So I’m out with my family walking through the giant outdoor mall near my house in Summerlin, a suburb of Las Vegas, and we sneak into Dillard’s to warm up our ears a little. Yes it’s cold in vegas. No I’m not a pansy.

All of a sudden I’m overwhelmed by a scent straight from heaven. Pumpkin spice latte aroma is tempting me. Damn you!

I’m usually a stronger man but this stuff is sucking the life out of me.

Must. Not. Succumb.

Damn. Too late.

Well at least my belly is warm now…

Caffeine in small controlled amounts can be a great thing. Overdoing it all the time can damage your adrenal glands so make sure you’re not overdoing it.

That includes that pre-workout you gobble down every night before your CrossFit class.

Ok back to my yummy beverage

IMG_2267-0.JPG

The key to burning fat is to stop trying to do it in the gym. Read this very carefully: you are not burning fat in the gym. You are burning sugar. Period.

Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as you aren’t expecting to get ripped from doing your squats or walking on the treadmill. So, hat exactly should you be doing to get the fat loss you want? Two things:

1. Get your food under control. Remember this: abs are made in the kitchen. Fat loss is about creating a deficit of energy and the fastest way to do that is by reducing you calories in via food. Stay away from the damn buffet!
2. If you want the gym to be of any help with fat loss, you gotta work! High intensity exercise of any type will boost the metabolism AFTER your workout is over and put you in day burning mode for hours to come. If you’re on the treadmill you better be running on a full incline like a T-Rex is chasing you, otherwise it’s a waste of time.

Stop playing around, work your ass off and eat better and in no time you’ll look how you want to and feel better too!

IMG_2266-1.JPG

Living in Las Vegas, Nevada affords me many great opportunities, not the least of which is being smack dab in the middle of MMA’s epicenter.  Being a rabid fan of MMA, partaking in MMA training (Specifically Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu) and having the honor of working with many of the incredible MMA athletes (amateur as well as professional) gives me a multi-dimensional viewpoint when it comes to what works and doesn’t work with MMA conditioning training.  I am humble in my approach as I feel I am forever a student of the body and I would like to believe that is what helps me to achieve great success with my clients.  I don’t pretend to know it all, but rather I voraciously pursue furthering my knowledge base by means of reading cutting edge scientific journals, attending as many relevant certifications as possible and just flat out keeping an open mind.

mma_by_henster311-d367sda

Something I see happen all too often, is a random trainer calling himself a “MMA conditioning specialist” with little to no practical knowledge or experience in the field.  Training Mrs. Smith to lose 10 pounds of fat is ever so slightly different from training an elite athlete to perform at his/her peak in competition.  (Did my sarcasm show through just now?) While a lot of these trainers might have good intentions, they are sadly setting themselves and their clients up for failure by applying antiquated belief systems and training paradigms to what might be considered the single most challenging athletic endeavor out there: MMA.  These athletes need a flowing, balanced blend of speed, strength, skill, flexibility and endurance that is tailored to their own unique physiology in such a manner that the outcome is a harmonious dynamic of purposeful movement that does the “Art” portion of the moniker justice.

A true professional MMA conditioning coach approaches their athlete with a goal of improving their structural and movement based efficiency, facilitating effective improvement in the goal based aspects of the program and all the while minimizing opportunities for injury and/or overtraining.  This requires a thorough grasp of exercise science and the ability to apply it in an individualized manner that is both progressive and periodized as needed to accommodate the athlete’s goals. The balancing of speed, strength, skill, flexibility and endurance is of paramount importance to the MMA athlete’s success.

There are three main steps to this process:

  1. Assess the athlete for goal orientation as well as physical needs/capabilities
  2. Design the program based around the information provided by the assessments
  3. Instruct the athlete utilizing the well-designed program

If you or someone you know is thinking about working with a MMA conditioning coach, make sure that coach can answer the following questions:

  • What muscles groups should be trained? Why?
  • What basic energy sources (e.g. anaerobic, aerobic) should be trained? Why?
  • What are the types of muscle action(s) (e.g. isometric, eccentric) should be trained? Why?
  • What are the primary sites of injury for the particular sport or activity, and what is the prior injury history of the individual?
  • What are the specific needs for muscle strength, hypertrophy, endurance, power, speed, agility, flexibility, body composition, balance and coordination?

A true professional will be able to answer all these and more.

While I would never want to do anything but encourage more women to hit the gym for their own fitness goals, I do have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when it comes to some of the insanity that goes down once they get there.  Getting great results from your time in the gym really isn’t all that complex, unless you make it that way yourself.

