Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why do you workout????

  1. It makes me feel great.
  2. To increase my energy.
  3. So I can look good in my clothes.
  4. To be in the best shape of my life...Always!
  5. To be healthy
  6. To compete
  7. So I can be strong and fit
  8. To believe in myself
  9. It keeps me feeling young
  10. It increases my longevity
  11. It keeps me positive
  12. To release stress
  13. Because after a long day it is the best thing to do
  14. It starts my day off on a perfect note
  15. So I can be lean and healthy
  16. So I can keep up with my kids
  17. Because I want to hit the golf ball farther
  18. To stay mobile and flexible
  19. To increase my vitality

Set your goals, have a plan of action and go out and do what you have to do to conquer those goals. You can go as high as you want to. Just believe in yourself and stay motivated!

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

IT was wet and cold but a day to remember!

This morning was the Spring Fling Duathlon. I woke up at 4:00 am, took a shower, ate a piece of toast with peanut butter and jelly and banana, packed my gear, put my bike in the truck and it was time to go. We left Visalia by 5:15 am. We arrived in Fresno at 6:00 am just as it started raining. As 7:00 am rolled around the rain continued to poor down. It was going to be a wet and cold event. But there are running/biking Gods out there because the rain stopped when the start gun went off. A modified warm-up was good enough to get me off to a good start. IT was a fast start. The first 8 guys ran the first mile under 5:45. Then we settled into our zone. After the first lap I saw my good friend Ira and gave him a high five. Ira has battled back from a serious fracture in his tibia and fibula 1 1/2 years ago. Now, he is running 6 miles. Pretty inspiring and amazing. I finished the first 4 miles in 25 minutes, got on my bike and it was time to bust out 8 miles. The bike was windy and wet. The morning rain left the roads slick and slippery. It was a medium pace to the turnaround and a fast pace back to the transition area. I got off my bike, made a quick transition back to my running shoes and I was off. I was in 10th place at the time. Because of a fast transition I was in 8th place with two competitors about 200 yards in front of me. They were my carrots that I had to chase. I went out hard. At about the 1 mile mark, I picked up my pace. The two guys infront of me were now close. I cranked up the pace and went right by them without letting up. We had one more hill left to climb and I pushed hard all the way to the finish line. Out of 91 competitors, I finished 6th overall and 3rd in my age group.

Megan Piepgrass, another Visalia Triathlon Club Member did awesome! She finshed 1st in her age group and 3rd overall in the women division. Ira finshed 31st overall and 5th in his age group. And great job to Melanie for sticking it out and finishing the event.

We battled the weather and the extreme conditions. Another day to put in the books and another day to remember!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The 5 Best Power Foods to Eat

We make choices everyday on the food we eat. We can either eat good, fresh healthy food or we can eat processed, high fatty foods. Whether you run triathlons, play football, or want to lose weight you need to make eating healthy a priority. You will not get the desired results with a poor diet. Healthy nutrition must be a lifestyle habit. DO NOT GET ON DIETS! Diets may work for a specific amount of time but what happens when you no longer follow that diet? You need to make changes in the way you choose food, prepare food and order food.

I have put together the top 5 power foods every person needs in their diet. Again, high level athletes, general fitness individuals and weekend warriors need a healthy, balanced nutrition plan in order to reach maximum fitness levels. Have these foods available all the time and you will watch your energy levels soar, you will build lean strong muscle and you will recovery properly.

