Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Creed to Live By

For some, the holiday season is a time for reflection so I leave you with these thoughts by Nancye Sims until the new year.

Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself to others.
It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Don't set your goals by what other people deem important.
Only you know what is best for you.

Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart.
Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.

Don't let life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.
By living your life one day at a time, you live up all the days of your life.

Don't give up when you still have something left to give,
Nothing is really over . . . till the moment you stop trying.

Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect.
It is this fragile thread that binds us together.

Don't be afraid to encounter risks.
It is by taking chances that we learn to be brave.

Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive love is to give love;
the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly;
and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

Don't dismiss your dreams.
To be without dreams is to be without hope;
to be without hope is to be without purpose.

Don't run through life so fast
that you forget not only where you've been,
but where you are going.

Life is not a race,
but a journey to be savored every step of the way.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Understanding the Net Impact

Ok, some day the FDA will implement some serious standards with regards to supplements and proper nutritional guidelines, not to mention clear and concise definitions and terminology that are actually helpful to those who are seriously looking to improve their health, but until then, here is some information on the misleading carbohydrate phenomenon known as “net” and “impact” carbs.

Since the Atkins revolution, individuals have been banning carbohydrates from their diets, swearing that this way of eating has been their only means of reducing body weight. Manufacturers, smelling the fear from those carbohydrate depleted individuals, have pounced on the market place and have bamboozled those poor people with a game of “Three Card Monty”. Take a carb here, move it over there, switch it over there and call it a “net carb” and voila, no more carbs. Hmmm, I’m new to this game so let’s see that again. Ok, I’ll do it again in slow motion. I take a carbohydrate (which has 4 calories per gram) and there are 20 grams per serving, now out of that 20 grams, 15 are sugar alcohol, but sugar alcohol doesn’t effect your blood sugar as quickly as refines sugars do so we don’t have to count that . Sound good? Sure, but hey, what about those total calories listed? There’s 80 calories total but only 5 are impacting me so that should only be 20, right? WRONG! Too many people who are convinced that Atkins and others came up with such a brain storm of an idea are either kidding themselves into thinking this is the proper way to go or they are too afraid to deviate from what they think has triggered their success. Most are failing to realize the fact that just eliminating simple and refined sugars could have been done a long time ago and their body weight would have been reduced without a doctor’s name attached.


Fred Fornicola

Monday, December 18, 2006

Finding A Balance

I often hear and read about people who are concerned about "how much they can lift" or "how much body mass" (a term that ranks right up there with the word "bulk" - both meaning "I workout but there's a nice layer of fat over all my muscle") or they just focus on how large their arms are but fail to focus on any other aspect of their health. Health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) needs to be an issue that everyone should address and balancing it can be hard. General health is an issue that is overlooked too often. The doctor isn't going to be too impressed when you walk in for a physical and tell him you can squat 300 pounds but you're over weight, get winded walking up the stairs and your blood test results have him wondering how you've made it this far.

It is my firm opinion that an individual not only should be strong but also have a good level of fitness (the ability to perform daily functions with relative ease). Individuals need to focus on a safe and productive strength program, incorporate some type of conditioning work along with proper nutrition and a dose of recovery. Personally, I hold true to a philosophy of training that enables one to become stronger and more fit. This is done by performing a handful of compound exercises for 1 set to muscular fatigue or failure with a minimum (no more than 1 minute) of rest between exercises. Unfortuanately a lot of people worry about what the numbers (weights) are on the bar instead of focusing on working as hard and as quickly between sets as they can. Go in to many commercial gyms and clubs and you'll find people conversing and sitting around more than exercising. In fact, if you were to actually calculate the amount of exercise time they put in it probably would amount to about 30 minutes of activity. Hmm, where have we heard that before? The body isn't chasing a personal record - the mind is and that is all well and goodwhen it's time to run 2 miles or play with the kids or go for a hike it's your strength AND level of conditioning (general health) that enables you to do more than sit on the couch in between workouts.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Combo Workout

I have written many times that if an individual trains to MMF (momentary muscle failure) on 6-10 exercises, moving quickly through the workout (10-60 seconds rest between movements) they can not only increase their strength but their cardiovascular systems as well. For the most part, most of the people I train work very hard, close to; if not to failure on most exercises at most training sessions (determining how I train a particular client that day goes beyond the scope of this post). Some clients like different challenges or a higher level of fitness so I will implement the following type workout to keep them focused and enable them to have a productive workout.

The process goes something like this:

They will do a lower body compound movement like a leg press and take it to muscular fatigue and then I immediately move them to the treadmill for 2 hard minutes of walking/running. At the end of the 2 minutes I move them to their next exercise, like a machine shoulder press and have them perform a set to failure. I then move them back to the treadmill for another hard 2 minutes and then immediately over to the pulldown machine for a hard set (again, "hard" is a relative term) and then back to the treadmill for 2 more minutes. This cycle of events will be done for 2 rounds.

This enables the trainee to:

*Raise their HR beyond what their normal workout does

*Work hard on their exercises because they need to be more focused from their stint on the CV equipment with their raised HR

*Their workouts do not exceed a total of 30 minutes and they will get in ~12-15 minutes of total CV work (I have them do 3-5 minutes on the last go around of CV work), they are working non stop for those 30 minutes AND they are focused on their resistance work so they reduce the potential of injuring themselves.

Is this an optimal way to train someone for strength? Maybe, maybe not, I guess it all depends on how you define strength and what your needs are but I still feel that overall it is a healthy and safe way to approach strength and conditioning.

"Train With A purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Do You Own A Floor?

“Do you own a floor?” Crazy, or more like obnoxious question right, but that’s what I ask when people tell me they don’t have time to get to the gym. Our trendy fitness culture has lead many to feel that the gym is the only place “serious people” go to improve their strength and fitness but I can assure you, the use of your own bodyweight and a level floor can yield one heck of a workout if you are applying a high level of effort.

In my training facility I have a nice selection of machines, dumbbells and other odd objects to build strength, but I still implement exercises such as the good old pushup, bodyweight squat and crunch as often as I can. Ok, I hear some of you saying “I can’t do many pushups”. No problem, reduce the amount of resistance (your bodyweight) by kneeling on your knees or leaning up against a wall and work your way up to doing floor pushups or better yet, do negative only pushups (help yourself to the “up” position then slowly (6-8 seconds) lower yourself to the ground). How do you do squats with bad balance? Hold on to a secure object like a post or the handles of an open door. Necessity is the mother of invention so FIND WAYS.

Additional “floor” exercises to help build strength that can be used for variety are the stationary or walking lunge, wall squat, side plank hold, side crunch, four point hold and toe raise. Pick a handful of movements (3-5), work to muscular fatigue, take very little rest between exercises and perform 2-3 non-consecutive sessions each week. Just do yourself a favor and get busy!

