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 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 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