Archive for January, 2013

Heavy Metal

Fort Bragg NC Blacksmithing class

For most kids, summers are spent at the pool, on a beach or at summer camp.  Our summers were slightly different as my dad transformed our garage into a foundry.  While other kids were scolded for running with sticks, we donned welders gloves, grabbed heavy metal tongs, snagged a hot metal casting out of the furnace and ran it down to the lake for a good quenching!   While I don’t recommend that form of entertainment for most families, metals do play an important role in our health.

Two Moves to Pack When You Travel

Two moves to pack when you travel

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

The cold winter weather might be keeping you home, away from the gym, or sending you out of town, packing for warmer climates. I was recently reviewed by the New York Times about moves for the busy business traveler, but you can do them anywhere, for any travel reason, or just at home in your living room.

The two they featured are (photo attached, curtesy, NY Times):

1) The Incline push-​​up. When feet are higher than the hands, you get a different challenge for those pectorals. Do 5 sets of 20 reps, for 100 a day. View photo.

2) The reverse fly with hydrant. This works the upper back (trapezius and rhomboids), which is the opposing muscle group to the pecs, so they are perfect to do together. Don’t have a weight? Fill a hotel iron with water and that will do for 20 or more reps! The move also targets your abs because you are off balance, and your outer thighs as you lift your opposite leg out to the side. View photo.

The Beat Goes On

Eielson AFB guitar

Did your parents make you take music lessons when you were a kid?  I had to learn to play the piano.  At the time, I considered it sheer torture. Especially since my piano lessons with Mrs. Mauthe included bicycling past the meanest dogs in the neighborhood.  No matter how hard I pedaled, they always seemed to catch up, nipping at my heels and terrorizing me for a full block until I reached my teacher’s driveway.  Then another form of torture ensued…piano lessons!  In spite of my youth-​​filled drama, I decided to give it another go and I’m reteaching myself how to play minus the task-​​master teacher and the crazed canines.  It’s a bit arduous, but there is something calming about a music filled house.  Science seems to agree especially for those dealing with combat related challenges.

The Spartan 300 Workout and New Variations

The Spartan 300 Workout and New Variations

Most everyone has heard about the Spartan 300 Workout developed for the actors in the movie 300 by the Gym Jones folks. If you have not seen this or tried it, be warned it is pretty advanced, but you can make your own variations with some creativity as the core of this workout is fantastic.

The 300 is designed like this: Six exercises for 50 reps of each = 300 total reps. Now the original 300 is this specific series of exercises:

Blood-​​Doping for Military Sports and Training?

altitude training 9

With all the news about Lance Armstrong and his admission to using banned substances to enhance performance and endurance, there is a risk that he is indirectly endorsing these substances. Afterall, they must work if he won 7 Tour de France titles!

Some will believe that if they don’t resort to “illegal” methods of training then they have no hope of winning. They will be mentally defeated before even stepping foot onto the field. Others will believe that the only way they can win is by breaking the rules and possibly “risk it at all costs…” as Armstrong admitted to being driven to do.

Still others will become cynical and automatically assume that extraordinary sports performance is the result of blood-​​doping, blood transfusions, EPO and testosterone injections or other banned practices.

They will quickly forget the hours of training, the sports and nutritional science, the safe, non-​​doping dietary supplements used, and the genetic benefits of the champion.

Quit Over Reacting!


As a middle child in a family of four kids, I figured out pretty quickly that the best way to get what I wanted was to get along.  I left the melodrama, arguments, and fights to my sister and brothers.  In a funny twist, I ended up acting in theater programs from elementary school into college.  My favorite character was playing the lead in the Greek tragedy Electra.  As in all Greek tragedies, Electra was a tormented soul bent on avenging her father’s murder.  It was a monument to overacting and I loved every minute of it!  While overacting may be the norm for ancient playwrights, your body may be over-​​reacting and causing you more grief than any greek tragedy may dish out.

Need Help Passing Fitness Test in Two Weeks

Need Help Passing Fitness Test in Two Weeks

Here is a very common email received from a young man seeking to join a local police academy.  He has to pass his PFT in two weeks:

Stew, I have about two weeks until I need to pass my fitness test that will allow me to join the County Police Academy.  I need to increase my bench press by 40 lbs  and drop my 1.5 mile run time by two minutes.  What plan do you have or advice do you have for me?

