Hey there…thanks for stopping by. Due to some family obligations I am temporarily not adding any new content. There are literally hundreds of articles to choose from in my archives, going all the way back to 2008. Please take a moment to look around, I am sure you will find stuff worth exploring.  I’ll be back soon with new content for you to enjoy.



Nutrition: Two simple steps to improve your fitness program.

If you visit here often, then you should know how I feel about the importance of strength training. However, if you want to lose fat, nutrition is certainly something in addition to strength training to work on.

I’ve got personal experience in this area. Along with my multiple Strength and Conditioning certifications, I am also a certified sports nutritionist. Over the years I’ve designed, implemented and updated hundreds of fully customized eating programs for a broad array of fitness participants from elite athletes to average Joe’s. It’s beyond the scope of this article to get too in depth into the specific details of creating custom Personal Eating Plans, but I do want to mention a couple of very useful principles for nutrition if someone wants to get leaner and lose fat.

1. Cut out the sugar: Limiting simple carbs is the best place to start for almost everyone when creating a new Personal Eating Plan (P.E.P.). For many, just getting rid of all the sources of simple and or processed carbs in their P.E.P. will quickly see them dropping unwanted pounds.

2. Total calories do matter: Despite what many “Clean eating” diet guides recommend or suggest, total calories do matter. It is absolutely possible to over-eat on healthy food choices. If after eliminating the sugar from your P.E.P. you are still not losing body fat, (or not losing as much as you would like) then it’s time to actually pay attention to the total calories you are consuming. Keep in mind that as we age, total caloric needs often decline.

Where should you start? In my experience I’ve found that for those requiring reduced calorie intake the following guidelines were extremely helpful:

Nutrition Guidelines*

Moderate Calorie: 1500-1800 men; 1200-1500 women

High Protein: 1.5 grams protein x 50% ideal body weight

High Water: 1 oz. x 50% ideal body weight

High Vegetables: unlimited servings (within daily calorie guidelines)

Moderate Fruit: Limited servings (within daily calorie guidelines)

Example based on the above guidelines:

Female with ideal target weight of 130 pounds.

Protein = 100 grams minimum daily (1.5 grams x 65*)

Water = 65 oz. minimum daily (1 oz. x 65)

Begin with meeting protein intake requirements. Then add Fruit & Vegetable and friendly fat while remaining within daily calorie guidelines.



For those interested in fully customized Personal Eating Plans contact TAKU at: strengthonline@yahoo.com Put NUTRITION in the subject line.

*rounded up for convenience.

Olympic Lifting Resurgence (Product Spotlight)


Way back in 2008 I wrote and article titled O.S.W. vs H.I.T. With Olympic Style Weightlifting experiencing a resurgence of late, I figured this week I would shine the spotlight on one of my favorite resources for learning about this sport. It’s a book and DVD set written by my coach, and long time friend Jim Schmitz.


For those of you who may not be lucky enough to know Jim, or are not familiar with him, here is just a little background. Jim Schmitz coached Team USA in the 1980, 1988, and 1992 Olympics. He currently trains weightlifting at The Sports Palace, a member gym of the Pacific Weightlifting Association in South San Francisco, California. Jim was also the president of USA Weightlifting from 1988 through 1996.

Jim has written and produced an excellent manual and DVD set titled:

Olympic-style Weightlifting for the Beginner & Intermediate Weightlifter.

This set is available through Iron Mind, and is a bargain at around $40.00. This series is the next best thing to working with Jim in person as he offers not just some basic technical instruction in the quick lifts, but specific programs as well as tips gleaned from his 55 years of active involvement in the sport he loves, at it’s highest levels.

For those interested, there are also a series of excellent, high-quality videos on YouTube produced by USA Weightlifting and featuring Jim.

If you have a chance to attend one of his many workshops or certification courses, I highly recommend that you take advantage of your opportunity to work with Jim and find a way to GET THERE! If you are in the SF bay area, take a moment to visit him at the Sports Palace, you’ll be glad you did.

