Saturday, November 30, 2013

What is Your Core and How Does it Work?

I have had the opportunity to work with many people who I would have assumed to be very strong and well put together.  These people can lift significant weight at the gym and would give the impression that they are the epitome of fitness.  The irony of it all is that when I started to work with them, I realized that the most essential areas of strength in the human body were lacking in these big strong people.

One can potentially be able to lay down on a bench press and put up 250 pounds, while they can not even turn over and do 5 push ups.  Holding a plank for any length of time was certainly out of the question.  The people in this situation had built a big strong body that wanted to collapse like a house of cards.  What holds all of this up, creates balance, enables maneuverability, and acts as a primary stabilizer in the body?  The Core!

What is the core?  I am going to use regular terminology to keep this article simple, but also because I am not a doctor.  My goal is to inspire personal fitness revolutions and not to confuse you with technicalities.  The core is your abs as well as all of the muscle structures that support your spine and neck.  Often times, people feel as though they are toughening their core by simply doing crunches, sit-ups, or utilizing their gym's fitness machines.  You will see a lot of people who have the top four abs in place as they stroll the beach, while that lean waste line, the obliques, and the bottom of their abdominal set are missing. That is because they have fallen victim to thinking that working core is applying a few sets of various sit-up options after a day of arms.

You can theoretically take an entire day at the gym to dedicate to working your core.  There are so many dimensions to your core (which is nearly every muscle that is not part of your legs and arms). Applied core functions working your lower, middle, and upper back, your sides, and your entire abdominal set are available to you with a little research. Here are some suggestions:

One Arm/Elbow hip raise
Laying down knee to elbow on both sides

Upper and Lower Abs:
Standing Knee raises to elbow (hands behind your head)
Scissor Kicks
Leg Raises

Full Core:
Mountain Climbers in Plank

Spinal Muscles:
Laying down on medicine ball pulsing your upper back up
Superman (Laying on stomach with arms and legs raised)

The aforementioned workouts are just 10 of 100's of potential core enhancing workouts.  It is important to educate yourself on various types because mixing them up and giving yourself variety is key to success.  A successful core set is essential to living a fully mobile and healthy life.  So if variety = success, and success = essential to health, then variety = healthy living.  You like that?

A strong core will change your life and have you doing things you never thought possible.  People have said to me, "I'm 45, I'm not going to ever be able to do the things you do."  That is simply not true.  Building the fundamental elements of your body's support system will slowly and progressively begin to show you very surely that age is irrelevant when it comes to fitness.  The reason people start to lose their mobility more and more as they age is because they do not realize this.

Questions, email or visit us at


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The No-Fat Revolution created a Sugar Addicted World

I am not a scientist or a chronologist, but I have seen the way of the world, and people are slow to move in the direction of health.  The reality of this is not that people are largely lazy and stupid, it's that understanding what healthy means has been largely confusing.  Decades ago, it became popular to make an enemy of fat as a food quality on a label, no matter the brand of fat.  Trans fats are linked directly to heart disease, which is the #1 killer of women in America.  There are saturated fats, which should be avoided whenever possible, and then there are the good fats (mono and polyunsaturated).  Some good fats are essential parts of our diet.  Regardless of what your walk of life is, you probably understand "fats" and what they mean to your health.  What you likely don't understand is that looking at a label for fats, calories, and carbs, and rendering something adequate on that wavelength alone is risky business.

SUGAR is the real enemy.  Type 2 Diabetes is steadily on the rise.  Obesity amongst children is at an all time high.  Many people try gimmicky diets and workouts and get no where and then give up.  9 out of 10 health foods on the market are low in calories, carbs, and fat, but are loaded with sugar.  Those who don't list sugar as a direct ingredient often want you to believe that the sugar listed in the nutritional information box is all natural from fruits that are in your supplement, while they disguise the word sugar with titles like "evaporated cane juice" or "corn syrup" etc.  You may see 0 grams of  sugar on the label and see none of the aforementioned culprits in disguise and think you are safe, only to find when you look close in your ingredients, that you have these guys:

  • Methanol
  • Glycol
  • Glycerol
  • Erthritol
  • Threitol
  • Arabitol
  • Xylitol
  • Ribitol
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Galactitol
  • Fucitol
  • Iditol
  • Inositol
  • Volemitol
  • Isomalt
  • Maltitoland
  • Lactitol

This list is a compilation of some of the most popular sugar alcohols used in todays food.  They are especially present in Fitness Supplements, Sugar Free gum, and effectively most processed things you eat.  How can one remember all of these names in their ingredients?  You probably can't, except for the fact that most of them end in "tol."  Let that be your first red flag.  Why is this so important?

It is essential that we get our sugars from complex/natural sources and do everything we can to get away from simple sugars and artificial sweeteners.  The reason is that sugar is toxic to our body.  If you are trying to get fit, and you have a body full of sugar, you will always be burning sugars in the gym instead of burning fat.  You get curious about why you are not getting the results you want and it can get frustrating.  Sugar is a big factor.  A diet high in sugar was never part of the plan until everything needed to taste like candy in order to eat it.

I am not a doctor or a dietician, but that next time you are around one, ask them how a diet high in sugar leads to obesity.  Their explanation will likely sound a bit smarter than mine, but we'll be on the same page. 

If you want some healthy eating tips or fitness help, please email me at