21 rewards of exercise…

By Steve McKinney

Today I offer an excellent list of 21 rewards of exercise…

1. You’ll reset your body: Exercise has been described as a giant reset button. A good workout will block appetite swings, improve your mood and even help you sleep. Image result for reset button

2. Your clothes will fit better: Consistent exercise will tone and tighten your body, causing your clothes to not only fit better but to also look nicer. Also exercise ensures that soon you’ll be trading your clothes in for smaller sizes. Image result for before and after weight loss clothes

3. You’ll be less stressed: You have enough stress in your life—it’s time for a break. A good workout invigorates your muscles, leaving you relaxed and less stressed.

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4. You’ll have more energy: WebMD tallied research studies and concluded that 90% prove exercise increases energy levels in sedentary patients. Next time you feel fatigued, fight it with the most powerful tool available: exercise.

5. You’ll be stronger: Exercise improves muscle strength and endurance, two things that you use throughout each day. When you exercise consistently you’ll be pleasantly surprised when difficult tasks begin to seem easy.

6. You’ll be less likely to binge: Exercise has a powerful anti-binge effect on the body. This is due in part by an increase in sensitivity to leptin, a protein hormone, which has an appetite-taming effect.

7. You’ll burn calories: You know that excess body fat is made up of stored and unused calories. Fight back by burning loads of calories with fat-blasting workouts.

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8. You’ll be more confident: Who doesn’t wish they walked and talked with more confidence? A consistent exercise program will do just that. As your body becomes more fit, watch as your confidence sky-rockets.

9. You’ll have fun: Believe it or not, exercise can be extremely enjoyable. Remember how fun it was to run around as a child? Tap into your inner child as you find a mode of exercise that gets you excited.

10. You’ll reduce your blood pressure: Exercise has been proven more effective than medication in reducing blood pressure to normal levels. A single workout has been shown to reduce blood pressure for the day and regular exercise reduces overall blood pressure in the long run.

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11. You’ll lose the jiggles: Regular exercise tightens flabby arms, legs and waistlines. So wave goodbye to the jiggles with a solid exercise program.

12. You’ll increase insulin sensitivity: Researchers at Laval University in Quebec discovered that exercise improved insulin sensitivity dramatically. Peak after-meal insulin levels dropped by more than 20 percent after as little as 3 weeks of consistent exercise.

13. You’ll sleep better: Do you toss and turn for hours before falling asleep? Exercise is a powerful sleep aid. Your tired muscles encourage your body to quickly fall asleep so they can get their overnight repair work done.

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14. You’ll lower your risk of heart disease: Regular exercise strengthens your heart and makes it more resilient against disease. A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease, so rest assured that consistent exercise is your ally against disease.

15. You’ll feel great: Vigorous exercise releases natural endorphins (happy hormones) into your blood stream that dissolve pain and anxiety. You’ve probably heard of ‘runner’s high’, this can be achieved by any great workout.

16. You’ll lower your risk of diabetes: Studies show that exercising as little as half an hour each day can dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes. If you are at risk of diabetes, or already have diabetes, regular exercise is the most effective treatment for reversing the disease.

17. You’ll meet cool people: You could benefit from a group of new, energetic friends, right? Gyms, bootcamps, workout centers and even the jogging trail are all great places to connect with fun new friends.

18. You’ll improve your BMI: You know that maintaining a healthy BMI is key in disease prevention. Exercise is the best way to keep your BMI under control.

19. You’ll increase your endurance: Do you ever get out of breath when walking up stairs or through the mall? Regular exercise builds your endurance for everyday activities.

20. Your doctor will be impressed: How many times has your doctor given you the lecture about losing weight and exercising more? Exercise regularly and get your MD off your back!

21. You’ll look amazing: Are you happy with the shape and size of your body? Regular exercise works wonders on your physique. Within a few weeks you’ll see shape and tone in all the right places.

This article comes courtesy of my friend Steve McKinney of Fitness and More.



MISSION CRITICAL: Protect the command center

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For some time now I have been recommending that people should be training the muscles of the head and neck. I used to think this was primarily important for combat athletes such as those intending to participate in wrestling, judo, MMA, boxing, football, rugby etc.

Later I added any athlete who participates in a sport with potential head impacts of any kind including soccer, basketball, hockey, and lacrosse. These days I have come to realize that everyone (athlete or not) can, and will benefit from having a stronger neck complex.

In fact, research indicates that building muscle strength in such important places as the neck, shoulders and jaw not only allows this area to better dissipate forces, but that having a stronger neck will actually improve other athletic and functional movements because (much like having a stronger mid-section) stronger neck muscles increase stability and control allowing your body to transmit force more efficiently, wherever it’s being applied.

