Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Best Foam Roller - The Grid from TP Therapy

If you're in the market for a new foam roller I recommend the ones you can find over at, not only do they look kickass, but they work really well; they're not too hard and yet they are not too soft either! TP is short for Trigger Point, which is one of the reasons we have foam rollers, to ease these trigger points and for myofascial release. The benefits of foam rolling, also known as myofascial release, SMR- Self-myofascial release and so on, are explained perfectly in a nutshell in this article from Men's Health,

  "Joe Hashey, C.S.C.S., owner of Synergy Athletics, explains: "Foam rolling smooths and lengthens your muscles, and breaks up adhesions and scar tissue." Another benefit is that it helps your muscles relax by activating the sensory receptors connecting your muscle fibers to your tendons. The net effect is better blood circulation, which in turn speeds workout recovery and boosts performance."

If you have any local fitness stored nearby call and see if they carry TP Therapy Products, I know Gym Source by my house does. Or you can order online and get a better color option for your liking!

Monday, April 14, 2014

SandBells, a Fun, Versatile, and Effecient Tool to Get in Shape!

I was in Gym Source the other day just looking around with my Mom; she had wanted to get me
something for my birthday that  I could use with clients. She came across these sandbells and fell in love with them, she thought they were an awesome idea. I on the other hand had no interest at all; I thought they were rather dumb and pointless, they looked like whoopee cushions filled with sand. I couldn't open my head up enough to see all of the possibilities with them, but my Mom could and I'm glad she did. She insisted on buying them for me even though I didn't want them at first, and I reluctantly lugged them home. I sat in front of the comp and YouTube'd SandBell workout, and I was blown away by what I saw! I couldn't believe that I was so close-minded and unimaginative when it came to them; just about anything and everything in fitness especially in training requires thinking outside of the box and with these it helped me to open my head a little more!

Essentially all SandBells are is just 2 pieces of what feels like wetsuit material, filled with sand, and sewn shut. You can grab them, you can squeeze them, you can dig your claws into them, you can slam them, throw them, slide on them, just about anything you can imagine; they're very durable! one thing I love about them is my clients, both new and old love working with them! Clients, especially ones that are new to training and exercise can be apprehensive and intimidated when it comes to lifting weights; after all, they're heavy, metal, and you could hurt yourself if you were to drop a dumbbell on yourself. With SandBells that all goes away, and it's a great way to get new clients comfortable and familiar with working out and resistance training!

Here are a couple of my favorite videos in terms of creativity and the versatility that comes with using a SandBell, caution video number 2's music is obnoxious!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Train Smarter, Train Effeciently, Train with a Heart Rate Monitor

Work smarter, not harder. Your time training matters, that's why I ask my clients to purchase a Heart Rate Monitor before they start training with me. It's such a great tool to have and it only makes reaching your fitness goals a lot easier! Monitoring your heart rate helps your trainer (and you) see where you're at in calorie burn, heat rate zones and recovery.
Screen Shot Polar's H7 Monitor
On iPhone App using Bluetooth

I recommend Polar Heart Rate Monitors, as they're the industry standard and I love mine; essentially what it does is track your calories burned, and where your calories are coming from (ex. % fat), it also keeps track of which heart rate zone you're in which is probably the most important feature of HR monitor. Reason for this being that if you're in a high-end zone for an extended period of time you're going to overstress your body, and when you overstress your body progression towards getting the body you want halts; it would be like redlining your car for an extended period of time, it's not good for your engine. At the same time keeping track of the zones comes in handy because it also allows you or your trainer to see if you're under working, and lets you know that you have to push yourself a little harder to bump up into the next zone.

The Polar HR Monitors also have another important feature which is the V02 Max Estimate Test, which not only further increase the monitors accuracy depending on your fitness level, age, and health. The way I put it to my clients is that without a Heart Rate Monitor you are essentially training in the dark, think of your body like a car... A car has all kinds of gauges, and indicators, you know how fast you're going, what your rpms are, how much gas you're burning, the temperature of your engine and so much more right? Well what do we have for your body like that? Nothing, unless you get a Heart Rate Monitor!
No Watch Necessary with Polar's H7

I have the Polar FT60 and recommend that to all of my clients.  I do have a few other clients using the Polar H7. Instead of a watch, the H7 transmits all the information to your smart phone (or Bluetooth ready device) that provides ECG-accurate heart rate, calories, zones, etc. It is a very easy way to see your diary, workout summary and reports on your phone.  H7 is Compatible with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad (3rd & 4th generation), iPad mini and iPod Nano (7th generation).  Also uses Gym Link to connect with the majority of Polar heart rate monitors on the market and with compatible gym equipment

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Low Carb Lunch in a Hurry!

It's that time again, summer is upon us and many of you have already started and many more are sure to follow with the dieting! Trying to clean up your bodies and shed some of that winter flab you've accumulated. One of the popular diets people like to go on is the low carb or ketosis type diets because they're generally believed to yield faster results; I myself am guilty of this trend to sometimes as I do find that it does help lean me out a lot faster. I usually will low to no carb diet for only 3-4 days and then then gradually reintroduce carbs back into my diet at the right times and ensuring that they are all quality complex carbs (oats and yams being my favorite). I find that by doing so I don't deal with all the pains and risks of living the low carb lifestyle, and I still get a lot of the benefits, but I will get into that at another time! Today was very busy for me and I didn't have tine for hardly anything let alone to eat so I rushed over across the street to pick these things up and still stick within my low low carb regimen at the moment, not bad right? Just keep an eye out for your sodium intake as the rotisseries have a lot of salt in them. Also finding precise calorie information for a rotisserie chicken is a little difficult, I found several different calorie amounts for the same thing... the average was about 150 calories for 3oz of the breast meat.
8.5oz of rotisserie breast meat and 4.5 tbsp. of guacamole = ~750-800 calories

Monday, April 7, 2014

Know How Much You're Eating with a Food Scale!