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Monday, December 11, 2006

The First "5 Hard & Fast Rules of Strength Training"

1. Be compliant and work hard.
Provided the “X’s” and “O’s” are in place, simply making a concerted effort to “do something,” do it on a regular schedule, and do it as hard as you can at the time will go a long way to maximizing your potential. It’s 80% of the battle and the first requisite if anything is to be gained. Yes, there are specifics (type of exercises, number of reps, rep speed, weight loads, nutritional intake, etc.), but they are secondary to showing up and exuding effort as there are literally numerous ways to train.

2. Train with intensity (of effort).
Relative to the hard work aspect of point number one, its strength training! You’re trying to create overload in the muscles, and proper overload means forcing the muscles to work beyond their existing capacity. This is not easy and manifests itself in temporary pain, discomfort, heavy breathing, light-headedness, etc. due to the intense effort put forth. High reps, low reps, dumbbells, machines, one set or 3 sets, somewhere in the endeavor a high degree of effort must be expended so the recruited muscle fibers adapt and improve their quality if maximum gains are to be obtained.

3. Be safe.
The manner by which you train is a controllable variable in your long-term health and well-being. Exercise stresses the muscles, joints, and energy systems to create a positive adaptation to these stresses. Using proper exercise form is mandatory if one desires to train over the long-term. Proper body alignment/posture and controlled speed of movement through a safe range of motion makes the exercise safe not only during individual training sessions, but over all sessions year after year. The whole bouncing, yanking, and ballistic/explosive lifting debate ends abruptly here. Likewise, training loads, session volume, and number of training session per period need to fit so they do not over-stress and lead to chronic injuries and regression.

4. Use basic exercise movements.
One does not need to perform any complicated exercises nor a multitude of any
exercise each and every workout. The “Big Four” can go a long way for the upper body: a chest push, a seated/bent-over row, an overhead push, and a pull down/pull up. Throw in another pushing and pulling angle (i.e., incline press and upright row) -- or a direct triceps and biceps exercise – and it’s still simple and time-efficient. For the legs, a multi-joint glute/quad exercise and a hamstring exercise are the bare minimum such as a squat, dead lift, or leg press and a prone/seated leg curl or stiff-leg dead lift (RDL). A second multi-joint glute/quad exercise (i.e., lunge, single-leg squat/leg press) and direct calf work can also be added provided the total workout volume is not overly taxing.

5. If in doubt, SLOW DOWN!
Lift fast or lift slow? Who is right? The optimal speed-of-exercise camps are out there, and each espouses its own recommendations. The truth is, working to achieve a maximum number of repetitions in a set is the key to achieving optimal overload, regardless of exercise speed. In both cases – moving intentionally fast and slow, significant recruitment of muscle fibers will occur if one simply attempts to achieve maximum repetitions in the set. But here’s the key point of this issue: too fast creates too much momentum and lessens the tension on the muscles and increases the risk of muscle/joint trauma due to the excessive acceleration (and consequent deceleration). So, if in doubt, SLOW DOWN! You will not SAFELY recruit the higher threshold fiber types any better when moving a resistance fast as compared to moving it slower.
Move fast outside the weight room if you’re a an athlete practicing a sport (which by the way can result in injury, and often times does, but it is a risk you take when you play sports!). - Tom Kelso, Strength Coach, SLU

Friday, December 08, 2006

Gridiron High Intensity Training

Check out the Gridiron Inc. High Intensity Training videos. An awesome display of hard, intense work along with good coaching.

Breaking The Fast

In a recent conversation with nutritionist Tom Bilella, we discussed the importance of eating breakfast. As it is important to have frequent, well balanced meals during the course of the day breakfast is THE most important. Your body hasn't had nutrients for several hours and to get your brain and body going, a breakfast chock full of protein, essential fats and substantial carbohydrates is the perfect formula.

Too often, many people eat a poor breakfast - usually consisting of a bowl of sugary cereal or grab a bagel of muffin on the run while others blow off breakfast all together - opting for a cup of a high test Frappuccino and spending 3 dollars and change for zero nutrition. I understand most of us are on the run to work, getting kids off to school, etc. but there is an answer. A much healthier, more time efficient approach would be to drink your breakfast consisting of a good whey protein powder along with some milk (rice, almond, oat, cow if you can tolerate it), essential fatty acids (flax or fish oil) and some fresh fruit. Blend it and go.

The key to being healthy and losing body fat is to eat healthy foods and there is no better way to do that then by starting your day off right with a nutritious breakfast.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Monday, December 04, 2006

Workout of the Week #1

We will be trying to post a "Workout of the Week" each week to share some of the programs we use for ourselves personally as well as for our trainees. Feel free to substitute exercises to suit your needs and/or availability so if an exercise calls for shoulder presses feel free to use a machine, dumbbells, barbell, sand bag, anvil, stone, whatever jazzes you. Repetition ranges are for example only. If you prefer higher reps, do them, but regardless of the repetition range always try to exceed your goals and don't stop the set just because you achieved a number - keep going past your goal number if possible. Rest between sets should be minimal - no more than 60 seconds.

This workout, if done with little rest should take less than 20 minutes.

Dumbbell Front Squat 1x30 (dumbbell held high on the chest) immediately to
Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts 1x20
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 1x20
1 Arm Row 1x15
Pushups 1xmaximum effort
Dumbbell Shrug 1x30
Rope hand-overhand climb from floor max effort
Dumbbell hammer curls 1x20
Dumbbell Wrist Curl 1x30

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Friday, December 01, 2006

There Are No Secrets

“Psst, hey you, wanna know the REAL secret to having great abs….?”

How many times have you heard that kind of marketing hooey from the many money hungry industry gluttons who would like you to believe that there are secrets to becoming stronger and physically fit, promising that they and they alone are the ones with the magical answers? Amazing as it is, people still lean closely in to hear what they have to say, even after being bamboozled several times before by someone else (or even the same people) promising similar magical feats.

Here are the cold, hard facts folks. There are no secrets; there are no special gizmos, gadgets, formulas, workouts or pills to making you stronger and fit. Too often people get hung up on what I call the “X’s and O’s” of training – you know, the “best workout” or “best diet” or cardiovascular plan that happens to be trendy that particular month. Unfortunately, most people don’t know the why or how of performing meaningful exercise and are constantly mislead and misguided leaving them hopelessly lost and discouraged. Ok, maybe I lied – there are some secrets, but I’ll only share them with you, so listen closely. Use basic exercises, work hard and efficiently, be consistent with your training, conditioning and nutrition and stop trying to find the magic bullet. Simple works gang – it’s been proven time and time again.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fast and Easy Eating

Because my schedule can be very hectic and my day starts very early, I have a tendency to “drink” breakfast which consists of organic coconut and almond milk, a quality whey protein (Dream Protein) and some essential fatty acids. There are times however when I can sit down like a human being and actually enjoy a meal I can chew so when that opportunity arises, I want to take advantage of it. Keeping in mind that I want to eat something healthy, convenient and have a feeling of satiety, my wife came up with the following recipe idea for me. She took organic brown rice and in following the directions, used organic light coconut milk instead of the required amount water and added a bit of Stevia as a sweetener. This provided a smoother and creamier texture as well as a good amount of flavor which brown rice by itself is usually devoid of.

