Friday, April 15, 2011

What Motivates You to wake up everyday....

Caitlin Summers I'm motivated to wake up and work hard because of the feeling I get when I step on the softball field. I feel unstoppable, free, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet. That feeling motivates me to challenge myself so that I can continue to have that feeling as long as I can.


Murrell John Rizon
the fact that I'm alive


Stacy Grinsfelder
Without a doubt it is my family. I love modeling a strong, confident and healthy mom to my four children. When I see my husband and kids cheering me on at the marathon finish line I know that all the hard work has been worthwhile. As a family, they all work together to help me achieve my fitness dreams. I recognize their sacrifice, and that motivates me to never give up.


Jay Damo

Once an athlete, always an athlete. No matter if you're still in competition or not, that drive & passion will always be there & those 2 things can never be taken away by anyone. There is always room for improvement and excellence. Everythi...ng only just gets better. Be the one that gets ahead while others are taking time out. :) My motivation: to be able to pass down what I, as an athlete, know to only better themselves. That goes for my HS team I coach & my team over at the coast. :)


Joshua Hickey

Begin with the end in mind & embark on the journey to improve. There is an elite athlete inside each of us & we must work and sacrifice to make this transformation until you reach the state where you look at yourself in the mirror & the el...ite athlete inside you is jumping out of your skin. My favorite story is I'm running airport loops today because someday these runs will take me on one of those planes to somewhere great, Boston, Kona and beyond. Health is the true wealth, my goals are not directed toward growing old with money but rather investing my time to grow old using training as the fountain of youth so I can still play outside like a kid in my later years. In hind side, no amount of money you have in your later years to spend on a doctor can replace the years you investment today in your training & healthy lifestyle. Time is the true asset, you can't buy it back so invest that time in your health wisely.


Stephanie Johnson

This is a great question. I am motivated by the unlimited opportunities available in this world. The possibilities in life are endless when one strives for excellence. Excellence is doing more than others see necessary. It takes commitment,... perseverance, consistency, hard work and most important action. Nothing happens 'til someone does something. It doesn't take 100 years to reach your goals. Strive for excellence you may surprise yourself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

65 Ways to be Elite

We are in the middle of April already. This year is flying by. We are 28% completed with 2011, just like that! How is your year going? Use these 65 strategies below to become elite. Practice them daily, do them consistently and watch your life take off....

