Fix Your Crappy Diet


If you are fat, you can bet it’s your own fault, but you can do something about it. It’s not a matter of switching to low-carb ice cream, or getting onion rings instead of French fries, either. And if you’re thinking of “doing” Adkins or South Beach, or the Peanut M&M diet (I am not shitting you, there really is one), you are lost.

See, making significant changes in your diet requires a “chronic” rather than “acute” adaptation. If you are getting fat at the average rate of 2-3 pounds a year, you’re on a deadly path.

We’re not just worried about looking good naked, either. And if you’re a parent, you’re not the only one that’s going to die early because of your nutritional choices.

Do you know that kids exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke DAILY have fewer health problems than kids who eat fast food more than 4 times a week?  Do you know that the average American kid now eats at McDonalds (not just any fast food) three times per week?

OK, so back to you. My job is to plan and implement training programs for athletes and to build fat loss plans for those who want to get skinny. I used to say that 50% of fat loss was diet. I blew it. I’d say that number is more like 90%.

One of the first things that come up with many of my clients when we start talking nutrition is what to eat when they eat out. Well, water’s pretty harmless, but beyond that you’re on your own.

Instead of figuring out which fried sandwich has fewer calories, let’s try to make some real changes that you can stick with. Here are four things you can do starting today (and continuing for the rest of your life) that will make a real difference in how fat are, and in how fat your family will be.

1.         Balance carbohydrates with protein. OK, so you don’t have the mettle to quit sugar. How about this: every time you eat carbohydrates, you eat an equal amount of protein. Want a cookie? Eat an egg with it. Eating pasta? Load up on the meat sauce. I know eggs and cookies sounds gross, but maybe not as gross as being so fat you’re not able to wipe your own butt…

2.         Get rid of the juice. But juice is fruit right? Wrong. It’s Pepsi without the bubbles. Bottom line is you shouldn’t ever drink a calorie. This includes energy drinks, Gatorade, and your precious glass of wine (or five) with dinner.

3.         Plan. That’s right, think ahead. Plan out what you’ll eat each day before you’re  starving.  Studies show that people who plan what they are going to eat are 4-6% thinner than those who don’t.

4.         Get real. Come to grips with the fact that the tasty treats you shovel in are holding you back in a big way. As soon as you really can get your head around the damage you’re doing to your body, avoiding bad food becomes easy. It’s a simple switch as soon as you can associate good eating with pleasure and being a fat, weak slob with pain. In fact, as soon as you decide to eat right, you’re there. It’s just that you are no good at making decisions…just stating preferences.

What you’re doing now is not working. You’re dying fast and getting uglier, so you’d better be willing to make some tough choices. Take control of your life, even if it’s the first time you ever have. Start eating right, and the rest of fitness becomes a snap.  -SB


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We all have limited time. Traditional, simplistic exercise recommendations call for 3 hours of “activity” a week, plus a couple of weight training sessions lasting about an hour. This is great if you don’t have anything else to do. Here at the gym, most of our athletes are lucky to grab an hour a day, and that includes getting to the gym, working out, showering, and getting back to work.

Is it a waste of time to exercise for just 30 minutes? 20? 10?

Not at all. Volume and intensity are the two main attributes of any workout. Volume is how much you do and intensity is how hard you do it. Overwhelming evidence suggests that intensity is far more important to health, longevity, and weight loss than volume is.

The real key to progress in your training is not to go longer on your workouts, but to get more done in less time. If you walk for an hour, you might cover 4 miles. But if you run very fast, you can cover that same distance in half the time. Your net work is exactly the same (about 400 calories), but you saved yourself 30 minutes.

Even better, intense exercise has a profound effect on metabolism, making it the ONLY choice for people who’d like to lose weight.

Turn it up a notch this winter, and look for great results. For tips on how to do this, feel free to ask any of our trainers, or check out one of our new class offerings. Burly Girls and The Program are great ways to push your fitness up a level.

Kill Your Old Cardio Workout


In the old days, we did “cardio.” We thought the “fat-burning zone” really worked, and we wasted a ton of our most precious resource, time, plodding away on cardio machines.

Trainers used to have you do three sets of ten on a half-dozen isolation exercises Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and do an hour of this “cardio” the other days.

This was standard prescription for about 20 years…the same 20 years that the obesity epidemic grew to full-size.

If you get good results, and avoid going bonkers cruising on an elliptical for 60 minutes at a time, read no further. But if you are like me, and two minutes on a treadmill seems like two hours, give this little trick a try:

1.          Get warmed up. I mean warm. Take five minutes, starting at your “fat-burning” zone, and speed up slowly throughout the five minutes until you are at a VERY fast pace near the end.

2.          Stand around for 2 minutes. Get a drink (of water).

3.          Jump on the elliptical, get it going at a medium resistance level, and then race it up to 200 strides per minute for about 30 seconds. Slow down for a minute, and then repeat three more times.

4.          Stand around for 2 moreminutes.

5.          Get on the stair machine, starting at a normal, easy pace.

6.          After you’ve burned 5 calories, increase the level by 1, burn 5 more calories, and repeat until you are no longer on the machine. It shouldn’t take long.

7.          Hit the showers.

This is neither boring nor ineffective. You’ll be done in way less than an hour, will have burned off some of those Thin Mints, and you probably won’t even feel bad about being out of the gym so quickly.