Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strength and conditioning and Nutrition mistakes

5 Nutritional and Strength and Conditioning
Mistakes to Avoid in the Sport of Triathlon

By Justin Levine, Owner, Head Fitness Coach at
California Fitness Academy, www.justintrain.com

The sport of triathlon is a very specific event that is growing as we speak. Many individuals are embarking on the lifestyle of constant training, continuingly watching what goes into their bodies, and always finding that slight edge over the competition. Below are five mistakes that triathletes are consistently making on a daily basis. Work on correcting these mistakes and watch your performance soar.

1. Not lifting any weights. This is probably the most common mistake among triathletes. Most triathletes think lifting weights will get them bulky and inflexible. But in all actuality lifting weights the correct way will enhance your performance, reduce injury, and correct imbalances. The sport of triathlon is very demanding on the body. Overuse injuries occur because most individuals are not functionally strong. They can swim, bike and run all day long but have them do a push-up and it will be extremely tough. You need to be a strong athlete, all around. When you think of lifting weights to enhance your performance, do not think of excessive weight lifting; instead, think of hip mobility drills, shoulder stabilizing exercises, single leg squats, chin-ups, push-ups, single leg dead lifts, and core stabilization work (plank/side plank are the most common exercises to increase stabilization of the trunk). What you do in the gym will assist you out in the water or on the road. So put together a plan and execute. Talk with an educated strength coach with experience in endurance sports strength and conditioning and he/she will guide you in the right direction.

2. Not eating enough protein. Again, this is another regular mistake among triathletes. The common triathlete definitely eats plenty of carbohydrates: Pastas, fruits, breads, vegetables, and rice are your main source of energy throughout the week. It is vital to stay at full tank with your carbohydrates but it is also very crucial to eat plenty of protein. Protein will help you increase lean muscle mass, burn unwanted body fat, and recover faster and more efficient after long training sessions. When you have more lean mass and less body fat, you race faster. I have clients who suffer in their workouts and do not recover properly because they are eating a low amount of protein. A general guideline for triathletes for protein intake is eating at least ½ - ¾ of a gram per pound of body weight. So a 150 pound female should eat 75-112 grams of protein a day. The more training someone is doing, the more protein should be consumed throughout the day. Figure out your nutrient needs and you will increase your performance.

3. Overtraining. Most triathletes are “A” type personalities and want to do everything it takes to increase their performance. A huge limiter to getting better at the sport of triathlon is overtraining. Too many athletes spend way too much time spinning their tires and never moving forward. They dig themselves into a hole that is very hard to get out of. They are constantly training hard. But the question is, “are they training efficient?” I learned that training smart and not “hard” is definitely the way to go. You must be able to read your body and know if you have symptoms of overtraining. Interrupted or inconsistent sleep, nagging injuries, lack of performance, daily fatigue, decrease in appetite, lack of motivation to train, and persistent muscle soreness are just some symptoms of overtraining. Remember, training should be fun, positive, and keep you healthy. And unless you are a professional, this is not your profession, so you need to know when you body is not feeling 100%. When you get to that point take some time to rest and recover, which brings me to my next point.

4. Rest/Recovery/Regenerate. This is also a limiter to increasing your performance. You have to remember that no matter how many training hours you put in, if you get hurt, you can’t train. When you can’t train, you can not get better. So resting and recovering is an important aspect of the sport that needs attention. You must schedule rest days during the week. The body is not meant to train 24 hours, 7 days a week. You need time to get off your feet, rest your mind, and rest your body. If you do not schedule rest and recovery time, you will quickly burn out and will lose the motivation to train and ultimately get hurt. Regeneration is also significant. Foam rolling and massage, consistent stretching, active release techniques, and ice baths are just a few recovery techniques you must implement into your training regimen on a daily basis. The body can be a fined tuned machine but if it breaks down you will not be able to get to the level you set out for. So pay attention and listen to your body.

5. Forgetting post-workout nutrition. I have many clients that workout extremely hard. Then I ask them what their nutrition plan is after the workout is over and they give me a blank stare. Most people will wait or forget to eat after a workout is completed. You are defeating the whole purpose of working out if you do not have a post-workout meal planned. When you workout, you break down muscle tissue and deplete muscle glycogen. In order to recover properly, and start preparing yourself for your next workout, you absolutely need a post-workout recovery meal. You have a 30 minute window after a workout is over to replenish what your body depleted during the workout. Some good, quick choices to choose from are: a glass of low fat chocolate milk, a whey (fast acting) protein shake, a piece of fruit with a glass of milk, or a protein bar that is a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Once you get in your post-workout meal within 30 minutes, then you can have a more substantial meal, like a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, a lean chicken breast with some brown rice and vegetables, or some yogurt with some fruit. You will see the difference in your training, your performance, and your overall vitality by being consistent with your post-workout nutrition plan.

