I came across a video article on about the latest trend in the fitness industry; Surfset Fitness.  The title of the article is ” Ditch the Wetsuit:  Surset Fitness Builds Surfer Bodies on Land.”  I am okay with a new and exciting way for people to exercise.  If variety is what some folks need to keep active then so be it.  I’m sure this workout is challenging, especially if the workouts are an hour long.  The question about new fitness trends is never really if they are challenging or not.  An exerciser can make their muscles sore if they hold a fly swatter up by their chin with the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle and flex and extend from the wrist and elbow for as long as they can for three sets.  If the exerciser has never performed that movement before for that duration there is a distinct possibility it will create muscles fatigue and possibly soreness the next day.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you.

I like some of the movements they showed in this video, of the ones they showed.  But the big problem I have was when the participants jumped and rotated their body 180 degrees and landed on an unstable surface, the board.  It’s one thing if you are on water performing that move where the board can slip out and not create an un moveable surface that can increase rotational/sheer stress on the knees.  The board being locked into one place yet still unstable is slightly dangerous when landing.  I must say I don’t know how unstable the boards are.  From the jumps I saw in the video there appeared to be the potential  for sudden ankle pronation or supination leading to sudden internal or external rotation of the knee.  Again, on water there is more give and less torque on joints.  On a more grounded piece of equipment like this board the torque on joints increase.  Just my opinion.  The moves lying prone on the board with the bands looked instense.  There is some balance to be gained from performing some of the movements standing on the board.  But, by no means will someone look like a California surfer after taking this workout for 8 weeks.  Surfers are in great shape before they start surfing usually.  They look good already, then they start surfing.  Same thing with gymnasts, distance runners, volleyball players and a lot of other athletes.  I fully support this program if it can help some new people get off the couch and back into a regular routine.  I am seeking out a class near my location to give it a full try and more of a review.

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So much time is spent on exercise, nutrition, recovery, fitness trends and any other fitness related topic out there.  So little time is spent on discussing lifestyle and the power of positive thinking.  I recently was asked to read “ The Energy Bus” written by Jon Gordon.  Man was I pumped up after turning the ast page of that book.  It is simple and easy to read and it describes the lives of so many Americans.  It starts out with a guy named George who has the bad luck of getting a flat tire on the way to work.  This brings George’s perpetual down mood even further.  From there it snowballs and George is left feeling like a miserable human being.  Everyhting in his life is effected by his very negative perception of things.  Relationships, job you name it.  He then runs into a bus driver who changes his whole life around.  I don’t want to give out all the informtion because it is a great read.  This is an inspiring and uplifting book that I highly recommend.  We as people have the tendancy to focus on the negatives in life without seeing the obvious positives that make our lives so enjoyable.  This would make a great holiday gift for someone in your circle who fits the ” Geroge” profile. 

Postive outlook is so important in life and is more powerful than we can ever measure.  You will not lose weight if you think you can’t, you will not change your body if you think you can’t, you will not eat healthy if you think you can’t, you will not achieve anything if you think you can’t.

Be the driver of the energy bus starting today!!!

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I give Jillian Michaels a lot of credit for getting people to completely change their bodies for the better.  It isn’t all due to her militaristic, in your face, insulting motivational tactics.  She does get to the route of the problem with people and weight loss.  Many people in need of weight loss have underlying issues that prevent them from making lifestyle changes.  On more than one occasion you will hear a contestant proclaim ” I’m afraid.”  Or, ” I can’t.”  Jillian Michaels is more of a psychologist than she is a personal trainer.  She breaks people down by humiliating them in front of their peers and on national TV.  But, it seems to work.  It seems to give people the sense of purpose they need to suceed in losing weight.

Now, I know for certain that there are behind the scenes activities that aid in these remarkable transformations.  Besides the starvation diet tactics of going from consuming 5000 calories a day to consuming 1500 – 2000, these people are being tortured.  There is no regard for their safety taken with the design of their exercise program.  Jillian’s latest attempt at demonstrating her ” fitness knowledge” is in an article on  Her 5 tips for better abs article where she claims that you can spot reduce belly fat.  The smaller print states ” But you have to engage in a regimen that burns body fat.  This means counting calories so that you are burning excess body fat.”

