Hey gang, many of you may not know that I am not only a strength and conditioning coach, but I am a pretty good cook as well. Over the years, I have created tons of delicious, healthy recipes for my clients and myself. Today I am sharing one of my favorites. These FISH BURGERs are easy to make, and taste great. Have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a healthy snack.


3-cans (6 ounces white meat) tuna packed in water (salmon or other canned fish of choice may also be used)
6 egg whites
1 organic apple (your choice, I like Fuji’s)
1 medium onion (I like Red Onions)
1.5 cups oatmeal (organic, old fashioned)
1 Tbsp. “Jerk” seasoning (or spices of choice)


1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Rinse Tuna to remove some of the salt. To do this first remove the lids from the cans and drain the water out completely. Next poke a fork into the tuna several times to create some small holes. Fill the cans with warm water and let sit for a few minutes. Then just squeeze out the water again and you are ready to go
3. Blend oatmeal until it becomes powdered
4. Chop apple and onion into small (1/4 inch pieces)
5. Mix all ingredients in a bowl (add small amount of water if needed)
6. Divide mix evenly into 6 patties
7. Place patties evenly spaced on a cookie sheet (pre-sprayed with non-stick cooking spray)
8. Sprinkle patties with additional seasoning if desired
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown



Variety is the Spice of Life (Part 2 – The Un-Routines)

In part one of this article, we talked about the need for change in our fitness routines in order to spark new progress as well as keep motivation and enthusiasm at a high level. Let’s create some simple plans that will allow us to randomize our workouts a bit. I’ll tell you some of the things I have done and perhaps you can incorporate some or all of these ideas into your own approach.

1. Create 4 to six different strength routines and then alternate them regularly. We’ll call them A – B – C – D-etc.


On week one you will do Routine A on Monday, B on Wednesday and C on Friday. On week two do Routine D on Monday, A on Wednesday and B on Friday. During the following weeks just keep rotating the different routines in and out of your schedule. Never do the same routine two times in a row.

2. “Run the numbers”. This is a really simple way to inject much needed variety into your strength routine.

Let’s say you have about 10-12 exercises in each of you’re A-B-C-D routines. Instead of always doing them in a specific order say 1 through 12, or always starting with Squats, each time you go to the gym you start with the next number in the order. So the first time you do Routine A you go from exercise 1 to exercise 12. The next time you do Routine A you go from exercise 2 to exercise 1. This way you are always starting your workout with an emphasis on a different movement. This coupled with the fact that you are already rotating through 4 separate routines will keep your body guessing for quite some time.

3. Try varying your rep ranges and or rep cadence.


If you always train the classic 5 x 5 (five sets of five reps), keep things spicy with some different rep ranges. Week one do sets of 4-6 reps. Week two do sets of 6-10 reps. Week three do sets of 8-15 reps. You can also vary your rep cadence, (the actual speed that you raise and lower the bar) I recommend 3-5 seconds to raise the weight and 3-5 seconds to lower it. If you are used to always moving the bar as fast as possible this decreased speed can really up your intensity and provide your muscles with a new and different challenge.

4. Cycle your intensity

At Hybrid Fitness we believe in training intensely. We also recognize that to avoid over training and reap the rewards of long term progress one must remain keenly aware of when it is time to push hard and when it is time to back off a bit. Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of over training so you can cycle effectively and make uninterrupted progress from month to month.

5. Change the order and or intensity or your “Cardio”.

If you always do Cardio training before strength training, then try doing them in the opposite order for a nice change of pace. Also as stated in part one of this article, you’ll get far more from your cardio training if you up the intensity instead of adding to the duration. So remember to challenge yourself.

6. Change the days you train.

Too many of us are stuck in a rut that is run by the calendar. If you have some flexibility, add it to your workout routine. If you always train on Monday-Wednesday and Friday and are feeling bit burnt out, train once every three days instead. If you are feeling extra fresh and want to step it up try three days on, one day off. Do a different routine or class each day that you go to the gym but just keep to this three on, one off, approach. Example:

Train on Monday doing a long cardio session. On Tuesday do some heavy weights and some sprints. On Wednesday try a Total body conditioning class. Take Thursday off and on Friday start the whole cycle over again.

