Friday, December 21, 2007

Daily Movement - Friend or Foe

Editors note: The following thoughts are excerpts which were taken from discussions and correspondences with Douglas Scott, the Strength and Conditioning Coach for The Pingry School in Martinsville, NJ. Doug , who is a former collegiate football player and powerlifter, has developed a very open-minded approach towards exercise over his many years of being in the field. He does not quibble over how or what an individual does for their exercise regimen -as long as it is safe and enjoyable. He does not believe in differentiating "training days" from "non-training days" - every day should be a day for movement.


Personally I think you can train everyday so long as you understand that training takes many forms and all forms have value and can be deemed productive. Too often training is only thought of as "strength work" or "conditioning work" or "metabolic work" and that in order for a workout to be productive it must challenge the body to new heights. But what about the value of improving joint mobility or getting the blood flowing or just practicing an exercise for the intrinsic value it brings. All are benefits of exercise.
We can't view training in such a one dimensional fashion. If one was to train everyday using the same modality or style of training (strength training) for the same purpose (to gain strength) than a problem would come up. But if one was to train one day for strength development and the next day used exercises to "limber up" and get blood flowing and followed that up the next day with a "metabolic" type workout....etc and continued for the majority of the week cycling between intense, moderate, and light physical activity there should not be a problem. Very much like academics, if one were to push hard in one subject all the time, that could lead to burn out, but if they used one day to learn new material and the next to review old or even switch to a different subject then the goal of gaining knowledge and receiving an education would be met.
If we (experienced trainees who don't have other physical activities) viewed our training like a sport and the different venues of fitness as skills which needed to be developed than training each day would be valuable (much like sports practice). And just like athletics there would need to be hard days and easy days as well as rest days. I don't really like that whole line of thinking that anything enjoyable is recreation....If you don't enjoy your training why do it? Training should be enjoyable and rewarding.....not painful or monotonous. A productive exercise / workout is one that produces a result. A strength training workout performed with a high level of effort will cause a result. A less intense movement workout the next day will cause a result. Namely bringing in blood and nutrients to the muscles....aiding in recovery.
Unless you are a [true] bodybuilder where your only concern is "growing", training to the point where you can't move or "function" doesn't make sense to me anymore (even if that is deemed as the "best" way to train). This is something I have learned working in athletics. If I train someone so hard that they are sore and "heavy legged" and can't practice well.....what was the point of training? Training is supposed to compliment your activity not compete with it. Granted, I no longer play organized sports but I do have to move around at work and "survive" long days training people so training that way is not needed and somewhat counter productive. -
Douglas Scott, The Pingry School, Strength and Conditioning Coach

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

TRX Comments


I recieved my TRX on Nov 9, and have used it exclusively since then, twice a week. No other weights or machines. Today, I "tested" myself on chins at the local community center. In spite of doing only layback rows on the TRX, I gained a chinup, executing 14 and a partial, which for me is great. My last attempt at regular chins was 13 barely. This is interesting as I can do more layback rows, due to part of my bodyweight being supported, but the strength "transferred" big time. I am 57 YO, 5'8", about 145 lbs. So I'm not a big guy. I'm also arthritic in the spine and knees. I'm not sure how you larger guys are doing on the TRX, but for me, it's the best all around fitness tool I've ever owned. It works.
The TRX works fine for me. The exercises are as challenging as you want them to be. No joint pain, though. I can move very quickly between exercises. One of the problems with bw exercise is the lack of low body stuff. You either have to do tons of reps of squats or do pistols, which I think are hard for most people and possibly not knee friendly. With the TRX I can do really hard lower body workouts.And everybody knows about the core stuff. If I could only have one peice of equipment it would be this one. And my wife loves the fact it takes up no space when I'm not using it.

“UNBELIEVEABLE! What a great workout I just had with Fred. He kicked my butt from head to toe in less than 30 minutes using just the TRX Suspension Trainer. I was amazed at how many exercises could be done using the TRX and how intense the workout was. I look forward to using it again for my next workout.”

“…a very simple device that attaches easily to any structure and sturdy enough to support your full bodyweight and adds more productive exercises to your training ‘tool box.’”

If you are interested in purchasing the TRX Suspension Trainer or would like to be trained by me, please feel free to contact me. - Fred Fornicola

Monday, December 17, 2007

Stone Lifting for Strength and Conditioning


Training to become stronger and physically fit is pretty much a simple process; you have to work hard, be consistent and use safe exercise techniques. What you choose to exercise with, whether it’s machines, weights, bands, stones or your own bodyweight, is a personal preference. Sometimes, however, you may not have access to the “latest and greatest” equipment or you’re too busy to make time to even get to the gym. Or maybe you just enjoy being a “garage lifter” and want to add some variety to your training, regardless of your situation, stone lifting is an excellent way to improve your strength and conditioning. Remember, all movements should be done deliberately – with control and very little momentum!

Here are just a few of the exercises you can do with stones:

Overhead Press (one arm or two)
Curl (one arm or two)
Front Squat
Lunge
Tricep Extension
Crunch
Deadlift
Clean & Curl
Clean & Press
Front Raise
Hammer Curl
Stone Hold
Stone Carry
Lift & Load
Clean to shoulder/chest
Pullover
Front Squat with Press
Push Press

The following are some sample stone workouts you can try using the “Strength Training Guidelines” discussed earlier.

Workout #1

This workout involves only using one sized stone. Use one (1) set of an all-out effort (get as many repetitions as possible) with each exercise and take no longer than 60 seconds rest between exercise movements. Some exercises will allow for higher than normal repetition ranges while other movements will not – the key is to work the set to momentary fatigue. This simple workout will have worked every major muscle group in your body directly and indirectly and will certainly elevate your heart rate if you are giving 100 percent effort on each exercise, especially if you take little rest between movements.

- Standing Overhead Press
- Squat holding the stone at chest height
- Stiff leg Deadlift
- Hammer Curl
- Stone Lift (Clean) from floor to shoulder - alternating sides for each rep
- Crunch with stone on chest

Stones are a great tool - take up little space and challenge your muscular and cardiovascular systems to the maximum. Anyone interested in purchasing Slater's Stones, please feel free to contact me. - Fred Fornicola

Friday, December 14, 2007

Red Meat Rant

It seems like red meat is always getting a bad rap. Claims of increased cholesterol, heart disease and now obesity makes you wonder how anyone's ever survived past 30 if they were meat eaters.

My question is this: Is "red meat" the real reason for these problems or is it that the red meat that most people tend to eat is from steroid fed, antibiotic, hormone injected cows who graze on insecticide and pesticide grass?

What if we were to eat hormone and antibiotic free beef with no chemicals? Would red meat still be the "bad guy"? Probably not. So what can you do? First thing, try and eat Certified Angus beef (90%). It's claims are that it is drug free of what the every day cow is eating. Also try eating more game like venison and buffalo if you can.

Hey, what I'm throwing out here is not backed by science and no guarantee to what I'm saying is accurate - it just seems logical and I'm just putting it out there for consideration. Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

'Tis The Season

HAPPY HOLIDAY'S

from


For some, the holiday's can add stress to an already crazy schedule and finding time to work out is the last thing on your mind, but in truth, it should be the first. Exercising just 10-15 minutes a day can help reduce - and in some cases, even alleviate - the stresses of the season. The simple task of performing bodyweight squats, crunches, pushups and some plank holds can add a new found energy to both mind and body.

Now, I know most people are questioning this idea - thinking that how can that little bit of exercise really be helpful? Well, instead of wondering, give it a shot. Are you afraid I'll be right and that it doesn't take a lot of time to benefit from such little amount of work? I don't know where the industry went wrong but they did when they imposed parameters on what someone needs to improve their health.

