Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Video Blog ---- The Wall Slide

Hey Folks! Welcome to our very first video blog. Today I talk briefly about a great exercise to help improve posture, especially for those who spend a whole lot of time in the seated position. Being in the seated position for a prolonged period of time contributes to many physical ailments including low back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain. Thank to Tori for her expert demoing and to Amira for her direction behind the camera!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

“Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food” – Hippocrates, Father of Medicine

Good ole Hippocrates was a wise fellow. He said those brilliant words virtually 2,500 years ago, long before doctors started prescribing a pill for every symptom that ails us. If I were to slightly amend this saying I would change it to say, “Let Food and Turkish Get Ups be Thy Medicine”, but who am to mess with Hippocrates?

In Michael Pollan’s tremendous book, In Defense of Food, the author attempts to cut through all the modern nutrition science to come up with the appropriate human diet. He states three important (and simple) rules:

1. Eat Food
2. Not too much
3. Mostly Plants

Unfortunately, we now have to spend time to define what “Food” actually is. Food does not come in a box or a bag. Nor does it contain ingredients a non-chemist couldn’t pronounce. And it certainly doesn’t contain High Fructose Corn Syrup or Hydrogenated Fats. Michael Pollan calls these inventions “Edible Food-like Substances”.

Instead, Food comes from nature. Any human of any generation would recognize an egg, fish, or head of broccoli as something that would be a good idea to eat. After all, us humans evolved over the millennia eating some combination, depending on where we lived, of meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. These foods allowed us to develop these nice, big thinky brains and ultimately to develop our great civilizations.

This all brings me to a very nifty resource by the folks at Precision Nutrition – ”21 Superfoods Reference Guide”. If you ever felt like you had to ask, “What should I eat?” well this is your answer. The list is broken down into five categories: Proteins, Vegetables and Fruits, Other Carbohydrates, Good Fats, and Drinks/Other. If you simply stick to eating 90% of your meals using the foods on this list then you would be following Hippocrates sage advice from nearly 2,500 years ago and food would become your Medicine. Then, do a couple Turkish Get Ups and call me in the morning!

Below is the 21 Superfood checklist. You can also go here to download a pdf file of the same list. 


1. Lean red meat (93% lean, top round, sirloin)  = Protein – Lean meat
2. Salmon  = Protein – Fish
3. Omega-3 eggs = Protein – Dairy
4. Low-fat plain yogurt (lactose-free if you can find it) = Protein – Dairy
5. Supplemental protein (milk protein isolates, whey protein isolates, or vegan protein sources)  = Protein – Powder
6. Spinach = Carb – Vegetable
7. Tomatoes = Carb – Fruit
8. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) = Carb – Vegetable
9. Mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) = Carb - Fruit
10. Oranges = Carb – Fruit
11. Mixed beans (kidney, navy, white, etc.) = Carb – Legume
12. Quinoa = Carb – Grain
13. Whole oats (large flake) = Carb – Cereal
14. Mixed nuts (a variety of different types of nuts including pecans, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, etc.) = Fats – Seeds and Nuts
15. Avocados = Fat - Fruit
16. Olive oil (extra virgin) = Fat - Oils
17. Fish oil (salmon, anchovy, menhaden, krill) = Fat - Oils
18. Flax seeds (ground) = Fat – Seeds and Nuts
19. Green tea = Teas
20. Greens +® or comparable brand  = Vegetable concentrate supplement
21. Liquid exercise drinks (quickly digested carbohydrate and protein)  = Recovery Drinks

Do not select foods that you are allergic to or intolerant of.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tread Carefully


How many club members out there can identify the most important part of all our gym gear? Is it the weight belt? Is it the gloves? Is it our clothing or attire? Now, as a Certified Trainer with over 24 years experience, you would think that I would know the answer… right?

Well, I found out the answer – the hard way! You see, back during the holidays I decided I wanted to switch out my old sneakers for new ones. New sneakers always feel good, look good, and can rejuvenate us, per se. “The new sneakers will probably help me out in the gym, too!” I thought to myself.
So, off to my work out I went. That day’s workout was centered on legs and lower body. As I began to warm up and stretch out, I felt that something was different. I didn’t feel my usual self. My first thought was that I was tired or just not focused. I shrugged it off and was determined to concentrate and find a way to make it all work and have a good workout.
Behind Neck Squats
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I began my first set of Behind Neck Squats. Again, I felt that something was not right. First of all, I felt off balance when I lowered my body into the squat position. Second, my feet would not plant properly on the floor thus making my form incorrect and causing me to overcompensate with my movement execution. My usual balanced even-flow squat was now being performed gingerly and with hesitation. I did more shifting off my feet, stopping and interrupting my set with attempts to find the form, and feeling my body was accustomed to.
Needless to say, my workout suffered and the end result was sore, achy knees and a wrenched back along with my ego being crushed as I came nowhere close to moving the weight poundage I usually do. I left the gym, thought swimming in my head. “Was it a lack of sleep?” Was it tightness in my lower body that caused me to have such a disappointing workout?”
I told myself, “I will do better next time, definitely a fluke”. Believe it or not, I would experience the same failures and frustration for another 6 weeks! Then, almost by accident, I figured out why these inadequacies in my workouts were happening. One day, I was running late and in a rush. I couldn’t find my new sneakers. I decided to just put my old ones on and I figured one day in the old sneakers couldn’t kill me. As I put on my old sneakers, I felt like Cinderella when she put on the glass slippers and meets her prince! It was an epiphany!

