Customizing Your Workout Program

     I recently got into a debate on Facebook (haven’t we all) about whether touching your chest during bench press is necessary. According to the gym bros, “if you ain’t touchin’ then it don’t count”. While this frame of mind is true in the NFL Combine or a powerlifting meet, it’s not necessarily true for bodybuilding. The thing we must keep in mind when lifting is that our bodies are all different. For example, a person with short forearms and a larger ribcage can easily touch their chest while bench pressing (with the exception of those with shoulder mobility issues). For others with long forearms and smaller ribcages, touching their chest may result in a trip to “SnapCity”. If this is you, you may want to stop the weight 2 or 3 inches above your chest before pressing it back up. Also, long forearms on an OHP (Overhead Press) may prevent some folks from returning the bar to their clavicle safely and instead they may want to stop at chin level before pressing back up. 


And finally, we’ve come to the “King of All Exercises,” the squat. The famous question, “How much ya bench bro?” has evolved to another level of gym rats who feel they’re superior to their predecessors by now asking “How much ya skwat?” Have you ever noticed how some people can stay upright when they squat, while others seem to lay down as they descend? It all boils down to femur to torso ratio. When you squat, your center of gravity is just in front of the ankle. This means that the bar on your back must stay directly above that area in order to perform a well balanced squat. But people with long femurs sit back so far when they descend that they end up lying down. Two people who are both 5’9” but have different proportions would will have different squat form. For example, person ‘A’ could have long tibias, short femurs, and a long torso; while person ‘B’ could have average tibias, long femurs, and a very short torso. When you see person ‘A’ squat, they may stay upright the whole time and get a great leg workout while person ‘B’ may tend to lay down into their squat and complain of back strain at the end of their set. So regular squats may not be optimal for person ‘B’, they may want to take a sumo stance, not go “ass to grass,” try a front squat, or some other variation in order to get the leg work they seek. So just because the guy next to you is doing heavy squats and telling you that you need to do them in order to build your “wheels” doesn’t mean that they are optimal for your body.


With all this being said, I am in no way suggesting that you do quarter reps during your workouts (unless you have a reason) or that you use this perspective to not go hard in the gym. All I’m saying is that there are anatomical factors at play that you need to understand. Below, I’ve posted some pictures to illustrate the different portion lengths that make up overall height. And as always, I’m HERE if you need me.


I'm taller overall: HERE

I'm shorter sitting due to torso length: HERE

I'm slightly taller due to long femurs making up for torso shortness: HERE


The Truth About Your Skinny Co-Worker

Everyone knows someone like this: That one co-worker/friend/associate who’s always eating, yet stays slim. And to make matters worse they’re usually stuffing their face with junk food as if to tease those of us who’ve been KILLING ourselves to get in shape. Now, a lot of you (especially my female readers) may say to yourself, “it’s because (s)he’s much younger than me… I remember back in school, how I could stay up all night, party, eat whatever I wanted and stayed in shape”. Or you might believe “It’s because their metabolism is much faster than mine”, “My family is just big boned” or some combination of these explanations. I’m here today to tell you that most of these beliefs are only partially true. 


For example, the idea that someone’s metabolism is much faster than yours is not necessarily true (barring that you have some sort of medical condition/thyroid disease). In fact, the average metabolic difference between individuals is typically less than 10%. Also, folks that I’ve encountered who believe they’re just big boned tend to be shorter than me (I’m 6’1”) and their wrists and ankles tend to be average to slightly below average. But what about their family members you ask? Typically, these situations are a matter of habit. Along with religion, linguistics, that awkward laugh, and other traditions we inherit from family, we also tend to get our eating/fitness habits from them as well. So the next time you’re at the ‘family get together’ and someone passes you a plate of ribs with a huge side of Mac’n’Cheese you may want to think twice before indulging… but let’s be real, your grandma is the greatest cook in the world so how can you resist?


Next I want to address the good ole college days of booze, pizza, left over Chinese food, and flat abs (unless you put on the ‘Freshman 40’). In a nutshell, what a lot of us don’t realize is actually how active we were during this period of life. Think about it, you were drinking beer (calories in) while doing keg stands and playing beer pong (calories out). You were up late night, walking from frat house to frat house getting rejected most of the time because saying you know “Mark” didn’t work. Finally you get in somewhere and dance the night away (calories out). What I’m referring to here is a little something called N.E.A.T (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). Basically you were a ball of activity back then and now you sit in an office at a desk all day and Mark is just as out of shape as you are now.


