"House Magazine" November/December 2014

Living “bodyrite” has become a common household phrase in the BodyRite community. My clients know that I am all about lifestyle and “walking the code” as I call it.  I spend the majority of my speak time during training sessions with clients talking about nutrition, metabolism and wellness…for the long haul.  Functional fitness is my passion, but it is the science of food that can heal people from within.  

 
The holidays are a frustrating time of year for everyone! Parties and celebrating the holiday season force us out of our routine.  We are constantly surrounded with temptations of the food kind and those holiday parties just keep coming.  Getting to the gym becomes a challenge because there is just too much to do and not enough time.  So what is the trick?  How can I do it and have it all?  The short answer is you can’t.  I don’t have an exercise program or supplement that will prevent the pounds from rearing their ugly heads if sugar, carbohydrates and alcohol become a part of one’s routine. 
 
Depressing right? Well the good news is it doesn’t have to be.  The hard truth is science doesn’t lie.  Ditch the fad dieting and stop buying celebrity magazines to find out what Kim Kardashian is doing to drop 20 pounds.  Running three miles day, seven days a week so that you can mindlessly eat and justify your choices is not going to get you into that designer dress with out some serious Sphanx action! Good food of the BodyRite kind can do two things for you this holiday season.  
 
First, food can cure the sugar addiction which means you are no longer tempted by office goodies hiding in the employee lounge screaming your name day in and day out.  Second, food can burn fat, particularly visceral fat without you having to step foot in the gym!  Protein is the most complex nutrient in the playbook of food. Our bodies have to work harder to break proteins down moreso than fats or carbohydrates.  The amount of energy that is required to break a protein down into usable energy is called the “thermic effect.” Because of the complexity of protein, the thermic effect is much higher versus other nutrients.  In fact, it’s threee times high than fats and carbohydrates.   Going for shrimp cocktail instead of bruschetta would the better choice because more energy is required to break it down.  Protein is also the key to weight loss because it satisfies the ghrelin hormone in our bodies known as the “hunger hormone.” Carbohydrates are empty calories essentially providing zero nutrients and falling short of satisfying the ghrelin hormone which is why you can’t stop eating those pigs in a blanket at the yearly office holiday party.  
 
It makes much more sense this holiday season to focus your eating around lean proteins.  If you are uncertain of what types of food may or may not be served at a party, eat before hand.  Never ever attend a party hungry as you will make impulsive food choices from a place of desperation instead of coordinated control.  In terms of those sweet treats, I suggest practicing extreme moderation if not eliminating sugar consumption altogether.  I highly recommend reading a great article written by Gary Taubes that was published in the New York Times in April of 2011 titled “Is Sugar Toxic?”  Your outlook on sugar will change within three paragraphs of reading this superb analysis of the dangers of sucrose.  
 
Food is the key to wellness and weight loss.  The good news for you this holiday is that you will shed body fat in your waistline instead of packing on the pounds.  Sugar will no longer be in control of your food choices because you have divorced yourself of it.  Lean protein will be center stage in every meal forcing your body to work harder breaking energy down which in turns burn more fat. The best gift you can give to yourself is the gift of health and wellness.  Start living “bodyrite” today and be amazed at how great you feel!
 

"House Magazine" January/February 2015

Although my title and profession is that of a personal trainer, I really consider myself more of an educator. Due to the conflicting information about health and weight loss, most clients that I meet are misinformed and confused about wellness.  In order for weight loss to be permanent and life sustaining, it’s essential to start making connections between our health and daily food choices.  Everything that we ingest has a direct cause and effect.  Most people don’t think about consequences and certainly not over the holidays but it is an important step towards wellness and achieving better health. 

 
The term “wellness” is a common household phrase. We can find it affixed to the front doors of walk-in clinics, juice bars, alternative care facilities, spa centers, yoga classes etc. By purchasing products promising "wellness” we believe that we are participating in a better, cleaner, healthier lifestyle .  Without truly embracing the word and it’s meaning, wellness is reduced to a label rather than a lifestyle that we use to define or disguise ourselves as "health conscious individuals.”  Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.  Wellness cannot be found in a bottle, you won’t get it in a yoga class and you can’t purchase it on your Kindle. Wellness is something to be achieved through learning and integration.  
 
The month of January is when most are looking for a weight loss solution.  Weight loss can be a difficult task if it’s the pounds we are simply focusing on. Not only is weight loss difficult, but it can be unhealthy and dangerous if we go about it the wrong way.  And how do we know which way is the best way when there are so many options to chose from?  I propose ditching that plan and focusing on wellness. Looking beyond the scale and examining ourselves and the habits we practice daily is a good start in tackling wellness. You’re craving carbohydrates, you’re lethargic, unmotivated and sleep is hard to come by.  The simple solution for you may be to ditch eating and start drinking your calories for a month.  For others, spinning the calories away seven days a week is the healthy solution to shedding the pounds. And finally, like most people, restricting calories and eating infrequently always gets the job done.  All of these scenarios walk into my office frequently looking for help and none have a clue as to how to connect the dots of between food choices and health.  So, let’s do that, lets make some connections that can help you begin the journey of wellness in addition to shedding those holiday pounds.  
 
