Archive for March, 2013

Get Over the Winter Blues and Spring Into Shape!

Get Over the Winter Blues and Spring Into Shape!

My latest workout DVD, which will launch next winter is called “Slim and De-​​Stress.” Think of the initials S.A.D in my title to replace Seasonal Affective Disorder, also know as S.A.D. The new workout is 30 minutes of high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. I use plyometric moves with winter themes, like snow angels, snowflakes, snowballs, the nordic track, ski lunges, mountain climbers, speed skaters and more.

The best part? It’s shot on location at a Caribbean beach so your mind gets a vacation, and some sunshine, while your body gets a de-​​stressing, endorphin-​​boosting workout.

Busted! 5 Fitness and Health Tips That May Make You Cry


You read articles, watch videos and listen to the experts. But 100% of what you hear isn’t necessarily accurate. We often get channeled into a mindset that certain aspects of health and/​or fitness work or don’t work. Here are five of the most common myths busted!

The Buzz


We have a large family especially on my mom’s side so visits to my grandparents focused around the kitchen table with laughter, stories and lots of food.  As a kid, the traditional Lebanese dishes like tabbouleh and kebbeh were tough on my taste buds.  Thankfully, my uncle Mitch rescued me with his favorite snack — a peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich!  Let’s see what health benefits are buzzing around honey.

M-​​100s — Insane 3 Minute Home Cardio Workout

Effective Bodyweight ExercisesThere is one key component to reaching your fitness goals, regardless of your current fitness levels. Consistency.

That may sound oversimplified but that doesn’t make it any less truthful. However, most people have lives that make this one component very difficult to obtain.

If you’re serious about your fitness goals, if you’d like to transform your body from the state it is in now to that of a modern day Spartan on the inside and out than what I’m about to share with you can help you achieve your goals.

Sweet on You

Tapping Maple Syrup

If you’ve ever traveled around Maine in the early spring, you may be puzzled by the sight of buckets, bags and assorted tin cups attached to the trunks of trees.  No, it’s not lawn art.  It’s actually a tell-​​tale sign of spring — the tradition of tapping maple trees.  In fact, this past weekend we celebrated Maine Maple Sunday when sugar shacks pop up all over the state to boil down the collected buckets of sap into sweet nectar of the pancake gods.  While we may think of maple syrup as a delectable indulgence, it is chock full of health benefits.

Southard Combat System: Reality Based Self Defense!

Tony Southard is a unique man. He has been a full contact professional fighter, a bodyguard for celebrities, a martial arts instructor, a police instructor, a military instructor, a Karate Grandmaster, and a chaplain! This North Carolina based martial arts expert and trainer is a man you should know. Many law enforcement officers, police recruits, and military operators already know Mr. Southard very well. He frequently teaches the local police and military personnel.

Warriors are Elite Athletes: Train Like One!

Daily Pushups? Fitness Testing Help Needed!

“The warfighter is an elite athlete, it is time that training approaches that are scientifically based are updated within the military to match the functional demands of modern warfare…”

This was the observation in an abstract published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health as they talked about strength training for the warfighter.

Military Fitness Training and tests like the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) or “PT Test” and the PFT (Physical Fitness Training) are going to make a leap into the 21st century…finally! Beginning last year, studies in select areas began for the use of updated testing criteria through the Army Physical Readiness Test (APRT) and Army Combat Readiness Test (ACRT).

The idea behind these changes is that soldiers will be better prepared physically if they train how they fight.

Which Program is Right for You?


With hundreds of programs shuffling around the fitness world, how do you know which program is right for you? Are you suppose to be following a fat loss workout, muscle-​​building workout, Crossfit, yoga, Pilates, P90x, Insanity, or whatever the latest craze is at the time? Understanding which program is right for you is always a tough question, and luckily I am here with some answers to help.

For the Guys: How to Pick up a Girl at the Gym!

How to Pick up Girls at the Gym

The gym is a great place to meet other like– minded fitness fans, and dating partners. I could never marry a couch potato, and if you feel the same, you might get help finding the girl of your dreams with the advice in this Men’s Fitness article I participated in.

Got more tips? Tweet them to me at @NikkiFitness.

Fitness-​​fit it in your dating life too! –Nikki (Married to my jogging partner for life)

Brain Games Competition

Have you ever played the board game, Risk?  It is a game of tactics, strategy, negotiation and an occasional lucky roll of the dice.  I used to play it as a kid and must confess that I loved the idea of world domination at least on the virtual level!  I’ve been told that I’m a bit competitive, which I’m certain isn’t true.  I just hate to lose — is that so wrong?  Fortunately, when it comes to keeping our brains healthy, there are moves we can play to make us all winners. 

Training for Military Fitness: Are You Ready for 8 Weeks of Hell?

training for military fitness 7

Eight Weeks. Is that enough time to get your butt into shape?

That’s what a lot of people wonder after the nerves settle, the farewell and good luck parties are just a memory, and the trash talk has passed. They wake up and suddenly realize they are two days into their first week of military fitness training and the cold harsh reality is that it’s only just begun…and secretly they wonder what the hell they’ve gotten into.

Yep…it happens to the best of us.

You wonder if it’s all worth it. And, at the end of the day, when the dust has settled, the muscles have been stretched, the body re-​​hydrated and belly filled with more (quality) calories than you thought anyone could eat…you think, yeah, maybe this will work…but first you have to get through eight weeks of Hell.