PAU for NOW,


Workout Frequency Revised

By Jim Bryan

Early in my weight training career I was training an average of six days a week. Sometimes twice a day. I was involved in competition in Olympic Lifting, Power Lifting, and Body Building . Sometimes there were non-sanctioned Strongman type competitions. At this time I was chemically assisted but I never felt that it helped. Others did and saw areas of big improvements. But like I said I never felt it helped and don’t recommend it.

Somewhere in 1970 I met Arthur Jones and was exposed to shorter and harder workouts. I was already training hard but the workouts took a long time to complete. I hadn’t learned to “focus” my training yet. Arthur convinced me to stop depending on chemical assistance and showed me how to train harder in a shorter time frame. He also told me about “infrequent training.” After, I was training only three days a week for about 30 to 60 minutes. At first it was mostly on free weights and some machines at Christensen’s Health Club, and on mostly free weights and early prototypes of Nautilus Machines in Deland. When I first met Arthur, Nautilus didn’t exist in reality. It was only in Arthur’s mind. Thus, we didn’t have anything special in the beginning to train on. Free weights, Universal machine, Nautilus Pullover Prototype that’s pretty much it. I was happy to be only training 3 days a week and to me this was “Infrequent Training.” Today you have trainers bragging about only working out now and then, or once a month. It has been accepted that this is “Infrequent Training.” I believe things have gotten out of hand with this thinking.

My thoughts on “Optimal Training”

Three days a week training: I feel that this is the best way to go for most people. It works for body composition, lean muscle improvements, strength, and conditioning. Most people don’t train hard enough to run the risk of over training and three days is not that hard to get in. This can be all weights or a mix of weights and body weight training. Throw in some implements to make things interesting and on your off days get outside and enjoy being active. Don’t be afraid to be active. Practice sensible eating and you should do well.

Two Days a week training: This also works and for very busy people it may be ideal. Also, for the rare few (and I mean few) that train the way we used to in Deland, this is or can be a good frequency of training. Again, you can do all weights or mix with body weight training. It becomes more important to stay active on your non – training days if you are after a “lean look.” You can accomplish your goals of adding strength and maintaining muscle on two days a week training. Some will even add muscle but you need to make these workouts count. Focus your training and try to do as much as you can in the space of your workout. Training should take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Some really hard workouts can be completed in 15 minutes and change.

When you are training only twice a week, “conditioning” starts to suffer in my opinion. I recommend participating in some kind of out door activity. Something like jogging, water skiing, swimming, soccer, surfing, boogie boarding, walking, or biking. Get outside, burn some calories, stay fit and stay active. Twice a week can work but you have to practice sensible eating if you want to shed some fat.

Once a week training: I don’t find this to be optimal. Sometimes you can’t help it. Life gets busy and you can only get one a week in. I feel that you can continue to add strength on one training session a week as long as you REALLY focus on weight progression in your exercises. I feel that body composition suffers for most people. You will tend to get fat and your conditioning will suffer, as well as your “work capacity.” You’ll really have to cut your calories if you want a lean look. So much so, that you may find you don’t have enough energy for a HEAVY workout. Your strength can suffer also. It’s around this area that “Infrequent Training” starts to become too infrequent. You better be active as heck if you only workout once a week or you will become…………………………………fat.

Less than once a week training: Look! I’m going to be honest here. I don’t care how many books or articles you have that say you can succeed on this. What you will end up with is ………Books and Articles.

You’ll have very little muscle, and your conditioning will be zero. You just can not do it in five minutes a day whenever you feel like it as some would have you believe, and you can not do it with workouts that never happen. Having the best Fitness Library means zilch if all you ever do is read and talk your workout. You have to work out! You have to raise your heart rate. You have to spend some sweat and effort. You have to be consistent. You have to pay attention to what and how much you eat. All the best intentions in the world will not make up for lack of effort in the gym.

