About Me

I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Are Your Actions Matching Your Desires?

Are your actions matching your desires?  Do you want to get into shape and lose some weight?  If so, are your actions supporting the outcome of what you desire?

The majority of people do not "act" in support of what they want.  They talk incessantly about what they want, but never put the right actions towards getting it.  They may want to buy a new car, but never save any money to put towards it.  They may want to go to a great college, but do not put the study hours in to get good grades to be able to qualify for a good college.

Many people want to be lean and in shape, but do not want to do what it takes to be in shape.  Many lack the commitment and  discipline that it takes to reach their fitness goals.  I hear "I want, I want, I want", but I see little of the doing it takes to get results.

If you want to lose body fat and get into shape you must be disciplined and committed to doing the work to get there.  You need to exercise four to seven days a week, doing both cardiovascular exercise, and strength training.  Exercising one or two days a week is better than not exercising all, but to be in top shape more days will be needed.  .

If you are complaining or unhappy about the fat on your body; eating french fry's, candy, donuts, sugar cereals, fast food, and drinking soda's, will not help you lose the fat.  Yet I see people constantly engaging in this kind of behavior, wanting something, but doing actions that are opposite of what they desire.

You can not be lean and healthy with a diet full of processed, fried, fatty, sugary, foods.  You can not get fit if you do not exercise on a regular bases.

Unfortunately, there will never be a magic pill, or machine that will take the place of eating healthy, and regular exercise.  Every time someone comes up with something that is going to be the easy way to get lean or fit, it has turned out to be a health hazard.  Discipline and commitment are the tools that you need to have the body and health that you desire.

Our society has gotten lazy about taking care of themselves.  It is just too much effort to cook a good meal.  It is to hard to exercise, after all it feels better just sitting around instead of working out.  This is what has caused our country to be the fattest, most unhealthy of all industrialized countries in the world.  We are the fattest, most nutrient deficient, group of people, yet we are the most affluent. 

Don't complain about the state of your body, if you are eating poorly and not exercising.  It takes time, discipline, effort, and focus to get into shape and stay there.  It is a life long commitment, not a six month stint.  Make it part of your daily life to take care of yourself.

No one can do this for you, you have to make the choice to eat well, and exercise, even when you don't feel like it.  People think that I always love to eat right and exercise.  Not True!  There are many days I do not want to exercise, but I do because I know it is good for me, and I always feel better for it.

Make your choice in how you want to live your life.  Do you want to be fit and healthy, or fat and unhealthy.  It is all up to you....no one else....just you.  You can not blame anyone else if you eat poorly and don't exercise.  You have the power to be and do what ever you want.  How will you "choose" to live your life?  

Wishing You Health and Happiness,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reading Food Labels

Reading food labels are important if you want to be assured of getting healthy foods into your body. Most people know about the calorie count when reading food labels, but there is a lot more information for you on these labels if you are able to understand what they mean.

All food labels are based on a 2,000 to 2500 calories a day diet. This is an assumption that the average daily diet is 2,000 to 2500 calories a day. 

Knowing that our population is 66% overweight, and 33% of those are obese, helps us to understand that many people are not sticking to the 2000 to 2500 calorie a day diet that will help them to stay lean and healthy.

The average persons basal metabolism is approximately 1500 calories.  Label makers assume that you will add another 500 calories of activity, and that is how they come up with 2000 calories.  When 2500 calories is used, they assume that is for males.  Unfortunately our basal metabolism varies with age, activity level, and male or female status.  It would be difficult to lump everyone into the 1500 calorie a day basal metabolism and call it the norm.  If you are overweight, non active, and or older, your basal metabolism could be much lower.   


When you see a percentage of how much your daily values are such as sodium, fat, or fiber that is only correct if you are eating 2,000 calories a day.