The ultimate randomization tool.

As you can see at Hybrid Fitness variety is a key component to how we help our athletes stay fresh and continue to make progress for long periods of time. If you are looking for a simple tool to help you add fun and variety into your training routine check out our “Card P.T.” program. To find out more go here.

Well, there you have it. Hopefully by now you not only recognize the value of adding some variety to your fitness plan, but have gained some simple ideas about how to make changes that will not only see you making new and continued improvements but will add some much needed spice to an otherwise dull routine. As always if you have questions or feel you need more help with this or any other subject you find here please feel free to contact me at

*Example Strength Routines A-B-C-D

For each workout below, do one set per exercise. Vary reps as needed, for desired results. Rest 30-90 seconds between sets.

Routine A

1. Leg Curl

2. Leg Extension

3. Squat

4. Calf Raise

5. Overhead Press

6. Pullover

7. Dip

8. Bent over row

9. Triceps extension

10. Biceps Curl

11. Bent kneed sit-up

12. 4-way neck

13. Shrug

Routine B

1. Bent Over Row

2. Negative Pullover } Giant set

3. Pulldown

4. Incline Press

5. Bent armed Fly } Giant set

6. Push-up

7. Negative Chin-up

8. Negative Dip

9. Shrug

10. 4-way neck

11. Leg Curl

12. Leg Extension

13. Hip adduction

Routine C

1. Leg extension } Pre-exhaust

2. Leg Press

3. Deadlift

4. Leg curl } Giant set

5. Stiff-Legged Deadlift

6. Calf Raise } compound set

7. Seated Calf raise

8. Hip Abduction } Compound set

9. Hip Adduction

10. Lateral raise

11. Pullover

12. Bench Press

13. Biceps Curl

Routine D

1. 1-1/2 rep Dip

2. Triceps Extension } Giant set

3. Negative Dip

4. 1-1/2 rep Chin

5. Biceps curl } Giant set

6. Negative Chin

7. Wrist curl

8. Reverse Wrist curl

9. Leg Press

10. Leg extension

11. Leg Curl

12. Lateral raise

13. Hanging Knee raise



Variety is the Spice of Life (part 1)

We all know the age-old adage “Variety is the spice of life”. Many of us also have first hand experience with this concept as we have made simple changes to some aspect of our daily lives at one time or another and quickly noted the renewed enthusiasm that often accompanies such changes. In many instances some simple changes to your fitness routine are just what the doctor ordered to breath new life and progress into an other wise dull, stale routine.

If you have been consistently and regularly exercising for six to eight months or more, your body has become accustomed to the stress of exercise. Many of us notice rapid improvements when we first begin a fitness routine only to see those improvements dry up and disappear in just a few short weeks or months. Why dose this occur? What can we do about it? Read on and I’ll tell you.

First of all lets hear it for our bodies. They are amazing marvels of biomechanical design. To see and feel them functioning at their peak is truly an experience of splendor. We don’t always treat them as well as we should and yet they continue to try their best for us no questions asked. If we give them good fuel, keep up with some basic regular maintenance and get out and move them around a bit they will reward us with years of hassle free service. Just about any physical challenge we humans can dream up can be overcome by these amazing machines we call our bodies.

Modern society is one of convenience. Exercise literally used to mean life or death for us. Now it has become just one of many activities we are trying to find time for in our busy lives. If you are reading this then you have probably found at least a little time for fitness in your hectic schedule. But are you having fun? Are you branching out and trying new things? Does your workout routine have any spice? If you answered no to any of those questions, fear not for I am here to help. Getting spicy is a lot easier then you may think.

