Finish Strong (Go farther not longer)

When my clients come to see me they are often a bit anxious. They know that they are going to be challenged. They know that they are going to sweat and be breathing hard. When the workout is over they feel that they have had enough. At the end of the session I often check in with them and if they feel anything was left out I finish them hard and make sure they leave feeling like they have reached their limit for this day. I never train anyone who is sick or injured. If they are even slightly compromised I send them home. They can do low intensity workouts on their own. Or better yet, rest.

Unfortunately, 99% of personal trainers I know do the following. They tell their clients to come in early to walk on the treadmill or ride a stationary bike for a warm-up. Then they train them for an hour or so with no real intensity as they talk about nothing or look at themselves in the mirror. Finally, when they finish, they remind the client to hit that extra “cardio” for 30 – 45 – 60 minutes after or somewhere in between their sessions together. No wonder so many people get so little from their training. It actually disgusts me to see these so called trainers take peoples money week in and week out and fail to deliver any real, noticeable improvement in body composition or performance.

Unlike most trainers, I often have my clients finish with some hard “cardio” style training at the end of the strength portion of our session. Rather then have them slog away for some random period of time, just to log a few more minutes or miles. I give them a very specific goal. Do more work then they did in the previous session. The time they will work for remains a constant. Using either distance or calories as the measuring stick, I tell them to get more work done in the same amount of time. Either go farther or burn more but get it done. There is only one way to accomplish this and that is to work harder.

This is where indoor exercise machines can really come in handy. If you have a bike, step-mill, or rowing machine, they all have a means of measuring the distance traveled or the calories burned. It does not matter if the numbers are accurate, what they are, is consistent. If you program the machine with the same basic information it will provide you with consistent feedback.

Here is how to incorporate this style of training in to your current plan. After your weight session, take 3-5 minutes to recover and drink some water. Next, choose your machine. I like the Step-Mill. Set a specific amount of time and use the same amount of time from session to session. Let’s say you have chosen 12 minutes. Have the client perform this 12 minutes as hard as they can handle. Either cycling the intensity up and down via an interval model or just maintaining a constant but very challenging pace. Record either the distance covered in meters, miles, floors-climbed etc or the total calories burned. Now, the next time you see them, they have a very specific goal in mind. Go further or burn more then they did in the previous session.

This style of training works well outdoors as well. If you are training yourself at home or even working with a group of training partners try this. Go to a local track, football field, or running trail and set a specific time limit for the day. Now just proceed as described above. Cover as much distance as possible in the predetermined time limit. Using the 12 minutes described above I might do this as follows. After a 5-10 minute general warm-up I would set my timer for 12 minutes and get set on either the track or football field. As I start the timer, I take off running. I can sprint until I gas and then walk as need be to recover or just do my best to maintain a constant, hard pace. When the timer goes off I will record how many laps I completed on the track or how many lengths of the field I was able to cover in the 12 minutes. Next time I will do more.

Keep this up and if you are training on your own you will be amazed at how fast your body starts to change. If you are a trainer, once you incorporate this style of “cardio” training into your sessions you will have a lot of very fit and very happy clients on your hands.

 PAU for NOW



Everyone knows I love interval training; it’s what I am known for. Most people also know I am a big fan of supplemental training devices that require a total body effort such as the Versa-climber, the Air-dyne Bike and the awesome but seldom found Jacobs Ladder. But what if you don’t have access to any of these cool machines? Should you give up on getting a good cardio / conditioning workout? What I have often said about strength training equipment (it’s not the tools it’s how you use them) applies to cardio equipment as well. Use what is readily available to you.

Below are four great, indoor interval workouts that you should try. None of them takes more then 20 minutes to complete.

Recumbent Bike

1 minute @ Max speed*

1 minute @ 50% Max speed

Repeat those intervals for 20 minutes

*Strive to keep R.P.M. level @ 100 or higher during work sets. Increase resistance when all 10 cycles can be completed easily.

Treadmill Running

Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog

• Interval 1 – run at 8.0 mi/hr for 1 minute

• Interval 2 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes

• Interval 3 – run at 10.0 mi/hr for 1 minute

• Interval 4 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes

Repeat above sequence four times for a 20 minutes workout.

