Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post-Workout Recovery

Intense workouts require proper nutrition for muscle recovery and
repair. Doing activities like weights or resistance movements use
primarily glucose (sugar) for fuel. Now this glucose comes from the
bloodstream but is also stored in the muscle and in the liver (glycogen).
More intense training depletes the muscles worked of its stores of
glycogen which most be replaced in order for the muscle to recovery
properly and be ready for the next workout. The ideal time to begin
re-fueling the muscle glycogen is within an hour after the training
session is over. In order to do this we must consume some easily digested
carbohydrate foods within an hour after training. The following are some
examples of foods to eat within an hour after training:

Protein shake with some fresh fruit
Endura electrolyte recovery drink 2 scoop in 16 oz water
Fresh fruit
Yogurt with fruit (Chobani Greek Yogurt)
Whole grain cold cereal with fresh fruit
Cooked cereal with fruit or fruit butter

Tom Mantos
(732) 219-9636

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Creed to Live By

For some, the holiday season is a time for reflection so I leave you with these thoughts by Nancye Sims until the new year.

Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself to others.
It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Don't set your goals by what other people deem important.
Only you know what is best for you.

Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart.
Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.

Don't let life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.
By living your life one day at a time, you live up all the days of your life.

Don't give up when you still have something left to give,
Nothing is really over . . . till the moment you stop trying.

Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect.
It is this fragile thread that binds us together.

Don't be afraid to encounter risks.
It is by taking chances that we learn to be brave.

Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive love is to give love;
the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly;
and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

Don't dismiss your dreams.
To be without dreams is to be without hope;
to be without hope is to be without purpose.

Don't run through life so fast
that you forget not only where you've been,
but where you are going.

Life is not a race,
but a journey to be savored every step of the way.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Five Components - Part Three - Flexibility

Working to improve your flexibility increases the ROM (range of motion) of your joints and your muscles which can help improve posture, reduce muscle soreness/stiffness and relieve stress. Equally important is its ability in reducing the risk of injury and the potential of improving performance. A well devised stretching program, (one that encourages improved flexibility without contraindicating other joints) should be included daily as part of a complete program.

Fred Fornicola

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays

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......

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Five Components - Part Two - Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular conditioning improves the efficiency of the heart, lungs and circulation and it also uses calories to help with weight management (body fat reduction).

The benefits of having a strong heart include increased endurance, decreased heart rate (resting and active), increased HDL levels, and increased bone density. In addition, there is a positive link between increased cardiovascular endurance and reduced risk of coronary heart disease. It also allows one to perform better by enabling a greater recovery rate from intense exercise and daily activities. If you can recover quicker and more efficiently you are able to perform more work – i.e. favorable activities.

Next time: Flexibility Training

Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Five Components - Part One - Strength

There are several benefits that come with a properly designed resistance program, such as injury prevention, personal appearance, and improved physical performance. The act of becoming stronger is accomplished by implementing a safe, sensible and productive strength program that is well advised and monitored. Strength training is probably one of the best insurance policies in helping reduce injuries associated with sports and daily activities.

There are, of course, physiological benefits as well. Resistance training can enable you to increase muscle size and strength as well as increase tendon, ligament and bone strength. And let’s not forget to mention a boost in self-esteem and confidence that can certainly give an individual that “mental edge”. There is also the probability of improved physical performance and appearance. Research indicates that unless we strength train regularly we lose more than ½ pound of muscle every year after the age of 25 so strength training does help prevent muscle loss that normally accompanies aging (a concern for us “older athletes”). Regardless of your age, a solid resistance program will benefit everyone.

If you are sedentary and loss ½ pound of muscle each year after the age of 25 then that can result in a ½ percent reduction in basal metabolic rate. A reduction in BMR (BMR is the amount of energy (in calories) your body needs just to sustain its basic life processes) means we are less able to use food for energy and therefore have the potential to store more body fat, but with the inclusion of resistance training, in particularly with a high level of effort and at a fast pace can improve metabolic efficiency so you can be stronger, healthier, leaner and in better condition. This approach will benefit any individual, age not withstanding.

Next time: Cardiovascular Conditioning

Fred Fornicola

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Five Components of Health and Fitness - An Introduction

The following information is based on my 30+ years in the field of health and fitness and what I've discovered to be the "tried and true" of what it takes to becoming physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually "fit". These components are the bricks to the foundation and will be lightly elaborated on over the coming installements. For now, here is your introduction to the Five Components to health and Fitness.

Becoming healthy and fit is a very personal journey and in developing a sound fitness program, a person has many things to consider. Getting “in shape” goes beyond the physical and should include mental, emotional and spiritual needs and goals as well. This personalized program has certain requirements then to help achieve those goals and after carefully evaluating ones medical history, current situation, goals and expectations, a program can be built on these five factors that I feel are needed for complete fitness.

