Monday, August 30, 2010

Control it!- Tips for managing those food cravings

Lets face it we all have food cravings at some point in our day or week no matter who we are. Your sitting at work or running errands and it hits you like a freight train.....mmmmm those chips, cookies, or those french fries and it is hard to fight and control. Believe it or not women tend to have more cravings due to their flux of hormonal changes throughout the day.

Here are some reasons people have cravings:

  • Stress

  • Emotional triggers

  • Low blood sugar

  • Hormonal changes etc

The way to beat the cravings is to accept them and not give in every time. Below are some ways that you can help you fight the crave.

1) Eat on a consistent basis- If you eat more often you will control your blood sugar and appetite. Some good choices are:

  • Jerky

  • Fruit

  • Protein bar/shake

  • Yogurt ( Greek style is best )

2 ) Drink water- It will fill you up and kill cravings

3) Try putting it off- When the craving hits try to wait it out and have it at a later time. Maybe give yourself a goal then if you hit the goal you will treat yourself and then give in. By waiting you might also kick the craving all together which is even better!

4) Moderation- If you do treat yourself then make sure it is in moderation. Go ahead and have the slice of pizza but don't have 5 slices. A great tip is to take whatever you are eating and put it in a small bowl, cup or plastic bag while you are eating. This technique will help you eat in control and let you eat some crackers instead of the whole box.

5) Find better versions- If you crave chocolate then try to eat dark chocolate. If you want crackers and dip make it whole grain crackers and a good dip like hummus. Swap ice cream for frozen yogurt.

6) Log your food- This way you can see if there is certain time or reason that you tend to crave something and you can find a way to change this.

7) Be strong! Fight it with mental toughness. Think of the hard work you put in the gym and realize that you will be throwing that all away with that one craving. Don't let the craving control be the one in control!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lift for you.....not to impress

Do your workouts for YOU.....not for the girl in the gym...not for the huge guy doing the 500 lb bench it for yourself and only YOU. How many times have you been asked to spot someone on bench press. You look at the weights and figure there is no way the guy can do what he has on the bar. He tells you he wants to hit 10 reps and you laugh inside. After 3 reps the guy is dead and has no chance so you end up having to bicep curl the rest of the reps. Well that guy.........yeah don't be him! Don't try and look big and lift things you cant or shouldn't be. If you workout right and do what is best for YOU then you will pass up those other losers in the gym anyways.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top 5 -Tricep exercises

Here are some of my favorite triceps exercises in order:

1. Close-grip triceps press- This is the king of the triceps exercises in my opinion because you can load the triceps with the most weight therefore hitting more muscle fibers. The key is to make sure that you keep your elbows tight to your sides while lowering and pressing up with the bar. Make sure to focus on the drive coming from your triceps. I would use anywhere from a 6-10 inch wide grip on the bar depending on what you like best. If you go too narrow you might find it hurts your wrists.

2. Dips- Another classic that not many people think of being the "one of the best." Make sure you go all the way down until your biceps touch your forearms. If you need to add weight use a weighted belt. Try and focus on keeping your body position straight ahead and don't lean down since this will shift more focus on the chest.

3) Decline close-grip presses- These are done just like the regular close-grip presses except they are on a decline bench. Decline presses have been shown to hit up to 10% more muscle fibers....this is good!

4) Seated upright rope triceps extensions- Sit on a upright bench that has a back support. Put the cable pulley machine down low and attach a rope. Have someone hand you the rope and extend it up over head and then twist at the top before lowering. This really hits the inner tricep known as the long head. Most guys don't get work to this area so you should try this!

5) Decline dumbbell triceps extensions- You will get a great stretch of the triceps. Lie on a decline bench and grab dumbbells with your palms facing each other. Keeping your upper arm still, lower your forearms until they hit your biceps and then drive them up.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Build the upper pec

If your upper pec region ( aka...clavicular head ) is lagging behind the rest of your chest then listen up! Now it is true that you cannot truly just isolate one specific spot on your chest but you can do certain exercises to help emphasize one area more than others. Most people don't do enough incline work on their chest and therefore never really develop to their whole potential. If you want to really finish and round out your chest then you must develop the upper pec. If you have shoulder issues than this routine isn't for you.

A) Barbell incline bench press- chose a weight that is heavy

3 sets of 5-6 reps

* Rest 90 seconds between sets

**** After you finish your third set of 5-6 reps immediately strip about half the weight off the bar and then rep out as many reps as possible. You should aim for 15 and up.

B) Dumbbell incline bench press- chose a medium weight here. Remember you might want to go lighter than normal after the first exercise we did.

5 sets of 10-12 reps

* Rest only 60 seconds between sets!

C) Dumbbell incline flys- 1 set of 15 reps
D) Decline pushups ( elevate your feet )-1 set of 15 reps

* Rest 90 seconds- 2 minutes and repeat 2 more times.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gym Etiquette 101- Pay attention!