Wow, I have to be honest, I am not sure there is ANY program out there that will allow for that kind of progress on what I am assuming reaching the minimum standards at best.  So you are likely not at all ready to push yourself at these levels yet.  Simply put — you need more time.  Depending on your current fitness level you might be able to get those goals in two months.

Strengthen Glute Medius to Avoid Common Knee Pain

Strengthen Glute Medius to Avoid Common Knee Pain

Here is an article written by a friend of mine who understands common overuse injuries with athletes as well as special operations training programs with regard to knee tendonitis that can shatter a military person’s Special Ops dreams.  Learn how to strengthen the legs /​ hips to help prevent nagging injuries such as Illiotibial Band (ITB) and add some lateral leg movements to your training.

BUD/​s Knee

The most common complaint of pain for a BUD/​s candidate it pain stemming from the Iliotibial Band (ITB, or I Tried BUDs). The ITB starts at the crest of the pelvis above the hip joint and runs to the outside of the knee. Attached to the ITB are the Gluteus Medius, Quadriceps and Hamstring muscles. Common issues with the ITB lead to lateral knee, hip and low back pain. A common issue with tight quads is pain  under the knee cap and tight hams often lead to low back pain.

How Does Creatine Fit into Military Diet and Training?

military diet and training 1

When you’re training for military duty, you want supplements that will give you the results you want, right? So when something like Creatine comes onto the market and is advertised as the “greatest muscle building formula known to man”…it’s tempting to believe all the hype and load up on the stuff.

However, as with everything you put into your body for a competitive edge, you still want it to be safe. And you don’t want to be ripped off.

Did you know the military actually spends a lot of time and money researching dietary supplements? They want to know what works and what’s safe too.

Soldiers, especially those that train for special operations, have the same mental and physical requirements as an elite athlete. However, there is an added concern for safety. You must be able to operate in various climates, often under extreme conditions with environmental risks. If any supplement a soldier is taking interferes with their health then a mission can be compromised and people can die. It’s that simple.

Award-​​Winning Fitness Moves for Your Red Carpet Event

Award-Winning FItness Moves for Your Red Carpet Event

This one’s for the ladies…

It’s awards season, which means it’s the perfect time for a Red Carpet Workout!

As a former red-​​carpet publicist, I spent years prepping clients for big events. But what they really wanted to know about was my personal training secrets.

Working out for the Red Carpet, or for any big formal event, requires a lot of work, but you can cut that workout time in half if you focus on sculpting the six areas that see the spotlight the most in your dress: the triceps, biceps, shoulders, chest, upper back (for posture) and calves (for short dresses).

If you multi-​​task your toning moves and add some cardio to it, you get a 30-​​minute workout that slims while you sculpt these critical areas.

One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words – Chinese Proverb

One picture is worth ten thousand words

When I tell my clients they will be taking photos of themselves each week, most of them cringe with fear.   They say,  “Uuugh do I have to?”  I respond with a resounding YES!  This makes my clients quite unhappy at first, but their unhappy feelings change very, very quickly!

The reason I require weekly photo documentation is very simple, as the Chinese proverb states, “One picture is worth ten thousand words.”

Everyone wants to know WHEN they will see results.  People want to know their hard work is paying off in pounds and inches.  Photos show a perspective that we can’t see in the mirror.  I tell my clients to photograph themselves from the front, both sides and from the back.  This way, all angles are captured!  After about three weeks of clean eating and a solid exercise program, I encourage my clients to look at the before photos compared to their current photos.   The response I get is always packed with motivation!

Worth the Pain?

Worth the Pain?

If you’ve been tracking our friend and elite athlete, Gary Allen, as he took on the arduous journey of running from Maine to Washington D.C. — mission accomplished!  Gary ran 705.2 miles in 15 days culminating in a victory climb up the steps of the U.S. Capitol building last night.  Gary raised over $12,000 for charities with most of the donations benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.  Although you may not take on that kind of extreme fitness challenge, the wear and tear of daily living, regular exercise, and deployments may lead you to reach for the aspirin or ibuprofen.  While pain relief may be comforting, it may also lead to some dangerous habits. 

Men’s Vitamins and DHEA: Building Muscle like a 20-​​year Old?

benefits of mens vitamins with dhea 1

DHEA is a steroid. Military Grade’s Multipurpose Formula and Super Army & Professional Sports Formula contain DHEA. Should you be concerned? Is it Safe? Does it hold up to non-​​doping standards?