Ladies, high five for your continued efforts to better yourselves! Along the way on your fitness journey, please try to keep a few of the following items in mind:

  1. Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop working your abs all the time. Your abdominal muscles, just like all of the other effective-ab-workouts-for-womenmuscles on your body, do NOT need to be beaten down every single day. Should you challenge your core muscles?  Absolutely!  Just try to work them the same number of times per week as you would your back or shoulders.  Think Goldilocks and the 3 bears – not too much, not too little.  (Oh and stop thinking you can magically spot reduce the fat in your midsection by working your abs, cause it doesn’t work that way!)
  2. You are doing waaaay too much cardio. If you are doing 90 minutes of cardio every single day of the week in an effort to lose fat to fit into your favorite pair of jeans, you might want to KNOCK IT OFF! The truth is that while a great way to build aerobic endurance should you be entering your first 5k run, cardio will never be able to match proper nutritional intake when it comes to fat loss. You’ve heard the phrase, “Abs are made in the kitchen” right?  Well, it just might be the most profound statement out there when it comes to fat loss.  Eat better and you’ll look better.  Cut back on that cardio and put more effort into your diet.  You’ll thank me later.
  3. Stop changing your workout every couple days. I know patience is a virtue that you were not blessed with, but come on!  Stick to a routine for no less than 4 weeks before you decide it isn’t working for you.  Nobody gets results the first time they try a new program and that includes YOU, so relax and stick to the one you already have and maybe you’ll start seeing the results you were hoping for.download (12)
  4. You are doing too many exercises for your booty. Yes, I know it is one of your focal points.  Yes, I know you think “More is better.”  No, doing 47 different movements for your rear will NOT magically make you look like J-lo.  Whether your goal is to lose some fat off the rear or to build up some muscle down there, too much is exactly that: too much. (Please see number 1 above)  If you want better buns, you need to include two things in your workouts: Squats and sprints.  That’s it!
  5. Stop thinking that lifting heavy weights will make you get HUGE. Every bodybuilder out there hates you because they know the Tricep-Exercises-For-Womentruth is to build big muscles you have to spend YEARS beating the crap out of your body and stuffing your face with huge amounts of food.  Choosing to use the 30lb dumbbells instead of the 5lb ones might be the smartest thing you can do to fast forward your results.  You’ll get stronger, build a tiny amount more muscle and boost your metabolism so you can burn more fat.  If anything you’ll end up getting smaller instead of bigger.  Win!

Get out there and hit the gym ladies!  Everyone wins when you move closer to your fitness goals and that can happen sooner if you were paying attention to my rant above.

 

I suppose if you are dressing up for Halloween as Bane, it might be a good idea to strap on one of those fancy MMA high altitude simulating masks, but if it doesn’t happen to be October 31st, there is a pretty good chance all that mask is doing is making you look like an idiot.  All the rage these days, training masks that have been popularized by the psuedo-science laden MMA magazine advertisements and Facebook ads alike, don’t hold up to the stringent demands of real science. Let me drop some actual knowledge on you about these  masks so you can better choose your workout gear going forward and hopefully avoid those nasty looks people keep giving you..

bane mma mask

What do these masks promise to do for the unsuspecting user?

  • Improved oxygen uptake
  • Improved anaerobic capacity
  • Increased lung capacity

The claims by the manufacturers of these masks are loosely attributed to the mask simulating training at high altitude (because the breathing restriction aspect of the mask allows less air/less oxygen in each breath) which allegedly causes the user to have lung efficiency adaptations.

So now we know what the claims are, let’s take a look at the science to see if it supports these claims.

  • Improved oxygen uptake – This one falls apart REAL quickly. The basic principle of the oxygen deprivation mask is riding the tails of LLTH (Live Low Train High) principle…. i.e. you wear the mask only when you are training to simulate altitude. This has been proven false. In the study, “Is Hypoxia Training Good for Muscles and Exercise Performance?” authors Vogt and Hoppeler clear this up by stating, “… A common feature of virtually all studies on “live low–train high” is that hypoxic exposure only during exercise sessions is not sufficient to induce changes in hematologic parameters. Hematocrit and hemoglobin concentrations usually remain unchanged with “live low–train high.”  Next…
  •  Improved anaerobic capacity – In the study “Effects of intermittent hypoxic training on aerobic and anaerobic performance. ” authors Cable and Morton found that hypoxic training (using a mask or training at altitude) had, “no enhanced effect on the degree of improvement in either aerobic or anaerobic performance.”  Damn you science!!!
  • Increased lung capacity – All right, last chance here training masks! On the third and final chance at bat, the training masks actually deliver….well…kinda.  It is true that there indeed is an increase in lung capacity due to the restricted nature of these masks, however, that increase did NOT lead to an increase in any of the important aspects of performance such as VO2MAX or anaerobic capacity. Darn!

