly (usually on a Saturday or Sunday) to write out a menu and then shop for and prepare our meals for the week. The idea is to simply make the rest of your week easier by doing a little work in advance. The process goes like this:

▪ Sit down and come up with a meal plan, ideas and needs for the week.

▪ Decide roughly how much of each food you’ll need for the week and generate a shopping list.

▪ Hit the grocery store and, once you’re home, start cooking for the week. Cook the meat/beans, chop the veggies, set up snacks, etc.

You can either choose to prepare all the meals for the week or figure out which meals will be easy to cook just prior to meal time and save them for later. Typically, preparing meals that will need to be eaten during work hours or during busy times of the day when food prep becomes difficult is best done in advance. This usually consists of lunches and two or three daytime snacks.

Initially, this process will take some getting used to, but with time and practice it will become second nature and make a world of difference in terms of your consistency and success.

Create mindless eating solutions

In his book “Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life,” Brian Wansink gives powerful solutions to healthier eating just by making simple tweaks in your home.

A 2015 Syracuse University study in which 230 homes were visited uncovered some interesting statistics based on what was visible on the kitchen counter:

▪ Participants weighed anywhere between 9 and 29 pounds more when they had items like cookies, crackers/chips, breakfast cereal and regular or diet soda on the counter compared to those who didn’t.

▪ Participants who had only fruit on the counter weighed 7 pounds less on average.

Also, how you serve dinner in your home can have an influence on the amount of food consumed. When serving food from the stove or counter, people ate 19 percent less food compared to those who served food “family style” directly from the table. Having to get up and walk is just enough for people to question if they are really that hungry.

Below is a checklist of ways to set up your kitchen and meals for better success. The goal is to achieve at least seven or more.

▪ Salad and vegetables are served before the entrée and starches are brought to the table.

▪ The main dish is pre-plated and served from the stove or counter.

▪ Your dinner plates are 9-10 inches wide.

▪ You eat sitting at the table with the TV turned off.

▪ There are two or fewer cans of soft drinks in your refrigerator at any one time.

▪ Your kitchen counters are organized (not messy).

▪ Pre-cut fruits and veggies are on your middle refrigerator shelf.

▪ At least six single servings of protein are in your fridge: eggs, yogurt, string cheese, tofu, etc.

▪ Your snacks are kept in one conveniently placed cupboard.

▪ The only food on your kitchen counter is a fruit bowl.

These are just a few of the countless ideas that Wansink provides in his insightful book. You can learn more by visiting www.slimbydesign.org.

Kitchen Makeover

There is a saying: “If a food is in your possession or located in your residence, you will eventually eat it.”

So if you wish to become leaner and healthier, you must remove or minimize foods that aren’t part of a healthy eating program and replace them with a variety of better choices. Here are some examples of what to have and what to eliminate:

Foods to have in

your pantry

Foods to have in your fridge/freezer Foods to eliminate or minimize
  • Whole oats
  • Quinoa
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Mixed nuts
  • Canned or bagged beans
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Green tea
  • Extra-lean beef
  • Chicken breasts
  • Salmon
  • Omega-3 eggs
  • Real cheese
  • At least four varieties of fruit
  • At least five varieties of veggies
  • Flax seed oil
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potato or corn chips
  • Fruit or granola bars
  • Regular or low-fat cookies
  • Crackers
  • Chocolate or candy
  • Soft drinks
  • Regular peanut butter
  • More than three types of alcohol
  • Instant foods like cake mixes and mashed potatoes

Source: “The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition” by John Berardi and Ryan Andrews

Sweet Potato Pot Pie


Sweet Potato Pot Pie

Great vegan recipe!  Polenta on the bottom, curried lentils in the middle, and yams on top.  If you’re preparing this recipe in advance to serve latter, try to stagger the steps enough to let the bottom two layers cool fully before you top them with the yams.  Cooling each layer separately will keep the dish from getting soggy from condensation.


