Exercise Quick Tip – Biceps Curls: Right and Wrong

The biceps curl is one of the simplest exercises yet one that is very often performed incorrectly.
The biceps muscle is the cable that moves the forearm, which is a lever. This action works in just about every position UNLESS the elbow, or fulcrum of the movement is directly under the weight. At this point, the biceps will relax since there is no direct load on it anymore.
IF this is the case, the most important part of the movement, which should be peak contraction under load, is either reduced or completely eliminated. In layman terms, that sucks!

The key to performing any exercise correctly is to keep the muscles under load throughout the entire set. When your elbows are forward, you’re allowing the biceps to “rest”, even for a brief moment and that makes for a very inefficient workout.
The next time you’re doing biceps curls, look in the mirror at your profile and see if you’re doing them correctly. Pull those elbows back and experience a whole new “burn” that you may not have been feeling before!

Stay Fit Forever!

Tony

New! Peanut Butter Crepes – Video Recipe

I’ve had some feedback on the other crepe recipe that I posted a while back.  Mostly good, but some people thought that they were a little too hardcore.  I’ll admit, that they were not as delicate as a traditional crepe, but I was trying to maximize the nutritional value while pretty much destroying the fat content.
So, after much thought, I decided to come up with an alternative recipe that would soothe the need for a more “delicate” crepe that could be eaten by itself or filled with whatever you like and STILL be very healthy, with a little more fat (still from healthy sources) that would appease even the most finnicky eater.

Ingredients:

1 whole egg
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter, smooth
1 1/2 Tablespoons Splenda

That’s it!  Four ingredients that will yield 5-6 eight inch crepes.  I filled mine with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse that was my first recipe post, and they were delicious!

Give them a try and let me know what you think.  I hope you like them as much as I did.

Stay Fit Forever!

Tony

Tony’s Healthy Chili Recipe

 

chilibannerI’ve been wanting to put this one up for a while since it is what I eat for lunch just about EVERY day. I know that sounds boring, but I LOVE spicy stuff and I REALLY LOVE chili, especially when I know that the chili I’m eating is not only really tasty, but really good for me as well.

Ingredients:
ingredients

2 lbs. Extra lean ground beef (not pictured)
1 – 8oz. can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 – 12oz. can Rotel Original
1 – 15oz. can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 – 15oz. cans black beans (no salt added)
2 – Tbsp. Olive Oil (not pictured)

Seasonings:

Garlic powder
Mrs. Dash (of course!)
Cajun seasoning
Chili Powder
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

startbrown2Once it looks to be about half and half, add your tomato sauce and stir it in.

addsauce

This will help keep the meat moist instead of drying out by browning all the way through. Once it starts to come to a boil, add your Rotel and stir it in.
addrotelBy now, the meat is just about fully browned AND nice and juicy. Go ahead and add your fire roasted, diced tomatoes and stir them in.  While this is coming back to a boil, you can open the cans of black beans and drain off all the fluid.  Then, add them to the pot.  Stir them in evenly.  Now you’re ready to season.  I pretty much dust the garlic powder and cajun seasoning lightly on top.  I go a little heavier with the Mrs. Dash, because we got a “thing” going on… Then I add two heaping teaspoons of chili powder.  At this point, I sprinkle in a fair amount of red pepper flakes, but that’s optional.  If you like your food spicy hot, then by all means give it a try. If not, stick with just the above.
add_dicedtomatoesaddbeansGet it all stirred in evenly and bring back to a slow boil. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer.  You’re going to want to stir it about every ten minutes or so. I usually let it simmer for about 45 minutes, and then I can’t take it anymore and have to have some.
simmer

Once it’s cooled some, you can either separate it into portions and refrigerate or freeze. I stick the whole saucepot in the fridge since I usually eat a double portion of this for lunch every day.

This will yield 8 servings that will each contain:

270 Calories
31.5 grams of protein
24 grams of carbohydrates
4.5 grams of fat

A great benefit of using the black beans is that each serving also contains 7 grams of dietary fiber!

I hope you try it! A lot of my clients that I’ve turned onto this swear by it. It’s easy to throw together, keeps for quite a while when either refrigerated or frozen, and it a fantastic source of good protein, moderate carbs with lots of dietary fiber and pretty low in fat too.

Stay Fit Forever!

Tony

 

 

Carbs – Tips, Types, and Timing

carbs01

I get a LOT of questions about carbohydrates. It’s understandable, considering
the myriad of different diets there are out there. Hopefully, this article will
help clear up some of those questions as well as give you a better understanding
of how and just importantly, WHEN you should be consuming them.

First off, cutting dietary carbohydrates to zero is NOT an option. A certain
amount of sugar is needed to maintain and build muscle. The process of building
muscle not only depends on the amino acids that we derive from protein, but also
the delivery system that is controlled by insulin, which can only be released upon
consumption of carbohydrates.

So, let’s look at the two main types of carbohydrates.

From a fat loss perspective, your best choice of carbohydrates are cruciferous, or
fibrous carbohydrates. These are found in green, leafy vegetables such as
lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, etc… They are low on the glycemic index, which
is a measure of how fast sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that
their metabolic impact is low. The nice thing about fibrous carbs is that it is
very difficult to overeat them.

fibrous-carbs

Secondary carbs would be safe, starchy carbs. These will cause an exaggerated
spike in blood sugar if eaten too frequently, in larger portions, or at less than
beneficial times, which we’ll discuss shortly. Remember that a spike in blood
sugar will release excess insulin, which helps convert and store excerss carbs as
fat. Examples of these are oatmeal, rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta.
starchy-carbs

 

So now we understand the difference between the two main types of carbs. Let’s
move on to the timing. The key to remember here is that carb timing along with
portion size will determine whether fat is stored or burned.

