Archive for December, 2012

The Defender: A Covert Defensive Tool

Don’t let the small size fool you; this little tool can help you out of a jam!

I recently had the opportunity to learn how to effectively use this device at a training conference I was teaching at and now I am in the process of becoming a certified instructor in the use of it. I plan on teaching my police officers and martial arts students how to use this strange looking object to defend themselves, and in the case of my fellow police officers, to control the bad guy so that he can go to jail!

A Week’s Workout, in 130 Characters

A Week's Workout, in 130 Characters

Short workouts a little birdy created

Sixty percent of our annual weight gain happens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Everyone can use some Fit Travel Workouts during the holidays and who doesn’t want Hard Core ABs into the New Year? so to get a jump on your resolutions and avoid the Heavy Holidays weight gain with a 15 minute workout session from my daily Twitter #moveoftheday tweets! Follow me for more@NikkiFitness  — I tweet a new, free move every day!

A Step Ahead

Fort Meade image

Congratulations!  You’ve navigated the holiday parties, office cookie exchanges,  cocktail toasts and Christmas roasts.  Odds are you’ve indulged a bit and that’s okay.  Rather than wait for your weight loss to begin with your New Year’s resolutions, why not get back on track today?  Here are some simple steps you can take right now to whittle away at holiday weight gain.

Military Fitness Training: Can Mental Toughness be Taught?

military fitness training - mental toughness 2

Military fitness training takes more than just building muscle and increasing your endurance on training runs in combat boots. For some soldiers, the physical part of fitness is easier than the mental fitness required to thrive during military bootcamp and during your entire military career.

Why? Because you can see the results of your training when you’re building up muscle and strength; you can feel the results of your physical training when your cardiovascular system is conditioned and you recover after running and hiking. However, you cannot always measure your mental toughness. In most cases, your head doesn’t get bigger!

Navy Seal Training: Leveraging Stress for Peak Performance

Navy seal training-military training 1

“Common knowledge” and mainstream media define high levels of cortisol (the hormone that is released when you’re faced with danger) as bad. By their definition cortisol should be avoided unless you want health problems and weight gain.  Sounds simple, right? But really that partial understanding is kind of simplistic.

Lack of cortisol and stress do not equal nirvana and good health. Instead, properly managing your stress and fortifying your body so that it can handle the inevitable stress of military training, military life, and combat by releasing protective hormones: cortisol, testosterone, and insulin at the right time and in the right quantities are what bring good health and optimal performance under pressure for a soldier. And, a higher baseline level of cortisol and DHEA may just give you the edge for special ops or Navy Seal Training.

Buon Natale!

Christmas Trees

Growing up in an Italian family, the holiday season  was always steeped in tradition.  Christmas Eve included a culinary feast of fish & assorted seafood.  My mom would make a traditional walnut sauce for the pasta  and inevitably burn the anchovies.  With steam and smoke billowing out of the kitchen, doors and windows were flung open regardless of the subzero temperatures outside.   To this day, nothing says Christmas like scorched fish!  Actually, my mother is a wonderful cook and her kitchen has always been the center of our family gatherings filled with great food,  joy, laughter and love.  During this very special time, let’s enjoy some other holiday traditions we all know and love.

Do you Need Better Supplements for Military Training?

Best dietary supplements-military 1

Soldiers are different. Some would say you’re a special breed because you made a choice to put your life on the line to protect the lives and liberties of people and families that you may never meet. And, we would agree with that. However, you are special in another way too.

Physically and mentally you have to be prepared to meet those duties…everyday. You don’t always have the choice to sleep in, call in sick, or say “no” because you don’t feel like showing up for work.

Great Causes for Giving, Part III

GIft Card

Are you guilty of re-​​gifting?  With only a few days left until Christmas, have you run out of ideas and time to find that perfect gift or, frankly, any gift?  Let’s face it, you’re officially a wrapping paper wreck reaching for anything in your house that can pass for a present.  Before you re-​​wrap, perhaps these Santa-​​worthy causes will warm your heart and spread the true spirit of the season to those you love.   The following individuals and organizations give the ultimate gift, their time and their compassion by making a positive impact in our communities, supporting our wounded warriors, veterans and communities with hope and healing during times of crisis.   