My philosophy is simple - work hard and efficiently on a consistent basis and make safety a priority. Remember, a little of something beats a whole lot of nothing any day! - Fred Fornicola

Happy Holidays......

Monday, December 10, 2007

Age and Exercise


Over my many years in the field of fitness, I've had countless conversations with individuals about exercise and improving their health. Quite often, I'll hear many diverse "reasons" why they aren't doing anything physical, but my favorite response by far is "wait till your my age - you'll see how hard it is".
I find this comment humorous on many levels. First, and foremost, because anyone at any age can find and use a safe, efficient and effective way to exercise. Second - and this is usually the fun part for me - I get to tell them that I'm actually older than they are. At that point they are just praying that their cell phone rings or someone calls their name so they can get out of this now embarrassing situation. This is not to say I look young, not at all, but staying in good physical condition does add a youthful appearance and attitude.
Of course, age is a consideration based on what someone is capable of doing - this means young and old - but regardless of age, everyone should perform some type of exercise.
Remember, "Age is a factor, not an excuse." - Fred Fornicola

Friday, December 07, 2007

What Can You Do On The TRX Suspension Trainer?


The TRX Suspension Trainer - in the most simplest terms - is an apparatus that has improved the ability to perform bodyweight exercises. Its main functions that provide this improved capability are:

- Versatility in providing quick exercise changes

- Ability to increase or decrease leverages to make it usable by everyone at any strength and fitness level

- Variety of full range of motion movements for every major muscle group

- Safe, Efficient and Effective exercise in less than 20 minutes

Spend some time viewing the exercise library to a get a glimpse of just some of the exercises that can be done using the TRX trainer.

Anyone interested in working out on the TRX or purchasing one can contact Fred Fornicola via email or by phone at 908.433.4542

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pushup Form

I had discussed in a previous post how I feel that the pushup is an underrated and undervalued exercise. Many people don't utilize the pushup enough and if they do, they tend to throw it in at the end of their workout as an after thought. And it's too bad because it is such an effective exercise for the muscles of the chest, shoulder and triceps. And few people recognize that the pushup also utilizes the muscles of the upper back, legs and "core" areas, so in truth, it becomes a great overall body exercise.


Finding people who do pushups is one thing, finding people who do them RIGHT is a whole other ball game. When I do run into those who perform the pushup, I am simply amazed at the amount of reps they claim to get. I have had people have rattled off figures that are staggering. I've even had people tell me that they could bang out 50 and in some cases, even 100 consecutive reps - which to me is an incredible accomplishment. If at the time I'm feeling a bit cynical (and for those who know me, they are already asking "when isn't he?") I will ask that person to demonstrate their pushup form for me. More often than not they have a limited range of motion, are pumping the reps out faster than I can count and to be honest, have no business even trying to do pushups at all, let alone quoting some astronimical numbers.


If you enjoy doing pushups or would like to start doing them then do them - correctly - then you might want to view this video I found and learn How to do a proper pushup - Fred Fornicola

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dumbbell Training

“Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness” by Matt Brzycki and Fred Fornicola is not your conventional “how-to” book that you’d usually find in any bookstore or Internet site. With an emphasis on safety, this book thoroughly covers all aspects of proper strength training while simultaneously debunking certain myths and misconceptions such as explosive training and sport-specific training. The book shows how to perform nearly 50 exercises with dumbbells in a safe and effective manner. Unique to this type of book is the inclusion of more than three dozen dumbbell workouts that have been submitted by approximately 24 strength and fitness professionals from across the country along with an additional dozen challenging dumbbell workouts and finishing routines.

Here is a list of the individuals who contributed workouts to this book:

Steve Baldwin, Drew Baye, Randy Berning, Michael Bradley, Jim Bryan, Luke Carlson, Brian Conatser, Michael De Joseph, Jeff Friday, Jason Hadeed, Chip Harrison, Aaron Hillman, Gregg Humphreys, Sunir Jossan, Tom Kelso, Sam Knopik, Aaron R. Komarek, Kristopher R. Kotch, Mike Lawrence, Dr. Ken Leistner, Ken Mannie, John Mikula, Willis Paine, Adam Rankin, Jeff Roudebush, Doug Scott, Mike Shibinski, Rob Spector & Scott Swanson.

Here are some comments about “Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness”:

“This book on dumbbell training is a touchdown. The style of writing is easy to read, informative and very interesting. The content is useful for the serious trainee and the novice fitness enthusiast. You would have to be a dumbbell to not like this book.”

Dan Riley, Strength and Conditioning Coach - Houston Texans

“Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness is a profound presentation of practical information on one of the simplest, safest and most successful means for improving muscular strength and physical fitness. This well-written book provides everything you need to know for attaining excellent results through sensible dumbbell exercises.”

Dr. Wayne Westcott, Fitness Research Director South Shore YMCA - Quincy, Massachusetts

“High-tech machines or low-tech dumbbells, they're all strength-building tools. This is the book that will tell you how to use dumbbells to your greatest strength-enhancing advantage.”
Dr. Ken Leistner, Strength Coach - Valley Stream, New York

“Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness offers numerous practical and time-efficient training using one of the oldest tools in strength training: the unsophisticated, simple-to-use dumbbell. This book should be on the shelf of every trainee, trainer and coach as it is an invaluable tool/reference for anyone.”

Tom Kelso, Coordinator of Strength and Conditioning - Saint Louis University

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bodyweight and Beyond


As I've discussed in past posts - this one in particular - you will see that I am a big advocate of bodyweight exercises. Pushups, chinups, squats, crunches, plank holds and the like are phenomenal exercises for developing strength and conditioning and are quite often overlooked as part of an individuals exercise program. Granted, for some, doing a pullup or pushup is too challenging and can then be contraindicating to their quest for improved health, but there are other options.

This is where the TRX Suspension Trainer really comes in handy. This simple, yet effective piece of equipment can enable anyone of any strength level to perform exercises to stimulate the major muscles of the legs and upper torso. The mid-section, low back and hip area (also known as the "core") is heavily stimulated when the exercises are performed correctly - even if they aren't directly being worked!

And if you think the TRX is only for those who are looking to get "tone" - then you might want to look again!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Premiere Personal Fitness

At Premiere Personal Fitness, we focus on strength and conditioning training for all levels of fitness. By utilizing a high level of intensity in our training sessions, we are able to provide a safe, efficient and effective workout to help you achieve your fitness goals. And each and every workout is personally supervised in our private training facility. With equipment ranging from Hammer Strength, Nautilus and Pendulum to free weights, sand bags, stones and other “tools of the trade,” we can provide you with the opportunity to improve performance in all areas of your life.

Because we believe in getting the most out of each and every training session, we will adhere to the following guidelines:

- We perform full-body workouts, two or three times per week
- We use a high level of effort on each and every set of our exercises
- We perform exercises that utilize all the major muscle groups of the body
- We raise and lower the resistance using the muscle’s greatest range of motion
- We perform each repetition in a very controlled manner so our muscles move the weight – not momentum
- We move quickly (60 seconds) between each exercise to achieve a cardiovascular benefit
- We never exceed more than 30 minutes for our training sessions
- We strive to work hard during each and every workout

For local clients, call 908.433.4542 or email Fred Fornicola to set up a free consultation!
Phone Consultations are also available!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Conditioning Work


What it boils down to is that every activity you perform whether it is strength training, steady state aerobics, intervals, or any combination of the three is a form of conditioning. You are conditioning your body to perform a certain way or have a certain "function". All activities fall on the same continuum and a lot more carryover exists between the activities than previously thought. It is up to the participant to figure out what "function" they want to have and what the best way to achieve that would be. For those of us who are looking to improve our fitness and "general preparedness" for life it really does not matter what form of exercise we choose. I do think there should be a balance between higher intensity work and lower intensity work, as well as "strength dominant activities", and more aerobic endurance components. Personal enjoyment also has a lot to do with.

