Posts Tagged personal training orange county

Supplements, When to Use, and the People Who Sell Them…

This should probably have been split between several posts, although I am sure that I will revisit some of this content.

What is a supplement? According to, a supplement is “Something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen the whole.” Please notice that nothing was ever mentioned about necessity, because supplements are only to be used when something is missing, or as an aid.

Let’s first talk about the most commonly asked about supp… Protein Powders. There are several different types, and again, I will go into more detail on a future blog. In a nutshell, protein powders are predominantly whey-based, although there are many different forms. They are usually marketed towards men, promising to “build muscle fast, and to get you ripped.” Some are marketed to women, usually called something like “Her Protein”, and promising to help you shed fat and speed up your metabolism. Here is the interesting part…

They are the same thing!

The only difference about most of these proteins is the label. When it comes to protein powders, they should generally be used when you can’t easily get protein from a whole food source, when you are having a hard time digesting or consuming your recommended amount of protein, or immediately after a workout for recovery. The truth is that your body would much rather get its protein from a natural, whole food source. Things like chicken, fish, yogurt, eggs, etc, contain all the protein that you need. When it comes to picking a protein out, try a few until you find one that you like. I recommend going the natural route, and trying to minimize artificial flavors and sweeteners, which is why I recommend MRM brand protein. I will go into the different types of protein powders and their uses in a future post.

Fat Burners are another hot topic. Fat burners promise to work in several different ways. They will often suppress your appetite using stimulants while increasing your body temperature (thermodynamics). Almost every time a new fat burning product gets put on the shelf, it is only a matter of time before it gets pulled right back off. Bottom line: they are generally unsafe and should be avoided. Also, taking pills alone will never get the extra weight off. No matter what you take or how much you exercise, if you are consuming more calories than you are burning, you will never reach your goal. My advice: your body loves to burn fat. Let it. Educate yourself about what you are eating. Buy a food scale. Increase the amount of resistance exercise that you do, and turn your body into a 100% natural fat-burning machine!

Have you been approached by a friend yet, telling you that they have been taking this “revolutionary, doctor-approved” supplement that has helped them lose weight? If you haven’t, it is only a matter of time, my friend… Let me break this down really quick:

  1. They lost weight because they are making better decisions and replacing high calorie meals with low calorie shakes.
  2. There are SEVERAL of these companies promising to be the only one of its kind. Are they all lying???
  3. They are excited for you to try it because it will make them money. And if you decide to sell it, they make even more. Did you know that with most of these companies you are forced to have the products auto-shipped MONTHLY to your house? That’s a pretty serious commitment for a shake or a vitamin…
  4. Most of these products are crap. Not all, but why not just get your supplements at a reputable health food store for a fraction of the price?
  5. The people selling them are often not educated outside of the sales rallies that they attend to learn more about the same company’s products. Ask them a question that  is not answered on the brochure and watch them refer you to their sales director. All this for a protein shake? No. All this for a sale.

If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Do your own research before putting any foreign substance into your body. Don’t take my word for it, and especially don’t take a salesman’s word for it. Remember, supplements are just that- supplements. All goals can be achieved without them. (unless we are talking about steroids) If you feel like you have reached a plateau with your fitness goals, please shoot me an email and I will see if I can get you pointed in the right direction.


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Bananas are Overrated

Everybody knows that bananas are the best source of potassium, right? Not so fast… Although they ARE a great source of potassium, that doesn’t mean that they are the BEST source… Please keep in mind that the point of this entry is not to get you to stop eating bananas. I just want to get you thinking about some of the information that is fed to us on a daily basis. For example, when people think Vitamin C they think oranges, but did you know that 1 yellow Bell Pepper has almost 4 times the amount of vitamin c as an orange? Yeah, I know. That’s the same reaction I had! 🙂 Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, bananas…

Bananas come in different sizes, so it is hard to say how much potassium, or any other macro or micro nutrient is in “one banana.” The easiest way for us to compare multiple items fairly is to measure out the same amount of each. So, for this conversation we will use 1 cup.

