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Protein powder is like the quiet kid in class.

Sure you know his name.

You know a couple things about him.

You might have heard a rumor or two.

But do you really know that much about protein powder?

I'll let you in on a the secrets of this young lad: One of the common rumors around gyms is that protein makes you bulky.

This one could be true….

But is most likely false.

Here's why.

Protein helps build muscle.

But you would have to work VERY hard to get bulk.

As a matter of fact, I'd say you would have to do all of the below, together.
Every day.

You'd have to:

Add in consistent training that progressively gets harder and harder and harder

Eat enough other food to make you gain weight

Sleep 6-8 hours a night, EVERY NIGHT

And you would have to do all of these things, in concert, FOR YEARS.

So, the point is, muscle is EXTREMELY hard to build to the point of being "bulky."

Many times it is easy to mistake muscle gain for weight gain.

Sometimes we have a week or 2 of crappy eating that results in us gaining a couple pounds.

And depending on genetics, it could be held in good or bad places on our bodies.

So, before you go blaming protein, try cleaning up the diet for a couple of weeks and see if you are still looking or feeling bulky.

Another myth that has been in the news lately is that protein is bad for your kidneys.

This one can also be true….

If you do not have properly functioning kidneys.

If you are a healthy adult with no preexisting conditions, protein is safe, and it can be extremely beneficial in helping you lead a healthier lifestyle.

The last myth is, you can only eat a certain amount of protein at every meal.

For most people it doesn't make a difference how much protein you eat per meal, as long as you eat enough throughout the day.

It is optimal to space it out over 3-6 meals when trying to add on muscle.

But when you are just trying to get healthier and lose fat, you can take in protein whenever you find the time.

So now that you know a little bit about protein powder, go say "Hi" and give it a try.

Swing by GFP to try a sample of our favorite protein powder, Doctor’s Whey!

-Bryan Fitzsimmons, CSCS

For the first time in months, I went to bed and slept a whopping 9 hours straight.

9 hours. In a row.

That is quite a feat and something I haven't done in years. It was Friday night that it happened. And I was having a totally regular week except for the fact that I started small Group Training at GFP.

I trained twice during the week. How did I feel? Well, there was overall soreness which I imagine helped make me feel tired...I certainly drank more water than I typically do, but I can only assume it was the workouts that sent me off to dreamland for so long.

But let's back up a few days.

It was Tuesday that I completed my first personal training session. Bryan was my trainer for the hour. We started off with some roller stretching. This was an education for me. (We have a roller at home, but I admit that I had no idea how to use it.) Bryan showed me how to use the roller to put pressure on my muscles that were tight, thereby "massaging the muscle" to prepare it for strength training. It felt pretty good. Also it's not as difficult as it looked.

When the members were all done stretching and warming up, we broke into small groups and started the hour-long class. Although, "Class" is probably the wrong word to describe the hour. It wasn't a matter of Trainer Instructing and Class Listening. No, Bryan took each of us aside, individually and set us out on a series of exercises. A routine that was created for me, at my level (reminder: I'm weak) that only I did. The other adults in my group also got instructions on exercises selected for them to perform. It really was customized moves. And actually, for the whole hour, none of us in my small group did the same thing. That was surprising to me. How was my trainer keeping track of what I was doing and my progress? Hopefully, I can provide you with answers to those questions in another update.

Anyhow, Bryan checked in with me every few minutes and more than once (read: often) he would correct my position or posture to ensure that I was doing the moves right. At one point I remember thinking "wow, these trainers could write a book on 'perfecting your workout'" because there seems to be a lot of tiny adjustments they instructed me to make. They told me these tiny changes were necessary. They didn't want me to do the moves wrong. Made sense.

I had two women in my group. I learned that they have each been members over a year. I also noticed that they were using heavier weights than me and holding their planks in a manner, let's just say, steadier than mine. It was impressive.

By 50 minutes or so, my legs were shaky, not terribly so, but still shaky. My neck actually felt looser and not as tight as it was going into the hour. I felt good. But hungry. I forgot to try the protein shake that another trainer recommended to me. Instead, I drank a coffee.

Next time, I'll work in that protein.

The day after my first two sessions, I felt sore. Both legs. Both arms. And in my abdomen, big time. That soreness lasted for 2 1/2 days. They told me to expect it. Boy, they weren't kidding. But by the end of the week, I felt back to normal, and, oh, walking up stairs 20 times a day already felt a bit easier.

And I guess, I slept really, really good.

by Michelle McCabe, GFP Trainer

Having a trainer tweak your form can lead to big results.

Are you seeing results from your workout regimen? Do you get hurt every once in a while from your workouts? Do you know if you’re doing the right thing when you’re exercising?

If you said yes to any one of the questions above, it may be time to take a look at your plan and see if a professional can help. 

Here at GFP we often see that one small tweak to an exercise can change EVERYTHING. As a coach I witness this happen ALL the time. There have been so many times when we’ve made a small tweak in someone’s form we hear “ OMG! that doesn’t hurt now” or “ Oh, NOW I feel it in that spot!”, and “I totally didn’t know I was supposed to feel it there!”. 

There are a few things  you should know: 

Exercise is not supposed to hurt you.

“No pain, no gain” is an old fashioned saying. Exercise should not hurt you-- if it is, you may be doing it wrong or have an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Our excellent trainers at GFP make sure that the exercises you’re doing are appropriate for YOU and we correct your form so that you don’t get hurt.  BIG TAKE AWAY – you stay healthy so that you can keep coming back to the gym and get results.  

