Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Round Four

Matt Brzycki and I were recently informed that we are closing in on the 9,000 mark for books sold for "Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness" and therefore are in our fourth run of printing.
We would like to thank everyone who was involved with our book and for the continued support. - Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dr Fitness and The Fat Guy

Matt Brzycki, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Fitness at Princeton University will be doing a live interview on "Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy" this Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 7:30 EST. Tune in and listen to Matt discuss strength and fitness ideas.

Monday, January 28, 2008

S.E.E. What I Mean

The concept of improving one's fitness is quite simple, yet not easy. An individual should find a form of exercise that is Safe, can be done in an Efficient time frame and produces Effective results. Of course, there should always be an element of fun to keep things interesting as well as challenging enough to keep you wanting to come back for more.

I witnessed a workout just the other day where a woman proceeded to perform bodyweight squats and immediately then banged out some very good quality pushups. She quickly transitioned into a plank hold followed by a couple sets of crunches. She chose exercises that she liked and worked for her and of course, her form was excellent. Her workout took approxiametly 10 minutes to complete and she felt physically and emotionally satisfied (and looks great too).

So when divising an exercise regimen, remember to S.E.E. things through for a successful and meaningful program. - Fred Fornicola

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Exercise and Osteoarthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are over 100 different types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common. Arthritis, as most of us know, is inflammation of the joints. For those of you who have arthritis you can attest to the pain and discomfort that accompanies this disease.

Osteoarthritis (from here out referred to as OA) is a type of arthritis that causes cartilage to become soft and break down, cartilage that covers bone to reduce friction and absorb shock. When this wears away it leaves a joint unprotected, causing a “bone on bone” situation. The effects of OA can be pain when the joint is first engaged or post exercise, with the joint feeling stiff or tender. Any joint can be affected with the most common being the hips, knees, spine and certain joints of the hands and feet.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, OA affects an estimated 20.7 million Americans, mostly after age 45, with women being more commonly affected than men. The causes of OA are not clearly defined but it seems that heredity/genetics is a key component while unstable ligaments, atypical joint movement; injury and obesity can be contributing factors in the development of OA.

When an individual has OA, especially in the knee or hip region, pain and discomfort can reduce a person’s desire to be mobile, which causes the joint to stiffen and become less pliable. This of course makes the person suffering from OA less likely to want to move about, producing a decrease in muscular strength that can be up to 75% of normal levels. Obviously this situation can be a vicious cycle, leaving an individual in a situation where their gate may change to help compensate for the pain which in turn can lead to new problems if not properly addressed.

Some known treatments for OA are the use of analgesics and heat, reduced strain on the inferior joint by reducing body weight and active exercise to strengthen the surrounding muscles and improve ROM (range of motion) around the joint.

For individuals with mild to moderate degrees of OA, recommendations have been made to follow moderate intensity levels of resistance training and cardiovascular exercise to help alleviate the discomfort of OA. Careful selection of resistance exercise(s) and the inclusion of non-impact cardiovascular work such as swimming or cycling do not put excessive force on the troubled joint. Water based exercises in particular are very beneficial because it reduces the effects of gravity on the joints, thereby allowing the person to exercise with mild resistance and to stretch while the warm water helps soothe the sore joint.

Studies have shown that proper resistance and cardiovascular exercise has beneficial effects on pain for those with OA. The goal of course for those individuals is to perform exercise with little or no pain, with the hopes of even increasing their exercise selection and intensity. No, exercise hasn’t been yet established that it can’t make OA go away or even postpone or prevent OA from occurring, but the Arthritis Foundation and many physicians promote exercise as therapy because people with this disease generally feel better, function better and experience less debilitating pain when they are regularly active.

Fred Fornicola

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Great Outdoors

Here on the east coast, winter can be a fickle time of year. One day it's 50 degrees and clear, the next it can be raining, snowing or just downright dreary and cold. These kinds of conditions just contribute to the many reasons why you haven't started or continued your exercise program. Maybe the idea of going to the gym and being stuck on and endless looping treadmill or waiting for a guy to get done with his 11th set of curls just puts makes the whole idea of working out very boring. And who could blame you - that would sure put a damper on my enthusiasm too - so I do something a little different in these colder month's that may spark some interest.