1 cup of mashed banana yields 200 calories, 51gcarbs, 28g sugar, 6g fiber, 2g protein. This amount would contain 806mg potassium. That is a lot of potassium, but that is also a lot of sugar! Quick tip: if you are trying to lose weight, don’t suck down 28g sugar in one sitting! Next item…

1 cup of white beans yields 254 calories, 46g carbs, 19g fiber, 0g sugar, 16g protein, 829mg potassium. This is a much more balanced food and is a lot more nutrient-rich than banana. Next item…

1 cup sweet potato w/ skin yields 180 calories, 41g carbs, 7g fiber, 13g sugar, 4g protein, and 950mg Potassium. Less calories AND carbs than the first two, and contains… get this… 38,433IU Vitamin A! That’s almost 800% daily value! This is also a very strong anti-inflammatory food and is one of my favorites.

So what would I recommend when you are looking to add some potassium in your diet? Hint- not bananas, since you get the same amount of potassium in 1 serving of potato chips as you do in one banana! Drum roll please!…………………………..

Bok Choy! (Chinese Cabbage)

1 cup of boiled (shredded) Bok Choi has only 20 calories, 3g carbs, 1g sugar, 2g fiber, and 3g protein. Its loaded with 630mg potassium! Who knew! They also contain high amounts of vitamin A, Folate, and vitamin K. Bok Choy is one of my favorite veggies. There are plenty of ways to prepare it, and it is delicious just steamed!

Do you have a favorite way of preparing Bok Choy? Message me so I can share!

Quick note: I am expressing personal opinions here. Please contact your doctor before changing your diet. People taking certain heart medications must be careful about the amount of potassium they consume.

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Advanced Leg Circuit

This circuit takes you through 4 exercises with minimal rest. This is an advanced circuit! Please know your own limitations and train accordingly!

The rep ranges discussed are not all matching what is in the video. This was my 3rd set, and I was exhausted!

1st exercise- Single-Leg Touch-Down to Hop (10-15 reps): This is an exercise that helps improve your balance as well as your leg power. Stronger muscles will begin to fatigue and you will start to incorporate more and more muscle fibers. Perfect, considering you will need all the help you can get for the next one!

2nd exercise- Barbell Lunges (alternating): Pick a challenging weight for this one. We are working on strength here, so no need to go with higher reps. A weight that you can do 5-8 reps per leg is perfect!Dig through your heel and make your front leg do all the work! Neck Problems? Use dumbbells instead.

3rd exercise- Barbell Squats (Burnout): Same weight you used for the lunges, just squatting until your form goes to crap. We are using squats to continue the circuit and increase recovery and endurance. Do as many as it takes to fatigue. 3rd time around I stopped at 10… Back Problems? Don’t use any weight. Do SLOW body weight squats or use a leg press machine instead.

4th exercise- Alternating Power Step-Ups: (20 reps) Hold a medicine ball under your chin to help keep your chest up. This is another power exercise, but without the balance aspect. You are using whatever you have left in your legs to complete this one.

Have fun, and remember: you should only be competing with yourself. Not some other guy/girl in the gym. Not you 20 years ago. You, now. Know your limitations and remember that you are doing this to be healthy. Hurting yourself will not help you accomplish ANY goal…

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Garlic Mashed No-Tatoes

I have been looking for a good Cauliflower Puree recipe, but everyone seems to like to take something that should be healthy and add things like butter and cream cheese. Why ruin a healthy dish?!  So I decided to keep it simple, and turn to one of my favorite cooking methods for maximum flavor…


Who doesn’t like roasted garlic? Crazy people, that’s who! So garlic lovers: this one’s for you. And remember, if you are not part of the garlic lover’s club, just adjust the amount of garlic used to suit your taste! Not only is this a great tasting recipe, but it is also a great source of fiber, vitamin B6, and is  LOADED with vitamin C! Oh, and if you have high cholesterol: you’re welcome! This one is great for you!

Garlic Mashed No-Tatoes


1 large head of Cauliflower

1-3 cloves Garlic (I use 3!)