Lastly, what does this have to do with your skinny/fit co-worker, after all they’re in the same office as well right? That they are! However, most of the time these folks subconsciously subscribe to many of the following practices:


  • They are very active outside of work and exercise. (They talk with their hands, shake their foot while sitting, always on the go, etc.)
  • They eat all day but never really finish most of it. (This should be a crime!)
  • They eat most of their calories at work. (The time of day that you see them.)
  • They eat very slowly. (This gives their body time to feel satisfied as it may to a minute to catch up to the rate of ingestion.)
  • They very well could be a genetic anomaly. or have a different gut microbiome that aids in weight management. Not much you can do about this until fecal transplants become common place.


All in all, the takeaway from this blog post is that most of your fitness goals are within your power to reach. So don’t hate on your slender nemesis. Just know that there is more than meets the eye and get motivated to make it work for you! As always, I’m HERE if you need some direction. Until next time…

5 More Tips on Cheating: Unscheduled Cheat Days & Social Events

So in our previous blog we took a look at the differences between cheat days and cheat meals and which may be a better fit (pun intended) for you. This time we’re going to look at cheating our way around social events. If you’re like most people, here are some situations in which you may feel tempted to ditch your plan:


  • Easter Sunday
  • Your birthday
  • Friends/Family birthday
  • Bachelor(ette) party
  • Weddings
  • Baby showers
  • Fourth of July
  • Halloween
  • Family reunions
  • Funerals
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • New Years
  • Going out on dates
  • Breaking up
  • Get togethers with friends you haven't seen in "FOREVER"
  • Valentines Day
  • Labor day
  • Sick
  • Tired/Stress
  • Vacations
  • Too busy with school/work/projects


Now with ALL of these hurdles and more, here are some techniques you can implement to help you stick to your game plan:


  • Scheduled Cheat Day: In this scenario, you have an advanced notice of an upcoming event and are able to sync it up with your cheat day.


  • Eating Beforehand: Let’s say you have an emergency meeting, or you aren’t allowed to eat at work except at lunch. You may want to eat a meal on your plan right before attending.


  • IIFYM: (If It Fits Your Macros) This is a good tool to use when you have an all day event or are traveling/vacationing. Hitting your macro targets will allow you to stay on track while being in these unconventional situations where you may not have access to a kitchen to prep. Lots of people diet on this method all of the time such as myself, but I’d suggest you be relatively experienced or have the guidance of a COACH before attempting to implement this technique.


  • Staple Choices: This is great if you’re out at a restaurant with co-workers or a group of people. Generally it’s pretty safe to choose something on the menu that is a lean protein source and a side of greens. If possible, you want to have a lean protein that’s already on your plan that you haven’t eaten yet that day.                                                  


  • FIA Method: (F*** It All) This is a guilt-free unscheduled cheat day. It is to be used very sparingly and is only recommended if you can be honest with yourself about the consequences of implementing it. I highly advise that you be mentally prepared to free yourself of all guilt and hop right back on your plan the next day.


These general tips should get you around most obstacles. If you'd like other tips or guidance on the subject, you can find more HERE. Keep in mind that flat abs don’t care about your social life. Until next time!

2 Tips on Cheating: Cheat Days vs Cheat Meals

2 Tips on Cheating: Cheat Days vs Cheat Meals


Ahhh, the infamous cheat day! 


 First of all let me start by saying that you should attempt to plan your diet in such a way that you have the flexibility to have the foods you really enjoy during the dieting process. Doing this reduces the need for a cheat. The following are some general steps a NuEnergy member may want to consider when approaching the subject of cheating:


  • Before you have a cheat you need to be 100% honest with yourself about whether or not you can handle a cheat day. For some people a cheat day turns into a cheat weekend, then a cheat month, and unfortunately a cheat year. So if you feel this may happen to you then you might want to stay strict for the time being.


  •  Now if you’ve determined that you can handle a cheat, you need to decide if it’s going to be a cheat day or a cheat meal. There are a couple of factors to take into account when choosing between a cheat meal and cheat day, mainly how long you’ve been dieting and how intense your cravings are (the latter is usually a by-product of the former). If your cravings are INTENSE, then you’re probably better off having a cheat meal once a week. Now keep in mind that I define a meal as: all that you eat in one sitting and any leftovers must be discarded. Since the cheat meals will be weekly, you run the risk of plateauing your weight loss. If you find this to be the case then you may want to cheat lighter next time. On the other hand, if you haven’t been dieting too long and your cravings aren’t too intense then you may be better off taking a cheat day once every other week or so. In this case a day would be considered done at midnight of the day you started cheating. Again, these are all generalities and you can get a more customized experience with the Online Coaching option HERE. Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog where we discuss unscheduled cheat days and cheating around social events…


*Some folks may experience cheat day ‘hangovers’*


I think in today's society we know that we can do anything if we put our minds to it. The #1 thing usually stopping us is a lack of motivation. Where does motivation come from? Well motivation can come from lots of different places but for the sake of this blog I'm only going to discuss two; Love & Hate.

