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
Tricep Extension
Clean & Curl
Clean & Press
Front Raise
Hammer Curl
Stone Hold
Stone Carry
Lift & Load
Clean to shoulder/chest
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


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


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