Let’s face it I could say that running the best activity for conditioning the legs and heart, and give valid reasons for this, but if you don’t like to run than you will find valid reasons why running is bad and not needed. Personally I enjoy steady state slow to moderate jogs so I see value and do them often. I also enjoy performing jump rope intervals, and circuit style bodyweight workouts. I have in the past performed more traditional high intensity workouts although I have "cycled" off them as of late. There are too many forms of productive workouts to limit oneself into thinking that there are certain activities to develop condition and other to develop strength. All activities fall on the same continuum some lean more to one side than the other.If you are looking to perform daily activity than I would suggest you not think in terms of strength and condition but in terms of movement. Train each day if you think that is best and do something you enjoy. If you want to go all out on weight training than go for it. The next day if going for a long walk is what you feel like, do that. Your body will let you know when it is time to kick it up and when to back it off. – Doug Scott, Strength & Conditioning Coach, The Pingry School

Friday, November 23, 2007

A great place to talk about safe, effecient and effective exercise is a discussion forum that I run called High Performance Training.

If you have any interest in learning more about fitness, feel free to visit this site. - Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

In The Present



"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. " Buddha

Monday, November 19, 2007

Simple Things - TRX Suspension Training



As a Strength and Conditioning Coach I have access to literally thousands of dollars of state-of-the-art exercise equipment ranging from barbells and dumbbells to high speed treadmills and variable resistance machines. However, even with all the “high tech” training devices I still find myself incorporating the most basic of exercise modalities into my athletes’ fitness routines. The method of training I am referring to is known as bodyweight training. This, simply, is the use of ones own bodyweight as resistance to stimulate the muscles to become stronger. This form of exercise, which requires little or no equipment, is very beneficial to anyone who wants to improve their strength and fitness levels. I am frequently asked by athletes of all sports why are we doing such a “simple” exercise, but only after a few properly executed repetitions they quickly learn the answer - “Because they work!”

From my experience, the versatility and convenience of these exercises in conjunction with their ability to stimulate the muscle structures of the body in a safe and productive manner makes bodyweight training second to none. One of the greatest advantages to bodyweight exercises are their versatility and convenience. These exercises can be done virtually anywhere with little in the way of set up time and equipment and can be used in conjunction with traditional “free weight” and machine based exercises, or as a stand alone activity for muscular strength gain. They can even be used on “off” days to enhance recovery and “get the body moving” to alleviate the next day muscle soreness which often occurs after an intense workout.

A very popular method of training with my athletes is to perform a series of 10-15 exercises for a specific period of time, usually 1 minute, and rotate through with little rest periods for a very effective strength and aerobic workout. Too often this form of exercise is shrugged off as being “too easy” or relegated to warm up activities or as a last resort when no other equipment is available. The beauty of this kind of training is the same exercise(s) can be used for “warming up” before a more intense activity; or performed in an “all out” fashion to challenge the most seasoned of exercisers. Simply adjust the repetitions or sets performed; or incorporate isometric holds at various positions of the exercise; or adjust your hand or foot position to create a whole new exercise experience. Whichever you choose it is no problem making the exercise more or less challenging depending on your fitness goals.

Introducing the TRX Training System

Although it would be tough to argue that a workout consisting of push ups, squats, sit ups, chin ups, dips, and bear crawls would not be effective as a stand alone workout (especially if the participant was able to perform high repetitions) an apparatus is required to perform some exercises which is not always available. In addition, dips and chin ups require a fairly high level of strength just to begin the exercise, which makes them difficult for people just starting out or with poor body leverage. That is why I am happy to support a training system that enhances the bodyweight training experience and allows everyone, regardless of ability level, to reap the benefits of training in this style. What I am referring to the TRX Training System. This is a very simple device that attaches easily to any structure and sturdy enough to support your full bodyweight and adds more productive exercises to your training “tool box”. Exercises such as lay back rows, biceps curls, swimmer pulls, and hip lifts can be used by both beginner and advanced fitness enthusiast to train the muscles through unique ranges of motion leading to more complete muscular development and enjoyment. Using the leverage principle, each exercise can be made more or less demanding by adjusting ones body position. The more you lean away form the devise the more resistance you will be lifting, making the exercise more challenging. This feature allows anyone to perform the exercises, regardless of strength or training experience in a safe and productive manner.

For me, TRX’s greatest advantages is its portability. The entire system folds up into a small 2 pound sack, which makes it a perfect accessory for busy travelers or in my case, to bring along to athletic fields to train athletes. Simply hook it to a goal post, fence post, swing set or other fixed structure and begin your workout. There is even a door mount attachment that enables the device to attach to any standard door.

With hundreds of fitness devices on the market today and all the promises of a better body they promote the great thing about this system is its simplicity. There are no fancy labels or flashy exercises, just simple movements that produce results. My advice is to choose ten exercises, any ten will do, and perform them to the best of you ability, all the while striving for improvement in repetitions performed. Do this 3-5 times each week for 3 months and you start to see what I am talking about. - Doug Scott, Strength and Conditioning Coach





Friday, November 16, 2007

A Beginners Strategy for Losing Weight - Part 2


In "A Beginners Strategy for Losing Weight - Part 1" I referenced previous blog posts that focused around "the doing" and how uncomplicated it was to find time to exercise. In this segment, I will touch briefly on the concept of the "D" word - Dieting.

When I work with my clients, I feel that educating them on all aspects of health is vital to their success. Resistance training, cardiovascular conditioning and flexibility training are among the different aspects that I consult them on as we work together, but the one facet of the whole health equation that is usually the most difficult is the nutritional piece. I find it challenging at times to convey what I consider to be a healthy approach to nutrition because of all the “special diets” that are circulating among the American population. It seems that almost every diet propagated amongst friends, co-workers, the media, etc. all seems to work…..for a while anyway. More diet gurus have come and gone and have come back again to suggest that you “Stop the Insanity” and “Deal a Meal” yourself to a better body. Personally, I can’t imagine buying prepackaged food and being told what to eat or running out of “points” and not being allowed to eat or better yet, having extra points left over and being told its OK to eat that big piece of chocolate cake (even though you want to)and not to worry. It’s my contention that the immediate focus should be on our health, not a tight pair of buns and a chiseled chest (although they too can be obtained through hard work). The aesthetic improvements that everyone hopes for is usually the last to happen once they realize that efforts aren’t just at the dinner table and that resistance and cardiovascular training are part and parcel to achieving the health and body you dream of having (but that’s for another article).

A major health concern that we should be addressing is obesity in America. An estimated 97 million adults in the United States, 55% of the population, are overweight or obese. The American Public Health Association (APHA) has supplied statistics stating that nine million children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight. The proportion of children who are overweight has tripled since 1980 according to this study. Now, keep in mind that these studies are based on BMI (body mass index) which is calculated based on your gender, height and body weight only, with absolutely no regard for your actual LBM (lean body mass). To be honest, it is a feeble attempt at predicting what your LBM is. Basing it solely on the parameters listed above is ridiculous. For the heck of it, I used a “health” calculator
to determine my BMI based using my current statistics. I am 5’7”, male and weigh 175 pounds. The “ideal body weight calculator”, (the governments misleading term, not mine) tells me I should be 148 pounds at my height for my gender. According to their health calculator I am 22 pounds over weight - which is absurd. This figure puts me in the “over weight” category – which isn’t the case. This means of determining body fat levels skews the obesity number in my opinion, however, there is still a large (no pun intended) amount of Americans that should certainly address their body fat levels and overall health and well-being.