In the past whenever I set out to do something (let's say get in shape) it was because I felt I had something to prove. I, like most people, felt the energy of my doubters and wanted to silence them for good. And while their "hate" (imagined or real) proved enough for me to reach my goals it still didn't convert them into supporters of mine. They'd ultimately find something else to not like or critique about me. At that point if I set out again on a quest to prove them wrong I could easily find myself in an unhealthy codependent relationship.

I have a message for anyone out there who subscribes to the motto "Let your haters be your motivators"... If you gas up on hate you'll have an endless source of fuel but, living in reaction to others can also turn you into puppet. DON'T BE A PUPPET!

At the end of the day, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is living your life for others who don't even care about you... I know this sounds cliche but if you're going to do something, do it for yourself and/or because you love it. If you operate on love you won't have any regrets when it's all said and done. Feel free to share what you think about this topic and let us know what motivates you.


Let's say you've been working out and dieting to lose weight for a few weeks now. You hop on the scale and "BOOM" you're up 2 pounds. You're thinking to yourself "this fitness stuff just ain't for me, I thought I would have at least dropped some weight, not go up" and you want to quit. Have you considered that you may not be weighing yourself correctly? That's right, in today's blog we're going to examine some of the things that can cause numbers to lie. When weighing in consider the following:

1. Scale's Inaccurate- This is an obvious one but so many people don't take it into account. One way I like to check the accuracy of a scale is to take a 10 pound weight and put it on the scale and then take a significantly heavier weight (let's say 30 pounds) and put it on the scale to make sure it reflects both weights accurately. The reason I do two different weights is because sometimes the scales inaccuracies grow incrementally as the weight placed on them increases. Also, I would advise you use a DIGITAL scale instead of the dial scale with the needle to improve your accuracy.

2. Different Scales- Another thing that's pretty obvious that some of us miss is that we're weighing in on different scales. You may weigh-in on your home scale and get one weight and you may weigh-in at your doctor's office or gym and get a different weight all together. Try to stick to one scale all of the time when tracking your progress.

3. Different Time of Day- Think about it, if you weigh in the morning before having breakfast one day. Then the next day you weigh in at noon you'll most likely get two different weights. The big reason for this is that by noon, you've probably consumed 2 or 3 meals by the time you weigh in. Pick a time of day and stick to it.

4. Weighing Too Often- If you're weighing yourself everyday, STOP! Everybody's weight fluctuates on a daily basis due to drinking more or less, the amount of sleep you got, inflammation, stress levels and other physiological factors. Also, if you weigh-in everyday you can certainly get sucked into the head games that the scale plays with people right before it knocks them off of their fitness plan. Try to weigh yourself once a week and if things aren't moving don't stress out because that could only make things worse.

5. Different Clothing- This is an easy one, clothes have weight! If one day you weigh yourself in sweat pants, then the next time you weigh in with shorts on, different shoes, etc. all of these things can give you different readings on the scale.

6. Uneven Surfaces- Placing your scale on an uneven surface such as cracks in bathroom tile or on carpet can throw the scales reading off significantly. Keep it on a hard flat surface.

7. Eating Late- For those of you who are sticking to your diet perfectly but have a busy day and end up eating late to hit your calorie goal you may end up weighing the same from the previous week or more the next morning because your food hasn't had the proper time to go through the digestive process.

8. Menstrual Bloat- For female dieters this can be an issue from up to 8 days prior to getting your monthly cycle all the way through the cycle it's self. Do not let this time of the month stress you even more than it has already. In my observation, I've seen an average of 2-3 pounds weight gain in women around the time of the menstrual cycle but it ultimately boils down to the individual. Keep this in mind and stick to your plan.

9. Sodium/Water Retention- Hitting all of your calories and macronutrients perfectly but not understanding why the scale isn't moving as it should, or the mirror isn't too kind? Changes in your daily sodium intake can cause your weight to fluctuate by making you retain water. I would recommend trying to keep your meals roughly the same, even the seasonings to help keep sodium levels consistent.