6 yams

1/2 teaspoon sea salt


6 cups water

2 cups lentils

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes or tomato puree

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon sea salt


3 cups water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup polenta

To make the yams, preheat the oven to 400˚ F, then bake the yams for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until they’re very soft.  When the yams are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into the bowl, sprinkle the salt over them and mash until smooth.  Set aside.

To make the lentils, bring the water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat, then stir in the lentils, onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and salt. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the lentils are soft and start to break down.  Turn off the heat and set the lentils aside.

To make the polenta, combine the water, oil, and salt in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat to medium-low and slowly pour in the polenta, stirring all the while to prevent lumps.  Simmer, stirring almost constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, until it thickens to the consistency of split pea soup.  Pour the polenta into a large casserole pan and smooth it into an even layer if need be.  Let it set for at least 10 minutes, until almost firm to the touch.

Preheat the over to 350˚ F.  Pour the lentils over the polenta and, if the lentils are hot, let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.  Spoon the mashed yams over the lentils in evenly spaced dollops then gently spread them with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 15 minutes, until heated through.  If the layers are at room temperature before baking, it may take 20 minutes; if you’ve prepared the dish in advance and they’re chilled, it could take as long as 30-40 minutes.

Courtesy of “The Accidental Vegan” – Devra Gartstein

What Supplements Should I Take?

As a trainer I’m constantly asked about what supplements are the best…  particularly for fat loss.  Now I’m always a little leery of products with terms like “shredd”…”thermoboost”…”lipozene”…etc. The reality is that many supplement companies do an effective job at marketing their product as the miracle breakthrough to monumental fat loss…the holy grail if you will.  While some of these products may be effective and produce some results, you can never be sure they will.  Why?  Well first, the supplement industry is not regulated in the U.S.  The FDA has the following statement on their website:

“The FDA does not analyze supplement products before they are sold to consumers.  The manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that the ingredient list is accurate and the ingredients are safe.  They are also required to make sure that the content matches the amount declared on the label.  FDA does not have adequate resources to analyze dietary products sent by consumers who want to know their content.  Instead, consumers may contact the manufacturer or commercial laboratory.”

In other words, there is no guarantee the product has the purity and potency as advertised.  In fact,  consumerlab states that only around 30% of supplements on the market actually do meet the criteria.

Regardless of the stats, a “fat burner” isn’t necessarily the right solution in most cases.  Where most people fall short is with their nutrition in general.  With that being said, “supplementing” where we are lacking makes more sense.  That’s not to say that we shouldn’t strive to improve our eating, but rather include supplements on the days were our nutrition is less than ideal.

Now with that being said, here are the five supplements that I recommend to consider for regular consumption.


Food Equivalent: Varied Diet

As many of us are marginally deficient in several micro-nutrients, multivitamins should be taken everyday.  Especially if you are eating at a caloric deficit to lose body fat (increase nutrients without calories).  Take with meals, daily, or on days where dietary intake is lacking.

Fish Oil Supplement*

Food Equivalent: Fatty fish such as salmon

Traditionally Omega 3s were taken primarily to help improve cardiovascular health, but recent research has shown that the benefits go well beyond improving heart function.  Omega 3 supplementation has been shown to:

  • Improve nervous system and boost immune health
  • Increase fat metabolism and improve weight loss
  • Decrease risk of diabetes and certain cancers
  • Improve blood pressure
  • Improve function for those with inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
  • Aid in workout recovery
  • Improve mood and decrease symptoms of depression.
  • Improve airway dilation

Much of the available whole-food fish supply contains environmental pollutants.  As a result, fish oil supplements should likely be taken every day while reducing fish intake to “occasional.”

Take with meals, daily.  High Omega 3 content; should contain at least 30% EPA and DHA.  Generally recommended dose is 2000-3000 mg.  Though according to consumerlab as high as 9 g per day can be recommended in some cases.  Consult with your health care professional to determine which is the optimal dose for you.