So, with all the diets out their and the amount of people who participate in these programs, why are we as a nation still seeing a majority of people still carrying excess body fat and suffering from stressed immune systems, heart disease (the number 1 killer in America), stroke (#3 killer), elevated cholesterol levels, hypertension, etc.? Why are there still unsuccessful attempts at losing this unwanted body weight and fat? Why are we still so unhealthy? As far as I’m concerned, most diet plans are short term in nature, whereby the individual sees some weight loss in the beginning and once they go back to what’s deemed as “normal eating” they then tend to “yo-yo” or “rebound”, which means they gain the weight back and on most occasions, go above the weight they started at.

The way to lose weight is a basic concept, take in fewer calories than you expend and you will lose weight. That is why most people lose weight immediately because they may cut out the junk food or all the breads and pasta they eat, blaming carbohydrates for their excess weight, not the amount of calories. Adding in some type of resistance and cardiovascular exercise also helps in burning calories and so does portion control to an extent, but evaluate what is being focused on by some of these diet plans. Looking good is the prime concern when a diet is proposed. Vanity is what is played on, with little regard for health. The idea that “thin is in” does not, I reiterate, does not ensure that you are healthy. Keep in mind that losing weight isn’t the primary goal; losing body fat is what you are ultimately trying to accomplish along with enriching your body with nutrients to make you healthier. Can you see a theme here with the amount of times I’ve referenced the term HEALTH?

It comes down to some fundamental principles and implementation. I am not trying to imply that losing body fat is easy, it certainly isn’t (I know, I’ve done it), but it isn’t as difficult and mundane as some propose. The beauty of eating good, wholesome foods and structuring a sound eating plan doesn’t revolve around meetings or the need to be afraid of fats, nor do you need to join the “anti-carb” committee to achieve positive results.

You need guidance, time, patience and dedication to make it happen. You have the ability to make a permanent change that will benefit you for life.

If anyone is interested in more information on how to lose body fat and improving their health, feel free to contact me by email or call 908.433.4542 and I will send you a Healthy Living Questionnaire to get you started. - Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dumbbell Training

An interview with Fred Fornicola on "Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness"

Monday, November 12, 2007

What's All the "Buzz" About?

Energy Drinks are pretty popular - especially among young adults. Please view this article I wrote regarding the dangers of consuming these energy drinks. - Fred Fornicola

Friday, November 09, 2007

What Can You Do In 30 Minutes?


At Premiere Personal Fitness, we use an approach that is based on controlled and safe training, and we combine it with an intense effort at a solid tempo throughout the entire workout. This provides a stimulus for both the muscular and cardiorespiratory systems and because of our hard work, most clients train in roughly 30 minutes - and in some cases, 15-20 minutes is all that is needed.

At my facility, we have all types of equipment from machines, barbells, dumbbells and "odd training tools". We use whatever we can get our hands on to provide a safe, efficient and effective workout and put a strong emphasis on "enjoying the process".

Part of making things fun is introducing new ideas, different styles and of course, new "toys" to use. For a while now, I have been using the TRX Suspension Trainer with my clients and having great success. Recently, one of my long time, dedicated clients requested a little change in his style of training and included in his request was if I would train along with him. I was reluctant at first for a few reasons - mainly because I prefer to train alone - but after giving it some thought, I felt that it might actually be good for both of us.

He, like me, enjoys performing the bulk of his work doing bodyweight movements and lifting stones. He trains really hard, has a pretty good understanding of exercise and so the "match-up" works well for now - plus he and I have had the opportunity to experiment and find out the nuances of the TRX, so the experience has been very beneficial to me because it has allowed me to utilize the TRX system more effectively and intelligently.

Listed below is a workout that we've done recently. It took us just about 30 minutes to complete and we were pretty wiped out at the end. All of our exercises were worked to muscular fatigue and we moved quickly between exercises - allowing jut enough rest for the person to perform their set.

TRX Handstand Pushup
TRX Rows
TRX Suspended Pushup
TRX Rows
TRX Leg Curl
TRX Leg Extension
TRX Hip Kick
TRX Bicep Curls
TRX Tricep Extension
TRX Suspended Crunch
That's it - 10 total sets in under 30 minutes

Anyone interested in using the TRX Suspension Trainer or Ordering one, please contact me -Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The First and Most Important Step


There is no doubt that good, wholesome food is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When we consume foods full of vital nutrients such as proteins, essential fats, vitamins, minerals, etc we are enabling our body to fight off disease, repair itself from exercise and life's daily stress. Without proper support, our bodies will begin to "lose the battle" and that is when we become sick, start to gain body fat and lose muscle and buckle under the stress and strain of every day life.

I don't mean to paint such a "gloom and doom" picture here but the reality of it all is this does happen to many people. But a lot of this can be avoided by taking some simple steps. At this point I will state the obvious and that is to make sure you eat good foods throughout the day to give your body and mind the energy it needs to perform mental and physical tasks, but when you can't get your food in you, you need to look for other sources.
Because we live in a fast-paced society, most people are notorious for skipping breakfast. Breaking the fast is vital to starting off the day properly - it sets the tone of how your body and mind will handle the day. The best way to so start your day off right is to consume a complete source of protein, some complex carbohydrates and essential fats. If you can't find the time or the means to make something to eat then I strongly recommend consuming a liquid meal consisting of a high-grade whey protein, maybe add some raw oats or fruit and pop a few essential fatty acid capsules. And if you are usually devoid of vegetables, throw in a scoop of engineered greens and you would have a great start to your day.

The whey protein I recommend is Dream Protein. It's hormone free and tastes great. I also like Green's First as well as Perque Triple EFA's - all of which I carry at my studio for my clients.

Remember, the first and most important step is to start off your day with a solid breakfast.
If anyone has questions, please feel free to contact me - Fred Fornicola










Monday, November 05, 2007

Don't Sweat It....

Health and Fitness are generally thought of as a "physical thing". You know, most goals for people are to have good looking abdominals, lifting a certain amount of weight or being able to perform some kind of athletic activity.

But health and fitness aren't only reflected externally, it comes in the form of emotional, spiritual and emotional as well - and all are important to becoming as healthy and individual as possible. So why don't people recognize the need to intrinsicly be healthy? Maybe it's vanity or ego, maybe they don't consider it to be important or worse, they don't even recognize that there's a need.

There are many ways to address these health factors - which will be addressed at a later period in time - but for now, maybe start out small and "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff..."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

PPF Products & Services

Well, I'm happy to announce the Premiere Personal Fitness "Products & Services" portion of our website is now up and running and ready for business.

Currently, PPF is carrying select items such as:

TRX Suspension Trainer Pro and all accessories
Slater's Stone's
Top Squat
Elite Power Rings
Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness
The Essential Guide to At-Home Training
The Kennedy System
Phone Consultation

More items will be added over the coming weeks and month's so check back often.

Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What's Old is New

Today, like in most cases, we see new names attached to old concepts, eloquently spun by marketers and self-proclaimed gurus to make them seem they just stumbled upon the Holy Grail. Some are cognizant of their deliberate antics while others unknowingly and aimlessly merely regurgitate what they’ve heard or read as being new. It reminds me of one day when my daughter and her friend were singing along in the car one day to a remake of an old song that was popular when I was growing up. She and her friend were astonished that my wife and I knew the words and were floored to find out the song was 30 years old. What was new to them was simply renewed and repackaged.