I, as some of you may know, own my own training facility and have access to all kinds of equipment. On Sunday's, however, I train at home and use the great-outdoors as my training headquarters. I find being outside to be very invigorating - especially this time of year. The air is cold and crisp and it's very peaceful and desolate. This allows me to be alone and commune with nature and be totally by myself - which is a BIG plus for me. Keeping in line with my philosophy of brief and intense work, I generally go to the local park and use a variety of bars and grips to do pull-ups, pushups and bodyweight squats. The cold air (it was 25* with a wind chill of 11* today in NJ) and the elements add an interesting dimension to the whole program - especially when it comes to breathing. Now some of you may think I'm nuts for doing this but if you feel you are in a rut or need a burst of energy, I encourage you to get outside and do 10-20 minutes of vigorous activity. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results. - Fred Fornicola

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Simplicity Has Power

Dan Millman, author of "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" (and many other fine books) stated the following with regards to simplicity.

"Simplicity has power. A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Break the largest task into small steps and it can be done. The Chinese tell of an old man who moved a mountain with patience and a spoon. Just so, we can build a palace brick by brick - and step by step, we can cover any distance. So divide and conquer! Without simple patience, heroic efforts quickly fade. With small, steady, simple actions over time, we achieve big dreams."

Think about this statement with regards to your health and fitness......

Monday, January 14, 2008

Are You Still Waiting?

Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little. - Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British Political Writer, Statesman)

At some point in time, our society was convinced that exercise needed to be a complicated and lengthy undertaking. Unfortunately, this has paralyzed many people in their attempt to embark on an exercise program and for some, it has just given them another reason - or better stated - excuse, for not doing some form of physical fitness.

I once had a brief conversation with a doctor who was no longer working out because his schedule did not allow him to continue with his 5 days a week / 2 hour sessions. I posed the idea of doing some type of exercise 2 -3 times a week for 20 - 30 minutes. His response was "that's not enough time, I need more than that to get any benefits." To which I responded "A little of something beats a whole lot of nothing."

I recommend frequent, short duration workouts, not as a compromise to "real training", but as a productive approach to becoming stronger and healthier. In fact, an approach of 10 minutes a day doing some kind of physical activity can do wonders for anyone so if you think you don't have time to exercise or a little isn't worth the time, you are dead wrong. - Fred Fornicola

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Less Filling - Tastes Great

For years now there have been countless discussions (and I use the term "discussions" loosely) of different training protocols espoused over the Internet, with individuals claiming to be an authority or “in the know”, while others are "prophesizing" “new found secrets”. What I get a kick out of the most is those who think they know of what they speak and have their own interpretation of what “is”, as if they have discovered something new. Dissension runs ramped, even among those in the same “camps” because everyone is bucking for some kind of training supremacy while in truth, it doesn’t make a bit of difference what group or protocol you follow as long as your training is safe, sensible and productive.

The self-indulgent (and most often, incompetent) debates that are encountered are no more beneficial than most “less filling – tastes great” arguments you would hear between two drunks at a bar, and yet they continue on. To hear someone make a statement such as “high intensity training can’t work” has never truly trained properly using a high intensity approach. The same holds true for anyone who states that high intensity training is THE only way to train and all other methods are substandard. Comments such as these only show the ignorance of the individual stating them and more than likely are just regurgitating what they have read on a chat board or parroting some self-promoting modern day guru whom they idolize. - Fred Fornicola

Monday, January 07, 2008

Fast Food for Your Health

I bet you if I titled this article “Fast Food Kills” you probably wouldn’t have even attempted to look at it, but all you fast food junkies are here to see if in some small way I was going to justify eating at Mickey D’s, right? Well……………………..NO!

