Monday, August 10, 2015

Your #1 Worst Enemy

It's sitting there in the corner, silently. Crouching, waiting. Wordlessly, patiently, it waits for you. It silently calls to you, daring you. "Will you measure yourself by me?"

Don't listen.

Your enemy, the scale. The lying metal, glass and electronic serpent.

Do you know why? Because it seldom can tell the whole truth. Yes, it tells us how much we weigh, but it doesn't know our muscle mass, it doesn't know if our measurements changed. 

For example, I weighed the same weight for three years, I don't look the same though - it was a very different looking weight at the end of the three years than at the start.

So, don't just use a scale to document your journey, take all your measurements (chest, waist, hips, thighs, biceps). Take a picture every week. You'll be amazed at some of the changes you'll see - even when there are times the scale doesn't seem to move.

You can do this.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Don't Body Shame Yourself

Don’t Body Shame Yourself

Maybe I’m the only one that does this – maybe not – but the truth is none of us should do this ever, and here's why.

My story – I’m a 54 year old dad of 5 that had been fit most of his life till I put on weight at the worst time (at least in terms of cosmetically having my skin bounce back) – my late 40s. When I started to lose the weight at 50, there was no forgiving youthful skin.

Also at over 50, the metabolism doesn’t crank quite as fast as it did even in my 40s. So, while I see fabulous results from the programs I do and recommend for other folks, I myself see limited benefits – other than being in great health, being stronger than I’ve ever been and being able to embarrass most guys half my age – but I don’t have the fabulous abs that I think I want.

So, I body shame myself.  I think “Dude! You’re a Personal Trainer! You’ve gotten nutrition certification! You should be able to crack the code for all these mid-life crisis baby-boomers to get in phenomenal shape!

And truth, I can. But what I do is different. I like to eat dinner with my family. I don’t like to put pressure on my wife (who home schools my 3 youngest, is one of the co-administrators of the cooperative they attend, does the budget, shops organic, makes most of the meals for the family) to have to cook every meal to meet strict dietary guidelines. I also (because I have five kids) don’t train six times a week. I train 3 days with full body workouts and I get my 10k steps in every day. No half marathon training, no two a days. So, I really train a lot more like a normal 50-something year old guy with a family who wants to stay fit, strong and healthy.

But when I look in the mirror (other than flexing my arms ;-)) there are just some days I get mad. I’m frustrated. I think “DAMN! 10 years ago I would have already been 10 pounds lighter! How come I’m not?! I suck. I’m fat. I’m never going to look good in that bathing suit.”

And that’s wrong. Because, yes, 10 – 20 or even 30 years ago I would have dropped the weight in next to no time, but that’s not the case anymore. And the case is I’m studying for more certifications, getting my marketing strategy set to launch a business, working a full time mentally demanding job, and oh yes, being a husband, dad and general lawn maintenance guy for my household.

Here’s the TRUTH. Instead of being mad. Instead of body shaming myself because I’m not 20, I should be doing back-flips!

  • I can run around with my five year old son and roll on the floor with him, coach his baseball team and play catch.
  • I can intimidate the boys that want to suit my teenage daughters (yes, they’ve told me, and some of the guys have been six foot 200+ pounders).
  • I can carry my youngest girl from the car to the emergency room after she sliced open her leg and needed to get stitches – without getting winded.
  • I can carry all the luggage out to the van for my oldest girls going on a summer vacation.
  • I can motivate my eldest girl to be a fitspiration herself.
The truth is, I’m exactly where I should be for a guy that likes to spend time with his family, likes to have a little chocolate sometimes and doesn’t want to spend his life in the gym.

So today, I’m not going to body shame myself, I’m going to rejoice. I’m going to celebrate four years of turning my life around and being in great shape. I’m going to celebrate that I just ran my 3rd Warrior Dash, and did it in my best time and it had the most obstacles. I'm going to celebrate that I'm in good health, I'm not injured and I can enjoy every blessing I've been given, including time with my family.

Join me in the celebration!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


What! Blasphemy!

I know! I know! I’ve said what everyone says that you can’t do, but it’s true. EAT CARBS! And I’ll tell you why.

Before I start: this will take you about 10 minutes to read. I cut it down as much as I could while still providing at least the very, very minimal amount of explanation. To FULLY get all of the reasons for the science behind what I’m telling you, you’d have to study all the manuals I have and read all the books I have. Even to do a credible job of summarizing that, you’d be looking at about 20 pages (or so) of reading.  Go with me here – you’ll be glad you did. And, you can always as questions in the comments. :D


Understand that I am a big believer in eating grass fed beef, lamb, whatever – free range chicken and whole foods.  