Now with a sizeable amount of rice at my disposal, I can take what I want with me to eat for breakfast or even as a snack. I did add some cinnamon, extra almond milk, organic raw walnuts and a scoop of protein powder and mixed it all together for a tasty, well balanced breakfast this morning. I chose to eat it cold but you can heat it as well – just add the protein powder after it has cooled for a while.

“Train With A Purpose”

Fred Fornicola

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Importance of Daily Activity

In previous posts it has been mentioned that proper workout intensity along with sufficient recovery are vital to improve ones muscular strength and overall fitness. For the most part I can’t agree more; however, too often the aspect of recovery is taken out of context and too much time is spent “resting”. There are some factions of the strength training community that feel that any activity outside of the fitness center is detrimental to the recovery process. Although I do feel that recovery is an important element in the total fitness equation, I also believe that performing some sort of daily activity is also important. This activity, whenever possible, should take place outdoors in the “fresh air” and involve light to moderate exercise. Activates such as brisk walking, biking, hiking and callisthenic exercises are all terrific. The idea is to get the body moving -allowing the heart rate to become elevated, have the breathing rate increase and generally allow blood to flow freely throughout the body. Just 10-15 minutes of daily activity has many benefits which include improved mood, clearer thinking, better memory and improved physical fitness. So find 10-15 minutes each day and get moving, you’ll feel better after. – Doug Scott, Strength Coach

Monday, November 20, 2006

Go Ahead – Grunt All You Want

Ah grunting. Ya gotta love it when you’re getting down to those last few reps of an intense set and your hearts pounding so hard it feels like it’ll pop out of your shirt and your muscles are burning like hell from the hard work and you let out a loud OOMPH that would shatter glass. But at Planet Fitness, a chain of gyms with 120 locations, they say grunting (and other sounds) are a no-no. Yepper, grunting is a policy breaker – punishable by expulsion.

Ok, grunting or groaning isn’t the most pleasant of sounds but ones you expect to hear in a gym when people are training hard. I mean the busy signal of a telephone or the sounds of a dentists drill aren’t what you’d consider enjoyable sounds but hell, they come with the territory. Now granted, making obnoxious sounds and being overally vocal in the gym can be intimidating to some people – especially newcomers as well as disturuptive to others but in the case of Albert Agribay, who had 500 pounds on his back at the time, I think the man had a need to grunt a bit and in my opinion, every right to. Regardless however of the amount of weight, if someone is working really hard, they’re going to make some type of sound generally so go ahead, grunt if you have to but make sure you aren’t in a Planet Fitness facility or the cops will be there to haul you away.

To read the story in full…

15 Minute Challenge

Somewhere along the line a time parameter was placed on how long one should exercise - totally disregarding the fact that it is the level of intensity or effort that someone works at which is what really matters. I had mentioned in a previous post (60 Minutes to Better Health) that 2 weekly high intensity strength sessions lasting approximately 30 minutes each could yield a decent, if not good level of cardiovascular fitness. There are however some who just can't break away to get those 2 sessions in so I am offering this 15 minute challenge. I realize I'm putting a time frame on what I just criticized in my opening line but I do this to emphasize the minimal amount of time really needed to have a productive workout.

So what is needed to have a productive workout? In my opinion, a persons workout is an individual endeavor - one that they should embrace as something that is truly theirs and theirs alone. They need to find exercises that are safe and enjoyable for them to perform as well as offer a challenge to their muscular and cardiovascular systems. Above all else they need to work hard and consistently for results to occur.

Here are just three ideas of what you can do in 15 minutes to elicit a positive physical and mental response to exercise:

* Run for 1/2 mile, stop and do as many pushups as possible, get back up and continue running for another 1/4 mile, stop and perform as many crunches as possible. Turn back around and run another 1/2 mile stop and perform as many bodyweight squats you can do then finish with an all out 1/4 mile effort back to your starting point.

* Perform as many pushups, bodyweight squats and chins or bodyweight rows as possible for 3 consecutive rounds. For example:

maximum effort pushups
maximum effort chins or rows
maximum effort bodyweight squats
repeat the cycle 2 more times

* The One-Weight Workout (as seen in the book "Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness")

Overhead Press - 1 x 15
Stiff-Leg Deadlift
Bench Row
Supine Press

Performance Points:

Use the same weight for all of the exercises (thus, the nickname of this workout is "The One-Weight Workout"). The weight that you use should be one that you can do for at least 15 repetitions in the overhead press (while standing). Your levels of strength and conditioning will dictate the number of repetitions that you do in the subsequent exercises. For this reason, no specific target repetitions are listed. Needless to say, this workout can be extremely challenging to the ego.
Try to keep your hands on the dumbbells for the entire workout. Take as little recovery as possible between each exercise. This workout is especially hard on your grip and overall musculature as well as your cardiovascular system.

These are just a couple examples of what can be done in a short amount of time so the excuse of "I don't have the time" isn't really a valid one in my opinion. Just get out and get it done!

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Friday, November 17, 2006

10 or Under

As a rule of thumb, I train my clients 2 - 3 times per week and I have them do full body workouts. Full body workouts mean all the muscles of the body are stimulated directly and/or indirectly based on the exercise movements we select. I always incorporate a compound movement for the hips/legs by using some type of deep knee bend like the squat or deadlift or the "crowd favorite" - the ever ever hated Nautilus leverage leg press. We also routinely perform some kind of compound pressing movements for the shoulders and chest and at least two compound pulling exercises. The trainees workouts are structured around joint safety and muscle balance, with a constant emphasis on proper form and execution of every repetition of every set. We usually train each exercise using 1 set to muscular failure (i.e. another repetition can not physically be performed using proper form), other times we may stop just shy of fatigue, but regardless; the trainee’s job is to always work hard during the session.

During these sessions it is rare that a trainee will perform more than 10 total sets, more than likely it is 5-6 hard sets that revolve around compound movements plus we round out our program by doing some abdominal, lower back and grip work. Here are some sample workouts that cover the entire body in less than 10 sets and take 20 - 30 minutes of training (depending on your level of condition). Keep in mind that the equipment listed here is what I have to offer my clients and can be substituted with dumbbells, barbells, rocks, bodyweight or whatever modality you have available. The important point is to understand the concept and then utilize what you have available to have a well rounded program.