Greens Supplement*: Green food blend high in antioxidants, strongly alkaline and vitamin/mineral rich

Food Equivalent: Vegetables, Fruits

Use in circumstances when vegetable and fruits are inaccessible.  Frequency depends on fruit and vegetable intake: If vegetable and fruit intake is high (up to 10 servings/day), supplement use will be infrequent.  If fruit intake is low, supplement use should be daily or more frequent.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)*: are naturally occurring molecules (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) that the body uses to build proteins. The term “branched chain” refers to the molecular structure of these particular amino acids.  Muscles have a particularly high content of BCAAs.

Food Source: Any protein-rich food

BCAAs are thought to aid in improving muscle recovery and minimizing muscle delayed onset muscle soreness, though research has yielded mixed results.  However, during high-intensity exercise sessions when fat loss and muscle preservation is desired, supplemented is warranted and recommended.

Green Tea*: contains high levels of substances called catechin polyphenols, known to possess strong antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antitumorigenic, and even antibiotic properties.  Based on these findings, as well as observational studies green tea has become popular as a daily drink for preventing cancer and heart disease.

Green tea is often thought to boost metabolism as well.  While there are some studies that support this claim, other reviews have been mixed.

Recommended dosage is around 1-3 cups per day.  However, green tea does contain caffeine and may conflict with certain medications.  Consult with your health care professional prior to consumption.


Berardi J & Andrews R.  The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition 2nd Edition 2012


For additional information or more details regarding individual supplements please visit:



The power of Omega 3

Most of us know the value and benefit of taking a multivitamin.  Today’s food lacks the amount of nutrients our bodies need day in and day out.  Supplementing with a multivitamin can obviously help minimize deficiencies we may have.  And while a multivitamin should be a staple in almost everyone’s diet, an additional supplement that should be regarded as equally importance is an Omega 3.  Omega 3 also known as linolenic acid, is a polyunsaturated fat and is part of the “healthy fat” family.  Supplementing with Omega 3 and consuming healthy fats helps improve our cellular function be keeping the cells fluid and more pliable. In contrast, high amounts of saturated fats (animal fats) and trans fatty acids found in processed foods diminishes function by making our cells hard and rigid, Omega 3 consumption can make it easier to balance things out in our body.

Traditionally Omega 3s were taken primarily to help improve cardiovascular health, but recent research has shown that the benefits go well beyond improving heart function.  Omega 3 supplementation has been shown to:

  • Improve nervous system and boost immune health
  • Increase fat metabolism and improve weight loss
  • Decrease risk of diabetes and certain cancers
  • Improve blood pressure
  • Improve function for those with inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
  • Aid in workout recovery
  • Improve mood and decrease symptoms of depression.
  • Improve airway dilation

You can see why many doctors, therapists, and nutritional experts are so fond of Omega 3s.  While many fatty acids can be synthesized by our own body, Omega 3 must be obtained through diet and supplementation.  Foods high in Omega 3 include; walnuts, hemp seeds, fish (wild salmon, light tuna, shrimp, etc.), chia seeds, flax (Ground or Oil), soy nuts, olive oil.  Try to add at least ½ -1 serving to each meal/snack throughout the day.  In addition to food, it is recommended to take a daily Omega 3 supplement as well.  The minimum recommended daily amount is generally 2-3g per day in either liquid or capsule form.   However, research has shown as high as 9-10g/day may be recommended in certain cases. Consult with your physician to determine the correct dosage for you and start reaping the benefits of this super supplement!

Additional Resources:







“The Essentials of Sports and Exercise Nutrition, 2nd Edition – John Berardi, PhD; Ryan Andrews, MS, MA, RD