You also need to note the serving size. If it says a 1 cup is a serving, and you have two cups, you need to double all the fact information on the label to apply to the amount that you ate. Usually serving sizes are very conservative, smaller than what many of us eat. So when it says 200 calories per serving, and you eat double the serving, you must double the calories that you are counting, along with all of the other info on the label.

If the fat percentage on a label reads more than 30 percent, it is not a healthy choice if you are trying to lose fat, especially if you are eating more than the serving size recommends.

If a label says "fat free" it has to by law have less than 0.5 grams per serving. If it says "low fat" it must comply with 3 grams of fat or less per serving. If it say "lean" it must have less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and no more than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.

If the label says "light (lite)" it must have 1/3 or no more than half the fat of the higher calorie. higher fat version. Hopefully the higher version is not over the top with fat. When a label says "Cholesterol free", it must have less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol, or 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving.

Your cholesterol intake should be under 300 milligrams in a day for a healthy diet. Your sodium intake should not go over 2400 milligrams in a day for optimum health results, and if you are over 50 they say it should be no more than 1400 milligrams per day.

When reading the ingredient list know that the ingredient that is listed first is what the product has the most of.  For instance in many processed cereals the first ingredient might be bleached flour, the second ingredient might be sugar. That means that this cereal has mostly bleached flour, (non nutritious) and sugar (also non nutritious) in it. Not a good choice if you are trying to be healthy and lean.

If you are reading the ingredient list and find words that you do not know, or cannot pronounce, it is probably not a good choice to eat. Many processed foods have preservatives, chemicals, artificial flavors and colorings, that you just should not eat if you are looking for healthy choices.

Natures foods do not need any labels. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fresh lean proteins, are assured to provide you with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and amino acids that are pure of the negative health effects of processed foods.

Read your labels if you are eating processed foods to make sure that you are making healthy choices. You will find that many things that you have been eating, and thought were O.K., are simply not. Choose health by taking control of what you are eating. Educate yourself by reading the labels!

Wishing You Health and Happiness,




Monday, October 10, 2011

Cross Train for Better Results

Cross training is the best way to train if you want to lower your risk of injury, and keep boredom out of your exercise regime.     Cross training is using a variety of training methods to achieve your fitness goals.

You must do cardiovascular exercise along with strength training, and stretching to have a complete fitness program.  You can achieve more than one of these objectives by performing just one exercise.  For instance, if you are hiking in an area where there is steep terrain, you will not only receive benefits for cardiovascular exercise, but you will be getting strength training for your legs and butt as well.  You can find a spot to do a few sets of push ups along the way, and you have worked much of your body with this one hike.

Perhaps the next day you will decide to do some weight training, and cardio on the treadmill, concluding with a few yoga poses.  The following day you do a fast paced walk, followed by a stretch.  The day after that you do a bike ride, several minutes of plank exercise, and a floor stretch.  Take a kick boxing class, or a jazz dance class for your next day of exercise.  This is cross training.

Cross training not only helps you to avoid injury and boredom, it helps the body to keep from acclimating to one activity by using fewer calories and energy to do it.  Cross training confuses the body and doesn't allow this acclimating process to happen as easily.

There are only so many ways to train your bicep, shoulders and other body parts safely.  Sometimes we have to be O.K. with a certain amount of repetition when it comes to training the body.  Avoiding crazy "fad" exercises in the fitness world is a good idea most of the time.

Strength training can involve free weights, weight machines, the exercise ball, and resistance exercises like the plank.  Running, biking, hiking, rollerblading, skiing, gym machines, aerobic classes, swimming, and walking are exercises that work for cardiovascular training.  The key is to "like" the exercises that you are choosing.  If you are doing something that you really hate, you won't want to do it.  Find the things that you enjoy to create your cross training program.

 I recommend that you always hike with a friend, or friends, as it is safer to do so.  Many people are more motivated to exercise with somebody, rather than go it alone.  Find out what works best for you.  If you need a work out buddy, find a partner that is not going to flake out on you.  Make the commitment together to get into shape, and then keep each other accountable to your fitness schedule.