It’s an interesting proclamation.  She is most certainly correct saying  “But you have to engage in a regimen that burns body fat.  This means counting calories so that you are burning excess body fat.”

This has all the experts up in arms.  Considering her initial statement has been disproved by science for years.  She saves herself with the supporting statement.  Leaving me scratching my head why she made the initial statement about being able to spot reduce to begin with.

An attempt to be controversial and draw attention to herself as well as her show?  Maybe.

Or is it a real life reflection of knowledge in the science of exercise?  For the sake of all the people she is going to work with in the future?  I hope not!

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     There was a recent study completed by I-MIn Lee of Brigham and Women’s Hospital on  women and exercise.  Her study started in 1999 and went to 2007 and consisted of 34,000 subjects.  I like the fact that it is a long term study and that such a large group was used.  The larger the group and longer the study the more trending can be found.  There are too many studies done that last a year or even less.  This shows long term effects of exercise on a woman’s body.   The average age of the women who participated in the study was 54 at the start in 1999.  The participants were NOT on any calorie restricted diet or meal plan.  They researcher took an estimation of calories consumed at the beginning of the study which was 1,700 per woman.  Lee has a feeling that is on the low side because according to national data the typical American female consumes 1,900 calories.

Moderate intensity activity includes brisk walking. 

moderate intensity activity includes brisk walking. (Mike Derer/Associated Press)


Research stats:

Subjects:  34,000 women

Duration:  13 years

Mode of exercise:  Moderate intensity, brisk walking and jogging.

Calorie restriction or diet:  None

Test subject groups:  Women getting 60 minutes of exercise per day, women getting 30 minutes of exercise per day, women getting under 30 minutes  exercise per day.

Research Findings:

13.3 % of the subjects gained an average of 5.1 pounds over the thirteen year study.  They started at the age of 54 and gained only 5 lbs at the age of 67.  That’s pretty good when you think about the age of the participants at which this study is being completed.  Metabolism slows down dramatically for adults over the age of 35 years. 

Overweight and obese participants who stuck to their usual poor eating habits were not able to keep weight off even while adhering to the 60 minutes per day exercise regimen.  Lee states that a calorie restricted meal plan would need to be followed in conjunction with the exercise regimen.

Lee concludes by saying ” the findings shouldn’t discourage women above a normal weight to start and exercise program.  They will still benefit from a reduced risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.”

My Review:

I find this study interesting, boring and very basic all at the same time. 

The interesting part 

I find it interesting that they consider an average gain of 5.1 pounds ” able to keep the weight off.”  Some women must have gained more than the average 5.1 pounds, and then some less of course.  I do like the longevity and large group of test subjects used.  I also find it interesting that the modes of exercise were brisk walking and jogging.  Why not use some level strength training as a part of the regimen?


The boring  part 

All things considered this is a very boring study.  Walking and light jogging?  No real testing done other than body weight and it was only done every three years or so.  No nutritional component.  I would like to see a similar study done with strength training as the mode of exercise used by the participants.  I’d also like to see a study doen where there is no exercise component, but participants follow restricted nutritonal guidelines.  It would be interesting to see if weight is lost, how much is lost with sound nutritional plan in place without exercise.  Also, if it would be sustainable.   

The very basic part

Everything I said that makes this study boring makes it basic also. 


In today’s society people find it more difficult to adhere to a sound nutritional plan than to incorporate some level of exercise in their lives.  For some reason exercise takes precedence over healthy meal planning.  This study was a demonstration to see if people could continue consuming the average American diet and not gain double digit numbers of extra body weight.  It did demonstrate that women at a healthy weight going in would come out still at a healthy weight (only 5 pound weight gain over 13 years).  But it did nothing for women going in overweight.  With all the processed foods, fast foods and dining out that happens in the average American’s life it’s a wonder how any of us are able to keep weight off.  If one thing has to give, I guess it is a healthy meal over the ability to exercise.