Wiping out refined carbohydrates like bread, baked goods, cereals, oatmeal, pasta, potatoes, rice etc. will not only cause a substantial loss in visceral fat due to blood sugar regulation and increased insulin sensitivity but also help eliminate inflammation and enable your body to heal from within.  Replacing calorie dense carbohydrates and replacing these foods with high quality, lean protein is a great start to getting your metabolisms back on track and working. Make it a point when hitting your local grocery store to not purchase foods with labels.  Stick to organic, all natural whole food that requires zero explanation. 
 
Begin including a wide array of vegetables into every meal as they are packed with powerful nutrients loaded with antioxidants   Eating more vegetables means a higher fiber content in your diet which means a trimmer waistline and better colon health.  Stop snacking on sweets, crackers and granola bars and start eating nuts of all shape and sizes in moderation.  Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats and omega 3’s that satisfy cravings as well as our appetites.  
 
Make breakfast a mandatory meal to get your day started off right.  Ditch the cereal and bran muffin and enjoy a plate full of eggs with a low glycemic serving of fruit like berries or prepare for yourself a delicious omelet loaded with vegetables along with a side of walnuts and black coffee or green tea.  
 
Finally, start making sleep your mission.  Sleep is the great regulator and crucial for weight loss and wellness.  Our bodies require between seven to eight hours per night in order for important metabolic functions to take place not to mention hormone regulation.  Our circadian rhythm falls out of place, our hormones get confused and energy levels are depleted when sleep deprivation becomes habit.  
 
The process of wellness is never complete, it follows us throughout the course of our lives bettering our health as the climate of our bodies change through the aging process.  For the year 2015 ditch the quick fixes, extreme workout programs and calorie deprivation diets. Weight loss will come with adequate sleep, a healthy breakfast and ditching the refined carbohydrates through increased protein and plant consumption. Focus your efforts on bettering your life and health through the gradual implementation of some of these wellness practices.  
 

"House Magazine" March/April 2015

My personal training business known as BodyRite Training is centered around two activities: eating and lifting.  Results happen in body composition when we eat food that isn’t complicated and pick up stuff that is heavy.  It may sound over simplified and silly but rest assured, I am dead serious.  Clients that join up with BodyRite undergo a body composition evaluation on day one of training and then every four weeks.  We measure, we weigh and then we pinch the body in order to establish a baseline and to assess change.  Monthly goals are set, clients sign off on these goals and then they begin their journey for better health and greater strength.  
 
Most individuals that meet with me and become clients know very little about lifting and proper technique.  The average person is more likely to be familiar with a treadmill or elliptical machine than a kettle bell or barbell.  This is unfortunate because better results in changing body composition will happen with a single thirty five pound kettle bell rather than a fifteen hundred dollar treadmill.  This is why I am a huge advocate of spending more time engaged in a strength training program as opposed to a cardiovascular one.  Muscle is active, metabolic tissue which means that even at rest, you’re muscles are busy.  Running on a treadmill for days and days is never going to build muscle tissue. Spinning your life away is not going to increase bone density and lifting the same five pound weights is not going to get you “tone.” Lifting heavy weights is the best form of fitness and will yield the best results in terms of body composition.  
 
There is a right and a wrong way to lift weights in terms of body positioning, this we refer to as technique so it is important to train alongside a seasoned lifter or work with a professional trainer when starting out.  Lifting heavy stuff is not what you should be doing on your first day.  Strength must be earned.  Day one of training with BodyRite my clients don’t use weight because it’s important to learn technique first like; how to squat, how to dead lift, how to push-up and how to plank.  These are what I call foundational movements that we can build on once proprioception takes place.  As strength and fitness levels increase, weight is incorporated into the training session.  
 
Another aspect of my fitness regime that sets BodyRite Training apart from other competitors is that I train my clients functionally.  Rarely if ever do my clients get to sit down at a nautilus machine and “workout.”  There is nothing “functional” about nautilus training which is why we don’t do it.  Think about it, you are coming to the gym for fitness, not to sit down, don’t we do enough of that already? Call it snobbery or elitism I don’t care, functional training makes sense! Mimicking the way we move in life when we train in the gym requires more work and stress on the body which translates to more energy burned! So, with that being said, if you can, when you can stand up when performing certain exercises like the military press, bicep curl and bilateral row etc. 
 
Let’s say you don’t belong to a gym and refuse to go for whatever reason.  Maybe you don’t even own a single free weight, kettle bell or weighted medicine ball. Not a problem.  Locate some heavy stuff that you can lift and incorporate them into your workout.  Perform a front loaded squat (hold the weight in front of your person) with a bag of cat or dog food! Use a bag of driveway salt for dead lifting or chest press.  Find a tree limb that you can reach and attempt some chin ups or reverse chin ups.  Be creative, think outside the box and again lift heavy! 
 
Four weeks have passed and it’s time to assess the fruits of your labor.  You have stopped snacking on crackers and granola bars and have replaced these items with raw nuts.  Processed sugar has been eliminated from your diet entirely and lean protein is the primary focus of every meal.  Instead of loading up on multigrain bread for fiber, vegetables will be the single source of fiber in your diet.  Changes in your weekly fitness program have been made by reducing cardiovascular training to twice a week and replaced it with strength training.  Guess what? Your girth measurements are outstanding! Your waistline has shredded two inches, the fat surrounding your bicep and triceps is dissipating and the unsightly back fat is converting to muscle.  This is the classic scenario of every client that I work with when they take the program seriously. Be goal oriented, creative and challenge yourself week after week.     Burn more fat by building active metabolic tissue known as muscle. Remember, eat simple, whole food and lift heavy stuff!