Note: I didn’t include grains in there, especially not wheat or GMO corn (Momma says wheat is the DEBIL!) or even rice. Not even quinoa! But hang in.


Also note that I didn’t say you couldn’t eat the above (well, other than wheat & GMO corn), but I don’t highly recommend it.


Now you’re saying “But how am I supposed to eat carbs then?”  Great question.  An even better one is “How am I supposed to eat carbs and get fit?!”

The answer is TIMING.


What TO DO

Only eat starchy carbs within a three hour window from WHEN you worked out. Not before you work out, AFTER you work out. When you eat those starchy carbs, only do so with less than 5g of associated fat.


WHY Do What You Do

Part 1 – Starchy Carb Storage

So, carbs are cool, especially carbs from green leafy things.  Carbs from tubers (sweet potatoes, regular potatoes), grains (including rice, whole grain rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat) are starchy carbs and they’re not so cool – they’re HOT.

Starchy carbs get virtually immediately converted to glucose, which in turn wants to fuel your muscles or refuel depleted glycogen muscle stores.  When you eat starchy carbs without having worked out, guess what happens? They get stored as fat. Yay. Oh, wait, no that’s not good.


Part 2 – Starchy Carb Utilization for Recovery and Fat Burning

When you eat starchy carbs after a workout? They do exactly what you want them to do! They fuel your muscle and your recovery. This is the BEST way to utilize carbs! Your system gets revved up and the carbs don’t get stored as fat.


What Else You Need to Do

Part 1 – So Don’t have Starchy Carbs at Every Meal

While having those starchy carbs within a 3 hour window after a workout is great, having them at other meals is not so good.  Like I mentioned, carbs (and fat) are easy to process, so they’re stored as fat almost right away while your body is processing your proteins. They also have other effects like spiking your insulin levels and causing inflammation. So, instead have FAT.

Part 2 – FAT

What you say?  Yes, FAT. Fat gets processed differently (though it does process quickly) and the body does a much better job of getting rid of what it doesn’t need (like excess cholesterol) and it also doesn’t cause inflammation.

Eat foods that are high in GOOD fat. Good fat. Fat from grass fed cows. If you can’t afford grass fed beef (and I understand this, I have 5 children and even hamburger is $6 lb at Trader Joe’s) then get REALLY lean beef and eat other healthy fats like: coconut oil, avocado and raw almonds. And you can have eggs again – the whole EGG!

Part 3 – Eggs

Eggs (especially organic eggs) are REALLY good for you. The big thing they always got a bad rap for (because of some really bad science from the turn of the 20th century – we’re in the 21st BTW) was cholesterol. As it turns out the type of cholesterol they provide for us is HEALTHY. And, it’s what our brains use to function (so even if it doesn’t make you smarter, at least you think more clearly) and for guys – it’s what keeps our (in our own minds) most important body part functioning. So there, have an nice spinach omelet for breakfast. You’ll be glad you did.


So THERE. Yes you can have starchy carbs and get FIT! The key is when you eat them.  Try to stick to sweet potatoes or potatoes (though sweet potatoes are much better for several reasons). You can also have rice (about a cup) or so if you’d like. Stay AWAY from wheat and GMO corn. You’ll be rocking in no time!

PS Also, have a cheat day. At least once every two weeks, recommended once every 7 days (or even some people are recommending one every 5 days now – I’m still testing that on myself and doing the research to see if there were good conclusions for that).

PPS Got questions? ASK them!

Monday, January 5, 2015

5 Steps to a New You in the New Year!

Ready to get healthy and fit as your New Year’s Resolution? Awesome, here’s your 5 step plan.

COMMIT.  Write down your goal (whatever it is: lose weight, get fit, be more active). 

Put it on your mirror. If you’re like me, then put it in the app that you see every morning that’s like looking in the mirror!

For me, it's my FitBit app. 

You didn’t get to where you are by accident. You won’t achieve long term health goals by doing the same things. CHANGE YOUR MIND. Get new information that will help you achieve your goals.

Eat real, whole foods. The SAD (Standard American Diet) is a pile of falsehoods, big food influences and politics. If you were born after 1950, you don’t remember a time when this nation ate the way it should. 

Ignore the food pyramid or MyPlate – eat real, organic veggies and grass fed beef or free range chicken. Don’t be afraid of fat, you need it to burn calories, absorb and process vitamins and for good brain function (especially cholesterol!)

Find someone you can partner with to be accountable for your commitments – and also as someone to encourage you and work with you towards that goal!

Don’t wait, get moving. You can start just by getting 10-15 minutes of walking/movement a day. 