New Year’s Resolution — HIIT Workout

New Year’s Resolution — HIIT Workout

To make sure 2013 is a HIIT, start your resolutions off with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

This type of workout cuts your session in half, by asking you to give double effort in short spurts. In just 30 mins, plyometrics moves tone you while the cardio chisels away the fat.  And there are plenty of recovery intervals between the intense action. You’ll work hard, so you look better and have the energy to play hard.

That’s what I call a resolution!

Great Gadgets for Giving, Part II


If you’re all tangled up in a tinsel tizzy over what to get the fitness enthusiast in your life, here are some of my favorite gifts to get you moving, grooving and feeling great.  The following innovations are my salute to the the American spirit.  These companies and organizations have a great track record of supporting our military community.  Happy shopping and be sure to stay tuned for Part III for special gifts that keep on giving long after the holiday season.

Busting Your Butt at the Gym Only to Sabotage Yourself?

Are you busting your butt in the gym?

Are you busting your butt in the gym, only to sabotage your butt in the kitchen?

An hour of Zumba plus a full body resistance training circuit on Monday, spin class on Tuesday and more lifting, walking hills in the neighborhood on Wednesday plus squats and lunges, Thursday some yoga then more weights, Friday is your rest day then back at it for weekend warrior fun!  Is this YOU??  Great work!  Way to train!  Way to commit!  Oh wait, you went to Zumba on an empty stomach and didn’t eat until mid-​​day?  Then, you ate a pint of ice cream on Tuesday because “you deserved it after spin and weights.”  And, you went out for pizza and wings because “that’s what you do every Wednesday??”  Maybe Thursday you ate clean all day then made Christmas cookies and ate ¼ of the batter and sampled a cookie every time a sheet came out of the oven?  Does this sound familiar?  Sounds like you are busting your butt in the gym only to sabotage your butt in the kitchen.

Combat Fat for Kids (New Book)

Combat Fat for Kids

A review by Stew Smith CSCS

Combat Fat for Kids is my favorite workout book for kids written by long time friend and exceptional trainer and fitness author James Villepigue.  This one appealed to me not only as a father of active kids, but as an elementary school track coach.   I loved this book as it offers a tool for parents to get their children more active, eating right, and most importantly — having FUN doing it.

Little Known Hardgainer Supplement to Build Muscle

Little Known Hardgainer Supplement To Build Muscle

Are you struggling to gain any kind of size?

Are you just another SKINNY dude busting a gut lifting tiny weights in the gym?

Think your genetics SUCK?

I know that feeling all too well!

Well here’s something that can really help prime your body for fast muscle growth…

Great Gadgets for Giving, Part I


If you’re in a “present” panic , I thought it would be fun to share with you some innovative products and inspiring organizations that may be a perfect fit for your gift list.  It is also a great way to celebrate entrepreneurship by supporting Made in the USA products and U.S. companies.  The following gifts, gadgets, and giving opportunities are my salute to ingenuity. These organizations and companies are either founded by veterans or have a great track record of supporting our military community.  Happy shopping and be sure to stay tuned for Part II and III.

What to Pack to Avoid Packing on Holiday Pounds!

What to pack to avoid packing on holiday pounds

It’s time again to pack up your festive clothes and hit the road for the holidays. I want to make sure your suitcase is the only thing that comes back a little heavier — with gifts for you — and that you’re not packing the pounds on yourself.

Start with a plan to avoid the Heavy Holidays and plan for fit travel. I created a Fit Travel DVD workout — shot around the world with no equipment required — prove that you can work out wherever your trip takes you. I also have packing tips for ways to save room and be healthier during the holidays. Here is a video from my recent segment on WCBS/​WLNY TV in New York City to get you inspired.

Military Troops Overweight /​ Unfit for Duty?

Military Troops Overweight /​ Unfit for Duty?