Lean and Green


I’ve recently discovered picking and pawning shows on the History channel — yes, I am a total geek!  My favorite game is to count how many times they use the well-​​worn cliché “back in the day.”  So now it’s my turn.  Did you even notice how comic book heroes always had a secret source for their superhuman strength?  Back in the day, Popeye had his can of spinach.  Today, even Ironman has gone green with Chlorophyll shakes — you know, to ward off the blood poisoning brought on by the Palladium core required for the ARC reactor in his body!  Fortunately, for the rest of us, going green is a little less complicated but the results may be just as powerful.

Four Fat Loss Foods

Assorted fruit

I get questions every day on what to eat. Things like snack ideas, good meal recipes, and healthy breakfast foods are hard to come by. Rest assured, I am here to help. Check out these four foods that will help in fat loss, along with an incredible cookbook. Each individual should be looked at on an individual basis to determine what is right for them, but generally speaking, there are some foods that are great for everyone. They are dense in nutrients, and paired with a solid exercise program can help you lose those unwanted pounds.

Military Training Tip #154: Nobody Ever Drown in Sweat

military bootcamp training 4

You’ve seen the movies and military bootcamp training clips, right? A staff sergeant up in your face yelling and screaming for you to do more, push yourself harder and insulting your mama and her combat-​​boot wearing ways.

Most guys respond with an “I’ll show you, you S.O.B.” kind of attitude, fight back and kick it in gear building mental toughness and physical endurance.

For some, this works. For others it’s a recipe for disaster. They actually do push themselves beyond their physical limits and their body quits…way sooner than their mind, pride, ego and spirit do.

If you are entering military bootcamp training with a body that’s not fully conditioned, then you could be setting yourself up for a setback in training. And that sucks.

Military Bootcamp Training Begins with the ASVAB Test: How to get Mentally Sharp

military bootcamp training and asvab test 4

Before you get the opportunity to do a single pushup or run a single mile in military bootcamp training, you have to pass the ASVAB test. This is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test and is given at schools and processing stations across the country.

For some, the mental preparation is more of a workout than P.T. After all, you can’t really see you brain muscle grow when you do several repetitions of study, right? You just have to trust that memorizing all that stuff is going to matter at some point.

So how can you give yourself a mental advantage when you’re studying for the ASVAB test? Well, some studies would suggest that the right dietary supplements that include a dose of Ginseng may help.

Chunky to Hunky

Marines Magazine

Growing up I never had a nickname.  It was always Chris or Chris Anne and, of course, the occasional “Christine!” when I was in big trouble.  When my brother was born he got the nickname Tiger which I thought was a really awesome name because he sounded so tough.  Guys always have the coolest nicknames like The Duke, Maverick, Indiana, and even The Babe.  Occasionally they can be less flattering especially if you find that a certain protruding part of your anatomy is becoming name-​​worthy in it’s own right.   If so, it may be time to banish that belly.

AF PAST — Test Taking Tips (Transitions)

AF PAST — Test Taking Tips (Transitions)

Here is an email from an active duty airman who is training /​ trying out for the AF Para-​​rescue program (AFPJ). He is having issues with his running portion of the PAST which is arranged after the 500m swim.

I have been doing PAST workouts for several weeks. So far, I have done a practice PAST every Monday for the Past 4 weeks, today being the fourth one, and the running seems to kill me every time. The scheduled PAST that I have officially coming up is during the last week of March, somewhere between March 25–29.

It could be your transition or you need a better recovery program. Can you run well normally without the swim first? Perhaps you need to train for your transitions and do more swim — runs and read:

Stress and Recovery — The Cortisol Connection

cortisol and recovery supplements-military training

Is Cortisol bad? Is it only related to stress and gaining weight? In this article we’re going to discuss why athletes and trained soldiers have and need higher cortisol. We’ll also talk about the role of recovery supplements.

So what are recovery supplements and why are they needed for physical and emotional stress? For most people, when you mention the word “cortisol” they think about stress and gaining weight. This is because main stream media often links the two. This leads everyone to believe that cortisol and stress are bad and should be avoided. But is that really true? And…is avoiding stress even possible for someone that actually gets out of bed in the morning?

Stress is not all bad. It’s unmanaged stress that causes all sorts of problems.


Crop Circles

Did you ever see the movie Signs?  I’m not usually into scary movies but this one sucked me in!  The writer/​director, M. Night Shyamalan was able to weave drama, suspense, science fiction and family tragedy into a faithful message of hope.  It all begins with crop circles on a family’s farm and ends with our heros battling for their home and survival from alien invaders.  Fortunately, the signs we usually encounter aren’t extra-​​terrestrial in nature.  From flashing road signs to beeping message lights on our smart phones, signs are designed to get our attention.  Your body is filled with them — maybe it’s time to pay attention to our internal signs.

Training for Army Special Forces with the GoRuck Challenge

Training for Army Special Forces with the GoRuck Challenge

There are many military related fitness events these days.  The GoRuck programs teach valuable lessons such as team work, persistence, and require a never quit attitude pulled from an untapped reservoir of your own mental toughness.  These can be great schools for your own personal growth, a corporate team building exercise, or actual Special Ops preparation.  The GoRuck Challenge (www​.goruckchallenge​.com) is one of those events taught by former Army Special Forces soldiers than can teach you to engage your mental toughness through a challenging 10–12 hour event.  The cadre have performed hundreds of these 10–12 hour Challenges all over the world.  The highly professional cadre let you see a city like you never imagined!  Now there are other options for you to progress no matter what fitness level you are:

Go Ruck Light, Go Ruck Challenge, Go Ruck Selection, Go Ruck Heavy.  Each progress logically