Starchy carbs are best eaten early in the day. Ideally, you should be eating 5-6
“meals” throughout your day, spaced as evenly apart as you can. This helps keep
your metabolism “stoked”, rather than the traditional 3 meals a day which allows
for long periods of time where the body can go into it’s starvation mode in where
it becomes more efficient at fat preservation. Eating your starchy carbs early in
the day will best assure that you’ll use them for energy for your activities
rather than for storage as fat when eaten close to your bedtime. My rule of thumb
is to stop consuming starches by lunch if you’re really serious about fat loss.

Now the exception to this is post workout nutrition. One of the best times to eat
starchy carbs is right after your workout. You have about a 1 hour window where it
is actually VERY beneficial to eat these higher glycemic carbs so that the release
of insulin is quicker and that they will go almost exclusively towards muscle
reparation and recovery.

Final thing to remember is that you ALWAYS want to include good protein at EVERY
feeding. Protein is essential for muscular development and repair, and it helps
slow the absorption of carbohydrates as well.

Monitoring and controlling your carb intake and timing goes a LONG way towards
helping your achieve a lower body fat index. When performed in conjunction with a
solid resistance training program and cardio, you’ll be amazed at the changes you
can make in your body.

Stay Fit Forever!

Tony

 

I’m In a Bad Mood….

badmood

I’m in a bad mood…I haven’t posted an article or workout or even a recipe in three days and I’m feeling like I’m letting you down as well as being lazy. That I only average about five hours of sleep a night, train clients approximately forty hours a week, work out about eight to ten hours a week, spend about two to three hours a day researching material or making videos to populate the blog and the rest of my time trying to maintain a single parent household are all inconsequential, I still feel like I’m letting you down.

So, with that in mind, I’m writing tonight’s article. Some might call it a motivational article, while others might find it to be an accusatory observation. Regardless, I guess it’s my turn to rant, after all, it’s my blog, right?

Recently, I had a client (who subsequently is no longer with me) who after a month of training, showed up one morning and indignantly confronted me with, ” It’s been a month and I haven’t lost a single pound! What are you going to do about it!?”

Now normally, I’m a pretty laid back kind of guy. But every now and then, someone will use just the RIGHT combinations of words to activate the reptilian part of my brain which has an uncanny way of bypassing the “polite” filter and go straight into Jack Nicholson “The truth? You want the TRUTH? You can’t HANDLE the truth!” mode.

I began by pointing out that maybe canceling five out of the twelve sessions that we were supposed to have completed might have something to do with it. I also threw in that of the remaining seven sessions, that they were late for five of them. Twice, they had to leave early, and then just for giggles I added how they made a regular habit of breaking their fast on… Wait for it… McDonald’s hash browns and some funky orange drink that they have there! The response to this was, “You don’t understand, I have a lot of things to do! I work, I have to go to the grocery store, I have to pick up my child from school… blah, blah, blah…”  They lost me at, “You don’t understand…” because actually, I do!  I have to do all that sh*t too, plus MAKE time to work out!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying I’m any better than anyone else, far from it… BUT, I realize that the responsibility to adhere to a healthy lifestyle rests on me.  No one else can make that decision for me.  I can get assistance, information, guidance, whatever… but if I don’t CHOOSE to follow along, I’m out of luck.
worktoohard

I know some of you are thinking that I’m making this up, and I wish I was, but its the honest truth with no embellishments. The really sad part of this is that this client had been given all the resources and attention that I afford everyone that decides to train with me. That means that I take time to explain what they can expect from me and what I expect from them. It means that I’ve asked them to document a food diary so that we can figure out how best to manipulate their diet in a way that they can still enjoy food, while making choices that will help them achieve their health goals.

It means that I’m there, waiting for them at the specified time and prepared to give them a safe and productive workout and not just be a “counter”. It means that I’m going to continually try to challenge them so that they are always progressing towards whatever goals they have employed me to help them attain.

The way that I look at it, this is a partnership between a trainer and a client who both are working towards the same end. So, you can only imagine my frustration and disbelief when you rewind to, “what are YOU going to do about it!?”

Here’s the deal. Even if I was the most Uber trainer on the planet, it makes no difference unless you’re willing to accept your share of the responsibility for your health and well being. You can’t expect to cut corners, cheat on your diet, disregard instructions and show up when you feel like it.

What I ended up telling this client was this. “If this was a job, and I was your employer, I’d fire you. If you we’re late more often than not, called in sick or busy thirty percent of the time, I’d fire you. If you didn’t perform your job as it was outlined at the beginning of your employment, I’d fire you. If after calling all this to your attention at your “performance review”, you failed to make any adjustments, I’d fire you.

I guess you can probably figure out how this played itself out…

Ok, that’s out of my system now. Sorry, I didn’t mean to complain. I know how blessed I am that I can make living doing something I love AND go to work in a tee shirt and shorts. At the same time though, your health is ultimately YOUR responsibility. I think it’s fantastic that some of you would want to utilize a personal trainer to make your journey more effective and structured, but in the end, they are only facilitators. You are in charge of your time, your mouth, and your commitment. Like Spider-Man’s Uncle told him, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” And we all know how THAT turned out, right?

Stay Fit Forever
Tony