Cross training can make your exercise program much more enjoyable.  Lowering your risk of injury is a great plus.  This happens because your body is using different muscles, in different ways, and not overusing any particular muscle group.  Elite athletes sometimes experience injury due to the fact that they are performing the same sport or exercise over and over again, creating fatigue and weakness in areas of their bodies.  They must do this to be the best at their particular sport, but most of us do not need to over use our bodies in this way.

Create a cross training program for yourself to avoid boredom, and lower your risk of injury.  You will have better results and enjoy your workouts more when you add in variety.  It all adds up to being fit, healthy, and looking great! 

Wishing You Health and Happiness,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Have you ever heard of the saying, "You are what you eat"?  It is important to understand why you should be eating more of nature's foods, rather than eating processed, fast, or junk foods.  If your diet consists mostly of those types of foods, in relationship to "you are what you eat", you will have a body that is run on chemicals, preservatives, and food that has little to no nutritional value. 

We know that processed foods have chemicals, preservatives, white flour, white sugar, and most give us little to no nutrition. The number one reason we eat is to fulfill the need for nutrition in our bodies.  If you are eating foods that have no nutrition, you are defeating the purpose for eating.

If you think that fast food, junk food, and processed foods taste good, it is only because you have trained your taste buds to like that kind of food.  If you stopped eating those types of foods and just ate fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and mostly natures foods, you would find that eating junk food, fast food, and processed food, would not taste good to you.  We train ourselves to like the food that we eat most of the time.

Many restaurants and fast food places are mandated to show their fat gram and calorie count of the foods on their menus today.  It is amazing what has happened.  People who actually see how fattening and high in calories these foods are, end up choosing the lower calorie and fat choices on the menu.  These establishments have been forced to put healthier choices on their menus so that we have the choice to eat healthy or not. 

Seeing how many calories, fat, and sodium that are in the foods sold in fast food, or chain restaurants helps us to understand why we have 65% of our population over weight and 33% of adults who are obese.  We really need to understand what we are eating is literally killing us. 

It is not just calories that we are interested in, we also need to care about the quality of those calories. We need fat in our diets, but the kind of fat we ingest should come mostly from vegetables such as olive oil, avocado's, and nuts.  Fat from pasteurized butter and lean animal proteins should be eaten in moderation.

It takes 3500 calories to gain or lose a pound.  It is easy when choosing items from a fast food or chain restaurant to eat that many calories in one meal.  Most of us need somewhere between 1500 and 2500 calories for the day, depending on your sex, body fat percentage, activity level, and metabolism.  Eating 500 calories a day more than you burn will cause you to gain a pound in one week.

When reading the food labels on processed foods, you will find many ingredients that you may not be able to pronounce, and may have no idea what they are.  If we are what we eat, do you really want to eat ingredients that you are not sure what they are?  Not if you are looking to be healthy. Dr. Memhet Oz says, "If the ingredients on a label would not be in your pantry...don't eat it."

Remember that "You are what you eat" when you are choosing your foods.  If you are wanting to be healthy, lean, strong, feeling good, and looking good, choose natures foods for the bulk of your diet.  Then you can be proud of saying, "I am what I eat!".

Wishing You Health and Happiness,

Monday, September 26, 2011

How Our Emotions Effect Our Health

There is more and more scientific evidence to support how our emotions effect our health.  Whether it is a positive effect from experiencing positive emotions, or a negative effect from experiencing negative emotions, our emotions play a big role in our health.

One of the preeminent experts in positive psychology and author of the book "Flourish", Martin Seligman PhD states that there is scientific certainty that our emotional outlook effects our physical health.  Scientists now know that good feelings have a positive effect on our bodies, and negative emotions create negative physical responses.


When we are happy, joyful, peaceful, and feeling those positive emotions, our immune system becomes  stronger and is able to fight off colds, flues, and illness's better.  When we are stressed, angry, jealous, fearful, or are experiencing any other kind of negative emotion, our bodies spike in the hormone cortisol which will suppress our immune system and leave us less able to fight off illness and disease.