10. It's Not Linear-  Changing the way your body looks takes patiences. Some weeks the scale will not move at all and then all of a sudden 3 pounds drop off. If you diet and work out eventually you WILL hit a wall at some point (EVERYONE DOES). When that time comes you will need to be patient and remain consistent. If the situation calls for it you may need to change some things, but all in all do not give up!

Progress Pic Hacks

It's time for a selfie! First off, let's start with why it's important to take progress pics when dieting. Every day you get out of the shower and look at yourself in the mirror. The changes in your body are so subtle that you don't notice them especially when you see yourself constantly. I compare it to watching grass grow, or watching paint dry on a wall. At which point does the paint become dry? Others around you will notice your progress before you do. Most times you'll start to notice that your clothes fit differently before you see the changes in the mirror. So the best way for you to see your progress is by taking pictures and comparing them.

Problem with a lot of folks' progress pics is that they fail to control the variables. Let's take a look at some of the common mistakes and how they effect your pics:

1. YOU CHANGE OUTFITS EACH TIMEChanging outfits can play tricks on the eyes. For example, certain colors or patterns can make you appear slimmer or vice versa. You also want to make sure the clothing is fitted so that you can see your shape.

2. CLUSTERED BACKGROUND- I always suggest my people take their pics against a solid background so you can clearly see the outline of your body. Not only is a filthy room bad for your selfie game in the sense that it's a distraction, but it's also embarrassing if others are to see your progress pics.

3. DIFFERENT LOCATIONS-  This one is a play on #2 as different backgrounds could throw you off but also the lighting could be different and make you feel as though you look better or worse than you did before. Ever notice how you look so great in the mirrors at the gym? You get home and are like WTF?!?

4. YOU CHANGE DISTANCES- Whether it's you or someone else taking your progress pic you want to make sure you're an equal amount of distance from the camera in each picture. When you go to compare pictures it makes it a lot easier to see the changes when you have yourself the "same size". Don't be fooled into thinking the diet has made you shorter lol. I recommend putting down a piece of tape to mark the floor where you (and the cameraman) stand each time.

5. POSING/ANGLES- You should also try to pose the same each time, if you arms are up in one picture but down in the next it's going to be hard to tell the changes. Also, you need to use the same angles each time. I recommend a front and side shot at least. So many people just do front facing pics but don't realize that they are shrinking more from the side profile angle.

I hope this helps you when tracking your progress, feel free to check out other blogs from NuEnergy!

Meet Your Master

It is my belief that whatever you desire in this world becomes your master. When you want something, you go out and you work for it. I'd like to warn you to be careful of whom or what you serve. In the fitness world the majority of people want to lose weight and tone up, this often leads to an unhealthy obsession with the scale. In my experiences I've seen so many people check out mentally after not seeing the numbers move after a week or two and then they lose it completely. Do not let this happen to you.

The scale is only about 1/4 or 1/3 of the big picture when it comes to fitness. Other factors that you need to take into account are your body-fat, tape measurements, and for ladies depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle you can see an average gain of about 2 pounds due to bloat. These are all things you need to take into account to get an idea of what's really going on since weight loss is hardly ever linear.

Once upon a time, I had a guy come to me looking to lose weight. We trained for sometime and he more or less followed a generic meal plan I had given him. It looked like he had been making great progress when we decided to weigh-in one day. "What the hell, I've only lost 2 pounds!", a statement that sent me into panic mode being inexperienced at the time. Somehow through the confusion I remembered to do a body-fat test which revealed he had lost 10 pounds of fat and gained 8 pounds of lean mass since he started. He then told me that his clothes had been fitting a lot better that's why he was so confused by the scale.

So for those of you out there weighing in every day... Stop! Try weighing in once weekly and be mindful of body recomposition. 240 pounds may look different on Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 70's than it does on your plumber. Don't work for the scale, stay mentally checked in and make it work for you.

Women & Weights

You can walk into any gym and find dozens of ponytails bouncing for what seems like an eternity on the treadmill. Most times when I ask females why they do not lift weights they usually respond with something to the effect of "because I don't want to get too bulky" or my favorite "I don't want to look like a man". Well I have news for you... Most men who lift weights, don't look like men lol. The women that you see in the magazines with huge muscles where you look at their face and can't tell if it's a man or a woman are taking illegal drugs to achieve this look. This will not happen to you by lifting weights as the average female doesn't have enough testosterone in her body to produce this effect.