Strength Training
Cardiovascular Conditioning
Flexibility Training
Proper Nutrition

In the next installment I will take an overall look at strength training.

Fred Fornicola

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Fueling Up Your Workout

The fuel systems being used for high intensity resistance and cardio training are different than they are for just cardiovascular or strength activity of lower intensity. Basically, intense training uses glucose for fuel - some of which is from the bloodstream - and the rest is used from glycogen stores (sugar) in the muscles and liver. Lower intensity activity primarily uses fatty acids for fuel which we generally have plenty. Muscle and liver glycogen have limited stores so we must make sure we fuel them properly for maximum performance. I am splitting up the times to eat in case you have limited time in the morning before you train. Here are some
sample meals you can eat before higher intensity workouts:

30-60 minutes before:
*Fresh fruit
*Yogurt with fresh fruit
*Endura electrolyte drink
*Protein shake with fresh fruit

2 hours before:
*Whole grain pancakes topped with fruit butter (apple)
*Multi grain cereal with fresh fruit
*Cooked cereal with fresh fruit
*Apple with Smart Balance peanut butter
*Van's organic waffles with peanut butter and some fruit butter

Next time: Fueling Post Workout for Maximum Gains

Tom Mantos

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Incline Interval Training – Just One Approach

Many people today are leaning more towards interval training to augment their conditioning programs – and for good reason. Interval training allows for many positive aspects when done safely, efficiently and with a high level of effort or intensity. When done properly, there’s a high output of energy which can enhance the cardiovascular system, help reduce body fat, improve athletic and recreational performance and improve anaerobic/muscular strength. Interval training is generally short in duration (lengthy sessions are impossible, actually) and does not need to be done more than one to two times per week. Interval training can be done in many ways using an assortment of modalities and as much as it is a solid means of training, it can have its pitfalls as well. Too often people abuse interval training – not realizing that such high levels of out put done for too many repetitions or too frequently can lead to overtraining or injury. Obviously, then, a person needs to approach interval training judiciously. For the sake of being somewhat concise, today I will only discuss one running approach that I have found to be beneficial in a number of ways.

This recommendation is nothing new under the sun (like most things aren’t) but a lot of individuals don’t place enough value on the benefits of the activity of incline or hill running. One of THE major advantages that I have found in performing incline/hill sprints is the reduction in compressive forces of the joints and soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments) as opposed to running flat surfaces. There also is a less likely risk of becoming injured (even with a high output of energy) because stride rates (speeds) are reduced. Incline/hill sprints will give the lower extremities (legs/hips/hamstrings/calves/shins) a very good strength workout and will also stimulate the cardiovascular/cardio respiratory systems – and don’t be surprised how much the torso, abdominals and low back come into play as well.

Here’s a little “down and dirty”, quick interval workout that can be done on a treadmill, a hill (or an elliptical if it allows for an incline). Please keep in mind that this is just one of hundreds of ways to utilize incline/hill work. First, do an easy warm-up such as a light, ½ to a mile jog to get the blood flowing. Once you are ready to start your incline/hill work, set the speed and incline so that you can perform a 30 second hard run with a 30 second recovery that allows you to complete 10 solid reps with the last few reps being a good, solid challenge (your running form should not be compromised). For example, if you run a comfortable warm-up for ½ mile at a 10 minute mile pace (MMP) with a zero incline, bump the incline to 7 or 8 and push the speed so that you are running between 8:30 and 8:45 MMP. Once you complete the 10 reps, rest for 60 seconds. Now, using the same incline and speed, perform a 20 second sprint with a 10 second recovery for 3-5 reps. Depending on your warm-up time, this workout can be completed in under 20 minutes.

Should you choose to take this workout to the great outdoors, walk/jog to your destination – which should be a hill or sizeable hill - and perform a 30 second sprint then up the incline and walk brisk back to the start position, turn and do another rep until all 10 are complete. In this manner, you will get more rest due to the walk back but that will simply enable you to go at the hill harder so when it’s all said and done, the difference in the benefits will be nominal. After this segment is done go back to the bottom of the hill and do a 20 second blast up the hill walk for 10 seconds, sprint for 20, walk for 10 seconds etc. until 3-5 reps are completed. Don’t worry about walking back down the hill – just keep moving forward.