The trick is learning how to take control over our emotions so that we do not dwell in the negative.  Being conscious of our emotions is the first step in being able to control them.  A study published by "Psychosomatic Magazine" found that patients who wrote about their worries for thirty minutes a day had a healthier immune system and also had fewer doctor visits relating to their illness.  We can choose to feel negative emotions, or we can choose to see things in a more positive light.  The choice is always ours to make.

Sheldon Cohen PhD from Carnegie Mellon University studied 193 patients to determine their level of positive emotions.  He exposed the participants to a virus and found that people who scored low on positive emotions were three times likely to succumb to the virus.  Clearly our emotions are powerful when it comes to our health.

Lara M. Stepelman PhD professor of psychiatry and health behavior at the Medical College of Georgia states that, "We all have the ability to choose an optimistic mind-set.  With practice we can get better at it."  Just like we train our bodies to become fit and healthy, we must train our minds to become fit by thinking and feeling more positive emotions.

There are many ways to reduce our negative emotions.  Many of us let our emotions happen as if we are just a bystander and not the one controlling them or making them happen.  We are the only ones that can control them and change them to a more positive feeling.  The tools that can help reduce our negative emotions are meditation, tai chi, exercise, a healthy diet, and surrounding ourselves with people we love and who love us.  Staying away from toxic media such as news shows, violent movies, negative press, reality shows, and other forms of entertainment that dwell in negative activity, are a good choice to make when you are trying to stay in positive emotion.

We can take charge of our health by taking charge of our emotions.  Studies show that people who for the most part live in positive emotion, are healthier for it, while people who live experiencing mostly negative emotion suffer ill health.  Since it is a choice, why not choose to be healthier by feeling more positive?  If you are a negative thinker and feeler, you will need to retrain yourself to be more positive.  It can be done by being conscious and aware of how you are feeling and thinking.....keep choosing to be positive!

Wishing You Health and Happiness,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What to Do When You are Feeling Sick

I am a big believer in doing all you can to naturally prevent illness, such as; eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting plenty of rest and sleep, drinking lots of clear water, and practicing your positive thoughts and actions. These things will help to keep you healthier, but if you catch a virus or infection, other steps need to be taken.

When your body is fighting something, some of the things you want to stay away from are usually the things your body won't want anyway, like sugar, coffee, rich food, and alcohol. That tells you a lot about those things....they aren't good for you.

I never want coffee when I am not feeling well. It is very acidic and most likely will make you feel worse. Sugar and alcohol are the same. They cause your body to become more acidic, and that will not help you when you are sick.

When you are feeling ill, it is not a good time to exercise.  Your immune system is compromised when you are sick and exercise will weaken it more.  Begin to exercise when you are feeling better and gain more strength.

It is amazing how smart our bodies really are. When you get sick you most likely will want little to nothing to eat. Or you will want something that is bland or easily digestible. Your body needs a energy to heal itself when you are sick, and digesting food requires a lot of energy, so your body will lose its appetite to focus on healing.

I also try to stay away from taking medications unless absolutely necessary. This last week it was absolutely necessary. It is difficult to get rid of an infection without the aid of antibiotics. If used occasionally, and not abused, they are miraculous. Too many people take antibiotics when they don't need them, and that can create health issues.

Listen to your body when you are not feeling well. Don't eat or drink things that will make you feel worse. Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest, and if you need a doctors care, get an appointment.

There is nothing like feeling your best. Whenever I find myself down with a sickness, I am so thankful that most of the time I feel fabulous. There is no truer saying than "without your health you have nothing". I have so much empathy for anyone that deals with chronic illness. It is a blessing to have good health, and I never take it for granted. I am truly blessed.