Sample 1

Pendulum Roach Press 1x15-20
Pulldown 1x15-20
Pendulum Dips 1x15-20
Hammer Iso Row 1x12-15
Nautilus Leverage Leg Press 1x30
Sand Bag Deadlifts 1x15-20
Hammer Gripper 1x15-20
Reverse Wrist Curl 1x15-20
Crunch 1x20 -25

Sample 2

Standing Overhead Press 1x15-20
Dumbbell Deadlift 1x20-25
Layback Rows with rope 1x max effort
Pushups 1x max effort
Pendulum Shrug 1x15-20
Thick Bar Dumbbell Curl 1x15-20
Bodyweight Squats 1x max effort
Crunch 1x max effort

Our training effort as I stated earlier is always HARD, sometimes that means the whole workout will be to MMF (momentary muscle failure/fatigue), other times only certain exercises will have an emphasis for that day while on other days no sets are to failure, but still challenging to the trainee.

If you are structuring a workout or feel your volume may be too high, think about the 10 set rule, vary your workouts via exercises, reps, sequence and intensity and you should have all your bases covered.


Fred Fornicola

Monday, November 13, 2006

Training the Abdominals….Properly

Let’s first define (no pun intended) the abdominal area. The abdominals are made up of four muscle groups; the rectus abdominus, the obliques (internal and external), the serratus and intercostal muscles. The rectus abdominus is the row of washboard-like muscles in the center of your midsection and is one flat muscle; therefore there is no upper and lower abs. There is a lower and upper section of the abdominal area, but it is all one muscle. The obliques, referred to by some as “Love Handles”, are located on the sides of your waist.

The abdominals, better known as the “Abs” are a muscle group that everyone wants to develop, but most go about it incorrectly. Some of the misconceptions and unproductive applications are training the abs daily, the use of high repetitions/sets, the concept of “spot reducing” the area (or any area) along with a host of countless gadgets and myths about training the abdominals. The abdominals are a muscle and should be trained as such. You want to develop muscle in that area and repeatedly imposing a direct workload on the area is not going to give you the muscularity you are hoping for, in fact it’s counter productive. What you are basically doing is over training the muscle by tearing down the muscle tissue and not allowing it to repair itself to develop. Careful and proper application of direct abdominal work done with moderate repetitions/sets on an infrequent basis, focusing on progression, along with a reduction in body fat levels will give you the tight abdominals you are hoping for.

So if you are doing crunches every day, countless reps and sets or using an Ab roller or some other device you bought from a Saturday morning infomercial, STOP before you injure your lower back and/or waste (or is that waist) more time. Learn to exercise properly and efficiently, clean up your diet and you’ll be proud to expose that newly defined set of abs when summer time rolls around.


Fred Fornicola

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Anatomy & Function

As important as it is to perform exercises that engage your entire musculature, it is also essential to understand which muscles are which, and what exercises work those muscles. For instance, when performing a chest press, the main muscles being used are the pectorals (chest), the anterior deltoid (front part of the shoulder) and the triceps. When you do pulling movements such as a chin up, you utilize your upper back (latissimus dorsi, along with smaller muscles of the upper back), biceps and forearms.

Having a general understanding of your anatomy, the muscles that are used during an exercise and how the muscles work will only add to your overall performance during your workout.

A Little More Detail

Chest: Properly known as the pectorals but better known as the chest or “pecs” is comprised of two muscles, the primary being the pectoralis major and the other being the pectoralis minor. The main function of the “pecs” is to pull the upper arm across the body.

Shoulders: The shoulder or “delts” are made up of three separate heads. The anterior delt which is positioned in the front of the shoulder and raises the arm forward; the middle delt or lateral head raises the arm sideways and the rear or posterior delt draws the arm backward.

Upper Back: The lattisimus dorsi or “lats” encompass most of the upper back. The back is also made up of additional muscles such as teres major & minor and rhomboids, all enabling you to pull your arm down and back.

Hips: The hips are comprised of the gluteals (glutes or “butt”), adductors and iliopsoas muscles. The glutes are the strongest muscle in the body and their main function is in hip extension. Basically they drive the upper leg backward. The adductors (which are located in the inner thigh) are used when you pull your legs together. Hint to remember: You are ADDing your legs together when you adduct. The iliopsoas muscles are located on the front of the hip and enable you to pull your knees to your chest.

Upper Legs: The two main muscles of the upper leg are the quadriceps (quads) and the hamstrings. The quads (Quad meaning four) is made up of four separate muscles which are located on the front portion of your leg and collectively allow you to extend your leg out in front of you. The hamstrings (sometimes referred to as the “hammies”) are located on the back portion of your leg and enable you to flex your knee toward s your butt.

Upper Arms: The two main muscles of the upper arm are the biceps and the triceps. The biceps (or “bi’s”), which are made up of two separate heads, are on the front portion of your arm and allow you to bend your arm towards the shoulder. The triceps (or “tri’s) are located on the rear portion of the upper arm and are made up of three heads or muscles. They allow you to extend your arm or straighten your arms.

Lower Arms: Who can forget the old favorite Popeye and his huge forearms? The forearms are made up of several muscles but basically the anterior group (the muscles on the front of the forearm) causes wrist flexion allowing you to bend your wrist. Wrist extension allows you to straighten your wrist.

Abdominals: Universally known as the “abs”, they are made up of three muscles. The rectus abdominis, obliques and the transverses abdominis. The main function of the rectus abdominus is to pull the torso towards the lower body, i.e. a crunching movement. The obliques, which are located on the side of the abs, better known to most as the “love handles” allow for lateral flexion and rotation. The transverses abs are used to constrict the abdominal area as in controlled breathing.

Lower Back: The erector spinae is the main muscle in the lower back. The “erectors” permit you to extend your torso, basically straighten yourself up from a bent over position. The erectors are a muscle that need to be trained to maintain proper back health.

Neck: There are four major muscles in the neck, allowing you to move laterally as well as backward and forward. The trapezius or “traps” are located at the base of the neck and are responsible for allowing your shoulders to raise up and down in an “I don’t know” fashion.

I hope you have found this information to be both informative and beneficial in pursuing your physical goals.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Workouts With A Twist

The following is just a sample of the workouts available in the new book “Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness” by Matt Brzycki and Fred Fornicola. To order your copy, please visit


This chapter contains numerous workouts with dumbbells that are based on the same safe, effective and efficient approach to improving strength and fitness that has been discussed throughout this book. As you’ll see, however, these workouts involve a slight “twist.” Included are workouts that are designed to place exceptionally high demands on your musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory systems as well as workouts for those who prefer to “split” their body parts or specialize in a body part or exercise. Follow the guidelines that are expressed throughout this book and experiment with as many of the workouts as possible to determine what best suits your individual tastes and needs.
Some of the workouts include brief points concerning how they’re to be performed. Unless otherwise specified, all workouts are based on taking each set to the point of muscular fatigue. In addition, you should perform each repetition in a deliberate, controlled manner. If a specific speed of movement is recommended, it’s usually designated by two numbers such as 2/4. The first digit refers to the number of seconds that it should take to raise the weight and the last digit refers to the number of seconds that it should take to lower the weight.