Interval training should leave you taxed, but not completely exhausted. Working yourself to a point where you can’t finish the repetitions in good form or you are flat on your back is not, I repeat, not a productive approach to improving your health and fitness. Consider taking one or both of these workouts for a ride as a change of pace to your lower body and conditioning training and remember to use interval training as just another tool in your overall fitness program.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Modified Mediterranean Diet

Clinical Nutritionist, Tom Mantos is a good friend of mine and has been for quite some time. There are few people that I know - wait - correction, there is NO ONE that I know that knows more than he does when it comes to nutrition. One of the best things about Tom is he isn't just a text-book kind of guy (although he is very well versed in his knowledge base) - he's a hands on, experienced nutritionist that found his life's work in helping people to get healthy. Suffice it to say that Tom has taught me pretty much all I know about the field of nutrition, so when Tom recommends something, I tend to listen.

For years Tom has been touting what he refers to as the "Modified Mediterranean Diet" (MMD). The Mediterranean Diet is one that is high in legumes, nuts and seeds, healthy and essential fats, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables while keeping items such as dairy, fish, poultry and eggs towards the middle of the pyramid and fats and sugars and red meat way at the peak. The MMD not only bases it's food selection on the above mentioned but also takes the Glycemic Index (GI) into account. The glycemic index takes the impact foods (carbohydrates) have on blood glucose (sugar) levels. A number of 100 is assigned to glucose (a simple sugar) and all other foods are rated accordingly on how they impact blood sugar levels. By combining these two methods (MMD and the GI), an individual has a greater opportunity to fight diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, while reducing body fat levels and improving overall well-being. The Modified Mediterranean Diet is something well worth the time to investigate in greater depth for an overall healthier approach to eating.

Fred Fornicola
Fitness Professional

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Excuses

Don't use the holiday's as an excuse for eating poorly and not exercising. To help ward-off the downside to the "holiday physical funk" most of you experience, try and set some short term goals for the coming weeks like losing a few pounds, not missing any of your workouts, improving your pushup number or anything that may motivate you to stay on track. Am I suggesting you don't engage in some festive cheer - of course not, I'm merely suggesting that you don't abandon your health by using the holiday's as an excuse for your weakness to take better care of yourself.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What Are You Waiting For?

Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little. - Edmund Burke (1729-1797, British Political Writer, Statesman)

At some point in time, our society was convinced that being healthy and fit needed to be a complicated and lengthy undertaking. Unfortunately, this has paralyzed many people in their attempt to embark on a proper exercise and nutritional program and for some, it has just given them another reason - or better stated - excuse, for not doing some form of physical fitness and eating right. Here’s an example: I once had a brief (thank God) conversation with a doctor who was no longer exercising because his schedule did not allow him to continue with his normal 5 days a week, 2 hour per training session program. I posed the idea of reducing his 10 hours a week in the gym to doing some type of exercise 2 -3 times a week for 20 - 30 minutes and explained that this is an extremely efficient and effective way of becoming stronger and better conditioned (assuming particular parameters were met). His response was "that's not enough time; I need more than that to get any benefits." To which I responded "A little of something beats a whole lot of nothing."

It’s very simple folks; my recommendation of infrequent, short duration workouts is not a compromise but a productive approach to becoming stronger, healthier, leaner and more functional. - Fred Fornicola

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Top 50 Healthy Living Blogs of 2009

Masters in Healthcare voted Premiere Personal Fitness one of the "Top 50 Healthy Living Blogs of 2009"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Endura to Re-Charge Your Battery

Endura is a "State of The Art" fluid and electrolyte replacement drink that was developed from the medical literature and studied at the Tour De France (world marathon bicycle championships). There are so many electrolyte drinks on the market, so what makes this one special? The first thing to take into consideration is that the sports drink contains all of the electrolytes: which include magnesium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and sodium. All of these electrolytes are lost during endurance training which greatly effects muscle contraction and performance. Magnesium, for instance, is involved in nearly 200 enzymatic reactions, many of which
involve muscle contraction and relaxation. Magnesium and potassium replacement is therefore critical for performance. The second fact to consider is the osmality of the sports drink. Osmality refers to how fast the fluid, electrolytes, and cabohydrates get into the bloodstream and working muscles. Endura has a low osmality and gets into the blood stream as fast as water. So Endura contains all of the electrolytes including high amounts of magnesium and potassium, has low osmality, and glucose polymers for sustained energy.

When comparing Endura to other sports drinks, the majority of them only have potassium and sodium with a high osmality (they sit in the stomach longer). A classic example of this type of sports drink is the highly advertised Gatorade (one the worst sport drinks on the market by the way). Now the best way to take a sports drink like Endura is to mix 2 scoops in 16oz of water only (this keeps the osmality low). Drink some before and during training. You need to replace 1-2 drinks per hour of intense endurance trainng, especially associated with heavy sweating. You can get Endura in some health food stored that carry it or you can go to my website and

Tom Mantos - Clinical Nutritionist

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Hindu Pushups

Hindu Pushups are a great exercise because they create flexibility and strength throughout the whole body, they stimulate tremendous circulation from head to toe and can greatly improve cardiovascular fitness when done for high repetitions. the best part though, is they can be done anywhere, any time. Give Hindu Pushups a try and you'll see a tremendous change in your fitness and strength.

Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The FoodBank

The FoodBank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties are looking for donations for Thanksgiving. Aside from the normal day-to-day items that you can give, they have given you an easy way to help by going to www.foodbankmoc.org and donating $10.00 online. Your $10.00 donation will enable the FoodBank to purchase a 12 pound turkey to feed a family in need.

Fred Fornicola

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Using Your Body

I love to exercise outdoors at autumn time here in the North East - especially early Sunday mornings. The air is crisp and clean, no one's up and about yet in town and well, it's just invigorating as hell to me. And why not, I'm outside using my body to better my health and fitness.

I'm a HUGE believer in frequent, if not daily activity and also a BIG proponent of using your own bodyweight for exercise. Many "poo-poo" bodyweight activities unfortunately feeling that one cannot build strength and that one "must lift weights" to get stronger - nothing could be further from the truth. Strength is relative to the individual and should reflect their goals.

Exercises that you can do just using your body include various deep knee bends, countless versions of pushups, handstands, pull/chin-ups, plank holds, table makers, bridging, jumping rope, hill sprinting, crab walking, lunging, crunches, wall walks, etc., etc., etc. can seriously give you one helluva workout in a short amount of time that will build strength and cardiovascular endurance. - Fred Fornicola

Friday, October 30, 2009

Is It Time to Change Your Oil?

One of the most important aspects of optimal health and prevention of disease involves the kinds of oils you use in your engine (body). The types of oils or fats your eat plays a major role in your health. The actual chemistry of the fats is complex but I am going to make it simple for you by just saying there are essential fats and ugly fats. In the U.S. we are consuming major amounts of the ugly fats which can contribute to chronic disease. The essential fats are critical to our health and supply the following well documented functions:

*Used in brain cells, nerve endings, neurological development in children, and all cells of the body
*Maintains proper immune function
*Lowers triglycerides and increases beneficial HDL cholesterol
*Helps insulin work more efficiently and maintain proper blood glucose levels
*Makes a class of hormones known as prostaglandins which have an anti-inflammatory effect, lowers blood pressure, relaxes arteries, and prevents abnormal blood clots
*Produces energy form our food and helps transport oxygen through cell membranes where energy for the muscles, heart, and brain are produced
*They are growth enhancing and helps to improve the recovery of muscle fatigue
*Helps to carry toxins and other waste materials out of the body through the skin, intestines, lungs, and kidneys
*Promotes the proper cell division of cells called chromosomes
*In fact essential fats in the form of fish oil supplements are used widely in Europe by Doctors after a heart attack or stroke instead of the blood thinning medications we use in this country (aspirin, plavax, coumadin)

The best sources of these essential fats include wild salmon, mackeral, sardines, trout, herring, and flax oil. Other sources include hemp oil, ground flax seeds, olive oil, soybean oil, canola, soybean, walnuts, dark green veggies, and pumpkin oil. Taking fish oil capsules is one of the best ways to ensure the delivery of large therapeutic amounts of the good essential fats.

The ugly oils have the opposite effects of the above and include the saturated fats such as beef, red meat, organ meats, whole fat dairy products, butter, margerine, cocoa butter, palm kernel oil, fried foods, and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Avoid these ugly fats at all costs and change your oil today!

Tom Mantos
(732) 219-9636

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NEW - Conditioning & Flexibility Classes

Now that I have more open space available (due to my 31st time rearranging this place), I will be offering some additional features here, the first being a conditioning and flexibility class. This class will be specific to improving your cardiovascular conditioning, improving your flexibility and focusing on helping you to reduce body fat levels through our approach. These sessions will be 30 minutes long and will be customized to each persons current fitness level. Your options are as follows:

One-on-One class - $40
2 People - $20/ea
3 People - $15/ea

I will only be taking a max of 3 people per session. If you (or have friends/co-workers that would be interested in doing these classes), please contact me via email or when you are in here and let me know the times/days that would work for you and whether you want to do a one-on-one session or would like to be involved in a group and then I will coordinate the rest.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Fred Fornicola908.433.4542
"Train With A Purpose"

Friday, October 23, 2009

What's Your Resting Heart Rate?

