Monthly Archives: February 2013

3 Ways to MAKE Time to Reach Your Fitness Goals

The number one reason people fail to maintain (or improve) their fitness level is due to a perceived lack of time.

The truth is people DO have time, IF they learn to more efficiently manage the rest of their lives. Millions of people with jobs and families exercise and eat right and they have the same 24 hours as the rest of us. Before trying to add more “stuff” to your day to become one of those people, make the rest of your life more efficient. You’ll be amazed at how much time you actually do have.

There are three life skills that will give you freedom to do more with your 24 hours.

1. Batching. Never answer a single e-mail, pay one bill or run just one errand. Always batch similar tasks together. Doing this saves money, energy and, most importantly, time. Efficiency experts will tell you this skill alone can transform a hectic life. Do this with your nutrition and prepare more healthy food than you need (once or twice per week) to freeze and store and you will eat better with less time investment.

2. Multitasking. Get your workout by running to the bank to make a deposit, write a meal plan while your kids are swimming, steam some brown rice while you fold laundry or do a core workout while you watch TV. Figure out how to do more than one thing at a time to “find” more time.

3. Forget the “All or Nothing” mentality. If you think it takes huge effort and time to get great results, you are wrong. Just 10 minutes of focused, efficient exercise is often enough to get you moving in a new direction (and always better than doing nothing). As you get stronger and “find” more time, you can expand on this and continue to improve.

I have found it works to make small changes, on a weekly basis, in your efforts to achieve a goal. In three months, you will have added 12 “things” to your life that will have an effect on your desired outcome. These things can come from your brainstorming activity earlier. If you do this 52 times, you can be an entirely new person in one year.

Along the way, you have to assess whether you are making progress or whether you need to take a step back and make some changes. My favourite way to do this is to answer the question, “How will I know that it’s working and I am getting closer to my goal?”

Here are some actual responses to that question;

“I won’t have to shop in the plus-size section of the store.”

“I’ll look forward to playing with my kids after work.”

“I won’t snap at my husband so much.”

“My jeans will start to get baggy.”

“I won’t be winded when I take the stairs at work.”

“My running times will be faster.”

“I will look forward to having my picture taken.”

Be very specific and think, in real world terms, of how you will know that this is working for you. If it isn’t, you haven’t failed; you just need to do some more planning. If you are not seeing positive results, something has to change. You either need a new goal, a different approach or some other way to evaluate progress. Go back and re-do the steps outlined in this article.

Answer the three questions again.

•  What do you want to do that you can’t do now?

•  What can I do, right now, to start moving toward my dream/goal?

•  How will I know that it’s working and I am getting closer?

Train Like a Rock Star!

Bruce Spingsteen, Pink, Madonna, Dave Grohl, Lady Gaga, Kid Rock…. even Ozzy!

They’re all Rock Stars.  FIT Rock Stars.


The Rock Stars of today have one major difference from the stars of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.  Today, they all work out.  You simply can’t do what the Boss does at 60 without some prep.  And you can’t perform a full show that includes acrobatics and dance, like Pink, without first training your body.  Even someone like Ozzy Osbourne who was the ULTIMATE bad boy back in the 1970’s with Black Sabbath prepares for the rigours of the road with a personal trainer and a workout routine before embarking on a world tour in 2013.

How exactly does a Rock Star train and prepare for endless months of nightly performances?  Is it anything different from what an “average” person would do?

The answers is yes… and no.

While there are some special considerations taken into account to get Dave Grohl ready to attack his guitars and drums every night, while looking great for the photo shoots and interviews during the day… in the end Rock Stars are just human beings.  What works for Madonna on stage, will also work for Madge in accounting!

A training program for a professional, performing Rock Star includes 3 main elements.

1-  Performance.

Just like athletes and their sports, musicians and singers have physical demands specific to what they do.  Playing guitar (or drums or keyboards) night after night is hard!  Players have to build up the muscles of the back, the shoulders, the arms and the core to be able to move to meet the demands of playing.


Other aspects of training for “performance” include building muscular and aerobic endurance and increasing flexibilty and dexterity.  A proper workout regimen to prepare someone to perform at the top level should include a “progressive” schedule that changes it’s focus leading up to important events, like leaving for a World Tour.  As the date gets nearer, the training should more closely mimic the activity that you are preparing for.  In other words, you would first “set the table” by building lean muscle and working to increase conditioning levels before working on more specific performance related demands.

