Thursday, February 9, 2012

5 Missing Elements to a Training Program

The more I talk to people about their fitness programs the more I see the missing elements below. If you want to keep maximizing your results, make sure you are implementing the tactics below.

1. Lack of proper warm-up:

(This is not what a warm-up should look like. It will not prepare these athletes for their workout/race)

If you have a lack luster warm-up your workout will be the same. Incorporating a thorough dynamic warm-up will aide in better workouts because you are preparing the body to perform at a high level. It is always good to start with soft tissue work to create blood flow. Tools that can be used are a foam roll, tennis ball or massage rolling stick. For five minutes, simply roll your muscles out, especially in your tighter areas.

(Check out this video where Jesse (CFA Certified Fitness Coach) talks about soft tissue work)

After this, you will run through a series of movement drills that improves mobility, flexibility and stability. These dynamic movements create blood temperature in your body and “awakes” the nervous system.

(A quick description of a few movement drills in this video)

Next, add in “heart rate elevation” drills to elevate your heart rate and prepare if for the bulk of the training session. Examples can be running high knees, butt kicks, skipping, lateral shuffling and tempo runs. If running is not an option, you can do a few quick sprints on a bike or elliptical to achieve the same objective.

2. Correct “Core” Training. First, let’s define the core. The core is not just your abdominals. The core of your body is from your mid-thigh, all the way to your shoulders and starts in the deepest part of your body, your spinal muscles.

Core training is not busting out hundreds of mindless crunches. In fact, if you want a healthy back, you should eliminate repetitive crunching from your program (Stuart McGill Video). You want to incorporate your hips, glutes, deep core muscles, lower back muscles and pelvic floor and get them to work together. Birddogs, hip lifts, planks, core pressouts, chops and lifts and carrying variations are “core” exercises that anyone can implement into their program. (Please email me and I can give you videos of all of these exercises.)

(Ok, not everyone has to do heavy Farmer Walks like this, but this could be one of the best "core" exercises that we prescribe and CFA because of the stability it reinforces on the body; Even our general fitness clients are doing Farmer Walks)

3. Nutrition for peak performance. Nutrition is the missing link for most people. They train hard and do not skip workouts but they go backwards because their nutrition is off. You can train all you want but if your nutrition is not in line with your training objectives, it can derail you from your goal. Create and stick to the plan. Your training levels will increase, you will reach new heights of performance and your energy will be power packed.

(Remember Julie Moss in the 1982 Ironman completely hitting the wall. She was fit and prepared for the race but did not execute the proper nutrition program suited to fit her goal)

(And it still happens today, as you can see Normann Stadler in the 2010 Ironman "hitting the wall" and not finishing the race.)

4. Recovery. You can train all you want but if you are not allowing your body ample recovery time you will force overtraining and lack of performance gains. When you workout, the body is broken down and needs replenishment and regeneration to repair and improve. If you are consistently training (4-7 days/week), recovery becomes a component that cannot be over looked or you will be at more risk for injury and/or burnout.

5. Balance.

(This is not the type of balance I am talking about)

I am talking about your body having symmetry in the posterior (back side) and anterior (front side) chains of the body.

(This guy does not have balance. Notice his posture: sunk in chest, rounded shoulders, neck pushed forward. This type of imbalance can send signals down the rest of the body and create injury)

For your next 10 workouts, make a list of your exercises, one list for work on the front side (push-ups, abdominal work, quadriceps work, etc) and one list for work on the back side (glutes, calves, hamstrings, low back, and upper back). After these 10 workouts see if your lists are balanced. If not, you risk asymmetry and injury down the road. Create a more balanced program to aide in building an athletic and functional body.

Knee Dominant Moves: Bodyweight squats, 1-leg squats, Split squats, Foot elevated Split squats

Hip Dominant Moves: Kettlebell swings, Deadlifts, 1-leg deadlifts, hip lifts

Pressing: push-ups, bench press, alternating DB bench press

Pulling: Chin-ups, pull-ups, any variation of rowing, face pulls

Make sure you have a balance of these main exercises in your program.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Food Habits

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!


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 your meals before you step out the door
  • alcohol will stagnate results; limit to 3 servings a week (12 oz beer, 4 oz wine, 1 oz hard liquor)
If you have any specific questions feel free to email me anytime at

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