So, according to this study ladies if you are at a healthy weight now continue to exercise every day and you can maintain your weight for the most part.

If you aren’t at a healthy weight you need to combine exercise and a healthy meal plan.

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 Sure there are some wowman who may see  results from doing this program.  I don’t like the message that the title sends about accomplishing a goal by the end of the week.  Achieving total body health and wellness takes longer than one week.  You can’t accomplish feeling good about your body by starting on Monday and seeing results on Friday.  If anything it may make you feel worse when you don’t see results that fast. 

 Obviously she didn’t come up with the workout herself.  She worked with two trainers named Jennifer Galardi  and Patrick Goudeau to create the DVD series known as ” Fit in your jeans by Friday.”  This is a series of three DVD’s designed to have you fitting into your jeans by Friday.   The trailer shows Kim K. dancing  around with 2-3lb dumb bells in her hands.  If she starts this on Monday and does it every day she may sweat off 2-3 lbs of water weight.  In turn making her fit into a pair of jeans that are a little tight on her.  Other than the 2-3lb weight loss (water); I do not see anyone getting any real results from this program.  And I will admit I haven’t seen the whole workout so I cannot say for sure.  But from what the trailer has shown me that is the conclusion I am drawing.  So, yes I admit I don’t have all the facts just yet. 

Bottom line:  

Will this workout DVD series make you sweat?  Yes.

Will this workout DVD series make you tired?  Yes.

Will some women see results from doing this workout?  Some will, a majority will not though.

Marketing can be very powerful.  This reminds me of the books and magazines I used to see when I was younger that promised huge muscles in a month or ripped abs in 14 days.

Can you make significant changes to your body with this program?  Not significant no.

Let’s face it there are a lot of people in society (not just women) who want to make drastic changes to their bodies.  Why should they just settle for feeling good about themselves with no results?  In order to make major changes in your body you need to strength training progressively 3 - 4 times per week over an extended period of time (not start on Monday and be done on Friday) combined with a healthy meal plan and cardiovascular conditioning.  There aren’t any special DVD’s made by celebrities that hold a secret weight loss plan.  

Your body needs new challenges and variation.  This DVD is the same over and over I assume.  How can you progressively challenge yourself or offer your body variation with the same routine?

If you enjoy doing this workout and others like it then do so.  If it makes you feel better about yourself than any other mode or exercise program then I say stick with it and do it as much as you can.  After 6 months if you haven’t seen the changes you want, call me.

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Can we film a group of overweight people get physically beat up by (so called) personal trainers.  Only in America can we starve a group of overweight people and broadcast it every Tuesday night at 8pm without any ramifications.  No violations, no cruelty to human laws are imposed.  Last night they had the 4 remaining contestants run a marathon, or attempt to run a marathon.  After being home for a month on their own.  Basically they had 4 weeks to train for an event that elite level athletes train all year for.  Whats wrong with that picture?  That poor guy Ron, the father to Mike on the show, had some major issues with his knee.  He walked the whole thing and it took him 13 hours.  That is half of a day.  He deserves all the credit in the world for finishing and wanting to finish.  But this guy has no right walking more than 30-45 minutes, let alone 13 hours.  At his age there is a better than average chance that they did some permanent damage to his knee.  People equate running a marathon with being  fit, healthy, thin, lean you name it.  But if you take a good look; the only runners that fit these descriptions are the elite runners.  The general population of runners is at least a little less than ” lean.”  Some are a lot less than lean.  I will give Jillian Michaels some credit, (very little) she is able to get people to reach new challenges they never would’ve tried on their own.  There is something to be said for that.  No doubt about that.  If the challenges are threatening the well being of contestants like Ron, then they are a little extreme. 


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All in all I think Men’s Health is a great magazine.  Some of the top fitness experts in the world have written articles for them.  Mark Verstegen, Alwyn Cosgrove to name two.  There are tons of insightful and educational articles in every issue.  But when they come out with marketing pitches like this one is when I can’t help but laugh out loud (LOL).