An important aspect of health and fitness (and a good indicator of how the old ticker is doing) is to measure your resting heart rate. The best time to check your resting heart rate is when you first wake up and before you even get out of bed. Using your index and middle fingers, find your pulse via your wrist (radial pulse) or neck (carotid pulse). Have a clock or watch available that has a second hand so you can count your pulses and watch the clock. Take your pulse for 20 seconds and multiply that number it by 3 (3x20 seconds = 1 minute). For instance, if you have 22 beats in 20 seconds multiply that by 3 and your resting hear rate would be 66. Take this test for 2 or 3 consecutive days for an accurate reading.

A good pulse rate for Men ages 35-55 are as follows:

Average - 71-76
Above Average 67-71
Good 63-66
Excellent 57-63
Athlete 50-57

A good pulse rate for Women ages 35-55 are as follows:

Average - 73-78
Above Average 69-73
Good 65-69
Excellent 60-65
Athlete 54-60

Note: Keep in mind that beta blockers and other medications may alter your true reading.

Additional considerations are if your resting heart rate is really low, that could be an indication you may have issues with your adrenal system so if you have a low resting HR but feel fatigued, unrested or get lightheaded at times it may be a good idea to see a doctor or qualified nutritionist. For the most part, however, this little test will give a good indication of your current fitness.

Fred Fornicola - Fitness Professional

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A New Layout to the Studio

A new layout for Premiere to expand services and new techniques.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Premiere Personal Fitness Webpage Updates

Updates to the Testimonials, Resources and Services pages of the Premiere Personal Fitness website with new pictorial shots of the studio.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Jersey Shore Health and Wellness Group

Nutritionist Tom Mantos and I are in the midst of developing a group to create a holistic approach to living. As we proceed, we will be bringing on more and more locally, qualified individuals in their field of expertise so as to provide you with additional resources to achieve greater health. Currently, we have developed a blog spot called "Jersey Shore Health & Wellness Group" to keep you up to date. Please visit the page often (or become a "follower" (see the bottom of the right hand side to sign up)) because the page will be updated frequently with news, announcements, information, rants and raves, thoughts and ideas and a host of other information to assist you with your health and fitness.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Concept 2 SkiErg Now at Premiere Personal Fitness

Premiere Personal Fitness gets the new SkiErg from Concept 2.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

12 Weeks - Phase 4

Phase 4
3 Weeks

Phase 4 brings you into the home stretch for this intense cardiovascular program. This phase is important in that you build the ability to handle a volume of intense work. Keep in mind that all sprints, regardless of the distance, should be performed with a high level of effort.

Week 10: CV training 4 times this week. Days 1, 3 & 4 are Fartlek* interval days and day 2 is a recovery workout. Days 1, 3 & 4 are 20 minute sessions with a 10 minute warm-up then sprinting for random time/distance with as little recovery as needed for 10 minutes. Day 2 is a recovery workout for 20-30 minutes.

Week 11: CV training 4 times this week. Days 1, 3 & 4 are Fartlek* interval days and day 2 is a recovery workout. Days 1, 3 & 4 are 20 minute sessions with a 10 minute warm-up then sprinting for random time/distance with as little recovery as needed for 10 minutes. Day 2 is a recovery workout for 20-30 minutes.

Week 12: This is a back off week. CV training 3 times this week. Days 1 & 3 are 20-30 minute casual sessions and day 2 is a 30 minute workout with ratios of 1:1. This means you will perform a 10 minute warm-up then sprint for 1 minute, jog for 1 minute, sprint for 1 minute, jog for 1 minute, etc. for 20 minutes (10 cycles).

*Fartlek is a Swedish term that means “speed play” and intervals are random bursts of speed and recovery.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Week 10 Intervals Intervals Intervals 30 minutes
Week 11 Intervals Intervals Intervals 30 minutes
Week 12 30 minutes Intervals 30 minutes

Keep in mind that this is a generic type plan and that you should use this program to the best of your ability. Make alterations as you see fit to suit your personal needs and desires. Not completing all required days during the week should not prohibit you from continuing the 12 week cycle.

Remember, a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing!


Don't Become a "Train" Wreck

Over the years, the health and fitness community has become inundated with self-appointed and commercially anointed experts, making it increasingly more difficult for individuals to differentiate what they need to do to become healthier and more fit. With all the information available nowadays on exercise and nutrition (and all their many facets), it’s no wonder so many people either end up paralyzing themselves and end up doing nothing or they end up engaging in something totally inappropriate for what they need. Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert or one of the personally proclaimed gurus I was referring to just a second ago, but I can offer some advice so you keep on the right track (c’mon, you knew I was going to use that phrase with the title being what it is) and give you some simple, yet effective guidelines that will hopefully ad some clarity to what is needed to improve your overall health and fitness.