3-4 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tbsp Fage Greek Yogurt 0% Fat

2 tbsp Reduced Fat Milk (optional)

Salt & Pepper*


Pre-heat oven to 375

Place 3 garlic cloves into a glass of water for 5 min (you’ll thank me later).

Remove base and leaves from cauliflower. Chop or break cauliflower head apart into several pieces (smaller pieces cook faster).

Now that it is SUPER easy to remove the husks from the garlic, go ahead and take care of that!

Place cauliflower and garlic into a mixing bowl, toss in 2-3 tbsp olive oil (until coated). Place on foiled baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (go light this time; you can always add more, but can never take it back out!)

Roast in oven for 45-60 minutes, or until browned and fork tender. (I recommend flipping once during last 15-20 minutes)

Place in food processor and let her rip! Once minced, add yogurt, milk (optional, but recommended), and 1 tbsp olive oil. Pulse until mixed thoroughly and desired consistency is met. Salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with green onions/chives and enjoy!

Makes (4) 135-160 calorie servings.



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I’m a Breast Man… Only Because They’re so Easy to Grill!

Chicken breasts are a common food among us gym-goers because they are a great source of (lean) protein, they are cheap, and they are easy to cook. Today I am going to give you a quick how-to when it comes to grilled chicken breasts. Grilled chicken breasts can be hit and miss depending on who is cooking them and how the stars are aligned that particular day…

It doesn’t need to be complicated, but there are a couple of steps that will guarantee perfectly grilled chicken breasts every time!

We are gonna start  with 1 or 2 packages of thawed, boneless, skinless chicken breast. This stuff goes on sale for $1.97/lb, and if you don’t mind pulling the skin off and de-boning it yourself, you can find it for less than  $1/lb! Make sure to get chicken that is as natural as possible and doesn’t contain a lot of “solution”, because it will be harder for you to add your own flavor.

Here is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT STEPS when it comes to guaranteeing that your chicken doesn’t come out dry.

Filet it! One reason that a lot of people have problems getting their chicken breasts to turn out is because of the shape of the chicken breasts themselves. They are very thick on one end and thin on the other. By the time the thicker part is cooked through, most of the chicken is over-cooked and dry… Just keep your palm flat against the chicken and use a SHARP knife to gently “saw” the chicken into two (almost even) pieces.

Now for the marinade… I used this one because not only did it sound good, but there were no “weird” ingredients, the sodium levels were pretty low, and there was no sugar. Your marinade must contain some salt, however, or the chicken will not absorb much of the flavors. I also recommend getting something with a vinegar base or adding a vinegar to it (like white or red wine vinegar) for a little tang. Place chicken in a large mixing bowl, add enough marinade to coat the chicken, then cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge until you are getting ready to grill.

Take the chicken out of the fridge before you start to light the charcoal, or at least 30 minutes prior to grilling if you are using a gas grill. If the chicken is too cold when it goes on the grill the muscle fibers will tighten up and the chicken will get tough. I use 100% natural hard wood charcoal because it doesn’t have all the added chemicals that some charcoal does (especially match light) and it has a better flavor to it. Imagine that- better flavor AND better for you!

Once your charcoals are ready and you have spread them out, make sure to do this one thing before you add your chicken…


Let the charcoal cool down for 5 minutes so that you don’t scorch the chicken. Now because there is oil in the marinade, I am not going to oil the grate on the grill, but you can if it makes you happy 🙂 Just place the chicken directly on the grill and try to spread them out evenly without having them touch. Mmm, now doesn’t that look good?

Pay attention to where the hot spots are on your grill. As you start to flip the breasts over (about 5 min), you will notice that some of them are cooking faster than others (example: the 2nd one from the left). Move them around to share the hotter and cooler spots so that they finish cooking at the same time. You can use a meat thermometer to see if they have reached 160 degrees, or hey, just slice one open and check! When they are about ready to be taken off they will become slightly stiffer and not as “squishy” to the touch and, when cut, the juices will run clear.

