Saturday, December 29, 2018

How to Make sure you keep your New Year’s Resolution

As the saying goes “Talk is cheap”, and most New Year’s Resolutions end up not happening.    So here are some tips on how to make sure you actually follow through on your resolutions!   

Write Down your goal – the act of writing goals is a concrete action and makes you more likely to follow through in taking action to achieve the goal.  Use the SMART goal format:

Specific – vague goals are dreams and dreams never happen.
Measurable – being able to measure progress and success are key for something to be true goal.
Achievable – do not set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals.
Relevant – make sure the goal is something that is important to you.
Timebound – you must set a deadline for achieving the goal – because without a deadline you are just day-dreaming.

Focus on one goal at a time – science has proven that we only have so much willpower and if we set to many goals we run out of steam.    Focusing on one goal at a time allows you to conserve your willpower and discipline enhancing your chance of reaching your goal.

Create habits that lead to your goal – when something becomes a habit it takes a lot less mental energy and willpower to complete it.   So start with small, easy to achieve habits that help you move towards your goal.   For example committing yourself to a 5 minute walk each morning or evening is a simple and relatively easy commitment.     Then when you follow through and start to do it each day you create a habit.    

Plan Your Work then Work Your Plan - science also shows that people who create a plan are much more likely to achieve their goal.  Part of your plan should be becoming aware of the triggers of your bad habits and planning on avoiding them.   For example, if you are trying to quit smoking and you know that going to a coffee shop is a trigger for lighting up – plan on avoiding coffee shops.   Many bad habits are associated with specific locations.

Share your goal with others - sharing your goals with friends, family or co-workers can help provide support.   Studies have shown that people who share weight loss goals with family are 22% more likely to succeed.

Plan on Mistakes and focus on progress instead of perfection - we all make mistakes, but just because we make a single error of judgement or have a short lapse in willpower does not mean we need to give up on a goal!    If you make a mistake, such as having a high calorie meal while trying to lose weight, do not give up on the whole effort.    Acknowledge the lapse – and get back on the horse!

By focusing on progress, you put mistakes in context.   For example, if your goal is weight loss and you have a week with 6 days of following your plan perfectly but ha
ve one bad meal – realize that overall you are doing well!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Holiday Gifts for Fitness Enthusiasts

There is still time to order from Amazon and get a delivery in time for Christmas!    So what should order for the fitness enthusiast in your life?     Fortunately, there are some fantastic products to allow you to get a great workout at home or on the road when you cannot get to the gym. 

Quiet Punch – a simple to set-up and use device that you mount in between just about any standard door.     Once it is set-up it provides a square punching surface mounted between two poles that go across the door frame and is suspended by bungee cords from the poles.      You can really get after it and get a fantastic boxing workout that is does not shake the house down!    The app comes with great workouts and the system has a cell phone holder so you can watch and follow one of the many boxing/fitness videos available through the app.        You can purchase from Amazon or directly at At $125 Quiet Punch is not cheap but not that expensive and is really a fun workout for those who enjoy boxing.

Floor Dolly Systems – there are several great floor dolly systems that allow you to get a fantastic core workout and work the rest of your body at the same time.   These products emphasize the eccentric or muscle lengthening portion of an exercise in a simple but profound way and there are endless exercises you can do in a small area.    Get ready for some big time soreness if you go after it hard the first time since these products place a strong emphasis on the muscle lengthening phase of each exercise since you have to control your movement.    Harder surfaces tend to greatly magnify the challenge wihile carpeted surfaces create more resistance.  Great products in this category include:

Core Flyte by Flight Fitness which provides two small hand/foot dollies with three ball rollers with a sealed bearing system.       Although they are small they work on many different surfaces.   Since they provide two units you can put both hands or both feet or both knees on them which allows many exercise variations to allow you to effectively overload every muscle group in the body.     Core flytes can be purchased on Amazon or directly from and are reasonably priced at $85.

Core Coaster is another dolly device at a much lower price point.   It has larger wheels rather than using the balls like Core Flyte.    If you are going to use on carpets this product should allow smoother movement because of the larger wheels and the platforms are also much larger than Core Flyte.    The three wheels are mounted in a swiveling carriage mounted to bottom of the platform which allows 360 movement just like the Core Flyte.     At $39 these are a steal!  You can purchase directly from Amazon.

Elastic Resistance – are a fantastic way to provide a full body workout that can be done in a very small space and virtually anywhere.    There are two main types of elastic resistance:

Circular Tubing that usually has handles attached – can purchase many different types directly from Amazon

Flat Circular or directly from Amazon
If you also include a door anchor which typically is placed through the inside edge of the door jam while door.   Then you close the door and there is usually a loop or other way to attach tubing to this anchor so that you can push and pull against the tubing.

There are literally hundreds of highly effective exercises than can be done with elastic resistance, and for less than $100 you can buy several different sizes/strengths and sizes of bands along with a door anchor and take them anywhere!   Resistance bands can be purchased directly from Amazon and great brands include Lifeline Fitness and for flat circular bands.