AND neither will the latest “Fitness Craze.” The experts on the Internet will go on and on about “I use this and I use that” but the bottom line is weight training works. Combine weight training with body weight training and conditioning and just do it. It has worked for over 50 years as I know it and continues to work. Gimmicks come and go but Sensible Strength Training will go on and on. BUT you have to show up, work out, and be consistent! Argue less on the Body Building sites and you will probably find the extra few minutes needed to “Just go lift.” I don’t care how you do it or who’s method you use, “Just go Lift.”

All said and done if you have been training consistently and regularly, don’t be afraid to take some time off to recharge now and then. Best effort equals best results. Not everyone will end up developing “Huge Muscles.” Some will and some won’t. It depends on your potential and effort. AND!!! Women don’t end up looking like a man because they lift weights. So just throw that excuse out the window. Women look good with some lean muscle on them.

TAKU’s NOTE: Thanks to my friend Jim Bryan for once again sharing his insights with us.



Well it’s that time again…NEW YEARS!! One of the many things that occurs around this time of year is that people make plans to get fit. For all these good intentions, many people quickly give up on these plans, often because they feel they don’t have the time to dedicate towards this seemingly daunting task. If you are on of those people who feels they don’t have time to read this article, let alone set aside time to work out, then this program is for you.


Why Strength Train? The primary purpose of strength training, or strength exercise, is to improve muscle function. It will help you develop stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments, enabling you to perform better in all physical activities. Strength training reduces your risk of low back pain, illnesses such as diabetes and degenerative problems such as osteoporosis. It also helps you reach and maintain a proper body composition by boosting your resting metabolism and thereby burning more calories throughout the day, even at rest.


The Strength Training program below has been designed using research performed by Dr. Wayne Westcott and Rita LaRosa Loud, along with their staff at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. In an effort to make exercise more appealing to those who are truly in need of its tremendous benefits, Dr. Westcott set out to prove that strength gains can come with minimal time and commitment. The number one complaint and excuse for discontinuing a strength training, or exercise regimen, is TIME. As you will find in this article, Dr. Westcott and his colleagues were able to prove that significant changes can occur in a person’s musculature and strength with a program lasting as little as 24 minutes, performed just two to three times a week.


Over the past several years, Dr. Wayne Westcott and his colleagues have conducted several research studies with adults, seniors, and children consistent with the American College of Sports Medicine exercise guidelines. With every study, Dr. Westcott has continued to uncover protocols that deliver results to the masses. In every program, the participants experienced excellent gains in muscle strength and impressive improvements in body composition. On average, the adult exercisers in these particular studies increased their muscle strength by over 40 percent, added about two and one half pounds of muscle, and lost about four and one half pounds of fat over an eight week training period.

The results from the shortened programs are at least as good as those attained using other exercise protocols, indicating that a basic and brief strength training program can be highly effective. Perhaps just as important, participants have been pleased with both the exercise process and the training product, with over 90 percent continuing their strength workouts after completing the program.


Participants performed one set of each exercise, with a weight load that could be lifted between 8 and 12 repetitions. Each repetition was performed at a moderate movement speed (about 6 seconds) and through a full movement range. When 12 repetitions were able to be completed in proper form, the weight load was increased by a small amount (5 percent or less). The participants chose to train either two or three days per week depending on personal preference. The studies have shown almost 90 percent as much benefit from twice-a-week training as three day-a-week training.

The basic training program used is relatively time efficient, depending of course on the recovery period between exercises. Assuming about a minute to perform each exercise and about a minute between exercises, the workout requires only 24 minutes for completion.


The flexibility component of the program generally consisted of interspersing stretching exercises with the strength training movements. The participants experienced excellent results by performing a 20-second stretch for the muscle group just worked. For example, the leg curl exercise was followed by a 20-second static stretch for the hamstrings muscles.

The research has shown that adding stretching exercises to the workout may have duel benefits, enhancing both joint flexibility and strength development. The participants who did static stretches following their strength training exercise had greater increases in hamstrings flexibility and strength than the participants who did strength training exercises only. Because the participants typically took a 1-minute break between exercises, the 20-second stretches did not lengthen the overall workout duration.