  1. Bell Peppers. Bell peppers are a great source of vitamin C. If you thought citrus fruits packed a powerful punch when it comes to being a good source of vitamin C, peppers have them beat. Green peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C by weight than citrus fruits, and this powerful punch of vitamin C is an antioxidant that may be effective in preventing certain cancers. Red bell peppers have three times as much vitamin C as the green varieties and are a good source of beta carotene. This should be a vegetable that is always available to you. Add bell peppers to pasta, rice, eggs, or whole beans.
  2. Avacado. This fruit has been given a bad rap. Because of its high fat content (30 grams) people think avocado are unhealthy. But this nutritious fruit is high in monounsaturated fat which can lower cholesterol. It is probably not wise to eat two of these a day but 1/2 of one a day can definitely be an advantage. Good fats like this can increase skin, hair and nail health, as well as regulate blood pressure and is a huge source of potassium. Try using smashed avocado on toast instead of butter or add a few slices to a salad.
  3. Edamame. This legume is one of the best. Just 1/2 cup of them a day really punches up the fiber, protein and vitamin/mineral content of your diet. Edamame has almost as much protein as it does carbohydrates. It contains around 10% of the Daily Value for two key antioxidants; vitamins C and A. And for a plant food, it's quite high in iron; it has about as much as a 4-ounce roasted chicken breast. Use edamame as a healthy snack, a pre-dinner starter, or a late night munchie. This is truly a power food.
  4. Egg white. Yes, I said egg whites, no yolk. The egg white is one of the purest animal proteins you can find. One whole egg is approximately 77 calores. You take out the yolk, which is 99% saturated fat, and you have only 17 calories of pure protein. Eggs are loaded with choline, a nutrient known for good brain function. Now I am not saying to never eat the yolk but the majority of your eggs need to be the whites. If you truly want to decrease your body fat and build strong lean muscle then eat plenty of egg whites. You can add lean turkey, salsa, bell peppers, avocados, and lean chicken to your egg whites for variety. If you are in need of some carbohydrates then use a whole wheat tortilla to make an egg white burrito.
  5. Peanut butter. Peanut butter might be a lifesaver for most athletes. It is considered a staple in most peoples homes. "Suffice it to say that eating peanut butter or peanuts has been associated with lower total cholesterol, lower ldl or 'bad' cholesterol, and lower triglycerides, all of which are associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk," says Richard Mattes, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of nutrition at Purdue University. Just like avocados, you need to eat peanut butter in moderation. Just two tablespoons of peanut butter has close to 200 calories. So be careful in your servings. Use 1-2 tablespoons with a few slices of an apple, add a spoonful to a smoothie or make a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Also, to make a better choice, choose a natural peanut butter. It will be less processed and will not have as much added sugar.

So there you go. Five power foods that everyone needs in their daily diet. Keep in mind that portion control is important. Keep a food journal for five consecutive days so you can see exactly what is going in your body. You need balance. Most individuals need 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 20% fat. An average women needs between 1200-1700 calories and an average man needs between 1800-2500 calories. A high school male football player should be eating 3000-4000 calories depending on his goals. A high school female track runner should be eating 2200-3000 calories depending on her goals. Everyone has their own specific calorie needs. Go and talk to a qualified fitness coach or nutritionist to find out what your needs are.

Have a great day! will be a life changing experience!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Are you really eating healthy???

On a daily basis I always ask my clients how they have been eating. The answer I get is "good". Then I say ok, well tell me what you have been eating the past two days. Come to find out it was a bad two days, but before that they were eating "perfect"! So, I then tell that person to give me a food journal for the next 5 days with everything that goes into their mouth. When I see their food journal we come to the conclusion that they need some help.

Healthy nutrition is a tough task. It takes thought, preparation, time and organization. If you do not put thought into it you will never know what is going in your body. If you do not prepare there will be times when you do not eat or you will make a bad choice. If you do not make time you will rush to a fast food because you do not have time. If you are not organized then you will not be able to put in thought, you will never be prepared and you will never have enough time.

The first list are things you should be thinking about daily. I got this list from a former athlete that I used to train. His university gave this "checklist" to him on the first day of camp. We all need to concentrate on checking these things off the list on a daily basis.

Performance Nutrition: The Inside Edge

Consistent High-level performance requires that healthy nutrition be a high daily priority. Performance nutrition is about eating to optimize energy production, maintain a healthy body composition and accelerate recovery and healing. A true edge is gained by eating for health and performance EVERYDAY!


Do you eat breakfast 7 days a week?
Do you eat 3 balanced meals at approximately the same time everyday?
Do you eat 3 nutritious snacks in between your main meals everyday?
Do you eat at least 3 pieces of fresh fruit daily?
Do you eat at least 5 servings of fresh vegetables daily?
Do you choose high fiber breads and cereals? (Not corn pops!)
Do you eat a large serving of lean or low-fat protein at each meal?
Do you eat adequately to maintain your body weight (unless on a fat loss or weight gain program)?
Do you eat a pre-practice snack within 1 hour of beginning exercise?
Do you eat a post-workout snack within 30 minutes of completion?
Do you eat a balanced meal within 2 hours of completing your workout?
Do you drink at least 72 ounces of water daily?
Do you sleep 7-8 hours each night?
Do you go to bed at the same time at night and get up at approximately the same time each morning?
Do you take a multi-vitamin on a daily basis?