Healthy Eating is About Changing Behavior

There are so many diets out there.  Paleo, Atkins, The Zone Diet, Eating for your blood type, etc.  Each author will make a sound argument for the benefits of their approach, while critics will continue to point out their shortcomings.  Now I’m not here to decipher or breakdown the pros and cons of each.  Most plans are effective in helping the dieter to create a negative energy balance.  In other words, consuming less calories than they burn, resulting in weight loss.  But there is not a “one sized fits all” approach when it comes to nutrition.  Many factors like genetics, environment, food allergies, and daily energy demands will influence how an individual responds to dietary intake.  A weekend warrior training for a triathlon will usually have a higher need for carbohydrates, while an office worker who hasn’t been physically active for five years may require lower amounts of carbohydrates and a higher intake of proteins and healthy fats.  But regardless of individual differences and nutritional needs the biggest challenge most people face is consistency.  And the journey towards ideal health and body weight ultimately comes down to behavior change.  Let’s face it…change is hard!  Especially when it comes to nutrition!  People overestimate how difficult it is and underestimate how long it will take.  Numerous studies show that people are typically most successful when they limit their change to one behavior at a time before introducing a new one. But introduce even two new behaviors at once, and the failure rate is nearly 100%.  With that being said, outlined below are several nutritional habits everyone can benefit from.  Assess which habits you need to work on implementing most, pick one and put all of your focus and effort into it for the next 3-4 weeks.  Once it becomes second nature, then you are ready to introduce the next one.  Remember to be patient!  The goal is permanent change…one step at a time.

Slow Down! Many of us eat way too fast.  It takes about 20 minutes for our sensation of fullness to kick in.  The pathway from our stomach, to our brain, and back is long.  If you eat too quickly, you are more likely to overeat by the time your brain can communicate it’s time to stop.  The long term goal should be taking 15-20 minutes to consume each meal.  I know this may be too ambitious for a lot of us and that’s okay!  Just by slowing down by 1-2 minutes can make a big difference.  From there you can work towards the 15-20 minute goal.

Stop Eating at 80% Fullness: Rather than eating to the point of fullness, focus on eating until you are no longer hungry.  In conjunction with slowing down, this again will allow plenty of time for your brain to communicate that it’s time to end the meal.  Many benefits come of this, including better overall appetite cues, improved digestion, and increased performance with your workouts as well.

Eat every 2-4 hours: When you go prolonged periods without any food, your body goes into conservation mode simply because it doesn’t know when the next meal is coming.  As a result, the body holds onto any excess fat storage which a lot of people would prefer do without.  By eating smaller and more frequent meals this will keep your metabolism running at higher levels throughout the day and is more likely to let go of the extra stores.   

Eat Fruits and/or Vegetables with Each Meal: There is a good reason why mothers harp on their children to eat their fruits and veggies!  Nutrient dense and low in calories, fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and actually help buffer the body’s acidic response to protein and grains.  One medium sized fruit, ½ cup of raw chopped fruit or vegetables, and 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables each equal one serving.  Aim for 1-2 servings per meal.

Eat “Quality” Carbohydrates: Cut back on the processed, sugary carbs like juice, white flour, muffins, etc and focus your efforts on eating more whole food and fiber rich carbs.  This includes a mix of vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grain breads and pastas, quinoa, long grain rice, etc.  Typically, vegetables, beans, legumes, and most fruit can be consumed often and at any time of the day.  For breads, pasta, and rice, ideally these should be consumed after workouts or physical activity, especially if fat loss is a goalPrimarily this is because the body has its highest tolerance of carbohydrates post-workout than any other time. This will help refuel the body without any carbohydrate “spill over” into fat storage.    

Include Protein Dense Foods & Health Fats:  Up to1 serving (20-30g) for women and 2 servings for men (40-60 g) should be included with each meal.  A portion size of protein is visually about the size of the palm of your hand.  Protein dense foods include lean meats such as ground beef, chicken, turkey, bison.  Other great protein sources include salmon, tuna, eggs, cottage cheese, tofu, beans, etc.  Also, a mixture of fats should also be part of a balanced diet.  Vitamins A, D, E, and K, are critical to optimal human function, and can only be absorbed by the body with adequate fat in our diet.  Eating a variety of meats, cheeses, nuts, olive oil, and a fish oil supplement are all great ways to getting our daily dose of fat.