Work your way up to 30 minutes in five minute increments. That’s your baseline. Don’t anticipate weight loss (likely you won’t lose any) but look for some cardiovascular endurance and general strengthening. Hit some stairs along that route too. After that, come back here and you’ll find available programs that will help you meet your fitness goals.

YOU CAN DO IT.  You were designed for greatness. Engage.



Want help? Contact me @NoGuiltFitness ( or on Facebook

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Give Yourself the Greatest Gift

Four (4) years ago Christmas 2010 was my first cheat day. 

I was still a mess, I was still 33 pounds heavier than I am now, but I had given myself and my family the best gift I could ever give them (aside from Jesus, the reason for Christmas) – which was my health, energy and vigor.

That year (2010) I had turned 50. I had a one year old son (and four older girls). One day in the fall, shortly after my birthday, I needed to pick up my son, but I found I couldn’t bend over and get him, I had to bend to the side to do it. I knew then I had to change things. Really, I knew before then.

Though I was a fat kid (no, not chubby, fat) I had actually been very active as an athlete through my high school and college years (even running cross country in college). I was a fitness fanatic and was in great condition.

 In my early 40s I had gained some weight (about 10 lbs or so heavier than I am now) and got Tony Horton’s first full workout series from Beach Body (Power 90) and lost the weight and gained some muscle.

Then we had three more kids. I had two years where I was virtually unemployed, working contracting gigs where we could find them. The job market changed dramatically, and where once I could work from home, I was now required to go into the city (Boston) for most of my jobs – which paid less – and incur either public transportation expense or gas and parking expense. Additionally, I was travelling a minimum of 1.5 – 2 hours EACH way to and from work. We were squeezing pennies and so I squeezed my food budget. My lunch was typically a chicken patty of some kind with Ramen and a half bag of mixed veggies.

50 years old, weighing 195 - Those were 36 inch waist pants, that I had to UNBUTTON.

Needless to say, between the stress, the travel, the lack of exercise and the poor diet, my weight skyrocketed. In no time I was up to 195 lbs. Maybe not too bad on a guy 6’2” but on a guy 5’6” (ish) – well you can see the picture, it looked like I had swallowed a beach ball. I know at one point I had published a video talking about design and I looked at my head and thought “Oh my God! I look like a swollen tick!” – I almost didn’t recognize the guy in the mirror.

So, there I was, suffering later in life weight gain and at the worst time (with a young family) loosing energy and endangering my health and ability to provide for them. I couldn’t ignore the problem any longer – I had to make a change.

I ordered a book I had just heard about, Tim Ferris’ The 4-Hour Body. Ferris (in case you don’t know who he is) became famous for his book “The 4-Hour Work Week”. He’s a well known bio-hacker, and he had come out with this book with a simplified eating plan and some basic exercises that could be done in a few minutes a week. I jumped on it.
I got the book in mid-December and devoured it (it’s gigantic by the way) and decided that it was then or never – I had to make the change. So, the first week of the rest of my life was the week leading up to Christmas (on a Saturday that year) and that was my first week of change. My first cheat day was Christmas.

I lost 30 lbs just by changing what I ate. By the way, your nutrition plan – that is “what you eat” or your diet – is the most important part of any program for better health. Those around me and those I train and consult with know my maxim “you can’t out exercise poor eating”.

An interesting thing happened then. Because I was loosing weight, because I realized that my work situation was conducive to my health or my family, I felt lead to make some changes. I didn’t know how it would work out, I didn’t know where it would have me end up, but I knew that I needed to make the changes regardless. So I started looking for how.

In a miraculous occurrence of timing and opportunity, during the spring of 2011, we found ourselves moving from the cold temperature climate of New England to the Queen City of Charlotte, NC. My job situation changed, the environment I worked in changed, the home we moved into actually had room for all of the family without all being on top of each other (we had 8 people living in 1,200 square feet, plus some space in my partially renovated basement), I was working 20 minutes from home. I saw my kids in the morning, I saw them at dinner, I got to put them to bed. I could spend time with my wife.

Yes, we were blessed. I know things don’t always happen that quickly (remember the 2 years of virtual unemployment – one in which I paid more mortgage interest than I actually made that year… somehow), but because they had, I also had time to get better physical condition in addition to having lost the weight.

Since then, I’ve become more fit and more active and become a certified personal trainer. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I’ve lost and kept off another 5-10 lbs (a. It’s not quite as easy when you get older b. I also got injured twice and had to completely stop working out for the last quarter of both 2011 and 2012 so I put a little weight back on because of the inactivity – but then was able to get back on track. NEVER QUIT! :-D )

My goal is to help people to change their lives by helping them regain their health (no matter their age) so they can live out a full and complete life to the best of their ability. I did it at 50 - I know you can do it too.