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In the past I used a basic neck series consisting of shrugs, combined with four way neck movements. Currently I use and recommend the Concussion Prevention Protocol* based on the work of Ralph Cornwall Jr. Ph.D. (Exercise Physiologist -Researcher).

These days we know that strength training is not just important, but it is the most important exercise one can participate in. It offers numerous benefits both physical and psychological, and when implemented intelligently takes very little time to see and feel these amazing improvements.

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Do yourself a favor and add some Head & Neck training into your current strength and conditioning plan. It only adds 5-10 minutes to ones total training regimen, and in fact several of the key movements recommended can easily replace some (if not all) of your current “back” training plan.

Don’t think about it…GET TO IT!!



*The link above will take you to an abstract covering tremendous detail in both the research as well as the application of the Concussion Prevention Protocol.

It’s Everywhere: SUGAR follow up

A few weeks ago I posted an article about SUGAR. I have been telling people for years that “BIG SUGAR” is a lot like “BIG TOBACCO”. The SUGAR pushers have been actively involved in a disinformation campaign for years. If my last sugar article didn’t convince you,  check out this recent article in the New York Times:


As far as I am concerned nutrition is the foundation of health. After years as a trainer and coach, I have seen that people consistently struggle with dialing in their nutrition more than any other factor of health and fitness. With this in mind, I offer a few simple strategies that may help you get this often challenging aspect of your personal health and fitness routine, under control.

FIRST: The hard facts!

  • There is no supplement to increase personal discipline!
  • You can’t out work a bad eating plan!
  • Quality Nutrition controls hormonal response (a calorie is not always calorie)

Insulin – triggers fat storage (too much sugar)

Glucagon – triggers fat burning (favoring protein dominant meals)

Don’t make excuses…

– “Everything in moderation”, is a set up for failure!

Learn to eat High-Quality food year-round, (without gorging!)

Take some responsibility for your actions!


Nutritional Strategies for long term success!

  • Control Quality -1 week.

First control Quality.

This alone may help control frequency and quantity.

  • Control Frequency -1 week.

With controlled quality, frequency is easier to control.

It also controls energy levels and insulin response.

  • Control Quantity -1-week.

By this time – the quantities of food are naturally smaller.

More nutrient dense and thermic foods.

Controlling Quality!

Week 1

  • Start eating more High-Quality foods. If it is in a box, bag, or can, and has a label don’t eat it. Strive for Free-Range Organic Meats. Raw, Organic, full-fat dairy. Chicken and eggs from Free-Range chickens. Local fresh fruits and vegetables (try the Farmer’s Market).
  • You will burn calories breaking down whole foods – as much as 300 additional calories per day (i.e. the Thermic Effect of food).
  • Processed foods should be avoided.

Controlling Frequency!

Week 2

  • Eat 3 & 2 (3 meals and 2 snacks every day). DO NOT SKIP MEALS.*
  • *If ONLY CRAP is available – Use this as an unexpected time to fast.
  • Remember, sometimes it’s okay to be hungry.
  • You have to feed the person you want to be, not the person you are right now!

Controlling Quantity!

Week 3

  • By now – your stomach has shrunk a bit and you are eating less anyway!!
  • When you’re full – stop eating.
  • Eat slow to give your blood sugar time to go up a little and signal you that you are full; you’ll eat less.
  • Feed your ideal bodyweight and add a 0. If you want to weigh 130 lbs. eat 1300 calories over 5-6 meals!!
  • Don’t miss exercise sessions. You don’t miss emails, texts, phone calls, and FACEBOOK, don’t miss your exercise!

Strategic approach!

Have healthy snacks ready everywhere!

  • Keep non-perishable foods around, and carry a small cooler!

– Nuts & seeds (walnuts. Almonds, Brazil nuts)

– Hard-boiled eggs, String Cheese

– Apples, Celery stalks

  • You’ll eat less!

– Have a healthy Protein Snack before you go food shopping!

– Have a healthy Protein Snack before you go to a party!

  • Don’t buy junk food.

– If it does not belong in your stomach it does not belong in your House / kitchen!

Well…there you have it. some simple strategies to aid you on your personal quest for lifelong health and fitness. Remember, nutrition is the foundation of health. Take the ideas I have outlined above and put them into practice today!