Train two to three days per week on an every-other-day schedule. Taking back-to-back strength training workouts is counterproductive because the muscles do not have sufficient recovery or building time. Two training days per week produce about 90% as much strength and muscle gain as three weekly workouts.


Train with one set of 8 to 12 repetitions on each machine. At 6 seconds per repetition a set of strength exercises should take about 50-70 seconds. When the proper weight-load is used, this provides excellent stimulus for strength gains. The Strength Training Circuit should take approximately 25-30 minutes to complete once you know what adjustments and weight you need for each movement or machine. Until then, it could take 45 minutes or so to complete the circuit.


The weight-load should be heavy enough to fatigue the target muscle group with 8-12 repetitions.


Perform all movements slowly, approximately 6 seconds per repetition. Take two seconds to lift the weight-load, and take four seconds to lower the weight-load. Slow training increases the strength building stimulus and reduces the risk of injury.


Perform all exercises through a full range of pain-free joint movement. Full-range training ensures greater muscle effort, joint flexibility, and performance power.


Gradually increase muscle stress by adding approximately 5% more weight whenever you complete 12 repetitions in good form. Progressive resistance is the key to continued strength development.


Proceed from machine to machine, or exercise to exercise in order and in a timely manner. Work the muscles from larger to smaller groups, which aids in efficiency, and provides better overall training effect.


Consistency is perhaps the most important variable in developing and maintaining physical fitness. Two or three non-consecutive workout sessions per week on a regular basis are recommended for maximizing muscular fitness.

Well that’s all you need to know. For more ideas on how to create efficient workouts check out these past articles: One and Done I Want It All 

Thanks to Dr. Wayne Westcott for allowing me to share his research here on my blog.




It’s been a while since I added any recipes for your P.E.P.’s, so here is one I came up with just the other day.



4 large Eggs (I use organic).
1-Cup Cottage Cheese (I use organic).
1/4 cup Steel-Cut oats (I use organic).
1/4 Cup Raw Almonds (I use organic).
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I use organic).


Grind up Oat’s and Almonds until they are fine (I use a coffee grinder but a food processor or even a blender will work).
Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth (I use a blender for this).


Heat a good pan to medium / high heat.
Add some oil to pan (I use extra virgin, Organic Coconut oil).
Drop Tbsp dollops of batter into pan for silver dollar pancakes (you can make them as big as you like).
Cook until you see bubbles coming through the entire pancake, then flip them over.
Brown other side (another 1-2 minutes or so)
Plate and enjoy.

If you’re feeling decadent add some Fresh Fruit, Maple Syrup, and even some fresh butter (I use Organic).




On Building Strength & Stamina

Wayne Westcott

Fitness Tips from Dr. Wayne Westcott:


This week I offer some valuable tips on attaining and maintaining total fitness from my friend and mentor Dr Wayne Westcott. For those who may not know him, Wayne L. Westcott, PhD, CSCS, is the Fitness Research Director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. His tenure as a strength training expert spans more than 35 years as an athlete, coach, teacher, professor, researcher, writer, and speaker.

Dr. Westcott says: “My interest in strength training began with my personal weight lifting program in high school that seemed beneficial for my track performance but was strongly discouraged by my coaches. I decided to learn more about the outcomes of resistance training and how to best develop a safe, effective and efficient program of strength exercise.”

Influences: The three key influences on my direction in the field of strength training were the exercise protocols promoted by Drs. DeLorme and Watkins, who initiated sensible strength exercise in the United States in the late 1940s; Dr. Richard Berger, who studied various combinations of sets and repetitions in the early 1960s; and Arthur Jones, who advocated brief, high-intensity strength workouts in the early 1970s, and designed specialized equipment (Nautilus machines) to facilitate the strength-building process.