Strengthen your core for better sex

And then they come up with this exercise.

Plank with a leg twist. First get into a plank position.  propr yourself up on your forearms with yopur legs straight out and on your toes.  Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders and your hands flat on the floor.  Rise up on your toes and drop your shoulders back towrads your feet so that your forearms and upper arms form a right angle.  Keep your back and legs straight from shoulders to your heels.  This is the classic plank position.  Tighten abdominals and hold.

Keeping your toes on the floor and back straight, twist one knee in towards your opposite hip.  Return and twist the opposite knee to the opposite hip.  Keep alternating quickly for 20 seconds. (You’ll feel it in your hip flexors, obliques and lower abs-all prime pumping, sex twisting muscles!)  When you get proficient, add a deeper twist.  After 20 toes on the floor twists crank out another set.  This time with the toes off the floor and driving the knee across your body.  Alternate knees this way for 10-20 repititions.   

It isn’t that I don’t think this is a great exercise because it is.  But I am not sure it will enhance sexual performance.  And I am confused as to why they are referring to a section of the body as ” lower abs.”  There are no true lower abs.  The abdominal (rectus abdominis) cavity is one unit and functions as that.  It runs vertically and when shortened it performs to pull the front of the pelvis up towards the belly button.

No definitive upper and lower abdominals.  One muscle, not two seperate.

I haven’t come across any literature in my research to state that this is true.  Then again how would you put it to the test?  Have 100 guys perform these exercises and then go have sex with their wives or girlfriends?  In the end, no one is getting hurt and if a couple of guys notice improvements in their bedroom prowess then it’s all good.   I just love the marketing and how powerful a title like this one can be.  Some may see it and automatically find it foolish and not bother reading, others may instantly click on the link to find out what the exercise is.

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I got the High Intensity Training book from Men’s Health today in the mail free for the first 21 days.  I’ve read it and I do really like it.  I like the to see the history of bodybuilding and strength training overall.  Does this mean i think it is the best and only way to train in order to gain muscle mass?  No.  HIT was originally invented by Aurthur Jones.  The inventor of the Nautilus cam strength training machines.  This edition is written by Dr. Ellington Darden.  It came out in 2004.  If you haven’t read it yet the results are based on a weight training system that uses negative rep sets and very, very short rest periods.  The goal of the workout is to create as much muscle tissue breakdown as possible, resulting in maximum muscle hypertrophy. 

Aurthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus 

10 Simple High Intensity Training Rules

1.  Each repititon should be performed slow and smoothly.

2.  8 – 12 repetitions per set, which should take from 60 – 90 seconds.  If target reps are achieved increase weight by 2 – 5 % the next workout.

3.  Perform each repetition until momentary muscular failure for maximum intensity.

4.  Limit routine to 12 exercises or fewer.

5.  Train for 3 nonconsecutive days per week, or less.

6.  Work body’s largest muscles first and smallest muscles last.

7.  Select exercise that utilize both single joint and multi joint exercises.

8.  Initiate specialized routines for only 2 consecutive weeks.  Wait for 3 months before you specialize again on the same body part.

9.  Optimize your ability to recover by training less as you get stronger.

10.  Take a 9 day layoff after 6 consecutive months of training.

The promotion on the front of the book cover that states ”  Gain up to 18 pounds of muscle in just two weeks,”refers to one case study Dr. Darden had in 1985.  Dr. Darden met up with a graduate student in Florida by the name of David Hudlow who agreed to be the main subject in his bodybuilding experiment.  The new HIT program.  In conjunction with a progarm similar to the one described in the 10 simple HIT Rules, David Hudlow also supplemented his training with creatine monohydrate and dextrose.  Creatine is created naturally by the human body by conversion to and  from phosphocreatine.   Phosphocreatine works in conjunction with creatine kinase to form the phosphocreatine kinase system.  The phosphocreatine kinase system works to transport energy (ATP) from where it is produced to where it is needed; at the contraction sites of muscle myofibrils and the sarcoplasmic reticulum for calcium pumping.  The SR (sarcoplasmic reticulum) stores calcium ions until muscle cells are stimultaed by an electrical impulse.  The release of calcium into the muscle cells plays a major role in muscle contraction.  Most of the creatine in humans is stored in skeletal muscle.  Supplementing with creatine has shown to increase muscle girth and strength without any reported side effects.  The reason for mixing the creatine with dextrose (sugar) was to increase insulin levels which would facilitate creatine absorption into skeletal muscle.  Increasing your levels to above normal levels enhancing performance.  