It then dawned on me why my workouts had been so disconcerting and unusually mediocre. I was excited and anxious to get to the gym and see if my thinking was right. When I got to the gym, I decided to give the Behind Neck Squats a go and see what happened.

Sure enough, my stability, my ability to move, and my ability to execute the exercise had returned. Additionally, my focus and concentration was back. I felt right. I felt strong. I felt confident. And why? Because of my footwear!

I never realized how much footwear could impact and affect our bodies and the ability to perform lower body exercises, as well as other exercises. My improper footwear caused myriad issues that resulted in a losing situation.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Most of us don't like change - but our bodies sure do

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Admit it, there are times when we don’t want to go to the gym and work out. That holds especially true when it’s been a while since you were there last. You look around and it seems like everyone you see knows what they’re doing in every exercise, it’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed. Now, on top of that, it’s suggested that we change our routines every so often. This means more learning, more exercises and more chances to feel “lost”. But it’s not so bad when everyone is in the same boat as you. We’re all in it, learning, together.

The Club recently relaunched our Group exercise classes complete with brand new choreography, music and exercise moves to help refocus the body and muscles. This relaunch occurs every three months as a way of keeping our members excited to work out.

There are various reasons behind WHY changing a workout routine is good.

By changing the exercises your body has become used to, it “shocks” the muscles into working harder than they were when they were doing what they had gotten comfortable with in the past. According to, when your body is doing something it is uncomfortable with, such as running for the first time, not only will your muscles hurt and work more, but your breathing and posture will be inefficient in the beginning. It is only with time and practice that your body can work efficiently in a workout, and along with the new-found efficiency, there is less effort being made, and fewer calories are being burned.

Excitement is another reason to change a workout routine.

Let’s face it. Going to the gym and working out isn’t always the most exciting way to spend your night, but if you change up what you’re doing while at the gym, at least there are new situations to learn about and new exercises for your body to get used to. If anything, changing a workout routine isn’t going to be boring.

Now that we’ve covered the important answers to WHY, next let’s talk about HOW.

How often? There is no set answer to this. It can be anywhere between every few weeks to every few months. Or even just simply when you reevaluate your body and decide you would like to focus on different goals. These are all dependent on what exactly caters to your needs. More importantly, if you think what you’re doing is working just fine, listen to your body.

It’s better to change a few moves in a work out than to make everything different at once and risk getting injured!

Something else to consider is the idea of simply adding some additional exercises as well as keeping the previous routine you had.  According to, an additional 30-minutes to your regular workout routine could be enough to kickstart your body out of its plateau.

Take this information into consideration when you’re joining us at The Club and consider trying that new fitness class you’ve managed to put off.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

At last! A good reason not to go to The Club.

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For years I have been searching for a good excuse to skip working out. I finally have my wish, but would not with it on anyone else (not even my EX!). My 24-Karet excuse is the flu. If you have it stay home. In fact, stay home for at least 24-hours after your fever is truly gone, not simply controlled by Aspirin.

The flu virus can stay on surfaces for a few minutes or up to 24-hours, according to WebMD. And MayoClinic states that hard surfaces such as stainless steel or plastics keep germs longer than soft surfaces such as paper or cloth. A study in 2007 found that 60 percent of healthy volunteers picked up a cold virus from hand contact an hour after it had been swabbed onto a light switch. Eighteen hours later, the transmission rate was cut in half. Oh no! Does this mean we should stay away from The Club until flu season is over in March or April?

For those of you who are still flu-less, or clueless like I was in catching the virus, there are ways to keep healthy while working out at The Club.

The virus can be destroyed with several cleaning solutions such as chlorine bleach (4 TBSP / gallon), a 2 percent concentrate of Hydrogen Peroxide, or a solution of more than 60 percent alcohol. Baking, boiling water, UV rays, or soap and water are also effective. The cleaning solution we use in The Club and place in containers for your use are The Club will also kill germs on contact. It contains safe chemicals often used in hospitals to sanitize implements and surfaces.

When we hand you a cardio towel at check-in, put some of the cleaning liquid on your towel and wipe any surface you are going to be touching such as the handles of treadmills and buttons on screens. Wipe surfaces again after using the equipment. Do not, however, wipe the sweat off your face or body with our red towels. Instead, bring a personal towel.

Our cleaning solution kills all bacteria. There are thousands of different species of bacteria. Only about a hundred of them are harmful to humans. The other, much larger group, is needed to help us stay healthy, and staying healthy is the most important reason we come to the Club and work out.

If you are suffering with a cold or flu, there are some helpful things to do to keep your loved ones from coming down with it.
  • Assign a sick room and stay in it.
  • Do not let others in.
  • Set up a hand sanitizing station at the room's entry.
  • If you must share space with others, wear a mask.
  • If you are lucky enough to have two bathrooms, assign one as your "sick bathroom".
  • Use disposable utensils, dishes and glasses. Most dishwashers do not reach the temperature required to kill viruses, says Frank Singleton, Director of the Lowell Health Department.
  • Do not share the same tube of toothpaste.
  • Do not use bar soap and sponges, but do wash your hands! Handwashing is the most important thing you can do. Do it often and be thorough. The viruses can live on your skin for hours.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth, vulnerable entries into your system.
Rest and join me again at The Club as soon as your are well and able. No Excuse! The sauna and steam room are great after our Group Active or Group Core class and will have you feeling like a million bucks. In this economy, that's priceless. Just don't let the gov. know or he'll find a way to tax it!