New packaging: HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training.

The concept of performing interval training to improve one’s conditioning has been around for ever. Back when I was in school, most athlete’s, especially those involved in sports like football, basketball and soccer, would run “wind sprints” to improve their, well, wind. You know, their lung capacity, their breathing, their overall conditioning – having little regard or concern for the “fat burning effect” - unlike that of the focus of today’s fitness crowd. How can anyone jump on the HIIT bandwagon or recommend such a protocol without taking into account what an individual’s strength training regimen is. If you were to train at my facility there would be a good chance that performing additional interval work would be counterproductive to your health since our strength sessions have a conditioning component to it due to the level of intensity. I’m not saying not to do some additional aerobic activity – I’m saying the intensity of the activity should be lower so as not to over train the body. I’ll get back to my initial point now.

New packaging: Complexes

I recently read where “complexes” are the new thing. Man, I just hate buzz words. Back in my day I had to deal with words like “bulk”, “ripped”, “buff” and “max-out”, now a days it’s “functional”, “stability”, “core” and now “complexes”. Complexes, for those of you who haven’t yet been exposed to the concept, are a series of exercises; generally performing anywhere from 4-6 movements’ one right after the other. Sometimes the sets are performed by achieving a certain number of repetitions or time element and can have you use movements that involve only the upper body or have you alternate the upper and lower body from movement to movement. There are many scenarios, but you get the idea. Once the series is complete a short rest may be involved and the “complex” is repeated or another series of exercise are performed in the same fashion. Again, I’ll date myself here but in my day I knew these concepts as circuit training or P.H.A. (Peripheral Heart Action) – both of which have been around since at least the 1960’s – and in a lot of cases, it sounds exactly what Arthur Jones had conceptualized when he established The Nautilus Principles over 35 years ago.

In most cases, depending on the intensity of the effort and how the exercises are performed, these “intervals” and “complexes” seem like the very essence of the way I started training 30 years ago and continue to do today. In fact, I train my clients this way, but my new buzz word for it is “hard work”. – Fred Fornicola

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Time To Give

Even though the weather hasn't necessarily reflected it, Fall is here and in a blink of an eye, we'll all be sitting down to a hearty Thanksgiving Day dinner. But not everyone has the opportunity to have a feast to feed their families so this is a good time to find a local food bank or charity and drop off some non-perishable items to help out those less fortunate.

This year, Premiere Personal Fitness will be doing a Food Drive with all monetary and food donations items going to The Monmouth County Food Bank so next time you go shopping, please throw a few extra non-perishable items in your cart for those who can't afford to and bring it on in.

Oh yeah, and don't forget about Premiere's annual "Workout Before You Pig Out" on Thanksgiving morning, but more on that later......


Fred Fornicola

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Focusing on Fiber

With all the cockamamie diets and chemically processed food products available today, it’s no wonder that Americans are continuing down the path to poor health. With obesity (adult and child) and type II diabetes on the rise, manufacturers are zeroing in on how to alter their products to corner the market to keep up with the next trend in dieting. Unfortunately, this feeble attempt to encourage weight loss only furthers the decline of healthy living by encouraging “quick fixes” instead of focusing on eating well balanced, nutritious foods.

With people on the go and express meals at the ready, a lot of people are missing out on several important nutrients that supply the body the right type of fuel to build a strong immune system, fight disease and supply energy. Because many of these ready made meals and packaged foods are so highly processed they tend to lack the vital nutrients our bodies need. Unfortunately the consumption of these foods is merely offering a feeling of satiety and provides nothing more than what is known as “empty calories”. Empty calories are calories consumed from poor food sources that lack any kind of nourishment for the body. Items such as soda, chips, candy and the like offer no vitamins or minerals that can benefit ones health (and in some cases can even rob you of the vitamins your body needs) while still adding to your total caloric intake.

Due to the magnitude of this topic and the length at which it would take to discuss, I’d like to focus on one nutrient that seems to have lost focus over the years - fiber. With coronary heart disease being the number one killer for both men and women in America, fiber can play a critical role in helping reduce the risks. In fact, a Harvard study of over 40,000 male health professionals, researchers found that a high total dietary fiber intake was linked to a 40 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to a low fiber intake. Fiber intake has also been linked with the metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess weight (especially around the abdomen), high levels of triglycerides, the body's main fat-carrying particle, and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol). Several studies suggest that higher intake of fiber may somehow ward off this increasingly common syndrome. Along with helping to reduce the risks of the above mentioned diseases, fiber has been found to be effective in helping to reduce adult onset diabetes – better known as Type II diabetes. With a well-rounded exercise program, fiber can be effective in reducing the risk of type II diabetes and possibly help reduce the need for insulin for those with diabetes. Other unhealthy related conditions fiber has been effective in helping are diverticulitis and constipation.



There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested, therefore they are not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies. Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber does not. Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact. The function of insoluble fiber is to move bulk through the intestines and control and balance the pH in the intestines whole soluble fiber binds with fatty acids and prolongs stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly. Sources of soluble fiber are: oatmeal, oat bran, nuts and seeds, legumes (dried peas, beans, lentils), apples, pears, strawberries and blueberries. Insoluble fiber sources are whole wheat breads, barley, brown rice, bulgur, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, celery and tomatoes.



Current recommendations suggest that adults consume 20-35 grams of dietary fiber per day. Children over age 2 should consume an amount equal to or greater than their age plus 5 grams per day and yet the average American only eats approximately 15 grams of dietary fiber a day. So folks, it’s pretty simple, focus on at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables as well as at least 5-8 servings of whole grain products per day and you are very well likely meeting your fiber requirements and improving your overall health. - Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Slater's Stones


Training to become stronger and physically fit is pretty much a simple process; you have to work hard, be consistent and use safe exercise techniques. What you choose to exercise with, whether it’s machines, weights, bands, stones or your own bodyweight, is a personal preference. Sometimes, however, you may not have access to the “latest and greatest” equipment or you’re too busy to make time to even get to the gym. Or maybe you just enjoy being a “garage lifter” and want to add some variety to your training, regardless of your situation, stone lifting is an excellent way to improve your strength and conditioning.

Here are just a few of the exercises you can do with stones:

Overhead Press (one arm or two)
Curl (one arm or two)
Front Squat
Lunge
Tricep Extension
Crunch
Deadlift
Clean & Curl
Clean & Press
Front Raise
Hammer Curl
Stone Hold
Stone Carry
Lift & Load
Clean to shoulder/chest
Pullover
Front Squat with Press
Push Press

Slater’s Stones
8” 20lb with clear coat seal
List Price: $45.00
Domestic Shipping Rates: $25.00

10” 40lb with clear coat seal
List Price: $50.00
Domestic Shipping Rates: $40.00

12” 60lb with clear coat seal
List Price: $60.00
Domestic Shipping Rates: $47.00

There is a one to two week lead time on all stone orders.
Special customized stones are also available.

As a free gift, all Slater Stone orders will come with a copy of the guide, “Training With Stones” by Fred Fornicola.