The sport of triathlon is a great way to stay healthy, fit and energized in your daily life. If you continue to train hard, remember to train smart. Work on your limiters and weaknesses and strive to get better. Be patient, be consistent, and stay motivated and you will be on your way to success.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Protein – The Miracle Nutrient
By Justin Levine

I have been noticing in most individuals that they are lacking protein in their diet. They are eating plenty of carbohydrates, getting their good sources of fat, but are really limiting the amount of protein in their nutrition plan. Protein is a nutrient that our body needs for building lean muscle, increasing metabolic function, stabilizing blood sugar levels, efficient fat burning, and strengthening bones and muscles. Without it, your results will be stagnate and inconsistent.
Types of protein can be from a natural food source such as egg whites, lean deli turkey, chicken breast, and fish or it can come from a supplement source like a whey or soy protein. Almost anyone I talk to will not get the sufficient amount of protein their body needs to sustain the amount of lean muscle they have, let alone try to build lean muscle mass. When this happens, your body will go into a catabolic state and will breakdown its own muscle tissue as part of trying to build what you lose everyday. This will counteract what you are trying to do in the gym, which is build lean muscle mass and speed up metabolism. If you are constantly sacrificing your muscle tissue, your body will never get into a consistent function of trying to build lean muscle and burn unwanted body fat. You will continually dig yourself into a hole that will be hard to get out of.
Whether you are trying to gain weight or lose weight, you need to increase your lean muscle mass. By doing so, you need more protein in your diet. If you are trying to gain weight, you need between 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So, a 200 pound male needs between 200-300 grams of protein depending on his goals. If you are trying to lose weight, you need between ¾ - 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. So, a 150 pound woman needs between 112-150 grams of protein depending on her goals. It sounds like a lot of protein, I know, but if you are constantly thinking about getting in your protein sources, it will add up quickly. Below are some examples of getting in at least 100 grams of protein a day:

3 egg whites: 12 grams
5 slices of lean turkey meat: 35 grams
1 whey protein shake (8 oz. milk): 28 grams
6 oz. lean chicken breast: 30 grams
Total: 105 grams of protein

1 whey protein shake (8oz. milk): 28 grams
2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter: 7 grams
3 oz. salmon: 25 grams
1 cliff bar: 10 grams
6 oz. lean chicken breast: 30 grams
Total: 100 grams of protein

Moral of this story is to eat MORE PROTEIN! Wake up and eat protein, go to bed and eat protein. You will see the benefits and your results will soar! Good luck!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Five things I have learned in the past year

Well I am 1 month away from owning a gym for three years. WOW! Time flies so fast. It is incredible the things you can learn in such a little time. I will make it one of my goals to continue to learn and better myself each day I am in the business. This is long term. This is not a sprint. I will be at it for the rest of my life.

These five things I have learned over the past 3 year of my Life.