You should know “where you’re supposed to feel it” 

Ever do an exercise and not know if you’re doing it right or feeling it in the right spot? You should know! At the very least you should be able to trust that the exercises you’re doing are working right. GFP trainers are trained to make sure you’re “feeling it” in the right spots and that you are doing the exercises that WILL give you the results you want. 

Finally, you should be getting BETTER!!  

The exercises you’re doing should start to get easier or you should be able to do more, or add heavier weight to them, or progress to a harder version. You should be getting exposed to different and new exercises and coached up on the form. This is how you grow, you get better and get closer to your goals. If you don’t have anyone coaching and correcting you.. how will you know you’re not just spinning your wheels? 

Small tweaks to your form can make a big difference! 

Make sure you have a coach who is a pro and can help you with corrections!


From all of us here at Gabriele Fitness & Performance, we want to congratulate everyone for doing an awesome job in the Memorial Day Meltdown!

The average loss was 8.5% of initial bodyfat, which is one of the best we've seen yet in such a short contest.

We were also able to raise some great money for Brooke and the Healey Family.

And now, what you've all been waiting for: the results!

1st Place: Janet F. & Nicki F. : combined team loss of 29.17%

2nd Place: Brian B & Colin G : combined team loss of 27.5%

3rd Place: Paul I & Andrea I: combined team loss of 27.2%

Congratulations to Janet & Nicki for winning!

 

The better question is: Why shouldn't women lift weights?

Recently I have been getting a lot of questions about why we do this exercise or why we need to go heavier or why is strength day just as good as a metabolic or cardio day from a lot of our women clients.

Lifting weights and getting stronger is an essential part of fitness for women, especially into adulthood. So we're going to start a series about why lifting is so important for women.  If you have any specific questions please email me atjoe@gabrielefitness.com.

Reason 1: Lifting helps you burn more fat!

Let's face it. Most of us work out to look better and shed some excess fat. Lifting weights helps you burn fat fast.  So why is weight training superior to just running on a treadmill for hours on end? Yes  running on the treadmill and strictly metabolic work helps burn calories, but when you stop that metabolic workout you stop burning calories.  It has also been shown that performing only slow long duration workouts and cardio work makes you more efficient at storing body fat.

It is true that doing cardio work can help you dramatically change your body composition.  A lot of treadmill junkies lose a ton of weight; the problem is when you look at the composition most weight lost is lean muscle mass.

This means that you will be lighter on the scale, but you will be a lighter, fatter version of yourself.  If losing that bulge or those saddle bags was your main goal, losing weight in the form of lean mass will not satisfy you. Tom has already talked about the importance of losing the scale, check it out here if you haven't seen it yet and find better alternatives to track your progress.

[youtube_sc url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrzI49B8ehg"]
Weights help burn more calories post workout.  Weight training has been shown to increase calorie burning for up to 48 hours after the last workout, which means more fat burned.So why is it important to use weights when trying to lose fat?

Weights help promote lean mass maintenance and gain.  If you increase your muscle mass your fat percentage goes down.  Also, lean mass burns more calories at rest.  So if you gain a pound of muscle from weight training you will burn more calories during all of your daily activities.

Weight training help with how your food is stored.  When you weight train you throw your body's normal operating balance out of whack.  So when you eat post workout most of your food goes into repairing your muscles and restoring your normal operating enviornment instead of going into fat cells.

Weight training has a huge hormonal effect.  When you weight train your body starts to turn up fat burning hormones and turn down fat storing hormones.  Some studies have shown that after long term training this hormonal shift starts to become the body's new normal.

So if your main goal for training is to lose some excess fat you need to weight train.  Cardio is not bad for women trying to lose fat but it should be used to supplement your heavy weight training not as the main part of your training regimen.

To take advantage of the fat burning effects of weight training, you must weigh train at least 2x per week - but 3-4 is optimal.  You must use the maximal amount of weight for the prescribed reps or time period.  You must also use progressive overload - this means as you train the weights used should get heavier around every 4 weeks.  If you want to keep seeing results you must add weight to change the stimulus.  Using the same weights for months on end will not keep stressing the body and you will no longer see results.

Stay tuned for more articles about why weight training is so important!

Summer is in full swing and it can be quite a crazy time; between all the graduation parties, weddings, and backyard BBQs not only is it difficult to stick to a healthy nutrition plan but workouts often get shortened or skipped entirely.

I knew this summer would be particularly hard to stick to my normal regimen.  Thus far I've had 5 weddings, engagement parties, and weekends at the shore, along with several family parties and plenty more events to come. Simply put, our weekends are BOOKED and there have been lots of opportunities to let loose and indulge in rich foods and relaxing times.

However - I've been determined to find a way to not let these events get in the way of my fitness goals while still enjoying all the that summer brings.  I decided to make a plan - I laid out 5 simple guidelines to help me stay determined, stick to my workouts and enjoy the summer at the same time.

I know that you probably have many fun events and vacations planned and we still have half the summer to go. Don't let vacations or weddings or BBQ parties get in the way of your GOALS this summer! If you have a plan and stayed determined you can still get after it and enjoy life.

Here are my 5 guidelines for keeping this summer a fun and productive one:

1.      Train EVERYWHERE 

We've waited all winter for nice sunny weather and it's here; get outside and take advantage!  Be realistic in that you may not be able to make it to the gym 3 times a week. Make your workouts fun by using the environment you have either on vacation like the beach or at home at a playground or park. Make it fun and use what it available to you.

I've been using every opportunity away from home to get a new and interesting workout in. So far I've worked out on the beach, in hotel gyms and at the playground around the corner from my house.