So they are now ready to come off the grill. Are you ready to eat? HOLD YOUR HORSES! There is still one more step to make sure that these things turned out perfect.

Tent it!

Place the chicken in a glass dish and cover with foil for about 10-15 min. This is a perfect time to set the table, prepare your salad, and grab a healthy (ish) drink like a Vodka/Soda to enjoy with your meal. It will go perfect with your lemon-herb chicken!

So remember:

  • Start with natural, 1% solution chicken
  • Filet the breasts for quicker, more even cooking times
  • Marinade
  • Let them come to room temperature
  • Let the charcoals “calm down”
  • Tent it!


Happy Memorial Day Weekend! 🙂

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Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

I made this today for the first time and liked it so much I had to share it with you. Remember, this is based on MY body and goals… You can make alternations as necessary or even cut my portions in half to get a lower calorie version (250 cals).

1 cup water

7 oz Yam (Orange/Red)

1 cup Fage Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (whey)

A light sprinkle of Nutmeg and Cinnamon

Blend. Add additional water until you have the consistency that you want, or to increase volume.

Total calories- 505

Total carbs- 65g

Total protein- 58g

Total Fat- 1g

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Staying Fit on Vacation

Last week I took a short vacation to Washington DC, and once again while on vacation, I didn’t gain 1 pound. I have also done the same in China and Italy. Why is it that some people always seem to gain weight while on vacation? Is it because they have a slower metabolism? Is it because the plane ride caused them to swell with water?


The reason that people gain weight on vacation is because… They are on vacation! People do things that they wouldn’t normally do, like drink a margarita or two on a Wednesday. When you are on vacation you tend to eat out every day and we all know what happens after that… Well, guess what? I too eat out every day on vacation and enjoy a a cocktail or two or three more often than I normally would. So what is the difference?

I plan.

Here are my tips for staying fit while away from home:

Where have all the workouts gone? I was lucky enough to be staying at a hotel with a gym inside, so I woke up at 6am every day and did a quick workout (about 1/2 of what I normally do). Hey, it is vacation, right? If you have access to a gym, it is a great way to wake up and get your body and mind ready for a busy day. You will also be able to do more throughout the day because you avoided sleeping in too late and wasting part of your vacation. No gym in your hotel? Try to do some simple body-weight exercises in your room in the morning (dedicate 20 min). Warning: vigorous leg exercises are not a good idea while on vacation. You are going to need your legs! (see next tip)

Taxi? Metro? How about Reebok! Map out where you want to go and check to see how much distance is from place to place. You can walk about a mile in 20 minutes and you will see so much more of the city that you are visiting. Some of my favorite little shops that I saw while in Italy I stumbled upon while walking to my next destination. So pack a pair of comfortable shoes and walk wherever you can. Wait until you are tired before you start to take public transportation. You can always shower before dinner 🙂

Food “on the go:” This one can be tough. Last week one of the hardest meals for me to find was breakfast. After my morning workout I needed something to eat. The only thing around me was a Mc Donald’s. Not cool. All I could do is find something that looked like real food (minimally processed). So for 300 calories, I grabbed an Egg Mc Muffin. English muffin, egg, cheese, and ham (probably the worst thing on it). Those are foods I at least recognize! This is also a satisfying food with plenty of protein (18g).

Lunch and Dinner start way before you sit down to eat. Remember how you normally eat 5-6 meals per day? Why is it that on vacation most of us only eat 3? Nobody wants to spend their whole day looking for food, but what if it were already with you? Try packing single serving bags of trail mix of beef jerky with you for your trip. Costco can be a life saver! One of the biggest reasons for weight gain (vacation or no vacation) is waiting too long between meals. This causes you to be so hungry that you overeat the next time food is in front of you. This tip will not only save you from overeating, it will also save you some money. Money that you could be spending on something else!

Remember: a muffin top is a horrible souvenir! Luckily, it is also very easy to avoid. So on your vacation this summer, follow these tips to keep you looking good in all those pictures that you’ll be taking! Safe travels!

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