Also, for the ladies looking to lose a few pounds and tone up (about 99% of female gym goers), weight lifting raises the metabolic rate for 48-72 hours after the workout is complete. So you actually burn more calories from the residual effects of a weight lifting session than you would from a cardio session on average. So where does cardio fit into the picture? Cardio is great for just that... Cardiovascular exercise, heart-lung function. Your heart is a muscle and should be exercised for overall health as well as your lungs. Also, cardio is a great weapon to implement when trying to bust through weight loss plateaus. However it isn't quite as effective for plateaus when your body has adapted to a daily cardio regiment. All in all, focus on your eating and pick up the weights! FE(male) = Iron Man.

You Cannot Afford To Skip This!

A lot of people associate cost with value. However, the two DON'T always equate to one another. For example, a glass of water doesn't cost very much. Now if a man is crossing a desert a glass of water is worth more than any amount of money so he's careful not to WASTE it. While we're on the subject of value, let's talk about the most valuable thing we all have: TIME. I used to hear people say "They wasted my time" and I never fully understood what that meant. You see, we only have one life to live and only a limited amount of time to live it. You should use the time that you DO have to do and achieve the things you want.

Yet and still, as precious as time is people waste IT. They waste it on endless hours of exercise in the gym with very little to no result. I've been there... in the gym six days a week, two to three hours a day and was still frustrated with my progress. Then you have this person next to you in the gym who is in and out in 45 minutes and they're not killing themselves during the workout like you are but they're in shape (WTH!?). When I finally figured out that the key to getting in shape was centered around eating right along with exercising I wasn't thrilled. But once I got started and saw the results coming much quicker I got addicted! NOW I want to share what I've learned to help others stuck in the same situation that I was in. If getting in shape is your goal, don't waste anymore of your life trying to workout longer or more frequently. Get a program that is effective and provides direction at

Personal Trainers

I've been planning on getting around to this one for a while. The question here is: How do I choose a personal trainer? Well before you can answer this question you need to ask yourself why do you REALLY want a trainer? People hire personal trainers for different reasons. Here are a few conscious and subconscious reasons i've observed as to why people hire trainers:

  • Social Standing: Not much to explain here, some people live a life of pampering or being taken extra care of in everything they do. The gym is no different. They tell the trainer what exercises, how much weight, and how many reps they will be doing each time they workout.
  • Lost: These are the people who are usually new to the fitness realm and need a point in the right direction. If you fit into this category a trainer may be a great way to get you started on a program or to learn proper exercise technique so that eventually you can learn your way around the gym on your own.
  • Therapy: Most of us live stressful lives and exercise is a great way to deal with the stress. Some people end up subconsciously getting a trainer as someone they can vent to.
  • Motivation: Some people have the knowhow but can't seem to push themselves in the gym. So investing in a trainer is a way for them to be held accountable.
  • Result Seeking: This is the person who really really wants to get in shape and believes hiring a trainer is their ticket to achieving this. The results seeker has to keep in mind that they are only with their trainer 30 mins to an hour of their day, what they put in their mouths the other 23 hours of the day is out of the trainer's hands. I've seen trainers get blamed for not achieving results numerous times because of what the trainee has been doing outside of the gym.

Now, let's look at the general personality types of trainers there are out there:

  • Drill Sergeant: This is the trainer who kicks ass and takes names. Your best bet is to have a pre-acknowledged safe word if you hire this guy. Also, make sure you don't mind getting yelled at.
  • Cheerleader: This is the trainer who has nothing but positive things to say to you, he/she only speak of your achievements and/or potential in any given situation.
  • Number Counter: This is the trainer who lacks a lot of personality. Usually rookie trainers start out this way (I know I did lol). This trainer may feel as though they take the "personal" out of personal training as they are often writing down how much weight you did and counting numbers. Don't expect this trainer to ask you how your dog's visit to the vet went as all conversation is strictly training related. Still you can find some knowledgable trainers that fit this description.
  • Master Trainer: This trainer is generally a veteran and is pretty well rounded. One who can make you laugh and feel good about your workout and progress or ride your ass when they know you're slacking on a workout. This trainer tailors his/her style to person in front of them and changes it if need be from session to session or moment to moment.

Of course there are other examples of trainers and trainees out there but the point is to ask questions about who you are and what you want in a trainer. Once you have clarity of the situation you can discuss the details with your prospective trainer before hand. You'll be giving over a certain amount of authority to this individual so make sure you have a good fit (pun intended).

Too Much Exercise?

Many people are surprised when I tell them that they lose muscle while exercising. During exercise you incur micro tears in the muscle fibers. Exercise can become detrimental when the stress placed on the body heavily out weighs the amount of recovery needed to continue training in that manner, this is often referred to as "overtraining". Common sense tells us that if we keep tearing something down then it cannot grow. The actual growth of a muscle occurs while you're recovering in the coming days of rest and eating. A crazy question I often ask trainees is, "if a child from a 'feed the children' commercial were to workout do you think they would make any muscle gains?" Obvious answer is no, you need to eat to grow.