Don’t forget to exercise!  Of course this goes without saying!  Strive for 5 hours of physical activity every week for optimal health and to aid in weight loss.  Remember to include a combination of cardiovascular and strength training.  Now get out, get active and work on eating healthier…one habit at a time!

For more individual recommendations, healthy recipes, and all other additional information etc, please refer to the list of resources provided below.


Berardi, J, Andrews R. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Second Edition Pn Inc. 2012

Additional Resources:







How to (not!) get fat in five easy steps – by Mike Adams

You may think it’s strange to find a “How-To” article focusing on five easy steps for adding fat to your body. You might say that we already know how to do that: two thirds of the people in the United States are overweight and one third are considered clinically obese. Obviously we’ve mastered this topic.But I challenge that. I think even though we do tend to be overweight and obese as a nation, very few people are aware of how they actually got there. There’s not a great deal of awareness of the steps it takes to actually add excess body fat. In other words, we’re living with the effects of the obesity plan every single day in our own lives and in our society, and yet we’re not really cognizant of the causes. This article is designed to help make you aware of the causes by presenting the topic of weight loss to you in a unique way.Suppose a billionaire appeared at your doorstep and offered you $10,000,000 if you could add 100 pounds of body fat in less than one year. How could you actually do it in 12 months or less?

Step one to adding body fat: slow your metabolism

The very first thing you’ve got to do is slow your metabolism; by slowing your metabolism you’ll burn fewer calories when you’re at rest and thus, even if you don’t increase the amount of food you intake, you’ll automatically add weight and store body fat. The easiest way to slow your metabolism is to stop all forms of exercise. Avoid walking. Spend a lot of time in front of the television. Take elevators instead of the stairs. And certainly don’t sign up for any physical activities or spend much time outdoors.Some of the best strategies for lowering your metabolism include getting a desk job, finding parking spaces as close as possible to the stores where you shop so you don’t spend much time walking across the parking lot, and of course purchasing one of those electric chairs or scooters so that you can get around town without having to walk at all.

Avoiding physical exercise has a second effect — it also causes your body to break down the existing muscle mass that you have today. And by breaking down muscle mass, your metabolism will be slowed even further. This will accelerate your weight gain efforts and allow you to pack on the pounds almost automatically.

Remember that when you don’t use your muscles, your body gets rid of them. That’s because your body adapts to the level and intensity of physical exercise you choose to pursue. The quickest way to get rid of the muscles that you don’t want is to simply stop using them, and your body will take care of the rest.

Step two: drink lots of carbonated soft drinks

Avoiding physical exercise is only the first step to gaining weight and achieving your goal of packing on extra pounds in 12 months or less. But it won’t get you there all by itself — you’ve got to assist that effort by altering your diet.One of the very first things you should do is get yourself addicted to caffeinated soft drinks. You can start by purchasing a 12-pack of any soft drink beverage in grocery stores and consuming it at every possible opportunity, including breakfast. This is an absolutely wonderful way to pack on the pounds, because soft drinks are made with high-fructose corn syrup. When this ingredient is consumed, it spikes the blood sugar in your body. This sends an emergency signal to your pancreas, which produces increased levels of insulin in order to keep the blood sugar levels from going too high. This insulin signal is picked up by the cells in your body, which then remove blood sugar from your bloodstream and, through a somewhat complex biological process involving the liver, manage to store that blood sugar as body fat. If you drink enough soft drinks with enough frequency, you will be well on your way to achieving your goal of gaining 100 lb in 12 months or less.

Step three: choose high caloric density foods

While you’re at it, be sure to purchase foods with very high caloric density. You see, raw, uncooked fruits and vegetables will fill you up before you get very many calories in your meal. For example, it’s very difficult to eat 1,000 calories worth of apples at one sitting. Your stomach will simply fill up before you reach 1,000 calories and you won’t feel like eating any more. But if you choose processed foods with ingredients such as white flour, hydrogenated oils or saturated fats, you can pack in a couple of thousand calories in one sitting without topping off your stomach. This is hugely important for achieving your weight gain goals.Fortunately there are a great number of foods available at every grocery store in America that can help you accomplish this. It’s very easy to buy them, as most are quite affordable. All you have to do is look for brand-name foods packaged in beautiful boxes with delicious-looking pictures of foods on the front.