For many years I have been recommending effort based training systems which are built around Brief, Intense, Infrequent training sessions. This style of training has proven itself to be safe, efficient, and effective. Although this style of training has been around for at least 40 years, it is still somehow not always embraced by the mainstream. Some coaches like to claim that athletes do not use this style of training. This is totally false as approximately 50% of the NFL trains using this style of training as well as numerous other professional and college programs, and even Olympic athletes. Click the link below to see some examples of teams that utilize this style of training:


Research showing the benefits of this style of training has also been around for years. Just recently some interesting studies have been released showing the positive results of various effort based training systems. Click the links below to see some current research on this topic:



If you search through my archives you will find hundreds of articles explaining how to design and implement effort based training programs for yourself and others. You will also find many examples of ready made workout plans. Copy a few of them and insert them into your training regimen for a nice change of pace.

Here is a video showing one example of a challenging, total-body effort based workout:


Finally…Based on current research here is a list of seven straightforward guidelines which have been shown to work. These recommendations make sense for just about everyone.

(Parenthetical comments are clarifications.)

1) Select one or two free weight or machine exercises for each muscle group. (Exercises may be changed from time to time.)

2) Lifting duration should be consistent with good form throughout each repetition. (Not too slow or too fast)

3) Range of repetitions can be from 3 to 20, which may vary from exercise to exercise or workout to workout.

4) Strive to do as many perfect reps as possible with the weight selected, stopping only when it becomes difficult to maintain good form. (Continue each set until volitional fatigue. for optimal strength gains.)

5) Do one set of each exercise. (There is very little evidence to suggest that multiple sets of each exercise are superior to a single set for strength gains.)

6) Rest long enough between exercises to allow proper form for each exercise. (Don’t rush or rest longer than necessary.)

7) Train each muscle group 1 to 2 times a week, depending on individual recuperation and response.


Remember it’s not the quantity, but the quality of your training that boosts your results.





It’s Everywhere…

SUGAR…It’s Everywhere. Lately I’ve been focusing my attention more and more on nutrition. Being a health and fitness guy I already had a keen interest in the importance of developing a healthy Personal Eating Plan. In fact I’ve designed, implemented and updated comprehensive P.E.P.’s for countless athletes and clients in the past. Only recently however have I truly started to research sugar and it’s impact on total health and wellness.

Rather than rewrite ton’s of information that already exists, I am going to highlight some resources for you so that you may do some digging, and come to your own conclusions.

One very helpful web-site I’ve discovered is SUGARSCIENCE.ORG

I suggest you start your exploration there. If you’re a NetFlix subscriber, I recommend the documentary titled “FED UP”.(which may also be rented on YouTube for $3.99)

The scientific team at SugarScience.org recommends keeping all added sugars below the recommended limits of 6 teaspoons/day (25g) for women, and 9 teaspoons (38g) for men. The W.H.O. sets recommendations for total daily sugar intake for both men and women. The numbers may surprise you. In general the recommendation is no more than 5-7% of daily caloric intake.

Start tracking your daily intake and see how close (or how far off) you are to these recommendations.

Do yourself a favor and cut down on your sugar intake.

You’ll be glad that you did.



S.P.I.C.E. things up

A common question that comes up with coaches and athletes is how do I make sure my strength and conditioning program is “sports specific”? There are only three things you need to think about improving.

  • Force enhancement via strength training
  • Energy system improvement via sport-related conditioning runs or drills
  • Skill improvement via sport-specific skill training

The development of muscular strength is the general progression of increasing the muscle’s ability to produce force. Sports skill development, on the other hand, is the specific learning of how to best coordinate and apply these forces.

In other words, strength is a non-specific adaptation developed in the weight room whereas sports skills are a specific adaptation developed through guided practice on “the field”.* As a result, a powerful athlete is developed physically in the weight room, which by a separate process is developed mechanically on “the field”.*

Unless you are competing as a power-lifter, Olympic style weight lifter etc, anything you do in the weight room will have zero direct transfer to what you are doing on “the field” of play.*

With the above in mind, here is a simple formula to keep your training on the right track.

Key points to remember too S.P.I.C.E. things up

1. Strength train in order to reduce injury, and resist fatigue in the safest method possible.

2. Practice your skills

3. Improve flexibility- perform a proper stretching routine to increase range of motion around a joint

4. Condition the energy systems used to play your sport (running intervals, cardiovascular exercises and speed training)

5. Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of water to ensure the body has the proper amount of nutrients in order to grow stronger.


These five basic concepts will go a long way in keeping your training simple, safe, and focused on success.



TAKU’s NOTE: *(“The field” implies any athletic playing space the wrestling mat, tennis court, Fighting cage, boxing ring etc.)