1. First thing when you wake up you need to read or watch something motivational. Get your day started with something positive.
2. Try and read a personal growth book a month. Reading conditions and educates the mind. You can start with "The 4 Agreements" by Miguel Ruiz. It's a life changing book.
3. Workout at least 4 times a week. And when I say workout, TRAIN! Working out increases endorphins and gets us accomplishing something for ourselves.
4. Eat nothing but fresh fruits, vegetables, lean fresh white meats, and healthy fats. If you eat healthy and nutritious food you will become elite.
5. Create a weekly list of all of your ideas and thoughts. Then highlight the 5 most important and start tackling those ideas. Do this every week.
6. Get a schedule and write in everything that needs to be completed. Add your work schedule, school schedule, kids schedule, your workouts, social events, everything that needs to be done. We only are given a certain amount of hours in a day, we must use them wisely.
7. After every training session make sure to have a post-workout meal within 30 minutes. Try 6oz. of orange juice with 1 scoop of whey protein or 1 yogurt with a piece of fruit. This is a must if you want elite results.
8. On Sunday, make sure to head to the grocery store to stock your house with healthy food. When you are prepared you will make better choices.
9. If you own a business, you must spend at least 30 minutes everyday on marketing your product. If you don't market you won't have business.
10. What are your goals? If you want true elite status, you will take the time to write down everything you want and when you want to achieve it. Type them out and highlight them and put them in a place where you will see them everyday.
11. Breakfast should be nutrient packed and eaten everyday. When you skip breakfast, you are telling your body to slow down and lack energy the rest of the day.
12. Core training is about anti-rotation and anti-extension movements. Stay away from repetitive crunching and twisting. Planks, side planks, farmer walks, core pressouts, chops, lifts and medicine ball slams are examples of core training.
13. Read anything by John Wooden. Coach Wooden knew how to live in a humble and positive way. He taught his athletes to not only be high level athletes but high character people. You can start with "A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court".
14. Start logging all of your workouts. If you want continued success in your training program you must track your progress and keep the stimulus on the body coming.
15. Quiet time is a must. Put away your phone, your Ipod, and turn off the TV. Try and do this 5 minutes everyday. You will recharge and center your thoughts.
16. Write down 20 things that could make you better. Highlight 3-5 of those things and go do them. Then repeat the process over and over.
17. Keep a big water bottle by your side everyday. Water is a must for elite performance and achievement.
18. Train for something. Pick a 5k, a mudrun, 1/2 or full marathon or a triathlon. Having a goal keeps you motivated and accountable to stay on track.
19. Surround yourself with the most positive and motivating crew you can find. Eliminate anyone that brings you down and is a bad influence in your life.
20. Cook your own food at least 85% of the time. Anytime you cook your own food it will be significantly healthier than restaurant food.
21. Eat lots of dark greens. Bell peppers, spinach, zucchini and red leaf lettuce are examples. These foods are loaded with nutrients and vitamins to get us performing at ultimate levels.
22. Take fish oil, vitamin C and a multi-vitamin everyday. Odds are we are not getting all of our vitamins and nutrients from food so we must supplement to max our intake.
23. Be adventurous. Try something new. This will stimulate the mind and excite you to live at higher levels.
24. Look in the mirror and recite your goals out loud. Do this everyday. Your subconscious mind will start truly believing you can achieve those goals.
25. Stay away from packaged and processed foods. Anything in a box or package is not as healthy as fresh food.
26. Workout with someone. The right training partner can help take your performance to high levels.
27. Foam roll and stretch at least 3 times a week. Tight and restricted movement causes pain and injury.
28. Try interval training. If you can't run, then walk fast up hill. If you can run, work your way to sprinting. If you don't like to run, get on a bike and do sprints.
29. Your warm-up starts your workout. Make your warm-up high energy and movement based.
30. Workout with fun training tools like kettlebells, battle ropes, medicine balls, dumbbells, sandbells and don't forget your own bodyweight. Create fun and motivating workouts that forces functional movement, mobility and flexibility so you live life to the fullest.
31. Train your mind to be confident and optimistic. Daily affirmations will condition your mind to become elite.
32. For motivation and fitness education read my blog: www.justinlevine03.blogspot.com
33. Dress clean, fashionable and look the part. If you want to make good impressions, how you take care of yourself is the first step.
34. If you are in the fitness industry you need to go to as many www.performbetter.com seminars you can. If you want continued growth in your business and professional in the fast growing industry these workshops are a must!
35. Go and read "The Generosity Factor". A great book about the impact someone can make when they decide to help and inspire others.
36. Go on at least 5 dates a month with your significant other. This relationship is your most important so cherish the times you get to spend together.
37. Get consistent sleep every night. Six hours a night is better than 4 one night, 8 another and 5 another. And anytime you get a chance, a 15-30 minute power nap can re-energize your vigor the rest of the day.
38. Eat every 2-3 hours during the day. This will keep your energy sustained throughout the day. Add a lean protein to each meal.
39. Laugh more. Laughing creates a feel good feeling. So surround yourself with fun, adventurous and happy people.
40. Say hi to more people. Don't be afraid to greet more people with a smile and friendly hello. Happiness is contagious and a smile can go a long way.
41. Always do your best. After a day is completed and you only gave 60% you wasted opportunity to get a little better. Take advantage of each day by giving 100% every day.
42. Get truly committed. Whether it is at work, school, a fitness program, with your family or with your friends, be fully committed. Don't just do something half ass. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing to the max!
43. Help a stranger. Your true character is what you do when no one is looking. Give some food the the homeless or volunteer to kids in need. Talk about being elite!
44. When your feeling a little down and defeated, go watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIcwkn7fl-I
45. Workout like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwVLe871j34
46. Focus all of your attention on the tasks that are urgent and will be of greatest value to you.
47. One hour of reading everyday. If you do this for a whole year you will enhance your knowledge big time.
48. Next time you workout, bring a friend or family member with you.
49. Don't be afraid to stand up for what you represent. If it's a specific workout program, a religion, situation at your job, whatever it is be true to yourself.
50. Always know your word can mean so much. We have the power to affect people in such positive ways. But vice versa we can defeat and derail others as well. Let your word be optimistic and life changing.
51. Listen to this great audio book on personal development, its life changing: http://www.amazon.com/Art-Exceptional-Living-Jim-Rohn/dp/0743529065
52. Be a positive "Hustler". Go out and create your own luck. Fortune and wealth will not just sit in your lap. If you want big things then you will do big things everyday to get what you want.
53. When challenging times arise, stay focused and be determined to get over the speed bumps. Just remember without challenge you do not get better. So except the challenging times and be strong and you will get better.
54. Stay humble and never get to the point where you think you know it all. There is always room to improve - no matter who you are.
55. Make time to workout. Do not let that be an excuse. All you need is 30 minutes. Do this workout if you are buckled for time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qjv3y9K6oo
56. Becoming elite in the sport of triathlon means you need balance and injury prevention. You will learn that is my ebook, "The Complete Triathlete".  Shoot me an email and I will send you a FREE download.  
57. Make yourself homemade trail mix for a healthy snack during the day. Add raw almonds, raw soy nuts, sunflower nuts and raisins. Grab a couple handfuls during the day to keep your energy high.
58. Speaking of recipes try this one: 1 can albacore tuna, 5 cherry tomatoes, 1 chopped pickle, 1/4 cup of black beans and 1-2 tablespoons of mustard. Mix together and enjoy as a tuna salad. Very healthy for elite individuals.
59. If you made it this far, GREAT JOB, send me your email because you just won a free copy of my ebook. Send me your email address to justinlevine03@hotmail.com...and keep reading.
60. Always think before you speak. Be conscious of that 3 seconds before you are about to say something and process it first. Ask yourself, "How will it affect the person I am talking to." Always be self aware, it's a sign of elite professionals.
61. At the beginning of the week write up a menu of the food you will eat each day so you are fully prepared to eat healthy and accomplish your fitness goals. Preparation is the key to a successful fitness and nutrition plan.
62. Next time you go to the gym, work extra hard. You do not get results in the gym by going easy and doing what you did last week. Keep pushing!
63. Focus all of your attention on the essential things in your life. Family, work, school, your health, your friends and your spiritual life. Stay focused on the important stuff.
64. Write out the 1 thing that will truly make you happy. Love, money, health, family, God, friends, what is it for you? Write it out in big read letters and place it where you will look at it everyday. Keep your eye on the prize!
65. Keep reaching for ELITENESS! The climb is trecherous but you will get to the top, just keep going, one step at a time!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Are you really eating healthy??