The One-Weight Workout (Fred Fornicola)

Overhead Press - 1 x 15
Stiff-Leg Deadlift
Bench RowSupine Press
Performance Points:

Use the same weight for all of the exercises (thus, the nickname of this workout is “One-Weight Workout”). The weight that you use should be one that you can do for at least 15 repetitions in the overhead press (while standing). Your levels of strength and conditioning will dictate the number of repetitions that you do in the subsequent exercises. For this reason, no specific target repetitions are listed. Needless to say, this workout can be extremely challenging to the ego.
Try to keep your hands on the dumbbells for the entire workout.
Take as little recovery as possible between each exercise.
This workout is especially hard on your grip and overall musculature as well as your cardiovascular system.

3x3 Workout #1 (Matt Brzycki)

Deadlift - 1 x 20
Supine Press - 1 x 12
Bench Row - 1 x 12
Deadlift - 1 x 15
Supine Press - 1 x 10
Bench Row - 1 x 10
Deadlift - 1 x 12
Supine Press - 1 x 8
Bench Row - 1 x 8

Performance Points:

· This workout is a series of three exercises that are done a total of three times (thus, the nickname of this workout is “3x3” – which is read as “three by three”). Essentially, it consists of a multiple-joint movement for the hips followed by a multiple-joint movement for the chest followed by a multiple-joint movement for the upper back and repeated two more times. These three types of movements address virtually every major muscle in your body including your hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, chest, upper back, shoulders, biceps, triceps and forearms.
· This workout is extremely time-efficient; most variations can be performed in about 20 minutes or less.
· Use a 2/4 speed for all of the exercises.
· Take as little recovery as possible between each exercise.
· Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this type of workout. Though it may not appear so, a 3x3 Workout – if done as outlined here – can be incredibly challenging and demanding.

Upper-Body Workout #1 (Jeff Friday)

Bench Press - 1 x 8-12
Bench Row - 1 x 8-12
Incline Press - 1 x 8-12
Bench Row - 1 x 8-12
Incline Press - 1 x 8-12
Bench Row - 1 x 8-12
Incline Press - 1 x 8-12Lateral Raise - 1 x 8-12
Front Raise - 1 x 8-12
Internal Rotation - 1 x 8-12 (each arm)
External Rotation - 1 x 8-12 (each arm)
Overhead Press - 1 x 8-12
Bicep Curl - 1 x 8-12
Tricep Extension - 1 x 8-12 (each arm)
Performance Points: · Do the first set of the incline press with the bench at about a 30-degree angle. For the next two sets of that exercise, raise the angle of the bench so that the second set is done at about a 45-degree angle and the third set is done at about a 60-degree angle.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Just a Typical Sunday Morning

Sunday is my one and only day off from training people and I try to make the day as personally fulfilling as possible. That entails me spending time with my wife and daughter, running some errands, trying to squeeze in some alone time so I can pursue one of my interests and of course, take in a workout. You’d think after spending 60 hours a week around a gym, the last thing I would want to do is “grab a workout” on my day off, but my Sunday workouts are probably my most satisfying. I don’t have to rush and perform a workout between clients but more importantly, I can go where I love to train the most – the beach. I could use the beach as a full-time gym and be the happiest guy in the world. There’s nothing like working out when the sun’s just rising, waves are breaking and you're using nature as your gym.

As I explain to most of my clients, health isn’t just about your body, it’s about the mind and spirit as well and finding the “balance” is what will yield a healthier, more fit you. Hey, what good is it to have a great body when your spirit is in the wrong place and you can’t enjoy life? One of my long-time clients, Bob V. stated one day that he “strength train as a means to being able to do other activities”. Bob - who is an avid cyclist - gets it. He understands that strength training in all its forms is about improving overall health and fitness – inside and out.

Ok, back to my Sunday workout. My daughter Alexa and our dog – a Golden Retriever named Angel, went to the beach to grab a family workout. Understanding what is involved in having a successful workout, I used the surrounding resources of the beach including the sand, rocks, a very large piece of driftwood plus a snow sled with a 50ft. rope lead I brought from home. Alexa provided resistance for the sled pulling as well as counted my reps for my push-ups, Angel accompanied me as a running partner on the sand and the rocks and drift wood were used for various activities that used my legs, lower and upper back as well as my chest, shoulders and arms and gripping muscles. Doing these activities with a high level of effort and intensity enabled me to have a very complete and successful workout that thoroughly challenged and stimulated my entire musculature and cardiovascular system.

Strength and fitness is about understanding what it takes to provide the right stimulus for YOUR body, mind and spirit and once you get “IT” the sky’s the limit. Make an effort to understand what it takes to have a balanced program and find time to execute it – you will be able to enjoy that much more of what life has to offer.

“Train With A Purpose”

Fred Fornicola

Friday, November 03, 2006

Training and Eating

If you want to make the best out of your efforts in the Gym, you should be eating to win. Training alone won't take care of everything for most of us. You can be strong and have muscle but if you don't make an effort to stay lean you'll end up looking like a "Before Ad" soon enough. Face it if you eat like crap, you'll probably look like crap. EVEN if your training hard. Life's not fair sometimes. Suck it up and cut your calories. Eat nutritiously dense food. Eat fresh and raw when you can. Keep your "Fruit Juices" to a minimum. Eat whole fruit instead, the fiber will be a good addition. Keep up with your calorie intake. I don't mean to count every molecule, just make an effort. No excuses! There is nothing to me worse than someone with great potential failing because of excuses. - Jim Bryan, Strength Coach

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rules of Change

In the book “If Life is a Game, These are the Rules” by Cherie Carter-Scott, PhD[1] she speaks of six basic steps to executing any change in your life and I have found them to be very applicable when one is deciding to engage in an exercise program. I have taken the liberty in applying my own twist to these steps as it pertains to someone who would like to make a change to better health.

Note: Definitions of Steps are directly from the author, as elaboration and comments are made by yours truly.

Step 1- Awareness: becoming conscious of the pattern or issue.

This is when you finally come to the realization that your current health patterns are not optimal or even close to being par. This can be initiated by a poor report from your last medical visit or your favorite jeans that just don’t fit like they used to, regardless of the reason, you are now in touch with the situation.