[youtube_sc url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5_7esHsDVo&feature=youtu.be"]

Playground workout:

2.      Train BEFORE and AFTER

I knew that I'd be indulging a bit this summer and veering off my nutrition plan a bit.  I've been making a point to workout hard either before an event, after, or both. Be determined not to miss a workout. Working hard before and maybe after will make you feel great at your event, if you indulge it will be that much better and you won't feel as guilty.

When I was away for a wedding in MN I took 5 min the morning of the wedding and planned out a workout for myself. I used the timer on my Iphone , set it for 25 min, and got after it for as many rounds as I could in that time frame. Here's what I did:

3.      Enjoy Seasonal Foods & Grilling 

One of the best things about summer is that there is fresh food everywhere and it's time to Grill!  There are tons of farmers markets open in every town so there is no excuse not to find your local farmer and pick up the freshest produce.

It's smart to eat seasonal foods and healthier for the economy and environment too. Fresh fruits, berries, and greens are in season now so pick up your favorites and incorporate them into your summer recipes!

So take advantage of those backyard bbq and tailgate events by enjoying fresh seasonal foods and meats on the grill. I love using the grill to cook everything so I've been using ours a lot. Here's a recipe that I've tried this summer.

Zesty Pineapple-Chicken Kabobs

DIRECTIONS:

Cut pepper and pineapple into chunks. Alternately thread chicken, peppers and pineapple onto skewers.

In a small bowl, combine hot sauce and honey. Brush kabobs with sweet & spicy sauce mixture; grill about 12 to 14 minutes.

TIPS: You can also use beef or shrimp! And try everything over a nice big salad!

4.      Stay in the Know with Summer reading/ Listening

Nothing keeps me more motivated than learning new things about health and nutrition. I find that if I continue to read and hear information to keep me healthy I'm more motivated to maintain my healthy habits.

This summer I picked up several books and have been listening to several podcasts that I've downloaded on  iTunes. I've found it a really great way to pass the time on long car rides or just for when I'm relaxing.

These are books and radio broadcasts that both interest me and are written by really smart and informative people. Knowledge is POWER. So get to Learning something new this summer!

Here are a few really great Podcasts that I've been listening to:

5.      Challenge Yourself

One of the biggest things that has kept me motivated to train this summer is that I've started olympic lifting and I have my first meet coming up in August. I've had to set times and get to sessions with a coach and I've hit training sessions every week.

Having a specific goal in mind and deadlines to meet always gives focus and purpose to your workouts. So you can try it out too; sign up for a new challenging event, race or contest. You can even try one of the warrior dashes or adventure races. It also helps to have someone to be accountable to; so enlist a friend, family or coach to help you out!

Another way to challenge yourself this summer is to reserve "active vacations". Trips like hiking white water rafting, kayaking and even surfing will not only be fun but keep you moving at the same time. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

There is no better example of the Growth Mindset than a developing baby.

My daughter is 6 ½ months old, and has been on the verge of crawling for a few weeks now.

Every day she gets down in her kneeling position and reaches out, moves her legs, reaches out farther - but still no crawl. She just started to crawl backward a little so I know she is very close.

It is amazing to watch this.

She has not crawled forward yet, but I do not think she is frustrated like many of us would be.

She is not going to decide that it is too hard or just not worth the effort.

She is not worried about how Vanessa and I feel, making a mistake or humiliating herself. She will just keep trying until she crawls.

[youtube_sc url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQrLm6zXgto"]

We are ALL born with an intense drive to learn. All of us!

Something along the way in our lives changes this. All of sudden we are afraid to learn because of the potential to make a mistake or look foolish.

This is classic Fixed Mindset thinking and if Bella had these thoughts, she might never crawl.

The Growth Mindset frees us from being so concerned about how we will look if we make a mistake.

The Growth Mindset is your vehicle for constant learning and improvement.

For my first Father's Day I drove to Home Depot and bought myself a real man gift, a Weber charcoal grill. I have never cooked on a charcoal grill because I have used propane my entire life.

This was very exciting.

If you know me personally, you would know I am not that handy. When I saw that the new grill I bought came in a box, I knew it was going to be a long night.

I was determined to grill that night. I had purchased a bunch of grass-fed beef from Whole Foods and wanted to grill burgers on my new charcoal grill.

I started to put the thing together and opened the instructions.

No words, just pictures. I started to sweat.

I got a little help from my neighbor who had the exact same grill, so I was able to see the finished product.

Ok - I was in business. First step complete.

Then I realized after I had hammered the thing that holds the wheel on that I had forgotten the step before and placed the bar on first.

This was a huge mistake, because when you put the thing that holds the wheel on they are impossible to get off without ruining them.

I was so angry. I started telling myself how pathetic I was that I could not even put together a grill!

I contemplated throwing the grill off my deck and screaming.

I thought it will be weeks before that specific part of the grill to arrive. I was in a rage but then looked up and saw another piece, it was a spare!

I couldn't believe it I had been given a second chance, a lifeline.

I saw this as a metaphor for our lives.

There are times when we make mistakes where you say, "Did I really just do something that stupid?" I looked at that extra piece as a second chance. It was right there all along, waiting for me to mess up.

In our lives we are going to make mistakes, but we must trust that there are things out there that will give us a second chance.

If you mess up your health you can get start exercising and eating right.

If you mess up your grades, you can study harder and come back strong

If you make 3 errors in a game you can come back the next game and put forth an effort that will amaze yourself.

This was just an example, but even if that spare part was not in the box, I am sure I would of eventually have gotten it, it just would of taken a long time.

Learn from your mistakes and then capitalize on them right away. If you don't, the things you want in your life will take much longer to attain.  Use mistakes as learning experiences and get better right away.

