March 14, 2016

Why you should squat

Today in this episode we discuss squats.   I think doing a squat is one of the most important exercises you can do.   I am a very big fan of squats, and often it is the first exercise I discuss with my clients.

Do you know that squatting is one of the most natural movement patterns of the human body?   A great example is when you need to pick up something off the ground.   Normally, you would squat.   Unfortunately, modern times often find us sitting a lot, which actually inhibits and tightens the muscles that enable a full range of motion and the muscle balance we need to correctly complete squats.

I encourage you to listen to the full episode as we will discuss the various elements of this important exercise.  We’ll discuss the benefits of doing a squat as well as the various types of squats.   Our discussion will also focus on the key elements of proper form to ensure you use the right muscles and avoid injury.

Everyone’s squat may look slightly different, but in the end you will want to find the good form that works with your body. It is difficult to teach the squat in an audio format. In the Forever Fitness Program you will have access to a personal trainer online to help you learn form on the squat and many other exercises.


John success and lessons learned

John has reached the end of his 10-week program, however there is no end in sight to his massive lifestyle change. He’s sharing a bit about his success and a few lessons learned over the past 10 weeks.

First, John recognizes that this was not a program or diet, but a re-education of the healthy lifestyle he should be leading. During this process, John has seen much success. He is now able to enjoy food that does not contain sugar. He now understands why the sugar would affect him and chooses to find healthier food options. He has more willpower than he ever imagined. The biggest lesson he learned is that he is fully in control. He was tired of making excuses for himself. Once he made the decision to change his life and realized he was in control of his path, he was able to make large gains.

Measuring himself became a reality check as to where he started versus where he now stands. His stomach has gone from 47” to 41 1/2”. He has lost almost three inches in his chest, two inches in his waist, three inches in his hips, and three inches in each upper thigh. John feels more empowered than ever before.

However, these successes did not occur without challenges. He had to learn to moderate his drinking, after realizing that beer and alcohol contain sugar that was impacting his results. While he doesn’t want to stop going out socially, he now has the tools to compensate for a drink here or there by adjusting his intake prior to or after having an alcoholic beverage.

John has lost 38 pounds overall. He’s seen his A1C levels drop significantly and plans to be off his medication by October. He’s sharing his lessons learned with others in his life and encourages them to take control of their own health. Once John realized he was in control, success was easily in his future.


Stepping it up

Tammy success and lessons learned

Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

March 10, 2016

How much is enough?

It’s important to make sure you’re getting enough exercise, but how much is enough? In 2008, guidelines were published that explained how much physical activity Americans should be getting. The results showed that the minimum amount of activity was 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.

Interestingly enough, the leisure time activities of individuals were also studied. This showed that those with an activity level below the recommendation had a 20% lower mortality rate. Those that met the guidelines saw a 31% decrease in mortality and those that exceeded the guidelines by three to five times saw a 39% decrease in mortality.

Most people recognize that there are health benefits of exercising regularly. Now there is proof showing that engaging in regular physical activity will lower cancer risk and risk of cardiovascular disease. As the studies have shown, every little bit counts, even activity at a moderate level.

So how can you tell the difference between moderate and vigorous physical activity? If you can carry on a conversation while being active, you’re moving at moderate pace. When the intensity increases such that the heart rate climbs into the 130 to 180 range, this is considered a vigorous mode. However, you should not be doing that for extended periods of time, as it is hard to keep pace. One example of this is high-intensity interval training or HIIT. With HIIT, you push yourself to that max limit and then let yourself recover. This not only improves cardiovascular fitness but will also count toward vigorous activity.

A mix of moderate and vigorous activity is recommended for most people. Try to pair moderate activity with stress reducing activities, such as talking a walk outdoors. This will allow you to relax, lower your cortisol, stimulate your senses, and give you an overall sense of well-being. If you’re still wondering how much is enough, a good target is four to six hours per week of exercise, with the type and style being based on what is important to you.



Have you mastered the art of intensity

March 9, 2016

Ayurveda meets western medicine with Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary

Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary is an integrative neurologist and neuroscientist, and also the author of The Prime: Prepare and Repair Your Body for Spontaneous Weight Loss. A pioneer in integrative medicine and Ayurveda, Dr. Chaudhary advocates for a national awareness of a much needed paradigm shift in medicine towards patient empowerment.

An Ayurvec proverb featured in the book states, “What you eat becomes your mind. As is the food, so is your mind.” This summarizes the premise of The Prime. Dr. Chaudhary explains that people are in such a rush to get things done, that many have lost their connection with food and how critical it is to the body and one’s state of mind.

In The Prime, Dr. Chaudhary says that, “Being overweight is a biochemical issue, not a personality flaw.” In her experience, many of the people who had difficulty changing their diet were successful in other areas of their life. Their difficulty in making this change with food actually had nothing to do with willpower. The truth is, there is an underlying biological obstacle. She was able to implement a unique set of solutions to overcome this obstacle. Once these folks were able to embrace their biochemical nature, they experienced spontaneous weight loss.