Step 2 – Acknowledgment: admitting that you need to release the pattern.

This next step is where you “own up” to the fact that you need to address your current health situation and seek a solution. You may not be happy with your lack of energy, overall health or appearance and know that something needs to be done about it.

Step 3 – Choice: actively selecting to release the pattern.

Realizing and acknowledging the need for improving your health is the crawling portion of the program when executing a change, taking action to enhance your well-being is where you start your walk towards improvement.

Step 4 – Strategy: creating a realistic plan.

Now is when your decision turns into a plan of action. Mapping out your approach of how you will go about improving your health and fitness will set the ground work for your success. Taking action on your own or seeking out assistance from a qualified individual will set you on your way to achieving your goals.

Step 5 – Commitment: taking action, aided by external accountability.

Steps 1 through 4 won’t amount to much other than wasted time and energy without the right program and commitment. I have seen numerous people spend way too much time structuring a plan with every last detail in place and then never sticking with it. Just talking about it and planning won’t improve your health, doing it will.

Step 6 – Celebration: rewarding yourself for succeeding.

When you proceed through the first 5 steps the sixth step has already been manifested. So many that I work with find their reward from their efforts and dedication to themselves and they are remunerated on a daily basis.

I encourage you to take some time to evaluate these steps as I have interpreted them as well as what the author has intended them to be. I think you will find them to be extremely helpful.

[1] “If Life is a Game, These are the Rules” copyright 1998 Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D. Broadway Books


Fred Fornicola

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Word About Consistency

Speak with any good fitness professional and they will tell you that above all else, CONSISTENCY is first and foremost in achieving ones goals. You can have the best laid plans, all the right equipment and a "trainer to the stars" and it all means nothing if you don't show up and perform on a consistent basis. You MUST be unfailing in your training, cardiovascular and nutritional programs – or all bets are off. When I train individuals, I can tell right away who is going to make the most progress by virtue of their dedication and those who are going to struggle because they have not yet made that all important committed to themselves to work hard and consistently. Talking about exercising and actually showing up to do it are two entirely different things as you well know and making time, not excuses to exercise is what will improve your health, mind and body. Too often I see individuals starting to make improvements and then get waylaid for a period and they lose their momentum – resulting in frustration, a further lack of enthusiasm and dedication and most importantly, a stand still in achieving their goals.

An application of a quality resistance and cardiovascular training program along with a sound nutritional plan is not a part time approach, it is more of a life change and once one becomes committed to that change, positive results will happen. Exercise and eating right on an occasional or semi-occasional basis will not yield good results – or any at all for that matter.

Attending to your health doesn’t need to be a full time job either. Making time to exercise two to three times per week for 20-30 minutes – if you are truly working hard – will yield fantastic results in muscle gain, fat loss and cardiovascular health, assuming you are utilizing a safe and efficient program. I have clients that train with me two times per week for approximately 20 minutes and have made obvious gains in muscle and fat loss – not to mention an overall improvement in their physical and mental health. Of course, eating well is pretty much an every day thing but once proper habits and food selections are in order, it becomes second nature.

So, don’t make excuses for not exercising. If you have 30-60 minutes a week, you can improve your health, BUT the key is to be consistent in your efforts. The rewards are there for the taking.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Thursday, October 26, 2006

60 Minutes to Better Health

When I have conversations with people about exercise I often find them offering many excuses as to why they don’t perform any exercise. Many are under the impression that you have to put in a set amount of time and do a certain type of exercise or workout to gain any real benefits. Because most are confused and mislead, they find themselves doing nothing because they can’t make their “5 day a week, 2 hour workouts” and anything less will not yield any kind of improvement. Yeah, that makes sense, do nothing at all, that will make you real healthy.

After patiently listening to these reasons for performing no activity I offer a simple yet effective concept for them to think about. This usually results in me receiving a strange look – stranger than I usually get but I have their attention none the less. I offer the crazy notion of performing 2 weekly sessions that last no more than 30 minutes. This would mean that we could reduce their proposed weekly schedule of 10 hours a week down to one per week! WOW, who wouldn’t like to reduce their training time down to 10% of what they used to do – or thought they HAD to do?

Training with a high level of intensity (see my previous post on “Defining INTENISTY”) two times per week can definitely improve your level of strength, fitness and overall level of health and well-being. It just takes hard work, consistency and dedication to achieving your goals. I think that most can agree that finding time to workout 30 minutes twice a week to improve the quality of their life shouldn’t be that difficult.

In a future installment I’ll discuss my 15 minute challenge for those who don’t have 30 minutes to spare.

“Train With A Purpose”

Fred Fornicola

Monday, October 23, 2006

Walk before you run

One of the most popular activities associated with improving ones fitness is running / jogging. And why not, after all running is easily accessible, inexpensive, requires no set up time, and can be done outside in nature. In addition, the cardiovascular and weight management benefits are well known and respected by many. Personally, I think running is a great activity and will improve ones overall fitness tremendously with little rivals in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. However, I also feel that running places a great deal of stress on the connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, and cartilage) of the lower leg. In addition improper running form can also lead to lower back, hip and knee pain. With that said, it is important to mention that most running issues can be solved by first learning how to run correctly and second, building up the strength of the connective tissue and muscles of the lower leg. Like any other aspect of improving ones fitness, this is best done by a slow and gradual build up in exercise intensity to allow for the associated body parts to adapt to the stress. Simply put, if your intensions are to begin a running program and you have not run in a while or ever before, start out slowly by walking first. After continued efforts of walking at a moderate pace is no longer challenging, pick up the intensity to a brisk walk for several workouts. After that is accomplished begin to jog for one minute and walk for three. Slowly build up the amount of time you spend jogging and reduce the amount of time you spend walking. Soon you will have 10-30 minutes of consecutive jogging in place. At this point it is up to you whether to work on increasing the duration of your runs, or the speed in which you are running. Remember it is not where you start that matters, but where you finish. Always begin with caution and work on improving each time you train. - Doug Scott, Strength Coach

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Post Workout Nutrition

After a hard workout your first goal should be to re-hydrate yourself with fresh water, then immediately replenish your depleted glycogen stores and offset protein catabolism. The simplest and most convenient way to accomplish this is to consume simple carbohydrates along with some liquid protein. This can be achieved quite easily by drinking some fruit juice mixed with a whey protein (in a isolate and concentrate form) or some kind of milk (cow, rice or almond). There is no need for any fancy post-workout supplements or expensive sports drink (unless that is what you prefer) to achieve your immediate nutritional needs. Grape juice would probably be the first juice of choice since it is quite high in sugars but any fruit juice will do just fine. If you enjoy cow’s milk and can easily digest it, then drinking down a glass or two of low or non-fat milk or even condensed milk (which is GREAT because it is convenient to carry with you) would work equally as well. In fact, the extra source of protein that milk provides is also beneficial immediately after you workout, but keep in mind that fats are kept to a minimum during this time. Other options include making a shake consisting of some liquid protein and carbohydrates along with some fresh or frozen fruits.