To order stones or if you have any questions, feel free to email Fred Fornicola or call 908.433.4542

TRX Suspension Trainer


“UNBELIEVEABLE! What a great workout I just had with Fred. He kicked my butt from head to toe in less than 30 minutes using just the TRX Suspension Trainer. I was amazed at how many exercises could be done using the TRX and how intense the workout was. I look forward to using it again for my next workout.” – Dave Matteo

“…a very simple device that attaches easily to any structure and sturdy enough to support your full bodyweight and adds more productive exercises to your training ‘tool box.’” – Doug Scott, Strength and Conditioning Coach

The TRX System Professional is the original body-weight Suspension Training™ system offering a fusion of strength, balance and flexibility for people of all fitness levels; the most effective core conditioning system available anywhere. The System translates each user's bodyweight into variable resistance. Exercisers choose the degree of difficulty—from very light to very challenging—simply by changing their body position. No additional weight is required.

The System weighs less than two pounds and stores in a stuff sack the size of a running shoe. Workout anywhere there’s a sturdy structure and a body length of clear space:

Gym: power cage, smith machine, chin-up bar, cable tower
Outdoors: playground equipment, fence, tree, goal posts, basketball pole, tennis court, baseball backstop, bleachers
Home: door (with door anchor accessory), beam, wall (with wall anchor accessory), garage (with eye-bolt access)

To order yours or to train on the TRX Suspension trainer, contact Fred Fornicola
$149.95 + shipping

Monday, October 22, 2007

Premiere Personal Fitness Product Line

Just a quick update to the exciting news that I will be carrying select products at Premiere Personal Fitness. The website is nearly done and PPF will be offering the following products:

TRX Suspension Trainer - a versatile tool for home, travel and the gym
Elite Power Rings & Agility Ladders - great for athlete's
Slater's Lifting Stones - another valuable tool that can be used anywhere
Dave Draper's Top Squat - favorably endorsed by Dr. Ken Leistner
Dr. Paul Kennedy's DVD "The Kennedy System" - A great serious for getting healthy and lean
Phone Consultation - If you can't come in one-on-one, we can discuss your exercise and health program on the phone

Books by Brzycki and Fornicola, top grade supplements such as Dream Protein & Full Strength along with healthy living evaluations and a whole lot more coming soon

For more information call 908.433.4542 or email at fredfornicola@optonline.net

Premiere Personal Fitness

Friday, October 19, 2007

Vitamin Water

I've never been one to fall prey to advertising gimmicks - especially when it's related to the health and fitness field - but there are some times when these "gimmicks" actually are good for you - but just for different reasons. Allow me to explain.

Vitamin Water, in general, is "nutrionalized". Basically, it's filtered water that is fortified with some minuscule amounts of vitamins and minerals and a decent amount of fructose (fruit sugar). I would not recommend anyone drinking these to get their daily allowance of vitamins and the carbohydrates (which are all from simple sugars) would add up very fast. but here is where something like Vitamin Water can come in handy.

One of the most important times to replenish electrolytes, glycogen and stop the "breakdown" process that happens after an intense workout is immediately after you are done training. A mixture of some simple sugars and a liquid protein source (I recommend Dream Protein) really hits the spot and starts the recovery process - which is critical to becoming stronger and leaner. Remember, exercise is the stimulus - we grow outside the gym and this is the first step in the process.

A whole bottle of Vitamin Water only has about 25-30 grams of carbohydrates and tastes pretty good and would certainly serve the purpose as a post-workout carbohydrate recovery drink. - Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

To The Point....

The training method that I subscribe to is based on very simple, yet effective criteria: Be consistent in your efforts using safe exercises in a controlled manner through a full range of motion as well as working as hard as possible on each and every set of every exercise throughout your entire workout while training infrequently enough to allow for ample recovery!

Some who are familiar to the strength industry may say this sounds a lot like high intensity training, others may disagree – personally, I don’t care. I don't belong to any certain group or camp and I don’t subscribe to any particular dictum or have a particular dogmatic view on becoming stronger and more physically fit. I do believe that a person needs to work hard and be diligent in their pursuit but must also individualize their fitness so it becomes their own journey – no one else’s. There are many view points and opinions being flung about the Internet that state certain “rules” or “guidelines” need to met and if they’re not, you’re doing it wrong. Well, I’ll be the first to tell you that I haven’t lost a winks worth of sleep worrying about that one because I seem to break all the rules because I do whatever the hell I want, when I want, how I want and where I want – and no one can tell me otherwise. I set the rules because it’s my training, it’s my fitness, I just use the criteria I outlined as my guide. – Fred Fornicola

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Beginners Strategy for Losing Weight - Part 1

Editors Note: After clicking on the links within this post (which I hope you do), just click on HOME at the bottom of each page to get back to the main page.

An acquaintance of mine made a suggestion that I offer some ideas to beginners for losing weight. I would tweak his choice of "weight" by being more specific in saying "fat" but I do agree with his recommendation and feel this is a valid and hopefully useful topic to cover (and one which I will discuss in subsequent posts in greater detail) and hope this can help many people.

In most of my posts on this blog, I have what is usually an underlying message (and on occasions, I'm not shy by offering pretty direct thoughts as well) that the "doing" is the key to success. I have offered ideas on how to go about creating an exercise regimen that involves for the most part, a few exercises that when worked on a consistent basis can offer tremendous health benefits.

What I am offering you in this first segment is an uncomplicated way to start your way to losing weight without any excuses.

We will continue this later......... - Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

When I speak with individuals who are interested in exercise, I am usually bombarded with a good amount of reasons why they don’t exercise. Most of the time I counter them by making simple, yet logical recommendations which usually results in the individual throwing their arms up in frustration and walking away. My motive is not to irritate or frustrate them (although it is a perk I’ll admit) but to clarify and dispel some of the confusion they have based on what the industry has deemed as “requirements” for fitness. Many people fail to recognize that there are countless ways to improve their fitness and strength levels and no one has THE answer to it all. Many exercise routines and fitness recommendations are cookie cutter at best, being merely some form of guideline. To follow something verbatim while unknowingly doing so makes little sense to me, but there are many who are lead to believe that “three sets of ten repetitions” and “60 minutes of cardiovascular training” is the only way to exercise and therefore are handcuffed with their fitness.

It never ceases to amaze me how rationalization is such a convenient approach to doing or not doing something. You know how it goes; you can make excuses for or against doing something and use the most cockamamie reasons to make it work for you. You can come up with a million and one reasons why you should or shouldn’t do something and talk yourself into believing it’s OK. Based on the dogmatic view points of exercise that are espoused on the Internet, in magazine and in books, it’s no wonder people consider exercise to be a hassle.

So can you guess what the number one reason most people don’t do some form of exercise? Is it:

A) They are already too healthy and don’t need to exercise

B) They don’t want their physique to change too much because they don’t want to shop for new clothes

C) Their significant other loves them just the way they are

D) They don’t have enough time

Yep, it’s D - They don’t have enough time. Most people feel that because of the “rules of exercise” that have been past down like the ten commandments that they don’t have an hour or more each day to exercise and work on their fitness. My question is “Who the hell does?” and better yet “Why the hell would you want to?” Improving you strength and fitness is about quality of work, not quantity. Train intensely two or three times per week and you can significantly improve your strength, muscularity and cardiovascular system. Incorporate some recreational activities if you choose and you have a well-rounded program that will enhance your life. If you can devote that much time then train for 10 - 15 minutes a day by doing bodyweight squats and some plank holds one day and then some pushups and run some sprints on another day. Fitness doesn’t need to be complicated or too time consuming so enough with the excuses and get moving. - Fred Fornicola

Monday, October 08, 2007

NBCAM

October 2007 marks the 23rd year of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) campaign.

Each year, the 3rd Friday in October (this year it is the 19th) is designated National Mammography Day. On this day and during the course of the month, some radiologists provide free or discounted screenings. Last year more than 705 American College of Radiology accredited facilities took part in the program according to the NBCAM.