Wishing You Health and Happiness,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nutrition Basics

Basics You Need to Know About Nutrition

Lets discuss some of the basic things that we should know about nutrition that will help us create and maintain a healthy body.  First of all we need to understand that our bodies need a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, to perform at our best. 

We need protein to build muscle, repair tissue, and it is essential for growth.  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and provide the transport of nutrients, oxygen, and waste throughout the body.  Protein makes all life possible.  Eating healthy, lean, portions of protein each day are important if you want to be healthy.

Good sources of animal protein can be found in eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, and pork.  Fish is another way to find a good source of protein, and usually has less fat in it.  Fish also provides you with omega 3 oils that help keep your body running better.  Many people choose to get their protein from vegetable sources, as they prefer not to eat animals.  This can be done, but if you choose this way of eating you will need to make sure that you are getting your minimum of 50 grams of protein a day to insure good health.  It takes a little more know how to find that amount of protein in vegetables, but again it can be done.

Carbohydrates are very important for optimal health.  Without them you could not survive and be healthy.  Carbohydrates give you energy, it is basically your fuel, as gasoline is to a car.  There are two types of carbohydrates, complex carbs, and simple carbs.  It is the complex carbs that you want to have the most of.  Complex carbohydrates are vegetables and fruits, or what I like to call "Natures" carbs.  They are packed full of antioxidants, fiber, water, and many other wonderful things that help our bodies stay healthy. 

Simple carbs are found in processed foods like breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, sugar, and chips.  Those are the carbs that you should limit if you are interested in being lean and healthy.  It is the processed carbs that have less nutrition and are a leading cause of obesity in our country.  Eat them occasionally, if at all.

Fats are also essential for optimum health, but it makes a huge difference in the kind of fat you are ingesting.  Animal fats are the most harmful of all fats, and that includes butter!  It is animal fat that creates cholesterol.  Vegetable fats never harden in your arteries.  Keeping your animal fat intake low, and your vegetable fat as your main source is a healthier way to eat.  Refer to my blog on "The Low Down on Fats" from January 2010 to read more on different types of fat and its function.

There are different opinions on how much of protein, carbs, and fats that we need.  I always believe that it is an individual thing to a point, but only to a point.  For instance my body works better when I eat animal protein as opposed to being a vegetarian.  I have tried many times to be a vegetarian, but I am healthier when I eat animal protein.  Some people believe you should have 30% protein, 30% fats, and 40% carbs, in your daily diet.  Others believe you should eat less fat and more protein.  I believe you need to find what works for you.  Personally I work better on more complex carbs, and less fat and protein. 

There is a belief that your body type dictates how you should eat.  Whether you are predominantly a Mesomorph, Endomorph, or Ectomorph, can determine how much protein, carbs, and fat you should have.  It is an interesting science that I think holds a lot of truth to it.  There are tests you can take on line to find out what type of body you have.  Just put "body types" into a search engine and you can learn what type you are.

After understanding the components of what we should eat, we also need to know the amount of calories that we are taking in.  As I have stated many times, it is not just the amount of calories that is important, but the quality of calories that should be looked at.  200 calories of vegetables is a much better choice of calories than 200 calories of cookies.  So calories should not just be counted, but chosen for their quality. 

Most women should be eating between 1500 and 2000 calories a day to maintain their weight.  Men should eat between 2000 and 3000.  This will depend on many variables like weight, height, basal metabolism, and amount of muscle you have.  Remember that your basal metabolism is what it takes for you to be alive for twenty-four hours without moving.  To get a true basal metabolism reading you will have to see a doctor, but the average person who is fit and not overweight usually has a basal of around 1500 calories a day.  Our basal metabolism slows as we age, with inactivity, and having a high body fat percentage.

Knowing these basic facts about nutrition will help you to make better choices when it comes to eating healthy.  It is always about choices, so choose healthy proteins, healthy carbs, healthy fats, and healthy amounts of calories if you want to feel good, look good, and perform at your best.  Knowledge is power, and being healthy is too!