- Keep things “vanilla”: The basics work so don’t be afraid to do something as simple as pushups, situps and a 2 mile run as a workout for the day.

- You don’t have to train and hour a day, 5 days a week: 10-15 minutes a day of physical activity will do wonders for your body, mind and spirit. If you don't believe me, give it a try for a week and then re-evaluate.

- Be consistent: Exercising and eating properly is not a part time gig – it’s something that warrants constant attention if you want results, but then again, doesn't anything in life require the same attention?

- Don’t get caught up in trends: Health and fitness should not be trendy. Clothes, hair styles and music can be, but not your approach to better health. Stay with the basics - THEY WORK!

- Stop listening to the experts: They are usually talking out of their glute-holes and are just trying to sell you something you don't need. Everybody has a gimmick nowadays - listen to your own body.

- Make your fitness a personal venture: Exercise should be a very private and personal journey so make it one for yourself. Don't just go through the motions and follow others like an aimless sheep. Make your training a meditative experience.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

12 Weeks - Phase 3

Phase 3
3 Weeks

Phase 3 starts the anaerobic/speed training that helps kick your conditioning in high gear as well as helps with burning more body fat. As with the other 2 phases, we will ease into this segment. Keep in mind that all intervals, regardless of the distance, should be performed with a high level of effort.

Week 7: CV training 4 times this week. Days 1 & 3 are interval days and days 2 & 4 are recovery workouts. Days 1 & 3 are 30 minute sessions with ratios of 1:1. This means you will do a 10 minute warm-up then do a series of sprints and recovery. For example, if you were running you would sprint for 1 minute, jog for 1 minute, sprint for 1 minute, jog for 1 minute, etc. for 20 minutes (10 cycles). Days 2 & 4 are recovery workouts and they will be regular CV training for 20-30 minutes. Perform days 1 & 2 “back-to-back”, take a day off and then do days 3 & 4 “back-to-back”.

Week 8: CV training 4 times this week. Days 1 & 3 are interval days and days 2 & 4 are recovery workouts. Days 1 & 3 are 30 minute sessions with ratios of 1:2. This means you will do a 10 minute warm-up then do a series of sprints and recovery. For example, if you were running you would sprint for 30 seconds, jog for 1 minute, sprint for 30 seconds, jog for 1 minute, etc. for 20 minutes (10 cycles). Days 2 & 4 are recovery workouts and they will be regular CV training for 20-30 minutes. Perform days 1 & 2 “back-to-back”, take a day off and then do days 3 & 4 “back-to-back”.

Week 9: CV training 4 times this week. Days 1 & 3 are interval days and days 2 & 4 are recovery workouts. Days 1 & 3 are 30 minute sessions with ratios of 1:3. This means you will do a 10 minute warm-up then do a series of sprints and recovery. For example, if you were running you would sprint for 15 seconds, jog for 45 seconds, sprint for 15 seconds, jog for 45 seconds, etc. for 20 minutes (10 cycles). Days 2 & 4 are recovery workouts and they will be regular CV training for 20-30 minutes. Perform days 1 & 2 “back-to-back”, take a day off and then do days 3 & 4 “back-to-back”.

Weeks 7, 8 & 9

Monday Intervals
Tuesday 30 minutes
Wednesday 0ff
Thursday Intervals
Friday 30 minutes
Saturday & Sunday off from running

The Final Phase Next.......

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

12 Weeks - Phase 2

Phase 2
3 Weeks

You should find your current workload to be easy by now and so the purpose of Phase 2 is to push your aerobic capacity a bit more and improve your time/distance with each of your CV sessions. Phase 2 has you working consecutive days. This will help you improve your aerobic capacity further.

Week 4: CV training 3 times on non-consecutive days. Days 1 & 3 train for 30 minutes, day 2 train 20 minutes.

Week 5: CV training 3 times this week. Days 1 & 2 will be “back-to-back” days. Train for 30 minutes on day 1 and 20 minutes on day 2. Take 2 days off and train 30 minutes.

Week 6: CV training 3 times this week. Days 1 & 2 will be “back-to-back” days. Train 30 minutes on days 1 & 2. Take 2 days off and train 30 minutes.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Week 4 30 minutes 20 minutes 30 minutes
Week 5 30 minutes 20 minutes 30 minutes
Week 6 30 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes

Phase 3....

Thursday, April 02, 2009

12 Weeks - Phase 1

Phase 1
3 Weeks

The purpose of Phase 1 is to get you up and doing some cardiovascular training if you aren’t already. If you are, that’s fine; this will give you some time to focus on a specific program. This cycle is geared to getting you on a steady schedule so you can develop a solid aerobic foundation. Through this phase, you will develop an efficient heart and lung system which will increase your endurance and improve your recovery capabilities.