So look at these questions on a daily basis. You will see huge results in your energy levels, your physique and your performance if you are answering yes to these questions.

Next I am going to show you your calorie needs. Here is a formula for you to figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). The BMR formula uses the variables of height, weight, age and gender to calculate the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is more accurate than calculating calorie needs based on body weight alone. The only factor it omits is lean body mass and thus the ratio of muscle-to-fat a body has. Remember, leaner bodies need more calories than less leaner ones. Therefore, this equation will be very accurate in all but the very muscular (will underestimate calorie needs) and the very fat (will over-estimate calorie needs).

Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Example: 35 years old, 155 pounds, 55 inches
BMR for this individual = 1423 calories at rest

Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )
Example: 50 years old, 175 pounds, 65 inches
BMR = 66 + 1090 + 825 - 340
BMR for this individual = 1641 calories at rest

So, once you figure out your BMR you need to know how much activity you are putting in everyday. The Harrison Benedict forumla will help you out:

  • If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  • If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  • If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  • If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  • If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

We will use the male example above. His BMR is 1641 and we will say he is moderately active.

1641 x 1.55 = 2543 calories/day

NOW, you are asking "what do I do with that number"? Good question. If you want to lose weight you deficit that number by 500 calories. 500 calories a day will equate to 3500 calories a week which is 1 pound, a good healthy number to lose in a week. If you want to gain weight you add 500 calories to that number. If you want to maintain weight you eat right at that number.

So if that same man wanted to lose weight he would take that 2543 and subtract 500 which leaves him at 2043 calories a day. And vice versa if he wanted to gain weight.

Your daily calories CAN NOT be below your BMR. If you have these days it is detrimental to getting results. You will do nothing but eat away lean muscle mass and store body fat. You must eat enough food to spark your metabolism.

Final Tips:

  • majority of your food needs to come from fresh vegetables, fruit and lean proteins
  • eat smaller amounts of food every 2-3 hours during the day
  • water intake should be at least 65 ounces; the more active you are the more water you need
  • everyone, even weight loss individuals, needs a protein supplement; most people do not eat adequate protein sources throughout the day
  • if you do not cook, you need to learn
  • prepare you meals before you step out the door
  • alcohol will stagnate results; except for the buzz you get, there is nothing good about alcohol

If you have any specific questions feel free to email me anytime at


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Core" Exercises

I get this question all the time, "Justin I need some "Ab" exercises. I want a 6-pack and do not know if I am doing the right exercises." First of all if you want a 6-pack you need to change your diet and eat very clean. That is a blog in itself but do not expect a "6'pack" if you are not eating clean food. Secondly let me give you some education on what most people call the "core". The core involves the muscles from the thigh all the way up to the rib cage and everything in between. It is not just the abs.
We engage the core in almost every exercise in the gym. Squatting, chin-ups, push-ups, jumping, and running are all "core exercises". Now some specific muscles that build stability in the core are down below. The more stability we have in our lower spine area the better function and movement we will produce throughout the rest of the body. If we lack stability in the lower spine many problems can arise from this issue. You need to perform planks and side planks almost everytime you go to the gym for a workout. These are great exercises for trunk stability. If you notice the pictures, Jacki is straight as a board. Start off with 2 sets of 20 seconds. When you can do that with perfect form, move to 30 seconds. Then go to 3 sets. Once you have mastered the plank and side plank there are many variations of this exercise to make it more difficult. First, MASTER THE BASIC movement!

The first video is what I call "trunk stabilization". It can be performed on a cable machine or with a thera-band. Remain braced and stiff throughout the abdominal wall. Pretend someone is about to punch you in the stomach and keep that feeling throughout the exercise. You are getting rotation in the throacic spine area (mid-spine) but that is the only movement. You do not need heavy weight with this exercise. Start off with a weight that you can control.

Along with a clean diet you need the right workout program. Check out my article called "The Best Training Program". This will give you a breakdown of how you can design your own program when going to the gym. With the right mix of science and intensity you will see the results from doing the correct things in the gym.


Past writings