Let’s take a look at a average American meal at a fast food establishment such as McDonald’s (I just can’t call a place that serves what they serve a “restaurant”). A meal consisting of 1 Big Mac, 1 order of regular fries and a vanilla triple thick shake to wash it down. According to our food pyramid, it sounds like we have the makings of a solid meal here, right? We’ve got our meat from the burger, our dairy from the shake, bread & potatoes come from our bun and fries and some vegetables from the lettuce (which is ice berg and provides 0 nutritional value) and tomato.

Now, let’s evaluate what this meal entails as far as calories and the macronutrient breakdown. Not adding in any additional condiments like ketchup to dip the fries and extra “fixings” that may be added, this meal consists of the following:

Big Mac Small Order of Fries Vanilla Triple Thick Shake

33g of fat 10g of fat 12g of fat
47g of carbohydrates 26g of carbohydrates 76g of carbohydrates
24g of protein 3g of protein 11g of protein
Total = 580 calories Total = 209 calories Total = 430 calories

Total for this meal: 55g of fat / 140g of carbohydrates / 38g of protein, totaling 1,219 calories!!!!

If you are one who frequents Mickey D’s or their equivalent, hopefully you are sitting back in your seat and thinking WOW! Do I eat that many calories at one time? Do I consume that much fat (which by the way totaled over 20 grams of saturated fat)? Do I eat that many useless carbohydrates at one time?

What most people fail to realize is that not only are they consuming way too many calories, but that most of what they eat provides very little in the way of any nutritional value. I learned a long time ago that eating healthy means more than just “not eating junk”. Your body needs to consume nutrient dense foods daily to assist in fighting diseases such as type II Diabetes, heart disease (the #1 killer in America), stroke, cancer, etc. By ignoring these facts and having the opinion that “it won’t happen to me” increases the possibilities of acquiring a disease due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise. Considering the likelihood that this would never happen to you has made these diseases intangible in your mind, merely a “scare tactic” to encourage you to eat for your health. Hey, we all wear the big “S” (referring to Superman) on our chest at times and think that we are indestructible to some degree, but the reality of it all is that we are not and as soon as you realize that proper eating and exercise will benefit your overall health you will be better off.

Don’t keep trying to out run the bullet, it very well may catch you one day………Fred Fornicola

Friday, January 04, 2008

Phone Consultation

Having a qualified fitness professional working with you one-on-one to help you achieve your strength and fitness goals is a very smart investment. In fact, sometimes it can mean the difference between you just “spinning your wheels” and maximizing your potential. My objective is to provide you with the tools that you need to enhance your level of strength and fitness. I truly believe that everyone should “train with a purpose” and through our in-depth phone interview, we will sift through the questions/concerns that you have and help to put you on the right road to a healthy and strong body and mind.

In our conversation, we will cover aspects such as your . . .

Health History
Physical Aspirations
Current Exercise Program
Accessible Equipment
Available Time
Level of Dedication
Desire to Succeed

I will be sharing not only my experiences from my 30-plus years of training and the tens of thousands of sessions I have personally supervised, but my overall philosophy and methods to becoming stronger and more physically fit. The intent is to provide you with a solid working base of information to assist you on your own to discover the best physical fitness program for YOU!

"Fred is an excellent training innovator and writer in an industry full of restricted thinking. He has listened, viewed, tried, and assimilated just about everything the world of exercise has put forth over the decades. His voice is definitely one of the few that keep my attention!" - Randy Roach, Author of "Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors"

Initial One Hour Phone Consultation - $65.00

For more information, please email Fred Fornicola or call 908.433.4542

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Just Do It

"To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing." - Eva Young

Over the course of time, I have met many people who used the new year to make yet another resolution towards improving their health by starting a fitness and exercise regimen. Unfortuantely, they resulted in their own "undoing" by finding - or maybe better stated "thinking" of excuses for not starting. It has been stated here numerous times how easy it is to implement an exercise program and make subtle, yet effective changes to an individuals eating plan so positive things can take place. Start out slow by doing a little something each day to get in the groove and soon you will expereince the benefits that movement and eating well can do for your mind and body. The key however - is in the doing! - Fred Fornicola