Week 1: CV training 2 times on non-consecutive days for approximately 20 minutes.

Week 2: CV training 3 times on non-consecutive days for approximately 20 minutes.

Week 3: CV training 3 times on non-consecutive days. Days 1 & 3 train for 20 minutes, day 2 train for 30 minutes. A sample week is below.

Week 1 Monday and Thursday 20 minutes each session
Week 2 Monday, Wednesday and Friday 20 minutes each session
Week 3 Monday and Friday 20 minutes each session, Wednesday 30 minutes

Next time: "Phase 2"

Monday, March 30, 2009

12 Weeks - Conditioning Guidelines

Conditioning Guidelines

As you embark on your CV program over the next 12 weeks, I encourage you not to be over zealous and start out slowly so you don’t get injured. I also recommend getting a training partner as well. Having someone counting on you makes you more accountable and you will have a greater rate of success at adhering to your program. Over the course of several weeks, you will build up your cardiovascular system to withstand longer durations and more intense bouts of conditioning.

A note to those who’d like to use running as their means of conditioning: whenever possible, try to run on soft or forgiving surfaces – grass, treadmills or flat area beach sand are some better options. If you are going to run on the road, be sure to change your route often to save your shins, knees, hips and ankles from the repetitive stresses incurred and make sure you are wearing good running shoes appropriate for you. ROAD RUNNER SPORTS in Shrewsbury does a great job in matching your shoes to your running pattern and is a safe bet when selecting the right running shoe (they have a great return policy as well). Mention that you are a client of Premiere Personal Fitness.

Heart rate is an issue that is often misinterpreted in my humble opinion. I’m not entirely concerned at how high you get your HR but more importantly, how quickly you can bring your heart rate down. The standard method is to use 220 – your age and use 60 – 80% of that number so if you are 50 years old your max HR would be 170 and you would work within a heart rate of 102 beats per minute – 136 beats per minute. If you’ve been training with me for any time, your heart rate has surely exceeded those figures on any given day so as I stated, I don’t sweat those figures. If you want to monitor yourself, take your pulse immediately when you finish your training, 60 seconds from when you got done exercising I’d like to see a drop in HR of about 15% so if you elevated your heart rate to 150 then 60 seconds after you terminated your exercise your HR should be about 128 give or take a few beats. Another minute later it should have dropped another 15% roughly. Of course, it goes without saying that if you are having labored breathing or pains you should stop immediately.

The following is merely an example of what can be done. I understand time parameters are tough for some so if you cannot follow this protocol to the “T”, don’t sweat it (no pun intended), doing something is better than nothing, just try and understand the concepts and work within your limitations.

Coming up: "Phase 1"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

12 Weeks - Continued

Components of Physical Fitness

Muscular and Bone Strength: Definition: The amount of tension that can be created by a muscle when it contracts; or in the case of bones, tendons, and ligaments it is the amount of tension that can be withstood before an injury occurs.

This means that a safe, efficient and effect strength training program should be adhered to 2-3 times each week and should be performed with a high level of effort.

Cardio-Respiratory Endurance: Definition: The ability of the heart and lungs to provide oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles during intense exercise in an efficient manner.

Aerobic and anaerobic fitness requires a solid foundation as well as a strong, healthy body.

Nutrition: Definition: Eating nutrient dense foods that will aid in repair of the bodies many cells as well as fuel an active lifestyle.

What you put in your body is what fuels your performance and health so you need to eat very nutritious foods. As the old saying goes “garbage in, garbage out” so choose your food sources wisely.

Flexibility: Definition: The range of motion around a specific joint as well as the surrounding muscles and connective tissue.

Improving flexibility helps prevent injury, increases performance and helps reduce muscle soreness.

Rest/Recovery: Definition: The need for the body and mind to recuperate from hard work.

Having “down time” is a factor in helping achieve your goal of a high level of fitness and should not be taken lightly. It is not, however, a license to just hang around for days doing nothing.

Keep this in mind - the level of fitness that you attain is directly linked to the effort you put into ALL areas mentioned above.

Next up, "Conditioning Guidelines"

Friday, March 20, 2009

12 Weeks - What's the Best

In Part 1 I give an overall look at cardiovascualr training. Now let's look at.....

What’s the Best?