Till Monday,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nutrition and Mindfulness

Now that you have been focused on training your mind to avoid negative thinking and negative behavior, lets apply that to your nutritional needs, and how you choose to feed yourself.  If we understand that we are the ones that choose every thought and every action in our lives, then we know that when we choose to eat poorly, there is no one else to blame but ourselves.

It is typical for many people who want to lose weight to feel as if they have no control over choosing to eat unhealthy, fattening foods.  Of course this is not true.  We always have control over what we eat, but many people choose to eat those unhealthy, fattening foods because they have become addicted to them.  People who eat a diet that is primarily made up of white flour, white sugar, high fat, processed foods, can actually become just like a drug addict.  Their bodies begin to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good, only when they are eating those unhealthy foods.

This is the reason why we have so many obese people in our country.  We are a nation of food addicts, and it is on the increase each year due to the amount of processed and fast foods that we consume.  A person that has created this addiction will have the same difficult time getting off of it as a heroin addict has getting off of heroin.

So how does one stop their food addiction?  Just like any kind of addict, they will need to have support, focus, discipline, and a commitment to turning their situation around.  It won't be easy, but it can be done if one wants to get healthy and lean.

Working with our mindfulness training can help.  You must remember who is in charge, what results you are looking for, and then make the right choices to get you there.  If you continue to let your unhealthy foods have power over you, your results will be the same.  Be stronger than that.  Choose to get the results that you want by being in power over that side of you that wants to give in to bad foods.  Choose to get the results you want.

It is insanity to spend your life always wanting to lose weight, but continuing to eat unhealthy food.  It simply makes no sense to getting the results you are looking for.  It is somewhat similar to wanting to be a long distance runner, but never going out to run.  Or wanting to wake up in the morning to meditate, but never doing it.  You can talk about it until the cows come home, but unless you put positive action to it, it just won't happen.

When you are in situations where bad foods tempt you, remember who is in control.  You are, not some outside entity.  No matter what has happened in your life to cause you to overeat, you can change it by taking control of your thoughts and actions.  I realize that it is not always easy, but why do we always think that if it is not easy, we can't do it.  Of course it won't be easy if you have created a food addiction, but will it be easy to continue on a path of self destruction and ill health?

We must take control over how we choose to live if we want to be healthy and happy.  Being over weight is not just about size.  In fact size is the least of it.  Being over weight is mostly about your health and the quality of your life.  It is also about the fact that eating bad foods gives you little to no nutrition.  Without the right nutrition, your body can not function properly, and can lead to many different types of disease.  Your quality of life will not be there if you are obese.

That is one of the biggest problems with over weight people, they tend to focus only on their size.  If you could be 100 pounds or more over weight and be healthy, this conversation would be mute.  However you can not be obese and be healthy.  Obese and healthy do not go together.  We need to stay focused on the real issues when it comes to our obesity epidemic.  In order to be at your best with your health you need to have a body fat that is healthy for your age.  Anything over 30% is considered obese.  I would bet that 30% is now average in our country.

Most people who battle a weight problem, are eating from some kind of emotional issue.  It is so important to try and identify what those issues are if you ever want to gain control over it.  Knowing how to eat right and exercise is not the only answer when someone is eating emotionally.  You must go to the core of your issue, face it, and understand that food is your way of dealing with your problem.  Getting counseling for these problems is a good step to take.  There are also many books on this subject if counseling is not an option.  Not dealing with the emotional reason why you are eating will never solve this issue.  You might lose weight for a period of time, but it will most likely return if you have not addressed why you are eating emotionally.

So when you are faced with making choices of what you are going to eat, make sure you stay focused on the results you are wanting.  Choose to take control over yourself and eat healthy.  Choose to stay focused on creating a lean and healthy body.  Choose to stay in power over yourself.  Choose to have the life you are wanting by doing what it takes to get there.  It is all up to you.....no one else.

Till Monday.