If you read the ingredients label, you’ll find these foods are made with ingredients like hydrogenated oils, white flour, sugar and other ingredients that have a very high caloric density. It is important that you eat these foods at every meal. You want to make sure your diet consists of things like cheese, fried foods and lots of white bread. As you probably guessed, pizza is an outstanding choice because it not only has a high caloric density from the cheese and whatever meats are on the pizza, but it also has the high glycemic index that accompanies the white flour crust. In a similar way, it’s also a good idea to eat lots of sugary breakfast cereals with high-fat cow’s milk. This will give you saturated fat from the cows’ milk and the high sugar content of the breakfast cereals, thereby adding fat to your body through two different biological mechanisms: fat and refined carbohydrates.

Step four: load up on junk foods

Junk foods are, of course, another outstanding choice for achieving your goals. A bag of potato chips provides an impressive quantity of dietary fats as well as refined carbohydrates – and various nacho chips and other snack foods operate in much the same way.You can also accelerate your weight gain goals by turning to fried foods. Fried foods have very high caloric density and the batter in which these foods are fried is normally made with white flour, so you also get the high glycemic index effects from the carbohydrates in the batter as well as the absurdly high caloric density of the fried fats.

Step five: visit fast food restaurants frequently

If you had to name an ideal source for the combination of food ingredients that would rapidly accelerate your quest for obesity, you’d have to put fast food restaurants at the top of that list. The more popular the fast food chain, the faster their food packs on the body fat, it seems. (Maybe that’s what the “fast” in “fast food” really means…)If you were to eat in fast food restaurants at least once a day, you would easily be able to meet your weight gain goal within one year and cash that $10,000,000 check. Be sure to order the largest quantities of soft drinks, fries and hamburgers, because it’s quantity that counts here. Aided by menu items from fast food chains, you can pack in as much as 2,000 calories in a single meal! This is going to rapidly accelerate your weight gain efforts, because the average adult human being needs only 2,000 calories per day.

If you can consume 2,000 calories at each meal while eating three meals a day, you can pack on an extra 4,000 calories a day! It takes about 3,000 calories to make one pound of excess body fat, so by eating 6,000 calories a day, you can achieve slightly more than one pound of body fat each day. This means in one week alone you can pack on 7 or 8 pounds of body fat, which would put you well on your way to achieving your weight gain goal. In fact, using this approach, you would probably be able to achieve your goal in 90 days or less. Cash that $10,000,000 check well ahead of time and retire as the global champion master of obesity!

The high price of weight gain success

Of course by the time you actually win this $10,000,000 you will have suffered the devastating health effects of consuming these processed foods, junk foods, fast foods and disease-promoting food ingredients. Yes, you will be $10,000,000 richer, but if you don’t reverse everything you’ve done over the last 90 days you will soon learn that you can’t take it with you. In other words, your life will be shortened if you don’t put an end to this weight gain effort and get back to a normal body weight.Fortunately, reversing your achievement is fairly straightforward. Simply do the opposite of everything that you’ve followed so far. In other words, start exercising, increase your lean body mass by engaging in strength training. Spend time walking, swimming or cycling. Find ways to move your body at work, even if you have a desk job. Avoid all processed foods and foods made with high-fructose corn syrup, white flour, refined white sugar and other refined carbohydrates. Remove soft drinks from your diet, avoid all fried foods, snack foods, junk foods and any foods made by food-manufacturing corporations whose packaged foods line the shelves of America’s grocery stores.