Now, after drinking your water and restoring your glycogen levels you can hit the showers, relax for a bit and sit down to a nice meal. Your post workout meal is one of the most important if not THE most important meal on your training day. This is where you give your body the nutrients it needs to repair itself from the work you just imposed on it in the gym. Your meal should be eaten approximately 2 hours after the completion of your strength workout and should consist of lean proteins*, complex carbohydrates*, vegetables* and essential fatty acids (EFA’s)*. This is a MUST meal folks and one that should not be overlooked or taken lightly. Whether your goal is to lose body fat, maintain weight or increase muscle mass, this is an important meal which fuels your body so it can repair itself from the stress of your workout.

Remember, training in the gym is merely one aspect of improving your overall health, mind and body.

Here are a few examples of the higher nutrient dense foods you may want to try. Remember, when selecting foods you want to eat foods that offer you the “biggest bang for the buck” when it comes to nutritional value as well as select organic or locally grown foods when you can. Again, this is not a limiting list but merely suggestions.

Protein Sources

Lean meat: top round, eye round, filet mignon from beef or buffalo, lean pork, game
White meat from poultry: chicken, turkey
Fish: preferably cold water such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines.
tuna, flounder, snapper etc are also fine.
Dairy: non or lowfat dairy such as yogurt, hard cheeses, cottage cheese and milk
Powders: Whey protein from isolate and concentrate

Carbohydrate Sources

Whole grains: whole wheat, amaranth, oat, millet, quinoa, spelt, brown rice
Legumes: kidney beans, lentils, chic peas, green peas
Vegetables: carrots, romaine lettuce, spinach, celery, squash, broccoli (an endless list of non starchy veggies), potatoes, yams
Fruits: melons and berries are first choices, kiwi, pineapple, etc.

Fat Sources

Oils: flax, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), almond, extra virgin coconut
Seeds: RAW pumpkin, hemp, flax
Nuts: RAW almond, walnut, Brazil
Cold Water Fish

Please keep in mind that the lists above are merely a sample of good, healthy foods and can and should be expanded upon for your overall health and palatable delight.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What is High Intensity Training?

With all the garbage that continues to swirl around the high intensity training (HIT) community about who is right by HIT experts that were not around when Arthur Jones was developing Nautilus equipment and high intensity training principles. The following quote is taken from the book "Maximize Your Training" by Dr. Ken Leistner, noted strength coach from Valley Stream NY, who in my opinion summed high intensity training the best.

"Hit is going all out, not almost all out: It is taking each set to one's absolute limit, not almost to the limit: It is using whatever piece of equipment that is available, not just a machine or group of machines: it is not the words of two or three men, but a commitment to work as hard as possible while in the gym or weight room......without socializing, resting excessively between sets, or falling prey to the "this isn't going to work so I'll copy the star attitude." Hit is hard but it is effective. HIT is hard but it should be safe relative to other methods of training. It is demanding but rewarding. It can, if used properly, be the necessary vehicle to alter one's physical strength, muscular size, and level of confidence both in and out of the athletic arena."

This is me talking now. It's not about obsessing about every damn little thing that may or may not be important. And it's not about getting on some discussion board and making an ass out of yourself. Wonder why HIT is misunderstood? Get on one of these discussion boards and have a go with one of the resident experts. - Jim Bryan, Strength Coach

Editors note: Both Jim Bryan and Dr. Ken Leistner are two men that I have the highest regard for and have learned a great deal from. Both gentlemen where part of an exciting time in the field of strength and fitness before trends and lab coat technicians infiltrated the industry.

Train hard, be consistent and move on. - Fred Fornicola

Friday, October 13, 2006

E. coli update

Is irrigation to blame?

Click on the attached link for more info on the recent E. coli breakout....

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Basics

In my opinion, the fitness industry has gotten way too trendy, so much so that people are more confused than ever about what to do to improve their level of health and fitness. “Specialized” programs are being developed to encourage people to workout – which is good thing – but these boot-campy, trainer to the stars, shreadmill (yes shreadmill) training protocols are masking what is the essence of what a program should revolve around. Boys and girls, it comes down to the basics:

- utilize exercises that are orthopedically safe for you to perform
- perform the movements in a controlled fashion
- train efficiently – make every minute of your training count
- be consistent
- work damn hard every time you train

Now, if you want to camouflage your workouts with these funky names and get caught up in this “flavor of the month” exercise approach, go right ahead but just make sure the above points are being addressed for your program to be effective.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mental Toughness

At my training facility, it is understood that when you come to train under my supervision you will be training very hard. Each and everyone one of my clients is made aware of this prior to their verbal commitment to becoming a client. This is not to scare anyone or a means of intimidation; it’s just the harsh reality of what training at Premiere Personal Fitness is like.

Working very hard builds strength. Working very hard builds muscle. Working very hard improves your cardiovascular system. Working very hard builds mental toughness. Mental toughness? Yes, mental toughness – but what is mental toughness?

I rarely come out and state that training as hard as we do will build mental toughness because in my opinion, one needs to train very hard for a while to understand what the term means and actually experience it themselves. I continually discuss my clients training with them – it is part of my ongoing responsibility and genuine concern for their training and overall level of health and personal satisfaction from performing all their hard work. I usually ask to encapsulate what they view our training style as and 99% of the time their answer is “it’s really intense”. I will then ask them what the benefits are that they feel from our training and the answers I usually hear are some of the more obvious such as "I have more energy" - "I can perform activities much easier" - "I don’t become so easily fatigued" - "My clothes fit better" - "I feel better about myself" - "Mentally I feel like I can achieve more than ever before". BINGO – we just hit upon the mental toughness I was referring to. The crazy thing is the more mentally tough you become from the intense training, the harder you will work and therefore enabling even greater gains in strength, cardiovascular fitness, muscle growth and mental toughness. It becomes a perpetual cycle of progress.

Being able to go beyond what you thought you could ever do in the weight room creates a mental toughness that enables a person to do more beyond what takes place in the gym. I’ve spoken to my girls from the Ocean Twp. High School field hockey team that I have the pleasure of training about what the additional benefits of our training offers. They said they feel that they can do so much more on the field since undergoing such intense training. They now can “push on” when in the past the may have given up. They not only became stronger and more fit, they became mentally tougher.

Don’t think that mental toughness is reserved for the athlete or only the young. No way! Everyone can work at developing that sense of toughness. Becoming mentally tough is you challenging you to do better than the last time, to work a little harder than you did before, continually striving to push yourself that little bit extra and confidently knowing that you can achieve what you set out to conquer.