I put together the rest of the grill and over cooked my burgers. That's an entirely new article!

Yesterday was my first Father's Day. It was a great relaxing day with the family, and as I thought about how incredible it was to be a father I thought about the impact my dad has had on me over the years. I hope to be able to instill the same qualities to my daughter.

My father is a successful man in business and in life. There is no one I know that is more loved by everyone than he is.

In my childhood, I remember 3 very important lessons that he continually taught me. The interesting thing was he not only taught me with his words, but with his actions.

I feel this is a very important trait. If you are trying to instill qualities in others, living those qualities yourself is a necessity.

Here are 3 of the important lessons I picked up from my dad.

  1. Positive Attitude

This was probably the one he preached to me the most. As an ignorant 12 year old kid, I would try to ignore him or feel that he was lecturing me too much about this, but many years later I realize that success in any aspect of your life starts with a positive attitude.

I remember he put a picture of his favorite baseball player, Nolan Ryan, up on my mirror which said, "It all starts with the right attitude."

This stayed on my mirror for years and I still see it clearly today. This shows how seeing or reading something everyday can truly make it a habit

  1. Consideration for others

My dad is the master of this. He is always thinking and caring about other people more than himself. He shows genuine concern for others, regardless if he knows them a little or a lot.

One of my missions in life is to inspire as many youth and adults as possible to reach their full potential in their own lives. Without this quality I learned from him I may not be doing the work I am doing today.

This was one of those skills where he led by example; he never preached this me - I just observed over the years how he lived this way. That is the ultimate leading by example.

  1. Honesty

My dad is in the financial business, which is filled with corruption and greed. I have observed him over the years and can 100% guarantee that he lives with honesty and integrity. This is displayed is all other phases of life. I remember as a youngster being continually reinforced that being honest and living with integrity is essential for living a happy life.

My purpose of this article is to relay the message to all the young parents on this list to make sure to live your live the same way you want your children to be. If you are preaching to your kids to eat the right foods, are you setting the example yourself?

Lessons are not only taught through lectures or posters on the wall, they are most taught through living out the positive qualities you want your children to have.

There were many times I thought my dad was being annoying and he didn't know what he was talking about. I am sure you get that from your children, and I am sure there will be a time where my children feel the same way.

But - it is the continual life example that we live that is slow cooking the messages into the lives of our kids. That is what truly makes an impact later in life. The things you say may be ignored, but the things you do are the difference maker.

Happy Fathers Day!

 by Michelle McCabe

DO YOU WANT to be the best version of you? To achieve success in your work, relationships and other areas of your life?

I recently read a book called the Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement by Anthony Robbins. For those who have not heard or seen Anthony Robbins, he is a self- help author and motivational speaker - and an amazing one!

This book describes the formula for acquiring the specific behavior to make positive changes in your life. It teaches how to achieve something called "Personal Power".

This phrase originally hooked me into reading this book because naturally, as a strength coach I love power. I want to be a more powerful lifter, I want my clients and athletes to be powerful when lifting weights and most importantly I want to empowermy clients to be better people. The best versions of who they want to be.

Personal power is what really separates successful people - "it is the ability to take action".

There are three keys to achieving your own "personal power". Here are my interpretations

1.      ENERGY

Having enough energy is something I believe many of us struggle with on a daily basis. Many of us are over worked, over stressed and don't get nearly enough sleep.

BUT - if you don't have enough energy to make it through the day you probably won't have the energy to take action to change your life. - People of excellence and people who are successful have all the energy to take opportunities and run with them.

2.      SKILL

In order to be successful at something we have to be able to first have the skill or ability to define exactly what we want. Once you can define EXACTLY what it is that you want two skill can help you achieve this:

Remember this phrase: "My Life is the quality of my communication." People who are very successful are masters of communication.

In order to have any experience in life you must communicate well with yourself and you must communicate well with others. The way you "talk" to yourself dictates the way you feel and how you act. Your thoughts, words, tonality, and even your body language and the way you carry yourself send messages to your nervous system and affects the way you dictate your life.

This is why it is important to strive for positivity in the way you speak to yourself, the way you speak to others and the way you carry yourself through your day. If you are constantly speaking to yourself in a positive way and walk around energized and confidently and have an optimistic attitude I promise you it will come back to you ten fold.

At GFP we believe that excellence doesn't come from being genetically talented. Talents can be developed and you can constantly learn and improve yourself. If you want to be successful at something, find someone else who is being successful and use them as a model.

Successful people use their beliefs and use their bodies to take action to produce results in their lives. For example, let's say you want to be able to lose 10 pounds of fat, find someone who has been successful at losing fat and MODEL them.

Ask them what they did to achieve this feat; did they try and try again until they reached their goal? Ask them what they are thinking about when they are trying to complete this; do they have a positive attitude and inner communication?

Watch what they do; do they carry themselves confidently do they get up and try again when they fail? This is only a small example but doing exactly what people of excellence do is a great way to make yourself better and achieve any goal that you have.

 3.      TURN FEAR INTO POWER

Once you have master the first 2 keys the only thing that can keep you from achieving success is YOUR OWN FEAR. Most people are afraid to take action because they do not want to fail.

Realize: that there are no failures JUST results.

There are no failures JUST outcomes. If you realize this you will always succeed at producing results. This is the number one belief system that stands out in people who succeed.

They do not believe in failure and they manifest this daily by learning from their outcomes. Instead of being fearful, take action and then learn from the result. This is how we turn FEAR into POWER.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how much intelligence or talented you are; how much ACTION you take is what matters. I challenge you to go out and start modeling others; start communicating in a positive way and learn from every experience you have. Go out and use your personal power to be successful!

The Importance of Stretching and Soft Tissue Work

 by Michelle  

Many of us cringe at the thought of foam rolling, stretching, and warming up before a workout. It's typically not much fun and not very comfortable. But think about it.. Why are such simple exercises so hard for us? ... Answer: we don't do enough of stretching, foam rolling and mobility work!

Why are we so tight?

General "tightness" and a lack of flexibility is the cause of most people's habitual aches and pains, and can significantly affect your health, quality of life and ability to continue to be active. Restrictions such as scar tissue in our soft tissue can give us that feeling of being "tight" and inflexible. Soft tissue refers to muscles, ligaments, tendons and especially the fascia.

Most people have never heard of fascia - I went to school for 8 years and never really learned much about it until I started working as a strength coach. Fascia wraps around all of our muscles and tissues

Fascia {fash-ee-uh} is the most prevalent tissue in the body yet it is often the least understood. The fascial system is one continuous, laminated, connective-tissue sheath that spreads from head to toe throughout the entire body.

The structure of fascia is often compared to a knit sweater or a web, and its job is to maintain a delicate balance between tension and elasticity. It is known that the health and function of joints and muscles are a direct result of the condition of your fascia.

The problem is that fascia will shorten, thicken and tighten (like shrink-wrap) when any of your tissues are under stress from aging, poor posture, dehydration, improper body mechanics, lack of exercise, repetitive motion, injury, emotional stress, or over-training.

Over time, the accumulation of tight "shrink - wrapped" tissue will place pressure on joints and nerves, and can create pain in areas of your body that seem unrelated to the actual problem area.

How can we loosen up?

At GFP, we have some great solutions to help you increase the health of your fascia and overall flexibility. Two of these you already may know, as they are expected of all our clients before they enter a weight training session. The third method you may not know much about and may be a very beneficial thing for you to try!

1. Foam Rolling

If you haven't already noticed we LOVE foam rolling here. Foam rolling is one of the most important things you can do for yourself before and after you work out! The benefits of foam rolling are many. Compared to traditional static stretching (stretching and holding a position), foam rolling gives us muscle stretch with added pressure that helps to breakdown scar tissue and tightness in the fascia. We call this Self-Myofascial Release or SMR.

Nobody likes it - but it works!

You can think of foam rolling as very similar to deep tissue massage, except that it is being much more affordable and convenient. Foam Rolling only takes about 10 minutes to be effective. Just note that like stretching, foam rolling doesn't produce marked improvements overnight; you'll need to be diligent and stick with it every day (although you'll definitely notice benefits right away).

2. Warming up

Taking your warm-up seriously is key to a great workout. Think about it; in our warm up what do the specific stretches, exercises and mobility drills do for you exactly?

Warming-up increases central nervous system function, makes muscles more elastic, and enables joint lubrication. A proper warm-up helps you to see how you are feeling and make corrections so that you don't hurt yourself in the session. For example, if you feel any side to side imbalances or differences, a few corrective exercises in your warm up will make a huge difference in correcting problems.

My personal favorite benefit of the warm up: Mental preparation. These movements and drills give me a chance to zone in on what I'm about to do in my session and give myself a positive "pump" talk.

3. Fascial Stretch Therapy

This is a method of stretching that you may not have heard of before. Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) is a technique that can drastically improve your flexibility and mobility by decompressing your joints and unwinding the tightened fascia.

What is a FST Session like? 

FST is performed as assisted stretching on a massage table equipped with comfortable straps that stabilize the parts of the body not being worked on.

The stretching sessions include fluid movements and the therapist can either address specific areas of the body that you feel are tight or perform a full body stretch.  While you relax on the table and breathe the therapist gradually eases you into a series of gentle, but deep stretching movements.

The experience is relaxing and pain-free. Unlike traditional stretching, FST integrates several angles and planes of movement that follow the patterns of your fascia.

This type of stretching is not something reserved only for athletes! Remember, being "tight" or having specific aches or tightness can greatly affect your quality of life and you may not even realize it! Whether you're an athlete or not, people of all ages can reach pain-free function and flexibility with Fascial Stretching.

Taking care of our fascia is something that everyone needs!

A habit is an acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically.

A little while back I did some research on how long it takes to develop a habit, and 21-28 days kept popping up as a standard. After further digging from it looks like this is an understatement.

Newer research shows that it takes about 66 days to form a real habit. Remember, a habit is something that is automatic and becomes a part of your life.

My personal example is my morning reading.

I am just about at the 66 day mark of getting up in the AM and going to my basement to read for 30 minutes.

Every morning, no matter what. You Can't make excuses when establishing habits. 

I have said before I was never an avid reader, but I realized that reading 30 minutes a day would be a huge performance enhancer in almost every aspect of my life.

I can say I am hooked on reading for 30 minutes in the AM. Even on Saturdays and Sundays, I have this strong urge to get up and read.

Creating habits is not easy. It takes discipline, focus and having a purpose for creating the habit. My personal purpose for reading every day is a drive to perform better in my life. I value reading 30 minutes a day and feel it is essential in my quest to be the best I can be.

Not establishing habits is a huge factor in why people have trouble losing weight and getting in great shape.  As I mentioned above, creating one habit is not easy because it takes a long time. The biggest mistake people make when creating habits is that they try to create too many habits at one time.

Think about the New Year's resolution crowd. They vow they will eat right, get more sleep, exercise everyday and spend more time with their family all at the same time. This is an incredible amount to change at one time, and while it may be sustained for a few weeks, it is highly unlikely it will become a habit.

Living a healthy life the right way requires establishing the right habits for the long haul.