Overtraining also impacts people looking to tone up. I see folks killing themselves in the gym, working out 4-6 days per week 1-2 hours per day but not making much progress. The issue is that even if you are losing weight you are also losing muscle if you aren't eating to support that activity.  Thus, leaving you looking like a smaller version of your former self and in more extreme cases looking skinny-fat (think marathon runner). Also, your central nervous system (CNS) needs time to recuperate in order to make strength gains. These strength gains will allow you to push more weight for more reps thus increasing intensity and time under tension leading to muscle hypertrophy when your eating is on par. Muscle is the key to achieving a toned look. Muscle is the key to achieving a buff look. When it comes to aesthetics period, muscle is key.

Strong Mind Strong Body

Mind is EVERYTHING. The objects of our physical world come forth from the minds of people. The car you drive, the clothes you wear, the device you're receiving this message through were all conceived in the minds of people. You could go on to say that the mind is the CAUSE and the changes we see in the world around us are the EFFECT. In order to be physically fit you have to be mentally fit first. You have to be strong enough mentally to stick to your fitness program. The biggest part of any fitness program should be eating with a purpose since diet is 70-80% of how you feel, look, and perform. When you go to work and sit at your computer you don't type aimlessly on the keyboard, your work has direction. When you hit the gym, your workouts should have direction and cater to your fitness goals. Same with your eating... and to be honest it's not going to be easy BUT it'll be worth it.

Let me be perfectly clear, somewhere along the way it seems that someone has sold us on the idea that getting fit is easy. It's not! Next time you go to your local gym, look at the faces of the people in there. You'll see expressions of strain, struggle, and determination. That aggressive undertone is part of human nature and should be exercised properly (pun intended). The fitness realm is the perfect outlet to use it constructively. I have an exercise for you right now. Pick your phone up and curl it 10 times. Did you feel that? Of course not! Because lifting your phone for 10 reps is well within your comfort zone. Nothing grows in comfort zones. It's time to push your boundaries. Maybe you're comfortable with pushing yourself in the gym but I have a new challenge for you: Eat With a Purpose, have that mental discipline, get aggressive with all aspects of your fitness. STRONG MIND STRONG BODY!

Building The House

Let's get straight to it. You're killing it in the gym but your progress is coming along very slowly or not at all. You're wondering what you could be doing wrong. Nine times out of ten improper nutrition is the culprit. One of the best analogies I often use to illustrate the role of nutrition in fitness is 'Building the House'. You see, building your body is a lot like building a house. When building a house you have your blueprint (your fitness program), your tools: hammers, nails, ladders, etc. which translates to your dumbbells, cables, machines, etc., and you start your construction (labor) from there.

That's as far as most people ever get. However, they are forgetting one crucial element... MATERIALS (the foods you eat). When deciding which material to build your house with you want something that's sturdy and strong (packing on lean mass effectively). A straw house can be built, but will most likely look like s**t, and not to mention the big bad wolf can blow it down (ok, I couldn't resist)! Adding/maintaining lean mass applies to those of you who are looking to lose fat and tone as well.  As I've said before, "tone" is short for muscle tone so you need to preserve or add muscle to achieve this effect.

While exercising you break down muscle and it's during recovery (rest and nourishment) that the body super compensates for the damage of the workout by rebuilding the muscle bigger and sturdier. So before you start construction on your current 2 bedroom 1 and 1/2 bath, you may want to start getting your materials lined up.


P.S. Congratulations again to our first athlete Andy Jenkins on his 1st place finish in the physique category of the Max-Muscle show!

Setting & Accomplishing Goals

One of the saddest things I can possibly imagine is someone of a ripe old age on their death bed just realizing that they never did what they wanted to do with their life. It is because of this reason that I believe it is important to set goals for yourself and seek to accomplish them. But where do you start? How do you set goals for yourself? Below we'll examine a few angles you can use to set goals for yourself in and out of the gym:

1. Weak AreasWe all have weaknesses. There is always an area of our lives/physique that isn't quite as developed as the rest. This is usually the easiest way to help figure out your goals. If you set goals based on this angle you'll never run out of new objectives.

2. Strong Areas: This is the opposite of the previous goal but sometimes a little harder for folks to identify. What are your strengths? Can you push them to new heights? For example, if your strongest lift is your 315 pound squat, see if you can get 325 the following week.