I have been noticing some people at the gym lately who just don't have a clue when it comes to proper gym etiquette, so I decided to blog about it!

#1) Music- lift away to your music I dont care, just dont have it so loud that the whole gym has to hear it as well.

#2) Sweat- You will sweat when you workout but please have the courtesy to wipe off your equipment when your done. There is nothing worse than getting ready to lie down on a bench and see a big puddle of sweat.....horrible!

#3) Clothing-Dont be the one wearing flip will just look lost and dumb. No jeans, no dress shoes, and definetly no shortie shorts guys unless our a female.

#4) Phones- If you are really waiting for an important call or text then keep your phone on the side but dont sit on equipment and blab away........focus on your workout and not your phone!

#5) Awareness- Pay attention to your surroundings in the gym! Dont walk in front of people trying to watch their form in the mirror, dont bump into anyone, just keep your head up and watch where you are walking. If I am trying to do walking lunges dont stand right in front of me like you dont care either. People need space!

#6) Equipment stealers- If someone is on something always ask if you can jump in first, dont just move someones dumbbells or towel and make yourself at home without checking who is using it.

#7) Spotting- It is ok to ask for a spot but just make sure you return the favor if needed

#8) Talkers- Dont talk to someone trying to workout........wait to they are done with their set. Most people like to focus and take their workouts seriously..... and in no way is your annoying chatter going to help the cause.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sumo style deadlift

Deadlifts are boring you out then try the sumo deadlift. Sumo deadlifts are especially beneficial to those who have had back problems since it places less overall force on the spine. Sumo squat also places extra stress on the inner thighs ( the adductors ) and will enhance development in that area.

How to-

  • Position yourself with your feet under the bar with a very wide stance and your toes pointed outward. Squat down and grab the bar between your legs. Lift the bar by extending your hips and knees to full extension. Still focus on pushing into your heels on the way up.

** Remember that many of you will lack strength and development in the adductors ( inner thigh ) and therefore this will be a new challenge for you so start a little lighter than your normal deadlift weight until you get a feel for the exercise.

Friday, August 13, 2010 need it

Benefits of fiber

  • Helps make you feel full faster

  • Keeps you regular and cleans out your system

  • Lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol ( bad stuff )

  • Regulates blood sugar


Foods rich in fiber

1) Apples- depending on the size can have anywhere between 4-5 grams of fiber

2) Green beans-one cup=4 grams

3) Sweet potato-medium sized potato with skin and all has 5 grams

4) Raspberries-one cup=8 grams!

5) Chickpeas- just three-quarters of a cup gives you 8 grams!!!!

6) Whole grains, nuts, and seeds

7) Oatmeal

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Get a 6-pack like Usher

Usher has always been known to have some of the best abs around.....and well of course numerous hit songs. The key to Ushers look is not only hard work in the gym but hard work in the kitchen as well. Your diet must be in line with your workouts. Usher recently shared his ab routine with Men's Fitness in their June/July 2010 issue. Below is his workout.

Do this at least three times per week. He does a move for 30 seconds, then, after a 10-second rest, runs on the treadmill for two minutes. He repeats with the next movement until he’s done with each exercise. His goal: Five circuits in less than an hour.

Incline Resistance Ball Plank -In a push-up position place your hands on top of the resistance ball. Make sure hands are shoulder width apart, feet are securely balanced on the floor and glutes are not positioned higher than your shoulders. Balance and hold this position for 30 seconds. Breathing is instrumental to maintaining balance. Run on treadmill for 2 minutes with a speed level of 5.4 (adjust levels as needed). After 10 second recovery, repeat. Goal is to complete three sets of this series.

**Contract your whole core during this exercise. Really brace your entire mid section for this plank. If 30 seconds is too easy for you then make the changes needed. Adjust the speeds on the treadmill to suite you as well.

Prone Knee Tuck-Begin on all fours starting in a push-up position. Kneel down, and bring right knee in towards your right elbow. Be sure to alternate knees – right leg to right elbow/left knee to left elbow – and return to the starting position. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds. Run on treadmill for 2 minutes with a speed level of 5.4 (adjust levels as needed). After 10 second recovery, repeat. Goal is to complete three sets of this series.

**Posture is huge on this exercise. Don’t let your hips sag or your butt fly up into the air. Keep a straight line with your body throughout the movement.

Alternating Medicine Ball Pushup-Start in a push-up position with your left hand on the floor and your right hand balanced on top of an 8 lb. medicine ball. While going down simultaneously roll the ball to your left hand. Remember one hand should always be on the ball and the other on the floor – at all times. This is an advanced exercise and requires balance and arm coordination. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds. Run on treadmill for 2 minutes with a speed level of 5.4 (adjust levels as needed). After 10 second recovery, repeat. Goal is to complete three sets of this series.

**If you are not able to complete 30 seconds of pushups with the medicine ball then do some other pushup variation. Like with everything else maintain a tight braced core.