mma mask fitness

While it might feel like I am here to bash the entire genre of altitude simulation/MMA training masks, the reality is I am just trying to be a clear voice of science founded reason on the topic.  I think it is important to note that while the above info beats down the mask’s ability to back up the claims of the marketers out there, it does actually have a very viable use for MMA athletes.  Wearing these masks makes it hard to breath and “smothers” the user so that they have to adapt psychologically to wearing them and thereby become prepared should an opponent block their breathing in a fight(this is legal to do in MMA) it won’t have as dramatic of an impact on the training mask user.  See, one good point after all!

If you don’t mind looking like a dork and you want to improve your mental game for MMA, then a training mask might be the thing for you!  Everyone else, keep on doing whatever you were already doing…

 

If you have problems serving healthy foods because
of the prices, you’ll find these tips to be just
what you need to eat healthy on a budget.

1. Eliminate junk food
Doing your shopping on your own is the easiest way
to shop, as children and sometimes spouses are
usually the ones requesting junk food. Shopping
alone will prevent this, and ensure that you only
buy the foods you need.

2. Water or milk instead of soft drinks
You can still enjoy your favorite drinks at a
sporting event or night out, although you should
stick with the smallest size when shopping to save
money and calories. Children and even adults need
milk or milk products on a daily basis. Milk will
also help you get strong and provides calcium for
healthy bones and healthy teeth.

3. Buy fruits in quantity
Whne they are in season, buy fruits in quantity
and freeze any extras. You can buy several pounds
this way, and freeze extras to have them when the
fruit goes out of season. Wash the fruit well,
remove any spoiled pieces, dry thoroughly, then
freeze in plastic zipper bags.

A

4. Meats and beans
Meats and beans are the best sources for protein.
Lean meat is more expensive than meats with a lot
of fat. Canned beans are a great deal as well,
as they give you protein at a great price.

5. Beans as a substitute
You should use beans a substitute for meat on a
frequent occasion. There are several varieties,
so you can prepare them in a crock pot, so when
you return home they are ready to consume.

The USDA recommends eating beans at least 4 times
per week. If you experience gas after eating
beans you should try washing them, covering them
with water, bringing the water to a boil, then
draining it off and refilling the pot.

6. If you live in a coastal area or an area
where fish are around, make that an integral
part of your diet. You can catch them from the
lakes or rivers, saving money in the process.

7. Peanut butter is great for those on a budget
as it’s popular with almost everyone. You can
use it for sandwiches instead of eating hot
dogs. It does need to be refrigerated, although
bigger jars can last you for weeks.

8. You should fill up with foods that have a high
content of water. Watermelon, salads, and even
sugar free gelatin are all great examples.

Eating healthy is always something you can’t go
wrong with. You can eat healthy for just a few
bucks, which makes it perfect for those on a
budget. Now, you don’t need a lot of money to have
the lifestyle and health you’ve always wanted.

 

It’s important that we eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables every day. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.

You’ve probably heard about the 5 A Day for Better Health program.  It provides easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables into your daily eating patterns. It’s vital that we eat a wide variety of colorful orange/yellow, red, green, white, and blue/purple vegetables and fruit every day. By eating vegetables and fruit from each color group, you will benefit from the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that each color group has to offer alone and in combination.

There’s several different yet simple ways to start incorporating vegetables and fruit into your familiar and favorite meals. You can begin your day with 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, slice bananas or strawberries on top of your cereal, or have a salad with lunch and an apple for an afternoon snack. Include a vegetable with dinner and you already have about 5 cups of fruits and vegetables. You may even try adding a piece of fruit for a snack or an extra vegetable at dinner.

rainbow-food

Don’t be afraid to try something new to increase your vegetable and fruit intake. There are so many choices when selecting fruits and vegetables. Kiwifruit, asparagus, and mango may become your new favorite. Keep things fresh and interesting by combining fruits and vegetables of different flavors and colors, like red grapes with pineapple chunks, or cucumbers and red peppers.

Get in the habit of keeping fruits and vegetables visible and easily accessible – you’ll tend to eat them more. Store cut and cleaned produce at eye-level in the refrigerator, or keep a big colorful bowl of fruit on the table.