Once you do all that, your liver function will begin to improve quite rapidly; the hardening of your arteries that was taking place as your pursued your weight gain diet will begin to reverse; your cardiovascular health will improve dramatically; your brain function will even improve. Your pulse will slow, and your body fat will slowly begin to melt off. Your level of energy and vitality will gradually rise. You will find it easier to sleep at night and get up in the morning. You won’t get sick as often, and you’ll find that your immune system begins to function the way it’s supposed to in a healthy human being. In fact, every function of your body will steadily improve as you shift to a healthy, nutritious diet that avoids processed foods and all of those lifestyle choices you pursued to gain weight in the first place and win $10,000,000.

But here’s the bad news to all of this: while it may have only taken you 90 days to pack on 100 extra pounds, it will probably take you 100 weeks to remove it! That’s because weight loss strategies that work in the long term typically shed no more than one pound per week in actual body fat. So you can count on spending almost two years taking that fat off of your body, even though it only took 90 days to put it on.

Why most Americans are already on the weight-gain plan

If all of this discussion about how to gain weight sounds rather silly, by the way, that’s because it is silly. And what’s ever crazier is the fact that half the population in America is on the weight-gain plan right now, and they’re doing it for free!. How’s that for crazy? It’s one thing to compromise your health for a huge financial reward or some other significant goal, but it’s quite another to destroy your health and have nothing to show for it other than medical bankruptcy when the hospital bills start arriving at your door.It’s true: people are following this five-step plan right now! They’re actively following the precise strategy that a human being should take if they were trying to pack on 100 pounds of excess body weight and win $10,000,000.

And here’s something even more shocking: many people still haven’t figured out the link between the choices they make and their level of body weight or body health. They’ve been convinced by their physicians and organized medicine that health is just a matter of luck. There’s nothing you can really do to control your health outcome, they’re told. If you get cancer, it’s just chance or family history. If you’re obese, it’s just a genetic mutation that alters your brain chemistry. At least, in their minds.

And so each and every day, Americans go to the grocery store and load up their shopping carts with foods that will inevitably create obesity and chronic disease in their bodies. And then they wonder why they don’t feel well. They go to the doctor and say “Doc, please, fix me! Because I don’t feel so good.” That’s because they’re following the weight gain plan: the diet of obesity and chronic disease.

Why I’m serious about all this

Enough toying around with the weight gain recipe. Let’s get serious about what all this means. To do that, first realize that you, me and everyone alive has a great deal of power to control our own health outcome. If we take responsibility for our health and look at the effects of the actions we are taking, we can determine what outcome we wish to experience. (By the way, the vast majority of readers of this site already know this. But I’m sure you’ll agree that many of the people around you, who aren’t so well informed about health, truly have no clue…)Some people may be fine with going through life experiencing chronic disease. For some people it’s actually a pattern that’s comfortable and familiar. Others, though, would like to go through life in a healthful state. And too few people realize they have the full power to make that choice and follow that path in their own lives.

What I’m sharing here today is that there is a recipe for gaining weight and being diseased, just as there is a recipe for losing weight and being free of disease. You can choose to follow whichever recipe you want, and you will get exactly the results of the recipe you follow. You can also invent your own recipe and experience the natural results of that recipe based on the laws of physiology, biochemistry, nutrition and health.

You can make a new choice starting now

So if you’re standing on a path right now, and it’s not the path you want to be on in terms of your own health, I invite you to stop walking down that path, take a look around and find a new path to walk down. Then put one foot in front of the other and start walking down that new path. It’s not going to change your health overnight, but if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, you can end up on a completely different path than where you started. And if you open your eyes so that you actually see where you’re walking, you can look down the path to see what kind of result you want to achieve and then aim for that goal.You don’t have to walk blindly and leave your health up to chance or food advertising gimmicks. You can take control of the outcome you wish to experience and move towards it steadily, with determination, and ultimately experience it each and every day for the rest of your life. Take back your health power! (And ditch that body fat recipe, too.)

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/004370.html#ixzz1TVjkZ6FD

Why wait when you can achieve results now

After more than 15 years in the fitness industry I am still amazed how often people put off starting a workout program until “next year.” Before you consider shutting it down during the holidays consider the following fact: Americans gain an average of 5 – 10 lbs. during the holiday season and never lose the weight! To put it into a larger perspective, over a course of five years, the holiday indulgence alone could result in 25 – 50 lbs. of weight gain!