Dr. Chaudhary explains that the cause of these obstacles is likely due to neuroadaptation, meaning that the brain is always adapting. The modified food that people eat has a strong impact on the brain, much like that of a drug. It causes a spike in dopamine that actually causes stress to the body and brain. The modified food that is consumed also changes type of bacteria in one’s gut. Having the proper bacteria here is critical for normal brain function. All of this leads to a stressful cycle, which people must overcome to see real change.

Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary’s book, The Prime, is now available on Amazon. There is also a holistic and Ayurvedic-focused program that goes along with the book called The Prime Club, where you can join an online support group that operates under the supervision of a master coach.

The bone broth diet | Dr. KellyAnn Petrucci


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

Tammy success and lessons learned

Tammy is closing out her 10-week program and sharing her success story and lessons learned. At the beginning of her program, she made a commitment. That commitment remains strong today, as she is dedicated to moving forward in her health and fitness journey.

During these 10 weeks, Tammy experienced some challenges. She continued to work through health issues that came up. She has had issues with her back and is committed to working through these issues with a doctor, as this is really part of her overall wellness and an important foundation of her physical health. Though sometimes her issues caused her to be unable to work out, she knew that she couldn’t let that keep her down.

Tammy learned that it is one’s diet, and not necessarily exercise, that is the real key to the equation. She acquired the patience to stick with a solid eating plan over time and really began to focus on the type of food she was eating and making healthier choices.

As a result, Tammy is now fitting back into clothes haven’t fit her for quite some time. She has lost about 25 pounds and reduced her stomach and waist measurement significantly. She’s been a great partner along this journey with her husband, John. Tammy has even shared her experience with co-workers, who are now starting to make some changes in their own health as well.

Tammy now says “no” to so many foods that she never thought she could go without. After this experience, she looks at sweets and knows she doesn’t need them. The lessons that Tammy has learned over the past 10 weeks will continue to pay dividends as she continues this new healthier lifestyle in the future. Tammy knows success is in her future.



Stepping it up

John success and lessons learned

Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

March 7, 2016

Have you mastered the art of intensity

Intensity is an important part of your workout. But how do you know when it’s appropriate to increase the intensity so you’re getting the most benefit while still being efficient?

To increase your intensity is really about progression. You will want to apply intensity in the areas where you really want to see fitness improvement. With cardiovascular fitness, you will see progression in the increased speed or distance of travel.  In strength, applying further resistance so the muscle is challenged, then allowed to rest and recover, will create a greater intensity. This is usually accomplished through adding additional weight. Adding intensity with endurance involves adding more reps, which will increase your performance. And with muscle mass, increased intensity is achieved through greater volume, which should be added over time. A few areas where it does not make sense to increase intensity include mobility, balance, speed, and agility.

To evaluate whether you should increase intensity in your workout, the key is to benchmark yourself to get a clear picture of where you are right now from fitness perspective. Early on in your program, you may see great strength gains. Know that you can add incremental weights of two to five pounds over time and see progress.

Are you worried about overtraining? Your body actually gives you feedback to help prevent this. If you have much pain after a workout or feel weaker at your next performance, it may be an indication that you need more rest. If you’re not sleeping well, this may indicate that your body is not recovering well. Having blood work done is also a good way to get feedback on how your body is responding to your training.

With adding intensity, it’s important to remember to get plenty of rest and maintain your form. This will help in avoiding injury. Have a goal in mind of what you’d like to achieve and occasionally rotate your program to allow your body to destress. Following these steps will ensure that you are successfully able to master the art of intensity.

How much is enough?

The 80/20 rule

Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music

March 4, 2016

Defining success in health and fitness

How do we define health and fitness success? It’s simply about being better than you were yesterday, though a life-altering change may occur as a result. This is clearly seen in the success of previous guests.

Take, for instance, Todd from Episode 15. Todd experienced a phenomenal change when he lost 300 pounds solely through altering his diet and nutrition. Mike from Episode 30 is another great success story. Mike began biking and hiking to increase his fitness. In the process, he developed a deeper passion for those activities, as he is now able to share them with his son. Patty from Episode 35 was determined to not only lose weight, but also quit smoking. She chose to lose the weight and then attacked her smoking habit. While she did gain some weight as a result of quitting her smoking habit, she has improved her health tremendously. Finally, in Episode 55, Mel described her transition from couch potato to running enthusiast. Now in her 50s, Mel is set to run an ultramarathon. Her progress is incredible and truly opens one’s eyes as to what is possible at age 50 and beyond.

While many begin with a goal to lose weight, this is not the goal that will sustain progress. It can even be discouraging when it becomes difficult to lose that last bit of weight. There will always be a plateau. The body will eventually get to its set point, will want to stay there, and will fight you to go any lower.

This is why it is important to have deeper goals with what you want to achieve in regards to your health. Remind yourself about your “why.” Why are you doing this? Family matters or key relationships are often a driver and can help to push you forward in your health and fitness journey. Figure out what drives you and keep that in mind to help propel you to health and fitness success. Don’t limit yourself based on what you see around you. Know that anything is possible with patience, persistence, and progression.

How to maximize your functional fitness


Music: Ben Sound Royalty Free Music


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