8.6oz of rotisserie chicken which has around ~450-550 calories
First things first guys, for the average, everyday client I normally don't advocate using food scales and measuring your food and knowing all of your macros that you're eating down to a T! A lot of the time it's just too much for first time clients to take in and do right away. In reality it isn't necessary for many, not all, people to measure their food precisely, and you can still achieve amazing results and look great in the mirror.

What if you're looking to take your fitness goals to the next level though? Then you should get a food scale! When I say take your fitness goals to the next level I'm talking about getting super lean, getting ready for a bikini or physique show and so on, or I can be talking about someone who wants to build strength and muscle while minimizing fat gain. With all of these goals the bar is set higher and harder to achieve; you really have to zero in on your diet to see spectacular results. Now most of the foods we eat today all have nutrition labels, with the helpful information like serving size, calories, fats, carbs, proteins and so on, but when you're strict diet most of those foods with labels become obsolete. You'll find that you're eating mostly meats, none of which are created equal in size or calories, veggies, and healthy fats. None of these things have nutrition labels and if they do they usually go by ounces or grams, how the hell are you supposed to know how many calories you just ate? I don't know about you but I sure as hell didn't know what 8oz of chicken looked like, or 3 grams of almonds looked like when I first started. That's why having a good food scale really helps, preferably one that can measure in pounds, ounces, and grams. You weigh your food and you either google the calorie information or you can download one of the many apps for your smartphone, my favorite is "myfitnesspal" and search on there, and viola now you know how many calories you have in front of you.

In the case of these almonds you could either use a measuring cup or weigh out 30 grams worth, which I had no idea what 30 grams of almonds looked like, but now I do! 1 serving of almonds, or 30 grams has approximately 27 individual almonds and has about 170 calories, and now I'll remember that forever! This is why having a food scale is beneficial; after a while you start to get familiar on your own with portion sizes, and how many calories certain sizes of foods have, to the point where you won't even need the scale anymore!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Do More with Your Meat!

Summer is right around the corner, and for a lot of people that means it's time to clean up there diets a little and start cutting down their body fat. For many people that means low carbs, lean protein, veggies, and some healthy fats, but are you tired of eating the same things over and over? One thing that I constantly get tired of is eating eggs; they can get bland, boring, and even gross for some people after a while. Despite the millions of things you can do to spice up an egg, one of the things I like to do is throw in meat to make an omelet with additional protein. I'll throw chicken in my eggs, I'll throw in steak, and I'll throw in ground turkey. The different meats really switch up the flavor and the texture and make eating eggs good again! The meat I use is precooked of course, and usually just left over meat I have for meal preps. In this case here I have 4 egg whites, 2 whole eggs, with ground turkey burger thrown in the mix!

T-Fal OptiGrill Review... Best in Home Grill/Griddle in The World!

I had been hearing a lot about the T-Fal OptiGrill for a while before I decided to actually go out and buy one. I was getting tired of always baking my meats, it always came out dry and I rarely ever looked forward to eating a dry piece of chicken with rice. Normally I could use the grill outside but with the winter and spring weather we've been having here in NY that's still out of the question. So I went and picked up an OptiGrill. Upon opening it the thing reminded me pretty much of the George Forman Grill. The thing that set it apart were the buttons and what they called the "Cooking Level Indicator Light". Each button had a picture of a different meat or item ranging from chicken, to a steak, to a burger patty, fish, even a Panini and so on. The way it works is you plug it in, press the power button and select the meat you'd like to cook. By selecting a certain button it heats the grill to a certain temperature ideal for that meat to be cooked to perfection. By paying attention to the cooking level indicator light you'll know when your meat is either Rare, Medium, Done and, or Well Done, the choice is yours. This feature is one that really one me over, because I'll admit it I totally suck at cooking meat  and usually hate it. This makes it so much more worry-free, easy to do, easy to clean, and efficient as ever!

Now for how the food came out; what would be the point of a fancy grill if the food the came out sucked? Well you don't have to worry because I was amazed at not only how fast, and perfectly well done the T-Fal OptiGrill cooked all the meats, but also just how delicious they all were. I had never cooked chicken, steak, and turkey burgers so well before. They were all so juicy and savory, easy and enjoyable to chew and they stayed like that even after being in the fridge for a couple of days after. All you have to do is select the type of meat your cooking, wait for the grill to preheat to the right temperature in a matter of minutes and viola! Throw the meat on there and keep your eye on the cooking level indicator light as whatever is on the grill will be cooked to perfection in a matter of minutes! The OptiGrill also melts away so much of the fat on the meats you cook and drains it into a catcher underneath the grill, you'll be amazed at just how much artery-clogging fat this thing saves you from consuming.

So in a quick summary...
- The T-Fal OptiGrill, is very easy and simple to use even if you don't have any previous cooking or grilling experience.
- It cooks meats perfectly, timely, and efficiently.
- Doesn't make a mess and doesn't require any preparation work.
- Easy and simple to clean.
So stop wasting time cooking and prepping your meals the old fashioned way and pick up an OptiGrill today, I can almost guarantee you will not be disappointed!