For further information and to learn which facilitates in your area are taking part, contact the following organizations:

American Cancer Society: 800-227-2345

National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations: 888-80-NABCO

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Consistency

Speak with any good fitness professional and they will tell you that above all else, CONSISTENCY is first and foremost in achieving ones goals. You can have the best laid plans, all the right equipment and a "trainer to the stars" and it all means nothing if you don't show up and perform on a consistent basis. You MUST be unfailing in your training, cardiovascular and nutritional programs – or all bets are off. When I train individuals, I can tell right away who is going to make the most progress by virtue of their dedication and those who are going to struggle because they have not yet made that all important commitment to themselves to work hard and consistently. Talking about exercising and actually showing up to do it are two entirely different things and making time, not excuses to exercise is what will improve your health, mind and body. Too often I see individuals starting to make improvements and then get waylaid for a period and they lose their momentum – resulting in frustration and a further lack of enthusiasm and dedication.

I often see (unfortunately) individuals who will not attend their training sessions due to “other” obligations, truly misunderstanding that their health should be high on the “to do” list and should be a priority. An application of a quality resistance and cardiovascular training program along with a sound nutritional plan is not a part time approach, it is more of a life change and once one becomes committed to that change, positive results will happen. Exercise and eating right on an occasional or semi-occasional basis will not yield optimum results – or any at all for that matter.

Attending to your health doesn’t need to be a full time job either. Making time to exercise two to three times per week for 20-30 minutes – (and that’s all you’ll need if you are truly working hard) will yield fantastic results in muscle gain, fat loss and cardiovascular health, assuming you are utilizing a safe and efficient program. I have clients that train with me two times per week for approximately 20 minutes and have made obvious gains in muscle and fat loss – not to mention an overall improvement in their physical and mental health. Of course, eating well is pretty much an every day thing but once proper habits and food selections are in order, it becomes second nature.

So, don’t make excuses for not exercising. If you have 60 minutes a week, you can improve your health, BUT the key is to be consistent in your efforts. The rewards are there for the taking. - Fred Fornicola

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Everything In Moderation?

We’ve all heard the phrase “Everything in moderation” at some point in time and well, I think this is a misunderstood or maybe better stated, misused term. I whole-heartedly disagree with the concept of "moderation" as it is used in the health community. Often times, people will use “moderation” as a license to eat poorly, not train hard (or miss a workout) or as an excuse not to work hard at improving their health. C'mon, you've heard it before, “Hey, I worked out hard yesterday so I can justify eating this donut." That's the "everything in moderation" philosophy for most. But keep this in mind, when you pursue a health and fitness program in moderation, be prepared to achieve moderate results. Hey, if that's OK with you, then fine, but if you are looking to achieve more than average results, a moderate attitude will be your pitfall.

Because the general public misconstrues moderation, they fail to focus more on what I believe to be a more reasonable approach which is BALANCE. Balance, to me, is very important to succeeding and meeting your desired goals. Without the right balance in your program you are likely to hinder performance. In general, to achieve a higher level of overall health and well-being there needs to be an emphasis put on certain aspects. I won’t delve too deeply into each one but individualized attention needs to be placed on specific areas such as nutrition, strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility and recovery - and all need to be viewed with equal importance. You can’t just focus on your strength training and have little regard for your nutrition and expect to succeed, nor will proper nutrition combined with a solid strength program insure optimum results without the right "balance" of cardiovascular work and ample rest and recovery.


Again, the five factors that I consider of utmost importance for overall health and which need to be done properly for optimum results are:

* Strength Training
* Cardiovascular Conditioning
* Flexibility Training
* Nutrition
* Rest/Recovery

Think about how you can improve on any or all of these aspects and work to achieve balance and leave moderation out of the equation. - Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Exciting News


After careful consideration, I have decided to expand the services of Premiere Personal Fitness beyond my personal, one-on-one training. Very soon I will be offering a select group of products that very much go hand-in-hand with my training philosophy. These items, I feel, are worth investing in to augment one's level of strength and fitness. As an added bonus, they will enable an individual to train more productively alone or with a partner, at a gym, at home or even on the road.

I will also be offering in-depth phone consultations, training on the products I will be endorsing, corporate services and a host of other amenties to be added later on.

Right now, my web developer is working on setting up my website to advertise these products and services and we hope to have the site updated very soon. Anyone interested in discussing any of the services or products, feel free to email me at fredfornicola@optonline.net or call Premiere Personal Fitness at 908-433-4542.

Fred Fornicola

Friday, September 21, 2007

Can't Have It Both Ways

There are many myths or maybe better stated misunderstandings in the field of fitness that have prevailed for countless years. One for example, is many are under the false pretense that if you perform low reps with heavy weights you will build bulk and if you use higher repetitions you’ll become more defined. Other misguided notions would be things such as spot reduction and barbell curls are to add size to your biceps and concentration curls add peak, but there is one that was brought to my attention by a friend who trains individuals one-on-one. He was telling me how one of his female clients didn’t want to work her legs too much because she feared that her lower body would become too large and muscular and she wouldn’t look feminine. This is a valid concern and one I respect, but her argument didn’t hold much water when she became insistent that she needed to do a lot more abdominal work to make her abs smaller and more defined. This poses a dichotomy now doesn’t it? How can one approach (in this example, training her legs) add size and muscularity but not have the same result when she targets her abdominals? The answer is, it can’t!

When you stop training a muscle it atrophies, which means it loses muscular size so in an unknowing way, she may be correct in not training her lower body directly (albeit a mistake since the benefits of being stronger and more flexible outweigh the small chance she may enlarge her lower extremities). And if the above statement is true then logic would dictate that she should probably not directly train her abdominals so she can obtain her required results for a smaller midsection.

So what’s the solution? A knowledgeable and conscientious fitness professional would take the time to explain (again) what takes place when muscles are directly stimulated through resistance training and offer the notion that all body parts can benefit from being stimulated. Most importantly, it should be left up to the trainee after they have the understanding that they can’t have it both ways. – Fred Fornicola

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Organic or Not

Below is a quick, concise overview from an article at runnersworld.com of the recommended foods that should be consumed organically and a list of foods that aren’t as critical.

I recommend reading the entire article: "The Organic Question"

Organic Shopping GuideWhat does the label mean?

The USDA National Organic Program regulates how the word organic can be used for both domestic and imported foods. The official "USDA Organic" seal signifies a product is at least 95 percent organic. Here's what the other labels mean:

*100% Organic All ingredients must be organic

*Organic Guarantees 95% of the ingredients are organic

*Made with organic ingredients At least 70% of the contents are organic

Spend Wisely

These 12 fruits and vegetables contain the highest levels of pesticides; buy organic to reduce your exposure.

Apples, Bell peppers, Celery, Cherries, Imported grapes , Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Potatoes, Raspberries, Spinach, Strawberries

Also buy organic meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy to limit your exposure to antibiotics and growth hormones.

Don't Worry (as much)

The pesticide levels of these 12 fruits and vegetables are low to undetectable; okay to buy conventional.