  1. Set and write down your goals. This is an important one. It keeps your accountable. I literally write down my goals and look back at them at least once a month. If you want a certain number in the bank account, if you want to train a certain amount of clients, if you want to accomplish an athletic feat, whatever it is, you need to write it down. If you do not write down your goals, you will just be a talker and not a walker. I am not saying that if you write down that you want $100,000 in the bank account in one year it is going to happen. But if you write it down you almost feel guilty each day when you have not done anything to get you closer to your goal. Once you have determined your goals, then figure out the steps it will take to achieve that goal. All goals take steps. They take daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tasks. If you have no clue the steps it will take, then you better get someone to assist you to make a plan.
  2. Owning a Business is NO JOKE. When I first opened my facility, I was a personal trainer who knew how to train. I loved helping people and training came easy for me. In this past year I have learned that I need to know more about business. The business side of things is tough. Marketing, really long hours, employees, taxes, facility upkeep, bills, gross revenue, net revenue, retaining clients, keeping clients happy....the list goes on and on. Don't get me wrong, I love the challenge. But it definitely is not for the weak minded. The past 3 months I have spent reading more business related material than fitness related material. I have learned from guys like Alwyn Cosgrove, Pat Rigsby, Mike Boyle, Todd Durkin, and Bill Parisi. These guys all have profitable fitness businesses and they are all willing to help a trainer out. Even if they do not know they are, they are. I read their blogs and newsletters and listen to them at seminars and webinars. They know how to keep it fresh and up to date, and that is what I want. This is an area I will grind and grind to keep learning the ins and outs of business. I have a ways to go but I know with my persistency it will pay off.
  3. There are so many whack fitness programs out there. I didn't really learn this in the last 12 months but I needed to bring it up. Do not fall into the trap to do those gimmicky fitness programs out there. Anytime you turn on the TV there is some type of fitness infercommercial playing over and over. Yes they might work but what happens when they are completed? Now you have to do it on your own and you are back to square one. Yes they might motivate you to get off your butt but what happens when that guy yelling at you from the TV gets on your nerves? You will quite and get frustrated. You need to build fitness and eating healthy into your life. Make it a part of your daily routine. NO DIETS, NO FAD WORKOUTS, just plain hard work, dedication and consistency. Your life will take off. You will have more energy, you will decrease your chances of sickness and heart disease and you will take advantage of everything around you. Mike Boyle once said, "If it seems too gimmicky to be true, then it probably doesn't work." Again, fitness is work but it can be FUN. It is all what you make it. Get on a bike, go out for a run, do some mobility and flexiblity work so you are moving properly, and hit some push-ups and chin-ups. The endorphins are just waiting to be released! Make it who you are and enjoy the benefits.
  4. Mobility, flexiblity and soft tissue work is #1. Whether you are an athlete, general fitness individual, weekend warrior or a child, you need to work on moving properly on a consistent basis. This aspect, to me, is the most important part of fitness. It doesn't make sense if you are extremely fit but have numerous issues and imbalances. You will never feel good and that is a huge goal of mine when I am training you, is for you to be pain free. You must spend time to work on these things. We start every workout with a thorough dynamic warm-up. Not just 5 minutes on a treadmill, that is not a warm-up. Every client spends at least 5 minutes to foam roll when they come into my facility. Then we go through ankle, hip and thoracic mobility drills and then perform some full body flexibility drills. If I have someone who has major movement issues then they will have to do some of these drills at home on their own. I never cut this portion short. I will cut their strength work and conditioning short before I cut mobility and warm-up. Find my article on "6 corrective exercises athletes should do", and you will learn some basic movements to do on your own.
  5. Think before you speak. I had a conversation with a client of mine who has been a very successful business owner the past 15 years. She brought this up to me during this talk and challenged me to work on this. She called it "self awarness". As a business owner and "someone in charge" the things we say are taken very seriously. People listen to us and do the things we ask. It is so critical to think before things come out of our mouth. Whether it is a conversation with a client, an employee, a family member or with your significant other, you must mentally think about what you are about to say before you say it. Say to yourself, "How will this comment affect this individual." I am learning to do this right now. I am far from perfect. I say things sometimes and wonder "why did I say that?" This is a concept I will continue to work on so I can continue to grow as an individual and as a business owner.

Time to go make it happen. Let your actions speak loud. You will never have to brag about yourself if you are always working hard and striving for excellence!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

California Fitness Academy's 12-week Fat Loss Program

California Fitness Academy’s

Summer 12-week Fat Loss Program

“We guarantee 12 pounds of fat loss or you will get your money back.”

Each individual will commit to:
· 5 workouts a week at CFA
(2 training sessions with a CFA coach and 3 conditioning workouts on your own)
· Weekly food logs
· Body fat test every 2 weeks
· Consistent healthy nutritional habits
· Re-scheduling a session if you miss

Start NOW!

Lose that unwanted body fat so you can enjoy the rest of the summer looking and FEELING great!

$330/month (1st month due at start of program)

Call 334-8990 for more information.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Random Thoughts

So, if you have noticed it has been a few weeks since my last post. Yes, I admit I have had writer's block. So to stir some thoughts in my head a bit, here are a bunch of random thoughts about training, nutrition, life, sports, motivation, and more.

Hope you enjoy.

  1. You need to challenge your body in your work outs. Do not just go to the gym and sit on an elliptical for 45 minutes at a slow steady pace. That is not a workout. Your body will never change doing that and you will never get in shape. Do interval conditioning and be intense. You do not need as much time and you will burn more calories over time with this type of training. If you want to hit the weights, use pair, tri or even quad sets for your workout. Meaning put 2-4 antagonist movements together so your rest time is minimal. This will make for a much more efficient use of your time. If you are standing around resting for 3 minutes between sets, you are wasting time.