I think it is safe to say the results Hudlow experienced were greatly assisted by his creatine supplementation.  There has been some question to whether or not the weight Hudlow gained was muscle or water or even fat.  Dr. Darden tested Hudlow’s resting metabolic rate pre and post.  RMR = the amount of calories Hudlow’s muscle needs to survive.  If he had a higher RMR after in his post test Darden could figure out how much muscle was gained by calculating how many calories his resting metabolic rate increased by.  Sure enough Hudlow’s RMR increased by 530 calories.  Each pound of muscle requires 28.6 claories to survive.  Equating out to an 18.5lb weight (muscle) gain.  Experts still question whether or not Hudlow’s results were legitimate.  Dr. Darden stands by his claim.


Darden, Ellington.

The New High Intensity Training: the best muscle building system you’ve never tried/Ellington Darden.  2004.

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Is this magazine worth purchasing or is it one of those girly magazines that contains fluffy workout plans and fru, fru ” healthy ” recipes.  I took a look at two issues my wife had recently purchased to read on her latest business trip to Dallas.  And it is one of those girly magazines with fluffy leg workouts where the whole workout you don’t touch a weight and your feet aren’t flat on the floor for one exercise. 


Please don’t expect to lose weight or see many results from doing this workout

 It was a workout designed by Tracey Anderson for Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna.  Brutal.  I hate the fact that these authors/editors are taking advantage of the LARGE female population who are afraid to lift heavy weights.  They are the ones making my job harder.  I can’t stand it when  female client I meet with for the first time tells me and I quote ”  I don’t want to get bigger.”  I don’t care who you are.  It isn’t all that easy to bulk up.  Doesn’t happen overnight ladies so don’t worry about it.

I liked the fact that this magazine uses some very well respected resources to get it’s information from. 

The Journal Of Strength and Conditioning

American College of Sports Medicine

Journal of Applied Physiology

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Stuart McGill’s Low Back Disorders

One article I read in particular about Yoga and fat loss caught my eye.  The article was written by someone named Carol Ann Webber.  I thought it was a good article and it referred to some good research as well.  A study was done by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.  The study was conducted for 10 years.  Any study conducted for less than 6 months doesn’t hold much weight in value.  So, 10 years is definitely a good indication of  the effects of yoga and weight loss.  Research found that practicing yoga for 4 or more years for a minimum of 30 minutes at least once per week was associated with a 3.1 pound lower weight gain among people who were normal weight at age 45.  15,500 people between the ages of 45-55 were studied for 10 years.   We all know it is common for people to gain about a pound per year between this 10 year period totaling a 10 pound, and usually more, weight gain for that decade.  Those who participated in the weekly yoga practices didn’t gain as much and the overweight participants lost an average of 5 pounds.  5 pounds in 10 years isn’t actually something to write home about.  Those who did not participate in the weekly yoga practices gained an average of 14 pounds within the ten year period.  

Take home message; if you just move a little bit you won’t have as much fat on your body compared to if you just sit on the couch in your free time.  Obviously strength training combined with an training interval program will yield much better results than 5 pound weight loss over a 10 year period.  I think this article does shed some light on the effectiveness of yoga and it’s place in the pursuit of weight loss.  Meaning you should focus on strength training first supplemented with interval training. 

Trash it or Stash it? 

Stash it.  (Keep) It does have some entertainment value.  There were a couple of good mini articles in it that referred to reputable sources (mentioned above) like Stuart McGill’s Low Back Disorders book.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase one.  Feel free to chime in with your opinions.

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