Say the word “steroid” and most people are ready to run the other way, suspect you of illegal activity, or harass you for tricking the sports training system. However, when we’re talking about DHEA, or Dehdroepiandrosterone as it’s formally known, we’re talking about a different kind of steroid.

Is Chromium Picolinate the Answer for Lean Muscle Growth?

Vitamins in sport and military 1

When you take supplements or vitamins in sport or to get ready for military training, there are two basic things to consider. 1) Are they safe? 2) Do they work?

On the first point, most would agree that no short term gains using unsafe products are worth long term health risks. Additionally, a soldier can risk more than his or her own health if you have a negative reaction to a supplement that you’re taking. You can risk the mission, and the safety of your unit.

On the second point, that answer can be a little more difficult. Lifestyle, nutrition, your baseline health, and your unique body makeup can affect how much benefit you’re going to get from supplements and vitamins in sport.

Cut Me Some Flax!

Cut Me Some Flax!

Living in the Maine woods, we have our share of wildlife.  It’s fun to investigate all of the critter tracks especially after a fresh snowfall.  We enjoy keeping the bird feeders filled for the Chickadees, Finches and the occasional crafty squirrel or two.  But when it comes to eating nuts and seeds, are they just “for the birds?”  Just recently I got on the flaxseed bandwagon and have enjoyed some impressive results.  Let’s explore the powerful health benefits of flaxseed and how you can easily incorporate it into your daily routine. 

Navy Seal Training: You Think You’re Ready – But are You?

Training to be a navy seal requires physical and mental toughness training

Training to be a Navy Seal is a group project – your mind, your body, and your nutritional foundation all need to work together. And, that preparation begins a long time before you enter military bootcamp. To be successful, I would argue that your training begins the moment you decide to be more than “average”.

Face it, to do what a Navy Seal does in the line of duty requires physical and mental toughness that goes way beyond an average workout, an average level of intelligence, and an average nutrition and dietary routine.

Older vs. Younger Athletic Performance — Who is Best?

Older vs Younger Athletic Performance — Who is Best?

This week, a random group of questions crossed my inbox from our Allies from across the pond and I thought it would make a good discussion on the Fitness Blog.  I look forward to hearing people’s experiences with this topic on both sides:  the Young vs the Old.  Here is the first question /​ topic:

1) At what age does the average man reach his full physical strength and fitness like agility,speed,stamina, strength etc? You can give me a range of age.

There is some research out there on this topic as well as evidence that men peak later in life physically than one might think.  Just look at the ages of the fastest times in marathons, triathlons, Olympic weight lifting etc…for the fastest times and strongest lifters.

One Giant Leap

One Giant Leap

I remember growing up always tinkering with things.  I disassembled everything imaginable from phones to bicycles to radios, much to the dismay of my parents, I’m certain, as I often had parts left over!  Oops.  Discovery has always been a fascination which is probably why my ill-​​conceived hobbies turned into a mechanical engineering degree and career.  Now, as I learn more about the inner and outer workings of our bodies, I find myself just as intrigued by these miraculous machines.  So it is no surprise when I go crazy over new health discoveries: enter Lunasin & LunaRich X™.

How to Become “Invisible” in a Riot

Of course you’re smart enough to avoid dangerous areas prone to a riot, right?

But the very nature of social chaos reveals that riots can occur at a moment’s notice and have been known to occur in such common scenarios as:

  • Sports team championship loss
  • Bad court decision like LA “Rodney King” riots
  • Flash mobs like 2011’s Milwaukee State Fair attack

These very events have led to severe injury and even death where there was once a peaceful environment.

If you find yourself caught in a riot, one of the things you want to make sure of is that you don’t draw attention to yourself.

CLEAN UP Your Diet for Better Health!

CLEAN UP Your Diet for Better Health

Now that we are settling into the New Year, you have probably spent some time reflecting on your life – from career to family to health and everything in between. Maybe you made some resolutions and are determined to make positive changes. If any of these resolutions or changes are related to becoming healthier or dropping a few pounds, you may consider trying to eat CLEAN. The fact that juicing and cleansing are becoming daily conversation pieces shows that we’re all looking for a way to refresh and detoxify. My opinion is that eating CLEAN is all you need to feel better, get healthier, and shed some weight.

Eating CLEAN means eating what nature intended – foods in their natural state – while avoiding processed and refined foods. Ideally, these foods should have only 1–2 ingredients, but more a more loose way of doing this would be to make sure all ingredients are real food ingredients with no preservatives or chemicals (no item listed that you can’t identify or pronounce).