Suspension Trainers – the most well-known is TRX, but there are quite a few high-quality options.   Suspension Trainers use straps with handles and by adjusting your hand and foot position relative to the straps and where they anchored you can do hundreds of exercises and work your body head to toe.   These systems are light and very easy to transport.     Most come with some type of door or universal mounting system to allow you to use them in many places from a hotel room to a playground to a gym.

High quality Suspension Trainers include:

TRX – the most well know product on the market and it is available from TRX available on Amazon for $149.    Or buy directly from TRX at

Lifeline Jungle Gym XT – another fantastic product with a split anchor design which allows you to precisely target certain muscles better such as chest doing chest flys.   At $99.99 this is a great value and a virtually indestructible product.   This product can be purchased from Amazon or at

Cross-Core 180 – if you want the Cadillac of Suspension Trainers this is probably your pick!     By far the most versatile in the category, virtually indestructible, and most importantly allow a unique rotation anchor system that provides an adjustable level of extra instability and movement that can take your workouts to a whole new level.    The handle and adjustment systems are also the best and allow many more types of exercises than any other product in this category.    At $249.95 on Amazon its not cheap but you do get what you pay for here!    Also available at

Sunday, December 9, 2018

How to Handle Holiday Stress

Although the holidays are a fun time of year they are also a very stressful time of year!   45 percent of Americans say they would prefer skipping the entire season because of financial pressure.     Most Americans feel that the stress really starts to build around December 13th, grows worse through the 18th and peaks on Christmas Day.

This holiday stress can be highly detrimental to your health, and it is sad but true that many take their lives during this season.    The physiological impact of this stress manifests as increased cortisol which boosts blood sugar levels, helps drive weight gain, and breaks down muscle.

Here are some tried and true ways to combat the holiday stress syndrome:

Get your workouts in!  Now is NOT the time to skip workouts – even a short one can have an immediate and lasting effect in reducing your mental and physiological stress response.    A quick high intensity workout - just three 20 second sprints with one – four minutes of active recovery – is proven to help maintain fitness and immediately improve mood while lowering blood pressure, mental stress and appetite.

Get your Sleep!   Easier said than done, but focusing on when you eat, go to bed and wake up can keep your body in a good rhythm.      A simple way to do this is get up and go to bed at the same time every single day regardless of the day of the week – do NOT change your schedule on weekends.  

Keep your food and beverage intake (except for water) within a 12-hour window so that you are NOT eating or drinking anything (except for water) for 12 hours each night.   For example, if you wake up at 6am and drink a cup of coffee at 7am (the clock has started at 7am).   That means you want to take in your last food or beverage no later than 7pm.     

      So, if you know you are going to go out to parties try to take in your first non water food or beverage at 8am to give you until 8pm to finish all food and beverage intake.   By keeping your sleep/wake cycle consistent along with your eating and not-eating schedule you allow your body to recover better

When going to parties start early and leave early or just start drinking water and nothing else once you hit the end of your 12 hour window.

Food intake along with sunlight and dark are key tools to set your body's circadian rhythm which is critical for minimizing the impact of stress and enhancing recovery.

 Set an alcohol budget – and switch to water after you hit it.     Doing this along with scheduling your wake/sleep cycle and food intake cycle can prevent a lot of issues while allowing you to have a great time!

Do not overbook yourself or your family – plan on downtime and keep it simple.     Less is often more in life the holidays are no exception!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Quick Workouts for Holiday Travel

It is easy to get out of your regular exercise habit during the holidays – particularly if you must travel a lot!    The good news is with a little preparation it is easy to get in an effective workout anywhere.
Here are a couple of ideas for getting your workouts in anywhere, anytime:
Get yourself a set of resistance bands with door holder like these: 

Resistance Bands - - everything you need to perform a safe and effective total body strength training routine that can be done anywhere including a hotel room.    Check out the site for some great free workout programs.

Core Flytes - Inexpensive and great for travel Core Flytes allow a highly effective full-body workout just about anywhere and at any ability level.    Their website and youtube channel provide lots of workouts and exercises.

TRX Suspension Training - - The TRX Home System provides another great travel workout option including a great app that shows you exactly what to do!

Bodyweight Routine - - this Men’s Fitness Bodyweight Routine provides several options that require zero equipment.

3 Best Bodyweight Exercises - - a simple, yet highly effective workout check out these three bodyweight moves that can be done anywhere.

Walking or Running can be done in many locations, and with proper clothing you can go for a walk or a run even during cold weather.     In addition, cold weather workouts provide the added benefit of revving up your metabolism (cold exposure is a proven way to boost metabolic rate).

Stairs can be found almost everywhere and walking or running up and down stairs provides a fantastic interval based cardio challenge while also challenging lower body and core strength.

Yoga Routine – Yoga can be performed anywhere and there are many great online videos including this one from Pop-Sugar:

So instead of letting your holiday travel hijack your workout programs – plan and prepare to workout on the road.    With a little planning you can keep your workout routine on track during Holiday Travel.