Specificity: Unfortunately, fitness is more specific than it is general. I believe that the most practical way to improve cardiovascular fitness is through basic endurance exercise, such as running, cycling, stepping, swimming, rowing, etc., for about 30 minutes per session, at a heart rate of about 70 to 80 percent of maximum, 3 to 4 days per week. In my opinion, the most practical means for increasing muscular fitness is through standard strength training, using progressively heavier resistance to perform one hard set of exercise (8 to 12 repetitions with approximately 70 to 80 percent of maximum weight-load), 2 to 3 days per week with proper technique and controlled speed. Such a workout requires about 30 minutes, which combined with 30 minutes of endurance exercise requires only 1 hour of physical activity, 3 days a week, and should be acceptable for most individuals.

Creating efficient workouts: Most people who do not exercise regularly give time constraints as their main reason for avoiding physical activity. Training protocols for both strength and endurance exercise, may be accomplished by single-set and high-intensity strength training techniques that eliminate lengthy rest/recovery periods necessary in multiple-set training programs. Combine this with interval training protocols for endurance exercise sessions which provide more cardiovascular effort in less time by alternating higher and lower effort bouts of aerobic activity. One may also create combination circuit training routines for the really time-pressured person who must perform concurrent strength and endurance exercise.


Circuit Strength Training: Circuit training is an excellent means for maximizing your strength development while minimizing your exercise duration. By performing a hard set of one exercise (e.g., leg extension), then doing a hard set of a different exercise (e.g., leg curl), you can address all of the major muscle groups in relatively short order. This is possible because you do not need to rest between sets, as each exercise works a fresh muscle group. Training without rests is also beneficial from a “fatigue-resistant” perspective, as your cardiovascular system works at a relatively high level for the entire exercise session.

Extending the set Vs multiple sets: Two sets of the same exercise is fine, but you essentially work the same muscle fibers twice. With breakdown training, you work additional muscle fibers in an extended set that forces you to reach a second and deeper level of muscle fatigue. Although it may be easier to do repeat sets to the same level of muscle fatigue, it may be more productive (and certainly more time-efficient) to perform high-intensity training techniques that fatigue more muscle fibers and provide a greater strength building stimulus.

Strength & flexibility: Our latest research on stretching has shown that beginners who combine strength training and stretching exercise experience almost 20 percent greater strength development than those who do not stretch. You may do a 20-second stretch immediately following each strength exercise for the muscles just worked, or perform all of your stretches together right after your strength workout.

Your never too old to benefit: Our research has shown almost equal and very impressive improvements in both boomers and seniors who do a basic and brief program of strength and endurance exercise. In a study with almost 1,200 participants, those between 41 and 60 years added 2.3 pounds of muscle and lost 4.4 pounds of fat after just 2 months of training, less than an hour a day, 2 or 3 days a week. Remarkably, the subjects between 61 and 80 years added 2.4 pounds of muscle and lost 4.1 pounds of fat following the same training program. Both age groups increased their muscle strength by approximately 50 percent during the 8-week training period.

Recommendations for older trainees: I recommend that boomers perform a basic fitness assessment before and after two months of the exercise program to verify their progress and reinforce their training efforts. Beginning with just 3 key exercises and adding 2 exercises each week is a most sensible method for introducing new participants to a progressive program of purposeful strength training. Those who follow the exercise guidelines will notice some improvements in as little as 2 weeks.

Getting Rid of Cellulite: We have recently conducted a considerable amount of research on a pervasive problem encountered by most women, commonly called cellulite. Our studies have shown considerable success through a sensible combination of strength training, endurance exercise and reasonable caloric reduction. (The new book is titled No More Cellulite and should soon be available at all bookstores).

On simple methods to develop Strength & Stamina: In my observation, most fitness centers are geared for exercise enthusiasts who enjoy new, challenging and complex training programs. Unfortunately, the 90 percent of Americans who do not frequent fitness facilities are far less comfortable with what they consider complicated and time-consuming exercise protocols. They are much more responsive to short and simple fitness programs consisting of basic strength training and standard endurance exercise that they can easily blend into their busy lifestyle. To reach the unfit market, we need to place more emphasis on chocolate and vanilla, and spend less time on 50 mix and match flavors, at least initially.

 PAU for NOW




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 120 other followers