3. Fantasy Goals: These goals usually have little to do with your strengths and weaknesses. They are things you just want to accomplish just to say you did it. Some people may have a hard time setting or sticking to these goals because they cannot see the relevance of it in their everyday lives.

Now that you have several ways to figure out what goals to set, let's look at how to accomplish them:

1. Identify Clearly: It's time to begin with the end in mind. At this point you should have an idea of what your goal is but now you have to see the end result clearly in your mind.  This serves as a measuring stick for progress. Let's oversimplify this, say you need to get bread... before you even get off the couch you've already saw clearly which store you're going to and possibly which aisle the bread is on. Wait, is bread on your meal plan??

2. BelieveYou have to believe that it is possible. If your goal is to lose weight, you need to know that there are people who've had more weight to lose than you and have accomplished it, so it is possible.  All you need to do is to be open to possibility. One of the worst things I hear from people is that they "Can't lose weight". This is self defeating and simply not true. A complete waste of your mental focus.

3. Get In The Moment:  See what it is you can do RIGHT NOW to start moving toward your.

4. Take Action: Once you get in the moment take that first small step to getting it done... For example, It's now 1:26am as I'm writing this blog. The thought crossed my mind to do it sometime tomorrow but instead I pulled my laptop out. Once it was out I figured I'd just write a few sentences to get the blog started... and now? Almost completed :).

5. See It Through: Stay persistent with your goals by reminding yourself often why you started in the first place. Every time you set out to do something, doubt and setbacks are pretty much guaranteed to happen. Do not let these things scare you off the path. Fear is not absent in the lives of the brave, in fact who can be called brave if there is nothing to fear? It is what the brave do in the face of that fear/setback which makes them inspiring. See it through until the end.

Remember this world is 99.9% mental. The physical follows the mind. Change your perspective, change your reality!

Health Foods Detrimental To Your Fitness Progress??

So for the past few months (or years) you've been piling your plate with greens, fruits, nuts, and "palm size" portions of lean meat. On top of that you've been killing it at the gym or at home with your "Crazy" (see what I did there) DVD but the progress seems to be at a stand still. If you're putting in the physical effort and you do not have some sort of hormonal condition, you can pretty much guarantee that your "diet" needs to be revamped. In the past I've had marathon runners come to me because they are stuck at a plateau. Let that sink in for a bit... MARATHON RUNNERS. Chances are, most of us are not burning the amount of calories a marathon runner burns. I usually tweak their eating, the fat melts off of them, and they run out of my life. Hey, if I lose a trainee I'd rather them leave because they've met their goal :).

So the question still stands, how can health conscious individuals get stuck in a rut??? The answer lies in the portions on their plates... For example, I love putting PB in my personal meal programs as well as programs I write for others. However, you have to be very careful with PB as it can be a silent assassin for your "diet". 1 Tablespoon is roughly 100 calories and can easily turn into 600 (looks down at empty PB jar.... or 1,200) calories. Other treats that are calorie dense such as trail mix can pose a similar threat. So even though you're eating the "right" things, do you know how much of each you should be consuming? I've said it before and I'll say it again, "The poetry is in the proportions of the macros." If eating is the main reason you're not in the shape you want to be in, then it's time you ate your way to a better body... wake up and bite the dog that bit you!

*No animals were harmed in this blog

Weekend Warrior

So you've been eating well and working out all week, now it's the weekend and you feel you deserve to relax a little. Somehow this relaxation involves pizza, fried foods, and usually alcohol. Many people are dedicated Monday-Friday then feel as though they can have a cheat on Saturday (which you can but should be done smartly) and then it spills over into Sunday so now we have a cheat weekend. This can lead to spinning wheels and endless frustration. But then you realize everything is gonna be O.K. because our weight loss savior (Monday) is right around the corner! You soon find that you've been starting over every Monday for the past few years. This vicious cycle is a waste of time, effort, and money for those of you who have gym memberships and/or personal trainers.

Now for some of you this isn't an issue because you workout just because you like to workout...  However, if you're someone looking to change the way you look and feel plus relieve stress while conquering a challenging workout then stop being a weekend warrior and #FullyInvest. I was once told the definition of extraordinary is to be ordinary and add just a little extra.  Don't be like your friends and everybody else. If you have a goal in mind you have to do what they aren't willing to do to accomplish your goals. And by all means, I'm not saying become a hermit.  You can still go out and socialize, just understand that you can communicate and joke around without wings and a beer in your hand. There's a time and place for these things as well.

Once you reach your goal you can lax things a bit because maintaining a fit body is much easier than attaining a fit body. Fitness is 90% mental, you will always have to exercise some level of discipline in order to be in shape. Change your minds, change your reality... Weekend Warrior.