The first order is to define how important the habit is to you. If you have a big enough why, you will find the how.

If you need to lose 5 pounds and the only thing in your way is a few glasses of wine per night, you know what you need to do. You may not want to give up your wine but you must deal with the consequences if you don't.

Before you succeed, you need to figure out what's more important

The desire to lose 5 pounds must be stronger than the urge to drink wine every night, only than will you have a good chance of creating this habit.

Here is my suggestion of some great habits to develop to live a healthy life. Remember only choose one or 2 at once and you need to give it 66 days!

  1. Eat 20-40 grams of Protein at breakfast
  2. Exercise at least 3x per week
  3. Stick to a nutrition plan 90% of the time
  4. Avoid sugar and processed carbs
  5. Take the right supplements: Vitamin D, Fish Oil, Magnesium
  6. Have green leafy vegetables 3x a day

Choosing just one of these habits and doing it for 66 days in row will definitely improve your health and quality of life.

The results you get in the first 66 days are just the beginning; you now have a great new habit that makes you more healthy and the confidence to go ahead and grab another one and crush that habit for 66 days.

It will take time but great things come to those who are patient and do it the right way!

In order for athletes to perform at the highest level possible and for fitness clients to achieve the fat loss results they desire, hard work is required.

We put everyone through an extensive assessment process to help minimize the risk of injuries, but the reality is injuries are going to happen.

How you handle them is the key.

Many ask the question if they should ice or heat after an injury.

The injuries I am referring to are minor soft tissue injuries, such as sore trap/neck, sore shoulder, lower back, knee, foot etc.

[youtube_sc url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUWGZmsQesU&list=UUFQcwMhvzc1LOPMS9IV8_cQ&index=1&feature=plcp"]

How to Ice After Injury (Joe's Swollen Ankle)

If you have an injury such as very sore upper trap muscle where turning your head is difficult, the area is inflamed.  You need to reduce the inflammation as fast as possible to decrease pain and swelling.If you have an injury like a broken leg stop reading this and please escort yourself to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible.

What Does Ice do?

Ice will to reduce pain, swelling, inflammation, and muscle spasms, promote healing, and help prevent further injury. Ice is the absolute best choice immediately after an injury.

How long should I Ice?

For the first 24-72 hours after an injury or sore area, use ONLY ice for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off as much as possible. Avoid extended direct contact of the ice on skin.

What does heat do?

Heat increases the inflammation, and it is not a good idea to use it during the inflammatory phase.

Putting heat on a new injury is like trying to put a fire out with gasoline. It will just increase the inflammatory response and will prevent the healing process.

After the first few days you can you heat before a workout to warm up the area. But even after this point it is still a good idea to ice after a workout or practice.

Should I get a massage right away after an injury?

Massage is probably the best way to relieve pain with a soft tissue injury. The results we are seeing from the increased number of our clients getting regular massage are incredible, but you need to wait a few days.

Christina Hungria, our massage therapist, recommends to wait about 48-72 hours after an injury to get a massage.

When you have a knot or trigger point, it is like a piece of chewed bubble gum. Since it's all knotted up blood cannot flow through it so it does not heal and keeps causing pain.

Massage breaks up the knots and trigger points and allows blood to flow through the area, which helps promote healing.

Christina also recommends to heat the area she works on for about 20 minutes after the massage.

Heat will rush more blood to the area and speed up the healing process at this time. Remember this is roughly 72 hours after an injury.

Taking care of your body is an essential element of living a long pain free healthy life. Ice is something that is very simple but we often underestimate how important it really is.

Ice!

6. Long distance Cardio and Fat Loss are a bad combination

When I decided to get into this field, I was about 296 pounds and 22% body fat. I had a huge motivation to get leaner as I was moving to the sunny beaches of San Diego in a few months. I had the burning desire to get lean, but little knowledge on doing it the right way.

When you play college football all you do is practice, watch film and lift weights.  I had become very strong and put on a lot of muscle. I estimate I had about 230 pounds of lean mass, but it was covered by a layer of fat.

My (failed) plan to get lean

I did almost an hour of cardio a day.  I still lifted weights, but my weight training sessions were pathetic. My thought process was the more cardio I do, the more weight I will lose.

I lost weight, but in the process I lost a ton of muscle and some fat. If I had taken another route I would have maintained much more muscle mass that I had built instead of losing almost all of it!
Do only cardio, you'll have the body of the guy on the left.

I got down to 215 pounds in only a few months. In this process I had burned a whopping 41 pounds of lean mass and 40 pounds of fat. My teammates would walk by me and not even recognize me.

Dropping as much lean mass as fat is NOT a good thing. When I look back on this now I truly understand that letting cardio training dominate your workouts is not a great recipe for success. Yes I lost weight, but it could and should have been done much more effectively in order to maintain my muscle mass.

Focusing on building lean muscle mass while burning fat will make sure you don't just lose 'weight', but instead you lose fat and look good at the end.

7. Nutrition is almost everything when it come to Fat Loss

When I look at most of our clients' results, it is always the ones who change their nutrition that get the best and fastest results.

I make my living teaching people how to exercise, but I will tell you that if you are looking to lose fat than changing the way you are eating is essential.

Over the past few years I have been exposed to the Paleo System, one I use myself and have seen many of our clients be very successful with this system.

 

Paleo is a lifestyle, not a diet. It is very sustainable after the first few weeks, and I believe it promotes very healthy living across many fronts. Once you get over the initial thought of "How can I avoid breads and pastas?", you will realize that there are a ton of delicious and healthy foods you can eat, without your waistline ballooning.