Asparagus, Avocados, Bananas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kiwi, Mangoes, Onions, Papaya, Pineapples, Sweet corn, Sweet peas

Choose organic breads, pastas, cereals, and other processed foods when cost and availability allow it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Book Review


There is an old saying, "What goes around, comes around", and that seems to be exactly what is happening in the fitness industry these days. I was pleased to hear of a new book on the market titled, "Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness” by Matt Brzycki and Fred Fornicola. At a time when the industry has become thick with convolution, Brzycki and Fornicola have cut through the complexity to bring both the beginner and advanced trainer back to school. Almost lost in the shuffle of contemporary training technology, the bookresurrects the basic dumbbell to its rightful position as a very effective workout tool. In researching my own book, I was led to interview co-author Fred Fornicola. Fornicola stressed the emphasis of safety, efficiency, and effectiveness in the training protocols he and Brzycki present in their work. With decades of training experience between the two athletes/authors, they had no difficulties collecting contributions from almost two dozenprominent strength coaches in the industry who share common ground inthe many philosophies of strength training. Brzycki and Fornicola cementthis dumbbell training commonality in a bed of solid coaching information for the rank beginner to the advanced trainer. This is definitely not a book out to simply try to please everyone. The authors are not afraid to challenge some current sacred ground endorsed by many in the coaching field. The controversial applications of sports specific training, explosive training, and training in an unstable environment are examined for soundness and validity. The dumbbell may not be extravagant in its appearance, but its practicality as a very effective training tool can be traced back centuries, even as far back as the Greeks. Our modern day Iron Game pioneers of this century also benefited tremendously from dumbbell exercise, and were training the muscles of the trunk long before "Core and Functional Training" became buzz words. This book should be in the library of every serious trainer out there working in the industry. Matt Brzycki and Fred Fornicola have done a great job in simplifying the unnecessarily complex views of today’s “trends” and collapsing the time required to produce fantastic results with such minimal equipment. The book is excellent, the timing is right; the price is an insult to the experience of these two men. Good work Matt and Fred! - Randy Roach, Author of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors”

Order Your Copy HERE

Monday, September 10, 2007

Beyond the Rhetoric

We all like to get more ideas so we can expand our knowledge base, improve our fitness and the fitness of those we train. More so than ever, we unfortunately realize that there are many sources in our field of strength and conditioning that have tainted the fitness world, offering the proviso that they and they alone “have the secret.” Mistakenly, many people get reeled in to these biased resources and find themselves blindly following a ritualistic approach that is no better than a pumped of version of the basics. It becomes a voyage of the blind leading the blind.
So where can you go to continually educate yourself without having to sift through all the muck and mire and get some impartial ideas? Lately I’ve been checking out sites that are about running and biking. I do both activities and after delving deeper, I found that these sources offered some solid information on strength and conditioning training for their particular activity. Of course, I didn’t agree with all of their recommendations, but their suggestions are open-minded and based on helping the respective athlete improve their performance without selling them a bill of goods or suggesting that there was only “one best way.” These resources, with their offering of general information, allow the new as well as the experienced trainee to sift through very easily the simple, yet effective ideas without all the rhetoric.

Here is one you can start with. - Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Inch by Inch

In one of my many conversations with the now retired legendary NFL strength coach Kim Wood, we discussed training individuals who are currently “in season” for their athletic endeavor. The gist of the discussion was on the idea of how to implement a strength program while someone is involved in their chosen sport or activity and how to apply a smart and effective program to compliment their focus of that activity or sport. The depth of the discussion goes beyond what can be written here since it isn't a cut and dry answer because as with everything, it's individually based but the conversation did however gravitate to an area of thinking that I've subscribed to for many, many years and feel can be beneficial to many individuals – especially those who are in season.We discussed how too many people get focused on numbers and just "lift weights" and make that their sole source of progression, and although they may use good form, they may not be focusing as well as they could on each and every repetition. I have always subscribed to the idea that the quality of the work far exceeds the amount being used and quality should be prioritized above quantity. Focusing on “quality of work” takes the stress of the exercise and places it on the muscles - where it belongs.I have no ego - I have no one to impress - I have no one who cares how much I can "lift" – my priority is to train safely and have exercise be more beneficial to my life. To enforce this approach, I have gotten to a point where I stopped counting my repetitions and focus totally on the quality of my work - feeling the muscles being used - INCH BY INCH. I have coached some of my clients on this as well – and those who can “dial in” to what I’m suggesting have commented on how much more intense their sessions are and how full their muscles feel. They also noted how much more sore they feel and how “deep” they noticed the muscles are being worked. Keep in mind they were not sloppy before – they are just very focused and even more deliberate now.For those of you who want to give it a try, reduce your poundage’s by about 20% or if you are accustom to performing higher repetitions (15 or more), anticipate a 20-25% reduction if you go very controlled. Do not count reps, do not count time – just connect your “mind to muscle” and FEEL every fiber working inch by inch and hold the contracted position for a 1001 count. I can almost guarantee this will be a new experience for you and one you will find to be very beneficial. - Fred Fornicola

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Try It and Find Out

“Try it and find out!” are probably the simplest words ever spoken, yet by far the most influential. Quite often, people ask opinions or suggestions from others who they feel or deem to be more knowledgeable than themselves. And like most often times, a person will respond by either regurgitating what they were told or think to be a correct response based on something they’ve read, have seen or possibly heard. Few are ever capable of recognizing what they’ve actually gained from personal experience because they are anticipating what they were told to expect or they feel they should be giving an “obvious or anticipated” response. And unfortunately, fewer individuals respond with what would be the best response which is “I don’t know”. For those who really “don’t know”, this would be the best possible (and you would think the most obvious) answer they could provide. For others who really “do know”, this too would be the best possible answer they could provide. Allow me to explain.

Too often, as I stated previously, individuals dole out recommendations with little or no working knowledge. More often than not it would be best to provide no comment or suggestion at all, but as I stated, most people need to express their thoughts. For those who truly understand what is of value, the sound advice of “Try it and find out” can be the best counsel one could ever offer. Being unique individuals with distinct needs, one can through trial and error discover what is in fact best for them.

I’ll leave you with this provoking quote from Luc de Clapiers de Vauvenargues: “The things we know best are things we haven’t been taught.” - Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Arthur Jones

Arthur Jones revolutionized strength training and the world of bodybuilding back in the early '70's by challenging mainstream thinking when he brought Nautilus equipment and his principles of hard, brief training to the forefront.

Arthur challenged the industry hard, leaving a wake in his path, and while he was not adorned by many, he was highly respected by those who came in contact with him. His straightforward approach and hard-nosed logic made Arthur Jones a man, who when he spoke, people listened.

I consider myself to be fortunate to have learned of Arthur Jones when I was at the tender age of 16 and have learned a great deal from his writings and applying his philosophy on training. I am also very lucky to have friends who were "there" when Nautilus and high intensity training were pioneering a more safe, efficient and effective means of exercise.

Today, Mr. Jones died at his home in Florida and he leaves a legacy that only those who knew him could truly understand. I offer my condolences to his friends and family and appreciate what he has done for me and the fitness industry. I don't think there will be another like Arthur Jones.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And The Secret Is......

Hey, everyone wants to know the "secret" to looking and feeling good - and according to the marketing whores who manufacture ridiculous products and commercial gyms and trainers who offer the "latest and greatest" trendy craze, you'd really think there was a secret to becoming stronger and better fit.

So, because I'm such a nice guy, I'll let you in on the industry secret...... and that secret is, there is none!

No magic potion or exilir nor vibrating table, wobbly board or special amount of sets and reps lend themselves to being anything more than a game of Three Card Monty for the fool who is willing to play. Success in your fitness (and let's face it, in anything you do) revolves around using common sense, working hard and being consistent at your endeavor so those of you out there hoping the next Men's Health magazine will give you the next clue to great abs or you ladies are hoping to look like a Hollywood movie star next time you take your "butts and guts" class, understand that this may be just a fun way for you to achieve your fitness - and that's OK, but don't think for one minute that you are embarking on the ride to victory in your pursuit of physical greatness because 999 times out of 1,000 - you're on the wrong road. - Fred Fornicola