First off, I have a great deal for you. The first 10 people to comment on this blog will receive my ebook for free.


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!

THE PERFORMANCE CHECKLIST:

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
=655+674.25+258.5-164.5
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 justinlevine03@hotmail.com.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Recover Better - Train Hard

As training gets into full gear, overuse and injury seems to creep up on many endurance athletes. You can tremendously reduce your chance of injury by what you do outside of training. Here are 5 recovery strategies for you to implement into your training program:

1. Foam Roll/Stretch: You need to schedule flexibility sessions into your training week. After long weekends of training our muscle tissue becomes inflamed, tight, and adhesions are formed throughout the fascia. Rolling and soft tissue therapy will help get rid of the small knots and adhesions that build up over time. Plus it will help promote blood flow, which gives you better movement and range of motion. Endurance athletes should focus on the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, IT band and mid-back. Stretching also needs to be implemented into the schedule. Stretching the muscle will help lengthen the fascia to allow for proper movement and range of motion. If our muscles are tight we restrict movement, decrease our performance and eventually we will get hurt. Take time to roll and stretch.

2. Ice: After long and/or hard training sessions icing the legs is a great way to get them to recover at a more rapid pace. Icing will decrease inflammation, any swelling and enhance healing. But icing is not about "more is better". You should ice your legs for no longer than 15 minutes an hour. Any longer can cause damage to the surrounding muscle tissues. If you have a direct pain site (i.e. shin splints, plantar fasciitis, etc.), then ice massage is the way to go. Simply freeze a small water bottle, cut the bottom half of plastic off the bottle to expose the ice and then massage the affected area. Do this for only 5 minutes each hour.

3. Light movement: After a big weekend of training or a race the best thing for your legs is to flush them out the day after. Know the difference of a hard workout and easy moving. These lighter workouts can tremendously assist recovery as it will get your legs through a range of motion, increasing blood flow, decreasing inflammation and promote recovery. Just make sure to keep these workouts very light. Spinning on a bike or a light recovery swim on Monday, following a big training weekend or race, will assist the body to recover and allow for a better week ahead of training.

4. Corrective Work: I wrote an article for www.trifuel.com titled, “Corrective Exercises Triathletes need to do”. Go read the article here: http://trifuel.com/training/triathlon-training/corrective-exercises-that-triathletes-need-to-do and implement these moves into your routine to create a balanced and more functional body.

5. Consistent Sleep: When the body is at rest, it will be at its greatest state of recovery. If you are not getting consistent sleep throughout the week you will suffer, breakdown and it will lead to injury, fatigue and burnout. As endurance athletes we are continually breaking down the body during training and it is a must to get adequate sleep. The key is consistency. So 6 hours of sleep every night is better than 4 hours one night, 8 hours one night and 5 hours another. Aim for 6-8 hours each night. During the day, try and fit in short 15-30 minute naps to rejuvenate and recharge the body and mind.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Youth Athletes in the Gym