Upside Down Banana Crunch-Laying flat on your stomach, slightly lift your hands and feet as they should not touch the floor. The goal is to roll over on your back reach up and touch your toes without having your hands or feet touch the floor. This is an advanced movement and requires balance. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds. Run on treadmill for 2 minutes with a speed level of 5.4 (adjust levels as needed). After 10 second recovery, repeat. Goal is to complete three sets of this series.

**This is a challenging exercise.

Egg Roll Crunch-Lay on your back with your hands palmed over your ears – cupping your ears. Lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest; Rolling up into a sitting position. Be sure to maintain positioning by keeping your hands over your ears. Once in a sitting position, roll back on your shoulders and your hips should be above your chest. Your goal is to not allow your hands to touch. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds. Run on treadmill for 2 minutes with a speed level of 5.4 (adjust levels as needed). After 10 second recovery, repeat. Goal is to complete three sets of this series.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stud quotes

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"

-Lao Tzu

Monday, August 9, 2010

Brutal chest routine

This is pretty intense and should be done with a spotter or training partner. All three exercises will challenge the chest in a different way and promote new growth! This routine takes you from the hardest most demanding exercise at the beginning to the least demanding ( yet still hard ) exercise at the end.

A) Slows- Flat dumbbell chest press- 8 reps with a 8 second count on the way up and down

Do 3 sets with a 90 second to 2 minute rest in between sets. You might need to drop the weight on each set.

** This is really hard and if you are not used to it this will be a major shock and you might find it hard on your wrists and grip. What makes it hard is the 8 second count on the way up from the bottom. You are counting a 8 second count as you lower the weight down to the bottom and then in control pressing the weight up for 8 seconds.

B ) Negatives-Flat barbell bench press- 6-8 reps with a 8 second negative

Do 3 sets with a 90 second rest between sets.

** Lower the weight for 8 seconds on the way down and then have your spotter lift the weight on the way up for you.

C) Speed- Flat dumbbell chest press-12 reps as fast as you can

Do 3 sets with 1 minute rest between sets. Do not drop the weight

** Focus here is speed and not how much weight you can lift. Explode on the way up with the weight and lower it quickly. Remember we want speed, but controled speed. Use a proper weight to get the fastest reps possible.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

I will answer your questions

If you have any questions that you would like answered or have an idea for a blog post you would like to see written just send me an email at

Friday, August 6, 2010

H4 Favorite # 7- Turkey Tom Tom Snack Sticks

I am always looking for a high protein snack that I can eat on the go or throughout my day and in doing so I found this snack. The Tom Tom snack stick is like I said, high in protein, but also it is free of preservatives, nitirates, nitrites or antibiotics. You can buy it in either original or my personal favorite hot-n-spicy. You usually can find them at Whole Foods or you can buy them online through Wellshire Family Farms

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Change to get change

Many of us fall into routine on a weekly basis at the gym and this lack of change ends up being our downfall. About 99% of the population does chest on Mondays and many coin the term "Bench Mondays" since you can find almost every man alive hitting the bench. For many people the first couple days of the week are their best and most intense workouts and then as Thursday, Friday and Saturday come along their workouts drop off or become non-existent.

Below are some examples of problems you might have and the solutions to change those starting today!

Problem 1- You have no core or your core is generally weak

CHANGE- Start doing your core work at the beginning of your workouts. Almost all of us end our workout will 2 minutes of core work as we are rushing out of the gym and are minds are focused on whats ahead in the day. Make core a priority and do it right when you are fresh in the beginning.

Problem 2- Your incline bench press strength is lagging behind your flat press

CHANGE- Do not always do flat press first and then follow it up with incline. By making the incline press your second exercise every workout you will always be pre-fatigued and therefore not as strong on the lift. Flip things around at start the workout with incline presses first and watch your strength shoot up. This can be done for any lagging exercise.

Problem 3- You have shoulder/rotator cuff issues

CHANGE- Start doing rotator cuff exercises 2-3 times a week for at least 1-2 months and notice the improvement that will occur. If you follow that along with taking some time away from pressing movements your shoulder health will greatly improve as will your pressing strength.

Problem 4- Your legs don't grow like your upper body

CHANGE- This is a problem for most guys and I can say that I fall under this umbrella too. We often put so much intensity into our upper body workouts and then wuss out on our lower body workouts. Next time you do legs don't quit early, don't settle for less, push yourself just as hard if not harder than you do your upper body. Doing legs is more of a mental challenge than anything so stay focused and make it happen.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Want to burn more calories?

Use an incline next time you run or walk. You can burn up to 50% more calories on an incline compared to level ground. This can be done by increasing the incline on your favorite piece of cardio equipment or simply walking or running up hills or any elevated surface.


  • Larger muscles must work that much harder and therefore you burn more calories

  • You will get more bang for your buck in less time at the gym

  • Firm up your butt and back of your thighs

** Remember to take it slow especially if you have never really worked out on an incline before. The intensity will be higher and you will get winded quicker. Start slow and then gradually increase the % incline each workout.