With recent news of the military releasing service members for being overweight /​ obese and failing fitness standards,  it comes as no surprise that as America grows in girth so does our military. In the past year, the military has released more soldiers at the highest rates in history (1600+). Having been in the military fitness writing business for over a decade and served in the 1990’s, this problem is not new.  It is not a military problem — it is a NATIONAL problem of strategic importance, as evidenced in an article written several years ago: Troops Too Fat

Not only are active duty /​ reserve members getting kicked out for failing fitness and body fat standards, but for the first time in history the number one reason for recruits not being able to join the military is failing height /​ weight and body fat standards.  A recruits being overweight /​ obese is greater than a recruit failing to meet the high school education, criminal record, and medical standards. In fact, more than 50% of the requests I get as a fitness writer are from young men and women seeking a plan to lose weight (at least 30–50 lbs) in order to join the military. Just to give you an idea of what body fat percentage standards are getting people kicked out of the service, see the Men and Women’s Body Fat percentages below:



Every good story needs a villain doesn’t it?  Someone or something with wicked intent.  Remember scary Cruella De Vil’s distain for Dalmatian puppies and her love of fur?  The steely-​​eyes and insatiable ah…appetite of Hannibal Lecter?  Or how about the chilling presence of the ultimate villain, Darth Vader, “You don’t know the power of the dark side.”  When confronted with evil, our heros always rise to the challenge, rally the troops and resolve to be victorious no matter the odds.  In real life, we create villains to excuse our less than heroic behavior.  There must be some dastardly demon bent on destroying our wellness and our waistlines. Several years ago, fat became the ultimate foe.  We thought the fat free force was with us, but it may have driven us to our ultimate demise.  So, hold onto your light sabers, it’s time to bring back the fat.

Kickstart YOUR 2013! 5 Steps to Living Fitness Success in 2013

5 Steps to Living Fitness Success in 2013

Konichiwa from Okinawa, Japan!  I’m Anne (pronounced Annie) Peguero, military spouse, 31 weeks pregnant, personal trainer and fitness coach.   I’m thrilled to be writing for YOU and hope I can offer some insight into getting and staying in the best shape of your life while balancing a family when your spouse is deployed AND when your spouse is NOT deployed (which as we all know, can be the more challenging of the two when it comes to our nutrition and fitness) and living the military spouse dream.

Getting started is something that almost everyone who wants to make a change will struggle with at some point.  How to get started frequently stands in the way of execution of any type of program.  Where do I begin?  How do I do this?  What should I eat?  What if I don’t like the gym with all of those meatheads (who, by the way, are 95% of the time very nice people)?  I feel like they are all looking at me (who cares, you are hot, press on with your mission!).   Are these things preventing you from being the very best you?  Do you know there IS a champion– a super fit Mama/​Woman/​Wife or Man (yes men, this can also be applied to you) just waiting to be unleashed?  Do you KNOW you have it in you to be lean, active, strong and healthy?!  I’m here to help you match your outer self with your inner self.  You can do this and the time is NOW.

Good Cheer


A few years ago, while visiting my in-​​laws in Florida, we all decided to kayak to a slip of an island off the Florida coast called Cabbage Key made iconic by Jimmy Buffet in his Cheeseburger in Paradise song.  We didn’t anticipate the headwinds and high waves that assaulted us on our return to the mainland.  A casual paddle turned into a grueling three hour marathon.  I’m convinced it was the hardest I every worked for a burger and margarita.  As Jimmy always says, though, “You do it for the stories you can tell.”   Before you toast your next triumph, let’s uncork the truth about alcohol. 

Driven to Distraction

Driver Safety

I have a notoriously bad habit of multi-​​tasking as most of us do these days.  You’ll often find me pulling out of my driveway while simultaneously fiddling with the radio, putting on my seatbelt, firing up the cell phone, programming the GPS and balancing a water bottle on my lap.  Fortunately, I have conditioned myself to getting this all done before I turn onto the street — thank goodness I have a long driveway!  This time of year can wreak havoc on our attention span.  Long to-​​do lists, travel plans, work, deployments, holiday shopping and every day activity can create a tremendous amount of distraction.  It’s important to keep your wits about you and your wisdom within you when it comes to keeping your focus.