Step-Mill (indoor stair climbing)

5 minutes of 20 seconds A.F.A.P.* / 20 seconds recover**

Repeat the above 5-minute cycle three times

Rest 90 seconds between 5 minute cycles

**A.F.A.P. = As Fast As Possible

**Recover @ 50% of max speed.

Concept 2 Rowing

30 seconds Row @ Max intensity

30 seconds Row @ 50% Max intensity

Repeat those intervals for 20 minutes

If you belong to a commercial gym then any or all of the above tools should be available to you. As the title of this article implies I recommend that you change modes frequently. At minimum you should plan on changing modes (equipment) at least every three weeks. I prefer to change modes each work out. This means you begin with the bicycle workout, and then during your next cardio / conditioning workout you use the treadmill workout, followed by the stairs and finally the rower.



Is your kitchen in shape?

Whether you are new to Hybrid Fitness or you’ve been poking around for a while, you have probably noticed we have tons of great info on creating healthy and delicious personal eating plans. In my recent article series “How to save time and money while still eating well” I talked about different ways to improve the efficiency of both your shopping and your food preparation. With those simple pointers you will save valuable time and money while learning to eat well.

To be efficient and effective when you are cooking great meals you need to have your kitchen basics covered. In this article I am going to briefly outline the things every well equipped chef needs, to be ready for anything.

  • 1  sharp 8” knife
  • 1 sharp 4” paring knife
  • 1 set of measuring spoons
  • 2 glass measuring cups
  • 1 good spatula
  • 4 wooden spoons
  • 1 heavy duty colander
  • 1 cheese grater
  • 1 vegetable peeler
  • 1 garlic press (solid metal)
  • 1 good food scale
  • 1 can opener (don’t get the cheap ones)
  • 2 large glass mixing bowls
  • 2 large stainless steel mixing bowls w/plastic lids
  • 1 non-stick stir-fry pan w/lid
  • 1 real griddle pan, non-stick
  • 1 10” omelet pan
  • 1 set plastic storage containers w/lids
  • 1 set quality pots and pans
  • Assorted sponges
  • Paper towels

This is a good starting place to make sure your kitchen is well stocked for just about any cooking project. Some optional ideas may include but are not limited to the following: A George Forman Grill. A Heavy duty blender (again don’t skimp on this). And, if you want to get really creative buy yourself a nice food processor.

Bonus shopping list:

This list is certainly not all inclusive but it is filled with enough great ideas for healthy foods that you will probably not need to buy much else. Get the things on this list, take them home to your well stocked kitchen, and you will have everything you need for creating a clean and balanced personal eating plan.

Print this out and take it with you when you do your weekly shopping.

Supplements: (buy quality on all of these)

Whey or blended Milk & egg Protein – Fish oil Caps – Multi-Vitamin

Protein: (Strive for grass fed, free range meats and poultry as well as wild caught fish. And when you can, buy organic dairy products)

Eggs – String Cheese – Ground beef (10% or less fat) – Non-fat milk – Turkey – Fish (example Salmon) – Tuna packed in water – Chicken breast – Top sirloin steak – Canadian Bacon – Cottage Cheese (low-fat)

Starchy Carbs: (look for organic and or locally produced)

Oatmeal – Buckwheat – Sprouted, flourless bread – Brown Rice – Yams/sweet-Potatoes – Pitas – Whole grain Pastas

Fruits: (look for organic and or locally produced)

Apples – Oranges – Pears – Grapefruit – Grapes – Melons – Berries – Plums – Peaches – Mangoes – Bananas –  Tangerines

Vegetables: (look for organic and or locally produced)

Spring Mix greens – Mushrooms – Green, Red, or Yellow Peppers – Broccoli – Tomatoes – Asparagus – Squash – Zucchini

Friendly Fats: (look for organic and or locally produced)

Raw Nuts & Seeds – Natural Nut Butters – Avocado – Olive Oil – Fish Oil – Flax Seed Oil – Natural Vegetable oils