2- Protection.

Many young players spend countless hours playing with no thought to proper body alignment or posture.  This invariably results in overuse (or repetitive) strain injuries.  Carpal tunnel syndrome, head forward syndrome, sciatica etc…


A Rocker’s training program should emphasize great posture and proper alignment.  Eric Clapton is an example of a guitarist that displays perfect posture and real ease of playing.

If you sit at a desk all day long, it’s like being bent over a piano… so this also applies to you in everyday life!

A great technique is to use the “warm up” or “cool down” part of each training session to perform core or posture related exercises using stability balls, resistance bands or medicine balls.  This part should become like brushing teeth to a musician.  It should happen every day and it becomes part of their “postural hygiene”.

3- Esthetics.

A Rock Star HAS to look good.  It’s part of the job.  Especially in today’s world.  Image is important and people expect their rockers to look amazing.

Looking amazing for performing artists means two things.  Lean muscle and low bodyfat.


During the build up to the “performance” training, a Rock Star’s program should have them focused on building muscle and learning how to eat to enhance metabolism.  This means heavy, basic bodybuilding moves and frequent meals that are high in lean protein with complex carbohydrates (primarily vegetables along with some whole grains, potatoes or other slow release starches).

As the performance or event gets closer, the training program should shift to higher intensity activities that emphasize full body “functional” movements to develop endurance and burn fat.  Manipulating carbohydrates, by minimizing starchy carb intake, will also help an artist burn body fat at an increased rate.


The progression from heavy muscle building to high intensity “burn” training along with carb manipulation is similar to what a body builder would go through to prepare for a show.


Here is a sample of a Rock Star Training program in the “build up” or muscle building phase.  Follow up each lifting session with 20 minutes of cardio training that includes 3- 5 high speed “bursts” of 20 – 30 seconds.

Perform this routine 3 times per week with one extra day of “cardio only” up to 45 minutes, steady with no bursts.  …after 4 weeks, shift focus to “endurance” training, featuring higher reps and a larger variety of exercises.


Medicine Ball Chopping Movements 3 x 10- 20 of each with a 10lb medicine ball.

Stability Ball Y,T,W,L Moves 279cfig3



Bench Press 3 x 6- 10 repetitions (superset with “air” squats x 20)

Barbell Squats 3 x 6- 10 reps (superset with Exercise Band Rows x 20)

Lat Pulldowns 3 x 6- 10 reps (superset with Exercise Band Rotations x 20 per side)

Overhead Barbell Presses 3 x 6- 10 reps

Barbell Curls 3 x 6- 10 reps

Triceps Pressdowns 3 x 6- 10 reps

Straight Leg Deadlifts 3 x 10- 15 reps



Stability Ball Crunches 3 x 25

Stability Ball Hip Bridges 3 x 15

Stability Ball Side to Side Rotations 3 x 10 each way



Too Sick to Work Out?

In the middle of cold and flu season, I get tons of people asking me if they should bother working out when they’re sick, or if they should put their exercise on hold until they are completely symptom free.

Number one… listen to your body.  If you feel like you’re ready to die, stay in bed, rest, drink fluids etc…   You’ve got to really tune into how you feel and, ultimately, you make the call.

On the other hand, sometimes a bit of activity will help to make you feel better.  If you do choose to exercise, the intensity level and the duration of your workout should be taken down a notch.


Unless you are Michael Jordan trying to win the NBA Championship while sick with the flu… slow down a bit.

Another way to decide whether to train or not is the location of your symptoms.  If you’re sick “above the neck” (sore throat, mild headache, stuffy nose), as long as you aren’t “dying”, a bit of mild exercise might make you feel better.  You probably won’t make things worse.  Just keep in mind that your recovery ability is compromised, so don’t push too hard.


If your symptoms are “below the neck” (chest congestion, stomach ache, diarrhea etc…), do NOT work out.  These are signals from your body to take a break.  Chances are that doing a workout will slow recovery and make you more sick.  The “tincture of time” is what is needed here.  Treat your symptoms, rest and let your body heal itself.


If you have a fever, do NOT workout.  An elevated temperature is already putting you at risk for dehydration.  It simply doesn’t make any sense to push yourself in this state.

So, I guess the best advice is to err on the side of good judgement.  Don’t wimp out every time you have a tickle in your throat, but, don’t try to be a hero when you can barely stand without the room spinning.

Unless you are Michael Jordan and it’s game 7.