  2. Always and I mean ALWAYS start your workout with a dynamic warm-up. This warm-up should increase joint mobility, muscle flexibility, assist in correcting bad posture mechanics, elevate your heart rate, activate specific musculature, prepare the body for the workout ahead and most importantly reduce your chance of injury! A proper dynamic warm-up is just as important as the strength training and conditioning. If you can not move in a proper function then you will just create more of an imbalance by adding external loads to exercises. Take the time and warm-up!

  3. Kobe vs. Lebron??? Well if you know me, you know my answer. I am picking Kobe any day and all day. Kobe is the best basketball player in the NBA right now. In fact he is probably top 5 players of all time. When the game is on the line I love being a Laker fan because I know Kobe will take over and guide them to a win. I like Lebron but he isn't at the level Kobe is at yet. He is a very explosive player and I enjoy watching him play but Kobe is the MAN!

  4. How important is nutrition you ask??? When you look at a year, you need to eat healthy 85% of that year. So, 310 days a year need to be full of healthy carbohydrates, lean proteins, and quality fats. You have 55 days a year to cheat and eat what the hell you want. That is about 1 time a week. Along with being active and getting your workouts in, nutrition is part of the equation to achieving your fitness goals. Think about a car that looks great on the outside: nice paint job, nice rims and nice tires but then you feed that car bad fuel and bad dirty oil and never maitenance the vehicle. Guess what....it will not run and will eventually breakdown. Same with our bodies. If we are not putting quality fuel into our body we will have no energy, get sick, and eventually break down. Feed the body with good nutrition, it is a must!

  5. STOP DOING CRUNCHES! I have wrote about this in past blogs. If you are still doing crunches, you need to stop. Perform planks, side planks, push-ups, chin-ups, medicine ball throws, and core rollouts for a great core routine. This will build stability and stiffness in the lower spine so you can move more freely throughout the rest of the body.

  6. Life is all what you make it. You can wake up everyday with a negative attitude and not enjoy the things you do and the people around you. It is your decision. But you can also wake up with a positive mindset, ready to take on each day, and a burning desire to be successful. "Your attitude determines your altitude." Remember this quote next time you have a bad attitude towards something. You can change that attitude with a snap of the fingers. Ghandi was quoted as saying, "Live everyday like you are going to die tomorrow. Learn everyday like you are going to live forever." Do not settle for average. Educate yourself and live everyday to the fullest and watch your life soar!

  7. Ok, so I had to bring up my LA Dodgers. I don't want to jinx them but damn they are playing great right now. It is great being a LA Fan right now. Hopefully they will keep the momentum and continue this hot streak all the way to the playoffs and into the world series. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

  8. My own personal training numbers so far in 2009: 177 hours, 112,600 meters in the pool, 1285 miles on the bike, 293 miles running, and 59 miles racing. Since I started logging everything in 2008: 614 hours, 371,500 meters in the pool, 4539 miles on the bike, 756 miles running, 314 miles of brick training, and 194 miles racing. I am not bragging, just thought it is cool to look at all the training I have put in in the past 2 years.

  9. If you have knee, shoulder or hip pain, what are you doing about it to alleviate that pain? Do not "work through" the pain. Do not just take time off. Do not make the pain worse. You need to perform corrective exercises that will help strengthen the areas around your pain site. The majority of non-contact pain is caused by a "neighbor" that is weak or tight and not doing their job. So if you have knee pain and have never had major impact to that structure then you need to look at the mobility of your ankle and the mobility in your hip. Odds are you have tight ankles or hips or both and your knee is taking the unwanted movement, thus causing pain. Buy a foam roll and roll the hell out of your major muscles to help decrease density in the muscle tissue. This will aid in your recovery, increase the blood flow and improve muscle tissue quality. Do not let a "little twinge" just pass. Figure out what you need to do so you are pain free.

  10. Stay motivated daily. I know this is easier said than done but again it is a mindset. Surround yourself with motivating and positive people. Get rid of your negative friends (I wouldn't call them friends if they are always negative). If you want to be successful, you must create an environment full of inspiring people that will support and guide you to your goals. Go out and make it happen and do not make any excuses!!

Past writings