When kids lift weights, the most important thing to them is the amount of weight lifted. This is fueled by pressure from friends and for the bravado to be able to say I bench or squat this much.

Performing a bench press where the bar comes half way down your chest or a squat that is performed with a ¼ range of motion is truly not advised, as it increases chance of injury and adds no athletic benefit.

I had a kid come in the other day and that said he benched 225 at the local fitness center. Having seen him train before, I did not take his word for it and we took the proper steps to test his bench.

I made him perform the lift correctly and he barely got 200 pounds. This means that he probably did perform 225 on his own, but to what expense to his joints? And who else was in on this to help him???

THE POOP TEST

We use a concept with our athletes called the "Poop Test". If they perform a movement in the weight room and their form looks like poop, we make them stop, lighten the weight, tweak their form and then continue the right way.

This fails the POOP Test - Even if you knew nothing about weight training, this probably doesn't look right.

If your son or daughter is lifting weights on their own, make sure all the movements they are doing pass the POOP TEST! If not they are on their way to disappointing results and a good chance at getting hurt.

Lifting weights the right way is not easy. You may not lift as much weight in the beginning, but strength comes to patient and disciplined athletes who do it right.

Kids need to be taught proper form - letting them into the weight room without proper instruction and supervision is wasting time and contributing to a lifetime of injuries.
Do it Right!

Kids needs to use proper form, load the bar with the right amount of weight and use a program that is balanced to not leave them with overuse injuries.
Here are the things I see many kids do when unsupervised in the weight room with minimal coaching:

The bottom line is this. Kids should be lifting weights. It is a great way to improve confidence, strength and sports performance. The way I see many kids performing lifts outside of our walls is not advised.

4. The Importance of Preparation

In almost every aspect of our lives, being prepared is an essential skill for success.

I can remember taking tests in school where I did not study at all. The result was usually the same: a bad grade and a nervous, disappointed feeling before, during and even the day after the test.

Other times I can remember studying very hard and got excited to take the test because I knew I was going to crush it. There was a feeling of confidence and accomplishment. I loved feeling like this, and all it took was some old school preparation.

If I do not prepare my daily schedule of what I am going to accomplish, my day is usually filled with unproductive work. I usually keep everything I am doing on Google Calendar and refer to it throughout the day to keep me on track. The days when I do not do this are much less productive than when I prepare.

Fail to plan, plan to fail.

If I do not prepare all my food at the beginning of the week, my nutrition is usually not very good. How many times do we catch ourselves not having anything to eat, so we grab what is most convenient: Bagel, fast food, bag of chips, cookies, etc? This is normally not the best choice, and is a major reason why many people do not get the fat loss results they desire.

If I do not have a written program for my training, I usually end up wandering around the gym doing only the things I like and not what I need.

Writing lists is also very helpful here. I have a notebook that is dedicated to just my to-do lists and I am not sure what I would do without it.

If you take the above ideas and consistently prepare yourself, you will be a much more successful person. This is something I try to live by every day, and being consistently prepared is as simple as making a decision to do so.

5. Be a Life-Long Learner

For the longest time, I was a trainer that lacked confidence. I decided I wanted to be a trainer in my last year of college but my undergraduate degree was in business. By not having an exercise science degree, I was far behind in my knowledge and felt inferior to all of my colleagues. At my first job, almost every trainer had exercise science degrees and many even had Masters degrees.

This feeling provided a fuel surge of motivation for me. I knew I was behind everyone else in my education and I had a lot of catching up to do.

I studied every day. I took classes at the local university just to learn, I did not get any college credit for them but I got one step closer to catching up to my peers.

Don't wait like me - start learning young! 

I watched videos every night after long days of training clients, I visited other coaches and asked questions, questions and more questions. I attended seminars almost every other week.

This drive to learn was initially motivated by feeling inferior to my colleagues and even the clients I was working with. Now when I think about learning, it is not about proving anything to anyone, it is just about learning.

Throughout my 10 years my learning has not stopped. I am sure I have surpassed most of the people I felt inferior to, but my new motivation is to be the best I can be and to constantly improve.

My attitude is that I will NEVER know as much as I want to and this constant quest to learn keeps me going.

My learning is not just about training. Business, motivation, leadership, team building, nutrition, relationships and even learning about learning are all things I try to improve.

My solution for this "Read Every Day". I have made it my personal mission to read at least 30 minutes every day. I usually read from 6AM-6:30 AM before Vanessa and Bella get up. Nothing starts your day better than accomplishing this.

A message to all you kids who hate to read: I hated to read more than any of you when I was in school.

What you need is to learn is to love to learn. This may take time, but hopefully it will not take you as long as it took me.

Be fascinated by learning and just fill yourself with knowledge.

Focus on learning, not grades.

Understand the things you are being taught at school, not memorize them. This is such an important concept to grasp. We are more grades-focused than learning-focused.

If you focus on learning, the grades should take care of themselves. Find something you love and want to know more about and you will start to love to read.

The only book I can remember reading as a youngster was the biography of Bo Jackson. He was my one of my favorite athletes and I read his biography cover to cover and loved it.

Find a subject you enjoy and keep learning about it.

Why I stopped and never read another one I have no idea, but the reason I was so into this book was because it was about a subject I wanted to learn more about.

Find something you want to know more about and read 30 minutes every day.

Remember - you are a reflection of all you have learned. Choose wisely.


Stay tuned for part 3!

My career in fitness and sports performance training began in the spring of 2002. It all started with muscle and fitness magazines along with a deep desire to learn everything there is to know in this field.

Next came my first personal training certification (that I so proudly attained), followed by my first real exercise science class, then my first job as a personal trainer at the University of San Diego. The rest is history.