52 & 54 (left to right) after the 2012 & 2014 Warrior Dash, weighing 160 lbs

So why the big story? Why the life history? Because I want you to understand how it all started. How taking the action on the week before Christmas to change how I ate changed the entire course of my life and the life of my family.

Don’t wait. Don’t wait for the new year. Don’t wait another week, or even another day. Make the change now. I’ll be here to help and to cheer you on.

To all, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

To your health –


Friday, December 12, 2014

It's All About That Bass (Bring Booty Back!)

While none of us want to end up with too much "junk in the trunk" especially while we're attempting to fit into our holiday finest, a lot of folks aren't really sure what they can do to maintain a toned deriere and firm toned legs.  Well, if you want to bring booty back, then keep reading to find out the BEST tips for building that killer tusche and rock hard thighs.

Stop doing squats like you've probably been taught to do them. Usually, the instructions you hear are something like this. "Ok, get comfortable, feet about shoulder width apart toes forward." Which, is a commonly taught and "ok" type of squat to do. It has a couple of drawbacks, namely:

1. It really works your quads the more than anything else, so no booty for you.
2. Most people don't track out properly over your toes and it puts pressure on the knees.

Understand, these are good for what they do. They will build your quads, but if you want a better squat that builds your booty, then make this simple adjustment.
Goblet Squat

The simple adjustment is to turn your feet out to somewhere between 11 and 1 and 10 and 2. This adjustment does a several things for you.

  1. It really activates the inside of your thighs (the adductors and the gracilis muscles) much more. No worries, you're still getting plenty of work on your quadriceps group as well, but that's not the primary thing anymore.
    Note: The first time you do squats like this, go LIGHT, you won't believe how much you've never felt your gracilis muscles before. Trust me on this.
  2. This squat works your butt in a MAJOR way. It's going to really fire those glutes - all of the glutes (max, min and med).
  3. It protects your knees. Specifically, it saves strain on your Vastus Medalus, (the muscle that runs on the inside of your knee) and the tendons to the inside as well.

Now you know the adjustment to make and the benefit, your question might be, what exercise(s) can I do?  The answer? Many.

  1. Bodyweight squat. You don't need weights, and if you're doing this squat correctly when you do it the first week, I'd actually recommend doing body weight only.
  2. The Goblet Squat (see image). This one is my personal favorite. It's GREAT beause just by holding the weight properly, you automatically keep yourself centered. You hold the weight close (it's not a big bar) so you don't need to be worried about being pulled off balance - even when you start to get the weight up there. Best chance to do your best and not get injured, which is critical.
  3. Back Squats. Unless you're a body builder I tend to recommend against back squats. Especially if you're working out alone and/or in a home gym there are just lots of opportunities to get hurt. Additionally, even when done in proper form, they really load your lower back, so the potential to injure that in addition to other things that might happen don't seem to be worth it to me.

There you have the answers! If it's all about the base and you want to bring booty back - it's the right squats done in good form. Now go get them so you can rock that holiday outfit!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's Not the FAT that will kill you - it's the FRENCH FRIES!

It's Not the FAT that will kill you - it's the FRENCH FRIES

It's true!  The recipie for french fries is not good for you. The components? Well, that's different.

BTW, this is a post based on a real life conversation I was having, thought I'd share with you as well.

FAT isn't bad for you. In fact, fat is GOOD for you. It's essential. And, if you want to loose weight, you MUST eat healthy fats (about 20-30% of your caloric intake) to do so efficiently.

The kinds of fats that are used to make most french fries areHORRIBLE for you. There are a range of oils and such that are used, and 99.9% of them are bad for you - so really, the bad fats in french fries are bad for you all by themselves. Avoid them no matter where they may be found.

The thing that kills you (or more accurately your weight loss effort) about french fries is the combination of fat (lots proportionately to the total energy) AND starchy carbs.
The reason why fat and starchy carbs together are bad for you is because of how your body processes fat and starch.

Essentially, both fat and starchy carbs are short term energy items and are burned or stored immediately. Also, as calorie sources, they're the most dense. Therefore, when you're having that traditional french fry made with oil or lard of some kind and potatoes, you're overloading your system with PANT loads of energy.

When you do that, your body does this: uses what it can immediately (replaces muscle glycogen stores) then stores the rest as fat.  SOOOOOOO... unless you've just done a killer workout of some kind, the likelyhood is that most of that calorie (read: energy) blast is going to be stored as (yup, you got it) FAT.

There you have it - FAT won't kill you - but french fries might (at least long term). Short term, they're also going to keep you from reaching your goal - becoming a leaner, stronger, healthier you.  I'd say go for the goal.

No Guilt. Be Fierce. Bring the Fit.


PS Follow me on