Mind Your Own Fitness!

I'm sure most of us have been there... You see the huge guy in the back of the gym doing some weird exercise and you do it because you saw him do it. Or the woman with the perfectly flat belly bouncing on the treadmill at level 5 so you get on next to her and put yours on 5.1 trying to one up her literally. There are lots of mistakes to be made in the gym and this is by far one of the biggest. DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! This usually leads to injuries, embarrassment, and discouragement. The best approach to working out is to check your ego at the door and work at a pace that is appropriate for you. I'll never forget the time I saw Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in my gym incline pressing 40 pound dumbbells! I thought he was joking, but after years of lifting he's learned what works for him and has the results to prove it.

When you're looking at everyone else around you, 9 times out of 10 it'll just make you want to quit. Consistency is the name of the fitness game and you have to pay your dues. You don't know how long the person next to you has been at it or what they had to learn or do to get there; don't be too concerned with it either. All of the fit bodies in the world did not get there the exact same way, you can make your own path. Imagine the very first day Muhammad Ali walked into a boxing gym, he looks around and sees guys that are powerful and lightning fast. Had he let their ability discourage him he never would've become the greatest of all time. The future has room for more success stories and you can be one  yourself by trying to be better than you were yesterday. This is what I mean when I say #VibrateHigher regardless of where you've started!

Protein Shakes

Supplements supplements supplements... a billion dollar industry yet many of them don't seem to deliver on their promise. I for one am not a big fan of most supplements as I've used quite a few of them in my life and was often disappointed with the result.  However, there are a few that I take to this very day and that's a protein shake and a daily dosage of creatine. Now, for this blog's sake we'll save the creatine for a later date, so let's talk about the protein. When you walk in the supplement store you see tons of protein powders to the point you feel overwhelmed...  Wait, rewind... First of all, why do you feel you need a protein shake? There a couple of good reasons to get one:

1. Convenience- Now most of us have busy schedules so downing a shake in the middle of the work day is convenient.

2. Variety- Some of us are tired of chicken and fish and want something different.

3. You have trouble swallowing solid food.  I'm willing to bet the majority of us don't have this issue.

If you do decide to go with a protein supplement you need to get a quality protein. This can be very confusing especially if your local supplement shop attendant is commissioned based and gets rewarded for pushing a certain product. One of the ways I test a protein is by dividing the number of grams (protein) per serving by the number of total number of grams a serving holds. Let's say your protein provides 20 grams of protein per serving and the serving size is 32 grams total, that gives you .625 or 62.5 percent, usually meaning the rest of the serving is fillers of sorts. I aim to get as much protein per serving as possible, so I only really deal with powders that get 70 percent or higher according to the formula.

However, keep in mind that protein from a food source is always a better choice than a powdered shake.  Some of the most fit people out there (or in there) are inmates who don't have access to MegaBuilder5,000 (I hope that's not a real name).

Busy & Fit

"You don't understand my schedule.... I work, go to school, and have kids to tend to. I don't have time to workout!" I've heard this many times when talking to people about fitness. We all seem to think our schedule is plagued by the most hectic tasks God could place on a human being. Well I've got some suggestions to help! Below we're going to look at few techniques you can use to get fit in between changing diapers or finishing that report your boss wants on his desk by noon.

1. POMODOROS: Probably the most efficient technique you can use to get your work and workout done at the same time.  Pomodoros technique requires you to turn off your smart phone and your Facebook, set a timer and work undistracted for 25 minutes at a time. At the end of the 25 minutes take a 5 minute break from work. Normally during this 5 minute break you would do whatever you want, but today you're going to do 10 push-ups, 25 crunches, and 25 squats. After 10 sets your work should be done and you should be feeling beat! (adjust repetitions, sets, and times according to ability).

2. SUPERSETS: This technique is best applied when you have some free time but not quite enough for your usual workout. You can do exercises back to back without any rest in between. This way you get the workout in faster and your heart rate tends to stay elevated due to the lack of rest. Great way to rev your metabolism before your next appointment.

3. MEAL PREP: By now, you should know that NuEnergy is primarily focused on the foods you consume. Meal prepping makes it easier for you to eat healthy throughout the week by preparing your foods  on a day you're not as busy, let's say Sundays (I like to do Thursdays as well). This way, during the week all you have to do is grab and go. If you have your foods with you, you will be less tempted by that dollar menu on your commute. *Breakfast is the only meal I make fresh everyday*

Give these techniques a try and know that there is someone out there who understands your schedule!