Here are the top 10 lessons I have learned over the last 10 years:

1.   10,000 Hours

If you have not read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, stop reading this article, pick up a copy and finish it! Fast! Probably the best lesson I have learned is that it takes 10,000 hours of purposeful practice to become an expert at anything.

Matthew Syed says that "The practice sessions of aspiring champions have a specific and never-changing purpose: progress. Every second of every minute of every hour, the goal is to extend one's mind and body, to push oneself beyond the outer limits of one's capacities, to engage so deeply in the task that one leaves the training session, literally a changed person."

I later realized that many of my early years had only a few actual purposeful hours. Once I knew the difference between an hour where you worked and an hour where you learned, I became much more effective as a coach and person.

Everyone on the GFP team understands this concept and we work toward it every day. If you stop in our office, you will see "10,000 Hour" stickers all over the place to remind us to keep having purposeful hours.

2. The best learning is done through failure

I was fortunate enough to be able to play football at a pretty high level in college. To be honest, I was a little lucky, and probably a division 1AA player that was in a little over his head at the 1A level.

The thought of me actually playing against teams like Virgina Tech and Miami (Both top 5 teams in the country those years) were long shots, but I was there and knew how to work hard.

Not being a gifted athlete, I struggled against my teammates in practice.

As an offensive lineman you are graded on your performance on each play with a plus or a minus. This gives you a percentage score on your performance for the game. For us, winning was grading out 70%.

One scrimmage in the Fall of my Freshman year, I performed so poorly that I did not even get a grade. They just said in big time southern slang:

"Veenny, you didn't do too good."

 This means I had almost no plus plays and a boatload, possibly all, minuses. I believe I played about 50 plays in the scrimmage.
At the time I didn't understand, but looking back this was a good thing for me. When you pancake somebody, you get a plus and a pat on the back from your coaches, but since little else is said there is only a small learning process, if any at all.

When you make a mistake, you are given feedback - sometimes positive, many times negative in the college football world - but you are given information to help you learn and be better next time.

This scrimmage was one of the most embarrassing times of my life, but when I look back now it was 50 opportunities for me to learn.

50 plays that I could watch on film and then hammer into my brain to not make that mistake again.

I got better that day and I learned much more than anyone else on the field.

3. Passion Leads

About 5 years ago my mother gave me a quote that said "Passion Leads, dough follows. One of the best lessons I have learned from being in the Fitness industry is that loving what you do is a key to happiness in your life

I love everything about what I do. I love helping people, studying training, studying personal development, leading people, the challenge and pressure of running a business and being able to say I really do not feel like I have a job. I never say "oh man, I gotta go work today" or "I can't wait till the weekend."

I spent the first few years waiting for the day I would have to put on a suit and tie and get a real job, but after 10 years in this industry I am here to stay. I have invested the last 10 years of my life into my passion and profession, and I am excited for many more decades of helping people achieve greatness.

I am humbled that many of our athletes ask to interview me for their school projects. I do not think they choose me because of how much money I make or how great I am as a trainer. I believe they ask me because they see I am doing something I love and am able to help many people in the process.

Find what you love and make it your profession and passion.

Stay tuned for lessons 4-6!

by Michelle McCabe

Too often we shy away from competition because we all have a fear of losing or failing to achieve what we set out to accomplish.

However, competition could be the very key to your success! Competition has some very important and valuable elements that can drive you to success.

Competition motivates you

Having a clearly defined goal can really motivate you to achieve above and beyond your expectations. It gives you the extra push to explore the various ways available to reach that goal before your competitors.

When there is a challenge to overcome and an opponent to work against, it inspires us to use creative thinking in reaching our goals. Competition provides determination and allows us a chance to shine in the spotlight.

Competition holds you accountable

Some of us need to be pushed by an external motivator to motivate ourselves. Competition allows our efforts and actions to be recognized by others.

When you have to report to someone else, when you feel a little pressure to perform, it tends to change our behaviors and the way we think.

Competiton forces you to go the extra mile

Can you continue? Do you have what it takes? When there is a challenge ahead and other people are in the race with us we are often able to find that extra enthusiasm and surge of energy that is needed to motivate us to carryon.

We all have that instinct in us to finish what we have started and the desire to be the winner. Competition gives us a reason and the determination to strive to the finish.

Competition teaches lessons for life

Competition can be tough, as it always presents us with a winner and a loser. However, if we treat a challenge as a learning experience and not just a means to an end, there are no losers.

It is important to be able to deal with an outcome; winning or losing, and use it as a tool to better yourself next time. Competition is a great opportunity to receive feed back!

Learn from competition, savor the opportunity to do your best, and then explore ways to improve for the next time.

Competition allows us to PLAY 

When is the last time you really played? Played like you did when you were a kid? As adults we hardly ever give ourselves the time or every allow ourselves to enjoy play time.

Play is an important part of being human we need to take time out of our busy lives for play. Kids compete for FUN.. So why don't we as adults compete anymore? Competition is like play.

Competition reveals resources you never knew you had

Competition sometimes requires thinking outside of the box, exploring any ways to succeed and come out on top. Challenges can inspire us to consider new options that we may not have tried before.

The pressure to win allows for imaginative thinking and the opportunity to develop extra skills and potential. Participation in competitions also compel us to reach out and connect us with networks or people who can give support or guide us on the path to success!

Ultimate Lesson :

The one who challenges themselves positively changes their internal chemistry for ultimate success!

So Challenge yourself to take part in competition! Join the 2012 Gabriele Fitness and Performance Biggest FAT Loser Contest!

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