Lets back track for just a second. As I said above, the body is amazing. It likes us to be able to accomplish our tasks with energy to spare. This is a self-preservation tactic. If our bodies did not find ways to maximize efficiency then we would use up too much of our valuable energy resources trying to accomplish the most basic daily tasks. Instead, our amazing bodies continue to increase the ease and efficiency of executing these tasks and finds ways to use less and less energy to accomplish them. When we are learning a skill such as a racquetball serve or throwing a right hook punch, we want our bodies to become better and more efficient over time. This allows us to execute the skill with maximum efficacy. For fitness however, we want to avoid this process. If we stay on the same old routine our bodies will get better and better at accomplishing the task while expending less energy to do so. In other words, the longer we stay on the same fitness routine, the less effective it will become for us. So, how do we fix this problem? How do we keep our bodies from adapting to our routine?

Step one; try something new. This seems like a no-brainer but so many of us have become creatures of habit. We plod along in the same old routine, day in and day out…Blah. On a side note, if you have been doing some routine for three months and it is not producing the results you expected or desired, it will not suddenly and miraculously start producing results in the fourth month. Trust me it wont. So, it is time for a change.

If group exercise classes are what you enjoy, try a new one. Don’t just stick with the same old Monday Wednesday Friday schedule. If you always do Step class try a boot camp or total body conditioning class. Try a dance class. Challenge your self to break out of the mold. Remember just because your do three different classes every week, does not mean you are getting a varied workout routine. Have you been doing the same three classes for six weeks, six months, or six years? When you are doing a class and the teacher says “Grab some Dumbbells” do you always grab the same weight(s)? Try something heavier next time. There are several reasons why so few gym members seem to make long-term changes to their bodies and not having variety is one of them

If you love to do cardio training and always walk on the treadmill, branch out. Try using the rowing machine or jumping rope. Use a different stair machine then usual. It could be something as simple as trying a different program on the same machine. If you always do the “Fat Burn” program try “Cardio” or “Intervals” for a change of pace. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll get far more benefit from increasing your intensity then from increasing your duration. So, go on up to level 10 instead of adding another ten minutes to your workout.

If you are a strength-training zealot, then the same applies to you. Change your routine frequently. Use a different angle for the same general body part (going from flat to incline on your bench press). Use a different machine. Change the order of your exercises. Change your repetition range. If you always do 8-12, try 6-8 or even 4-6. As with the cardio training it is better to increase intensity rather then increase volume and or frequency of training. If you have been stuck at a plateau for some time, it is likely you need to take a few days off from training and then come back at it with a new and different approach. Try training harder but less often. Split your routine in a new way or switch to whole body workouts for a change. Remember, to get the most from your strength-training routine it should be brief, intense, and infrequent.

If you consider yourself a cross-trainer and mix things up between weights, classes, cardio etc, you must still take a close look at your daily, and weekly “routine”. If it is routine, then as I mentioned above, it’s time to shake things up a bit. In part two of this article we’ll dig a little deeper into how to add variety to our training routines.

To be continued……


How To Get Better In Your Sport

TAKU’s NOTE: This week features an excellent article from my good friend Steve Mckinney. Steve is an awesome Personal Trainer, and runs studios which offer personal fitness training in the following areas:  St. Louis, Clayton, Ladue and St. Charles, Missouri. Along with Edwardsville, Maryville, and Glen Carbon, Illinois. I highly recommend that if you have the chance, you book a session with him, and don’t forget to tell him TAKU sent you.

By Steve McKinney

Every athlete wants to improve performance in their particular sport, that’s why we play. The question is, “How do we do it?”

The answer is quite simple, probably so simple you can’t believe it. Here it is¡­..are you ready?…. PRACTICE! (I know Allen Iverson may not agree with me)

Think about it. If you want to be a great 3 point shooter in basketball what should you do?

A) Practice Free throws

B) Run sprints or

C) Practice 3 Pointers.

If you said A or B please don’t read any further there’s no help for you! Just kidding. It just should be obvious the correct answer is C.