Now before you chime in with, “But Jason, the holidays are so busy with, work parties, and family engagements, not to mention all of the temptations!” I completely understand and agree that you should be able to indulge, but within reason! Plus, that is an even better reason to start or continue your workout program. Worse case scenario, you gain no weight and create positive momentum going into the New Year. Best case scenario, you actually lose weight, finish the year strong, and become even more motivated come January!

Here are my top five tips for surviving the holiday season and starting the new year now!

Tip 1 Shorten your workouts: Remember that some is always better than none! If you don’t have time to work out for an hour, shorten your workout to 20 – 30 minutes. Exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Doing circuit training with weights or running intervals on the treadmill are fast and effective ways to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

Tip 2 Combine Strength & Cardio into One Workout: This goes hand-in-hand with tip #1. Alternating a strength exercise with a cardio exercise is an effective way to get the best of both worlds. Perform 3 sets of the following circuit for 1 minute each with little to no rest between exercises:

1. Pushups 2. Jump rope 3. Cable rows 4. Jumping jacks 5. Body weight lunges 6. Rowing machine

Tip 3 Find a Workout Partner: Using the buddy system works wonders for staying consistent. It creates a sense of accountability by both parties. Plus, there is always the tendency to push a little harder when you have a partner involved. Just make sure you find a partner that is reliable!

Tip 4 Fill up on Healthy Food Before the Party: There will always be guilty pleasures at all times around the holiday season. Filling up on healthy food and water prior to the party will lead to less calorie consumption during social engagements!

Tip 5 Eat to Mild Fullness: We’ve all experienced it. Eating our holiday feast to the point to where we feel like we’re the stuffed turkey sitting on the dining room table. This year try eating smaller portions instead of piling as much food as possible onto your plate. There will always be plenty of leftovers to go back for a couple of hours later! On a scale of ten, shoot for a 5-6 in fullness. Your waistline (and digestive system) will thank you for it!

Water is your secret weapon

We often forget about how important water is to exercise performance and weight loss. We work much harder at finding the right foods and the most effective exercise routine than we do in remembering to drink enough water.

Water plays a crucial role and is involved with practically every function in the human body. It cools the body down during exercise (even when it’s cold outside), carries nutrients to cells, helps digest food, lubricates joints, affects hormone regulation, and is the main component of blood.

Proper water intake is also a key component for weight loss. Fat metabolism simply does not occur at an optimal rate when we are chronically dehydrated. Even new research has shown that increasing water intake can be an effective weight loss tool. Dr. Brenda Davy, a registered dietitian, and colleagues at Virginia Tech found that dieters who drank two cups of water before meals lost an average of five pounds more than dieters who didn’t increase their water intake.

A lack of water also can hinder exercise performance. This is primarily because of a reduction in cardiovascular output, metabolic reactions and an increase in core temperature.

In other words, water can make or break a successful workout. As a general rule, 24 to 32 ounces of water should be consumed two hours before exercise, 4 to 8 ounces every 15 minutes during exercise, and a minimum of 24 ounces after exercise.


Daily intake: Current research from the Institute of Medicine found that the average water loss per day was nine cups for women and 13 cups for men, which also is the minimum daily recommendation for each.

You’ve already likely heard this but still do it: Don’t rely on thirst as an indicator. By the time you’re thirsty your body has already lost 1.5 to 2.0 liters! Try sipping 4 to 8 ounces per hour throughout the day.

 Out of sight, out of mind: It’s easy to forget about drinking water. Try keeping a water bottle at your desk or work station. The more visible it is, the more likely you’ll be consistent with your daily consumption.

Eat your fruits and vegetables: 19 percent of our fluid intake comes from food. Fruits and vegetables are water-dense and are great for getting additional hydration. Plus, they are packed with nutrients, high in fiber, and low in calories, which also can help you lose weight.