“Train With A Purpose”

Fred Fornicola

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Kim Wood, legendary strength coach for the Cincinnati Bengal’s for 28 years conveyed to me in a personal conversation that Arthur Jones – inventor and founder of Nautilus and high intensity principles – defined INTENSITY as “percentage of momentary ability”.

So what does “percentage of momentary ability” mean? Basically, it means working as hard as is momentarily possible so that maximum intensity (hard work) is achieved. This high level of intensity then is not dictated by your strength levels but by your efforts on every set of every exercise throughout your workout. Understanding this concept is important because maximum effort is the key here. Let’s use an example to get a better understanding of percentage of momentary ability. Let’s say an individual (let’s call him AJ for examples sake) has a best effort in the leg press of 200 pounds for 20 repetitions. On one particular training day AJ comes to work out, but prior to his training session he chose to go for a 2 mile run. AJ then loads up the leg press with 200 pounds and performs a set using maximum effort but only achieves 17 repetitions. One would immediately realize that AJ’s run fatigued his legs which in turn prevented him from obtaining his previous best of 20 repetitions. But AJ worked within his percentage of momentary ability because he made his set of leg presses very intense by giving 100% effort and therefore stimulated his lower body so as to become stronger. So it’s the intensity of effort that is important, not how much weight you use.

“Train With A Purpose”

Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Improve Your Fitness One Exercise At A Time

Many times starting a fitness program is a daunting task. On one hand you have the obvious heath benefits that an active lifestyle can bring; and on the other hand there is the up hill battle and hard work often associated with a fitness plan. We have all been in that position at one time or another, even us fitness professionals, where the task at hand seems to great and the rewards don’t match up to the effort needed. If this has ever happened to you here is a little trick I have found very helpful. Pick just one exercise, any exercise will do for now, for one month. During that month try to perform it at least 10-15 times, and each time strive to do better than the time before. What I mean is attempt to perform one more repetition or lift a little more weight. If you choose a cardiovascular exercise, like walking or jogging, try to go farther than before. The idea is you make the attempt to improve this one exercise. Improving ones fitness is all about staying focused and striving for achievement no matter how small. To often the “fitness world” tries to complicate matters with “new and improved” exercise antics that only leave fitness goers confused and frustrated. If after this one exercise is completed and you want to perform another and another, go for it. Every successful exercise program starts with one exercise and builds up from there. Good luck - Doug Scott, Strength Coach

Friday, September 29, 2006

Starting Off Your Day

Upon rising, most people start off their day with some type of caffeinated beverage like coffee or tea, and in some real extreme cases a soda or "energy drink" like Red Bull to get them going. I too partake of the caffeine ritual by having a small cup of black coffee, but there is an additional way one can start their day.

Water as we know is vital to our bodies. It enables our cells to carry nutrients and energy to them and helps dispose of toxins and metabolic wastes. Based on the fact that our bodies are made up of approximately two thirds water and has such an important role in maintaining a healthy body, we must supply our bodies with enough H2O to help keep our bodies in balance. Exercise and other stresses of life demand our bodies to continually be hydrated to support normal functions so it is important that one consume enough water daily. I usually accompany my cup of Joe with 24 ounces of water to start my day and I have found that consuming water early in the day gives a boost to the metabolism and helps in getting things "flushed out".

Since our bodies are ~ 66% water, lets use a factor of .66 to determine the amount of pure water one should consume in a given day. When I say "pure" water what I mean is not including the additional means of hydrating yourself via herbal teas, fruits and vegetables, just plain old fashioned water. So, using a 170 pound person as an example we calculate .66 x 170 = ~ 112 ounces of water for the day.

In the beginning the amount of water will seem a bit overwhelming to you - especially for your bladder, but your body will quickly get in the habit of drinking and you will become accustom to drinking that much fluid.

Here's a little trick in getting your requied amount of water. Like I suggested earlier, consume 24 or more ounces of water upon rising and then drink 12-16 ounces every hour on the hour until you reach your quota for the day. Our 170 pound individual who needs 112 ounces will start the day with 24 ounces which will leave him 88 left for the day. If he drinks 12 ounces every hour he will achieve his hydration goal in about 7 hours.

Make drinking water a focus for a while, I think you will be amazed at your increased level of energy and may even find that your physqiue appears leaner.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The High Intensity Training (HIT) I Remember

"The HIT I remember was a group of guys and a few women that trained as hard as we could, became friends and understood what we were doing. Today we have new factions of HIT everyday, arguments on discussion boards by lab geeks about rep speed, TUL (Time Under Load), who trains the hardest and on and on about things that really don't matter when you ACTUALLY work out. Nautilus History is being rewritten to suit todays experts and much of the real History will be forgotten. Now we have lab coats and stopwatches replacing the strength training equipment in so called HIT Gyms. Endless arguments about Free weights vs. Machines by experts with more time on the computer than in a real gym with free weights, machines, power racks, strongman equipment, sleds, and sand bags. Stuff that matters." - Jim Bryan

Editors Note: Jim Bryan was fortunate to be one of those who worked directly with Arthur Jones in the early days of Nautilus where he learned how to work hard and efficiently. Hard work and efficiency, along with a emphasis on safety are the same training principles used here at Premiere Personal Fitness.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Great Exercise Combo for Upper Body Development

I have been strength training for a number of years and have found few greater exercises than the standard push up and the under hand chin up. These two exercises work every muscle in the upper body and if done in a back to back fashion for multiple sets can also get the heart beating as well. To often these exercises are overlooked in a strength building program, possibly because they are classified as “beginner” exercises, or because they don’t use fancy exercise machines, or simply because they are just to challenging for the average Joe or Jane. I will tell you that these exercises can be adapted to any fitness level and provide a challenging workload for a large number of muscle groups, which is why they rank very high on my exercise choice list. Whether you can perform 1 repetition or 10 repetitions that’s only a starting point, each workout try to add a repetition or two, you will be surprised at the fitness level you can achieve. - Doug Scott, Strength Coach

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dumbbell Training

I just received my monthly report today from our publisher and I'm happy to announce that the book Matt Brzycki and I released a few month's ago entitled "Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness" is doing quite well at the online and retail bookstores.

For an in-depth look at what the book is about, please visit .

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola

Welcome to the Premiere Personal Fitness Strength and Fitness Blog

Premiere Personal Fitness has created this blog to share random thoughts and ideas on numerous aspects of becoming stronger and improving ones level of fitness. The approaches to training expressed here are based on safe, effecient and effective principles without being exclusive to any one protocol. Thoughts and recommendations on nutrition, conditioning, health, wellness and any other topics are based on many years of experience as well as personal opinion.

I hope you find the information offered here to be beneficial to your strength and fitness.

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola