September 13, 2013 | Uncategorized | Permalink


People ask me all the time…..”Craig, how can I lose this weight?  Isn’t there something I can take that will help speed the process?”  My response is always the same.  ”The most effective method for weight loss is reducing the number of calories you consume while increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity.  Period! End of story!”

Don’t waste your hard earned money on those so-called products that will help you lose 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 30 pounds in 30 days.  They….don’t….work!!!   What they do is make other people rich off of your desperation to lose weight.  You all know what I’m talking about.  “Lose weight now…ask me how!”  Well, I’m here to tell you the hard cold truth.  DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY!  If you want to spend some extra $ on something valuable to help you achieve your weight loss or fitness goals, spend it on the right foods or on a qualified personal trainer, or both.

Who is a qualified personal trainer?  Simple.  One who has several years of experience and understands that the secret to weight loss is hard work, sweat, good nutrition and dedication, not one who is trying to sell you on those “miracle products” he is a distributor for,  just to line his or her own pockets.

Haven’t you realized at this point that all of those products tell you to “decrease your caloric input” AND increase your exercise activities while taking them?  So I ask this simple question; is it those “miracle products” causing you to lose the weight or is it the increased exercise and less calories you are consuming while popping those worthless concoctions?  There is no easy way to lose the weight just like there is no easy way to earn a million dollars.  It takes hard work and dedication and a lifestyle change.

To lose 1 pound, you need an expenditure of approximately 3,500 calories. You can achieve this either by cutting back on your food intake, by increasing physical activity, or ideally, by doing both.

For example, if you consume 500 extra calories per day for one week without changing your activity level, you will gain 1 pound in weight (seven days multiplied by 500 calories equals 3,500 calories, or the number of calories resulting in a 1-pound weight gain).  Conversely, if you eat 500 fewer calories each day for a week or burn 500 calories per day through exercise for one week, you will lose 1 pound.

Examples of calorie content of some popular foods and beverages include the following:

  • one slice of original-style crust pepperoni pizza – 230 calories

  • one glass of dry white wine – 160 calories

  • one can of cola – 150 calories

  • one quarter-pound hamburger with cheese – 500 calories

  • one jumbo banana nut muffin – 580 calories

Any activities you do throughout the day are added to your BMR (basal metabolic rate) to determine the total number of calories you burn each day. For example, a 170-pound person who spends 45 minutes walking briskly will burn about 300 calories. The same time spent on housecleaning burns about 200 calories, and mowing the lawn for 45 minutes consumes around 275 calories.

So, pull yourself away from those infomercials and ignore those miracle weight loss cures.  Why would you want to throw away your hard earned money?  Now, when someone comes up to you, you can say “lose weight now….ask me how” and you can tell them that you did it the old fashioned, healthy way!



September 12, 2013 | Exercise | Permalink


Sit-ups once ruled as the way to tighter abs and a slimmer waistline, while “planks” were merely flooring. Now planks — exercises in which you assume a position and hold it — are the gold standard for working your core, while classic sit-ups and crunches have fallen out of favor. Why the shift?

One reason is that sit-ups are hard on your back — by pushing your curved spine against the floor and by working your hip flexors, the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. When hip flexors are too strong or too tight, they tug on the lower spine which can be a source of lower back discomfort.

Second, planks recruit a better balance of muscles on the front, sides, and back of the body during exercise than sit-ups, which target just a few muscles. Remember, your core goes far beyond your abdominal muscles.

Finally, activities of daily living, as well as sports and recreational activities, call on your muscles to work together, not in isolation. Sit-ups or crunches strengthen just a few muscle groups. Through dynamic patterns of movement, a good core workout helps strengthen the entire set of core muscles — the muscles you rely on for daily activities as well as sports and recreational activities.


September 11, 2013 | Nutrition | Permalink


There is no need to explain why 80% of Americans kick start their day with this most widely used mood-altering drug in the world. Some people are just not functional without their morning cup of coffee. And since getting enough rest has become an illusive dream, who cares about the effects of coffee on your health as long as it keeps you awake? Surprising as it may sound, the bad reputation of coffee has outlived itself. As a matter of fact, coffee might be one of the healthiest drinks out there.

Coffee Benefits!

Caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee, has numerous physiological and psychological effects stimulating the brain and nervous system. It is a well known fact that consumption of coffee contributes to the increased alertness and faster reaction time. In addition, drinking coffee with milk in the first part of the day helps to remember gained knowledge. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, and drinking it with or without coffee will counteract this potential nutrient loss.

If improved brain activity is not enough justification for you to enjoy the most delectable drink there is, coffee was found to be beneficial for type 2 diabetes. Intake of caffeine may increase production of digestive juices, relax the walls of the blood vessels and the airways in the lungs, while increasing the force of muscular contractions and increasing the heart rate.

Black coffee is a natural diet drink that may spark your metabolism in a calorie-free way. Caffeine increases heart rate and metabolism so you burn more calories at rest. As for exercise enthusiasts, caffeine has shown to enhance performance and is the most extensively researched ergogenic aid. Not only, it diminishes the feeling of fatigue and perceived exertion, caffeine spares muscle glycogen promoting greater use of body fat as energy while bodies are in motion. Besides, muscles of ‘caffeinated bodies’ can work longer before they will exhaustion.  But, use caution, as the consumption of caffeine just prior to exercise can lead to rapid dehydration.  To counter this, always consume large quantities of water during your exercise program.

For that matter, coffee has been used for years by endurance athletes to aid in metabolizing fatty acids. Caffeine preferentially increases the body’s use of stored fat for energy, sparing both the liver and muscle glycogen, a form of temporary stored sugar in the body. As a nervous-system stimulant, caffeine provides a mental boost that helps athletes through vigorous training sessions.

Of course, what goes up must come down. When caffeine wears off, fatigue sets in with a vengeance, diminishing returns on brain activity and other performance. Some so-called “caffeine addicts” report experiencing terrible headaches as an aftereffect of being in an ‘emergency-alert state’.

Coffee Danger!

Here comes the Coffee Danger – its diet properties end as soon as you add something else to it. From milk and sugar, to syrups and cocoa, your cup of java may become a real weight-loss disaster in a matter of seconds. Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino Blended Crème with Whip sounds awesome, but how do 740 calories and 28 grams of fat? And forget about all the health benefits your cup of Java is famous for.

If you are a healthy individual and drink coffee in moderation, at worst, it is a harmless beverage. At best, enjoy you favorite cup of Latte as a healthy boost for the day!


September 10, 2013 | Uncategorized | Permalink



Core Training

It seems like lately you can’t open a magazine without seeing an article about core strength and training. But while you have probably heard about core strength, are you like many people who are confused about what that really means, and why it matters?

I would say that most people think about strong abs when we talk about the core. But really, the core consists of abdominal, back and hip muscles, or, everything from the shoulder to the hip.

So why is core strength so important? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Power – A strong core enables you to perform weight-bearing movements and reduce your risk of injury. It will also help alleviate unnecessary joint stress. It builds back strength and helps to prevent low back pain.
  • Posture – Strengthening the core muscles will naturally improve your posture, which will also help to alleviate back pain.
  • Agility – a strong core leads to faster reaction time, better body awareness, improved coordination and flexibility. This will help you in your daily life by reducing the risk of injury and in performing everyday tasks.
  • Stability – a strong core means better balance, which can prevent falls and other accidents.

What is the best way to increase core strength?    Exercises that require constant abdominal stabilization should be performed on a regular basis. Try doing your crunches on a stability ball rather than the floor. Even sitting on a stability ball and lifting one leg at a time will target the core. Balancing on a Bosu and performing squats and lunges is another way to engage these muscles and enhance the exercise.