Young Athletes in the Gym

We live in an area where youth sports are very popular. From traveling baseball, soccer, basketball to city league sports and the very popular junior high and high school athletics, young athletes have many options to be active. Early specialization is becoming more common and youth strength and conditioning is becoming a trendy activity for young athletes. There are many parents that are willing to spend some money for personal trainers, speed coaches, sport specialty coaches and sports psychologists so their kid can get a step ahead. This article is about training. For kids under 15 years old, starting to work out is normal. In fact, more and more junior high and early high school students are seen at the gym working out. This is not a bad thing. What could be bad is the application of what they are doing. Too many kids still have the perception that it is about weight lifting. You have their sport specific coaches hammering "how much did you lift today" in their heads. Unfortunately this is bad coaching. Working out is mandatory for athletic kids. It will create healthier habits, reduce injury later down the road, teach them about fitness and conditioning and give them the tools to improve their coordination and performance. Between the ages of 8-15, the body is in a building and maturation phase. Most kids these ages lack coordination, movement skills, running mechanics and they seem to “flop” around like a fish out of water. I know parents are agreeing with that comment because that is the first thing they usually tell me when signing up their kid "my kid is all over the place when he/she runs". Building the right program is very important. As a coach, I am going to give the most safe and effective exercises to these ages. If all I worry about is "how much they lift" then I am not doing my job. And if you have a coach that is hammering that motto, I'd be careful. Youth strength and conditioning goes well beyond just "lifting weights". For this demographic the key is to start the foundation. The foundation must be set with bodyweight strength, flexibility, healthy nutritional habits, proper warm-ups, and safe and technical movement training in the gym.

What should kids be focusing on when they do workout?

Here are few things to think about:

1. Bodyweight strength is critical. Get this age group to become superior at bodyweight control. Even for older kids (16+) the focus should still be on mastering bodyweight control. If you can not control your own body you should not be adding external loads to the movement. Once they can start understanding their own body’s movements and strength then you can start adding light external loads. Having bodyweight strength will create a solid foundation to build on the rest of their life. Having bodyweight strength will advance an athlete's overall performance. Being able to control your own bodyweight makes you more functional and you will be able to move more freely out on the court or field. For 8-15 years old, this is such an important time to drill bodyweight movements into a routine. Once a young kid can start performing 20 perfect push-ups, and 10 perfect chin-ups then you can start adding light loads. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect! But it doesn't stop there. When you have bodyweight strength you reduce injury. Your stabilizers are strong and support your big prime movers. When you increase stability which is your ability to control movement in the presence of change, you create a better and more functional athlete.
2. Improved running mechanics. Young athletes have poor running mechanics. More and more I see kids that, plain and simple, can't run. They flop and flail all over the place. Teaching proper running mechanics can be a great way to add coordination and agility to the arsenal, all while increasing foot speed and running efficiency. These drills should be practiced before practices, before games and in training. When youth athletes improve their running, they improve their overall athleticism. Their coordination improves, their movement improves and they see tremendous enhancement in the speed and explosiveness.
3. Keep it simple. Youth athletes need the basic and simplest exercises. Getting too complicated too early means you are skipping progression steps and when you skip steps you risk injury. Focus on perfect push-ups, bodyweight squats, pull-ups, core strength and proper stretching mechanics. With young athletes you have plenty of time to progress and get better. Do not be in a rush to jump levels. Mastering the simple exercises will set them up for success later down the road.
4. Stretching is huge. I see more and more young athletes super tight and immobile. When young athletes are tight they risk chronic pain at an early age. At these ages the muscles should be stretchy and supple so we can run, jump and cut more efficiently and reduce injury. Flexibility training should be in the program at least 2-3 times a week. Focus on stretching the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, adductors, calves and glutes. And focus on good mechanics when you stretch. You should have good posture and be in good position when you stretch. Don't go to the point where you are in pain but you can feel mild discomfort.
5. If it looks cool, it probably isn’t. Too many parents will see professionals on TV working out a certain way and then want their 9-year old kid doing the same things. Go back and read #3. You must keep it simple and master the basic exercises. Repetitive jumping, lifting and crunching will lead to overuse injuries. The whole "functional training" philosophy has gotten a bit out of hand. Functional training is not standing on bosu balls doing squats or performing repetitive plyometrics for explosiveness. Functional training is a systematic, training plan with a purpose. For a youth athlete a functional training program should focus on warm-up strategies, injury prevention, running efficiency, bodyweight strength and lifestyle habit training. Just because you see it on TV, that doesn't mean it is correct.
6. Weight training is about perfect form – no exceptions. When weight training is introduced do not let technique go by the waste side. Unfortunately I can walk into many high school weight rooms right now and the weight training going on would make me cringe. There must be a period where the lifts are taught properly without any weight. Do not rush into maximal loads because this is a recipe for injury. At these young ages, learning how to lift weights correctly is fabulous. Even learning the simple olympic lifts are crucial for better development of the athlete. The focus should be on perfecting the technique of each lift. Think “technical failure”. When you no longer have perfect form the set is completed.
7. It’s about building lifestyle habits. Overall, this should be the #1 goal. A lot of kids have a dream of playing a college or professional sport but the odds are stacked against them. Teach them now how to be healthy and live healthy and they will have a healthy foundation the rest of their life.

Past writings