To me it just seems obvious, to get better in my sport I must practice that sport particularly/specifically over and over and over again.

In my 20’s slow pitch softball was big in the Midwest. I played on some local teams but there was a team based in St. Louis that paid their players. I wanted in on that! So here’s what I did. Every chance I could I recruited guys to practice with me. I got about 50 balls and I would make sure I had 3 guys, a pitcher, a hitter and an outfielder. We all changed positions. 1-2 hours per day, 4-5 days per week of hitting and catching and then playing games every night. Guess what? Within 2 years I was like, “show me the money!” For the next 5 years I traveled all over the country playing the best players’ week in and week out.

I know the evidence I just gave you is anecdotal but that’s how I learned. I became my own trainer by experimenting. I still do. I then advise others and track the results making adjustments when necessary.

The question then is, “Are there other things I can do to help?” I’m glad you asked! There are. You should know I’m an advocate of High Intensity Training or H.I.T. for short.

High Intensity Training (HIT) is a form of strength training popularized in the 1970s by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus. The training focuses on performing quality weightlifting repetitions to the point of momentary muscular failure. The training takes into account the number of repetitions, the amount of weight, and the amount of time the muscle is exposed to tension in order to maximize the amount of muscle fiber recruitment.[1]

My suggestion to improve for your sport is to get stronger by using H.I.T. that is if your sport involves strength. (ping pong isn’t going work)

Strength training using H.I.T. methods while practicing your sport will really make a difference in your training. It allows for more time to specifically practice your sport. This specific training is called motor learning.

Motor learning ideally transfers positively to your game. This concept of transfer can have different affects on your training. However it can have a negative affect also.

Allow me to explain. I’ve seen people jumping rope to improve coordination or throwing a lead ball to help strengthen your arm, etc. In my experience the only thing jumping rope improves is ones ability to jump rope! Same with the lead ball throw, it makes me better at throwing a lead ball. But not a better pitcher, it would actually make me worse. That’s negative transfer. My softball example above is what I consider positive transfer.

Arthur Jones wrote something that really provoked thought: Skill in basketball (for

example) is produced only by playing basketball¡­ and the level of cardiovascular ability required for basketball is produced by the same training.(2)

Ellington Darden writes about 3 types of transfer: Positive, negative and indifferent.

    • Positive: When the activities of practice and competition are identical
    • Negative: When the activities of practice are almost the same as those in competition. Almost the same activities cause the neuromuscular pathways frequently to cross
    • Indifferent: When the activities of practice are totally unrelated to what happens in competition. (3)

Positive transfer helps your sport whereas negative transfer hinders it. Indifferent transfer is just that, indifferent, and has no affect on your game.

That brings me to strength training. Strength training is indifferent in that it has no affect on the skill levels of your game. It will only enhance your game, if, while your strength train you practice the skill part of your game. If you just strength train without skill training you’ll get stronger but your skill levels will diminish.

In conclusion let me give you some simple tips on improving your game.

    1. Practice your game specifically. If its basketball shoot then shoot, shoot and shoot some more. If baseball, then hit, hit and hit some more.
    2. Enhance your game by getting stronger using H.I.T. methods of strength training.
    3. Critically think about any advice given to you by experts. Don’t accept everything told to you. Most people try to add everything to their training except training itself.


    1. Philbin, John (2004). High-Intensity Training: more strength and power in less time. Human Kinetics. ISBN 9780736048200.
    2. Arthur Jones, Total Fitness, the Nautilus Way, Chapter Titled, “Improving Functional Ability… In Any Sport”
    3. Ellington Darden, (2006) The New Bodybuilding for Old School Results, page 108

Intro Interval Program – H.I.I.T

This interval program is designed to be performed 2 – 4 times per week on a Treadmill.

Work intervals should be performed at 80-90% Max Heart Rate (MHR)

If applicable, adjust incline and speed accordingly to achieve proper MHR results

Click the thumbnail below for a full-size view:

Intro Interval Program – H.I.I.T