I am often asked what the “best” type of cardiovascular equipment is that someone can use. My usual response is simply, “the one that is safe for you to do and one that you enjoy”. It makes little sense to me to use, for example, the elliptical machine if it is contraindicating to your body or you don’t enjoy it. The former being a recipe for disaster as it may lead to injury and the latter will only give you more reason for not doing CV work. The same question arises as well with regards to steady state training versus interval training – but I will get to that a bit later. So, as with many aspects of life, finding what fits you physically and emotionally is a “trial and error” process that you will need to experience on your own. Some straightforward and simple options a person can choose from usually involve major involvement from the lower extremities. The legs are much more capable of withstanding a larger volume of work than that of the upper body and therefore, most cardiovascular type exercises are better suited if they include the lower body as a primary mover. This is not to say that boxing, rope climbing and other movements aren’t effective, you just won’t find yourself doing as much work or time. A good place to start might be biking, running, swimming, walking, elliptical machine, rowing, jumping rope, the “stepper”, etc. Personally, I recommend activities that can be done outside because the benefits of being in fresh air and the sun go beyond improving the heart and lungs. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to stick with just one exercise each time you train or even within the same workout. There’s no problem going for a run and finishing up with some rope jumping or rope climbing work, as an example. The options are endless if you spend some time figuring out what works for you and what you enjoy.
Ok, so I could spend a lot of time explaining the many different applications, protocols and approaches that one can do to improve their cardiovascular health, but I can tell you that a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic type cardiovascular training will help you “cover all your bases”. Improving both of these capacities will give a well-rounded level of fitness, help improve performance and allow for more functionality in life. Right now, I am going to give you a 12 week program that will help you exceed your expectations of cardiovascular health and possibly give you a goal at maybe doing something above and beyond with your results. First, I want to address the following components which I feel should be focused on to help you achieve peak, physical condition.

Next time, "Components of Physical Fitness"

Friday, March 13, 2009

12 Weeks to Better Cardiovascular Health

Getting Ready
An Overall Look

When it comes to improving cardiovascular health, many people tend to “wait till tomorrow” and somehow, tomorrow never comes. Many fail to realize the value and importance of improving their cardiovascular/cardiorespiratory systems through direct aerobic and anaerobic type training and therefore, don’t fulfill their overall fitness needs. A misnomer about cardiovascular improvement is that all you need to do is raise your heart rate and you will elicit cardiovascular benefits. To a great extent, this is true, but it’s more about the “how” and “why” you go about it that makes a difference. Allow me to explain. Let’s take a serious scenario such as a person being held at gun point. Obviously, this dangerous and life-threatening situation would surely elevate a person’s heart rate quite a bit, but it isn’t exactly the kind of increased heart rate we were looking for to improve fitness. The reason is this; just elevating the heart rate is only half the battle of improving cardiovascular/cardiorespiratory health (and by the way, I loathe the term “cardio” and will refer to improving one’s cardiovascular/cardiorespiratory system by referring to it as such or use the term “conditioning” or simply, “CV”). A lot of “things” go on when you are moving and breathing heavy such as the improved effectiveness of the circulatory and respiratory systems. Our most important muscle, the heart, becomes enlarged, enabling more blood to be pumped with each stroke. There is also improvement in the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are inhaled and distributed to body tissues. This, coupled with the increased ability to burn calories, reduce tension, lower the risk of coronary heart disease, etc., etc. warrants a good look at doing some “CV” work I’d say.

In part 2 I will discuss the "best" type of CV equipment. - Fred Fornicola

Friday, February 06, 2009

Setting Standards

As I was on my run this morning through the local park, the name Roger Bannister popped into my head. For those unfamiliar with Sir Roger Bannister, he was the first person to ever break the four minute mile. Bannister, at the age of 25, made history by running 3:59.4 on May 6, 1954 in Oxford. A new standard had been set. Now here’s the interesting part, just one month later his record was broken by a gentleman named John Landy. And to top that, Bannister was in a race shortly after against Landy and broke his own record by running 3:58.8 to Landy’s 3:59.6. Over the next few years, several individuals were breaking the four minute mile.

So, why did Roger Bannister pop into my head? Well, yesterday, I attended a meeting at a local high school where I do some volunteer work as the strength and conditioning coach for the track and field team in the spring (and field hockey in the fall). I was asked to be there so I could talk to the kids about the importance of being physically prepared for their upcoming season, give them some ideas of what they should be doing now to be ready and to answer any questions they might have. Prior to me speaking, the head coach went over some “odds and ends” and doled out the important papers that every kid needs to have completed to participate in a high school sport. In between us was the running coach who had the floor for a few minutes. This coach has a phenomenal rapport with the kids, is well respected and admired and is a solid coach (and person) on many levels. In a matter of a few moments he captured the attention of every athlete in the room by letting them know that there were certain standards that would need to be met. These “standards” were performance times they were expected to achieve for specific distances if they were to be a valuable contributor to the team. I watched the expressions on some of the kids faces which ranged from an ear-to-ear smile because they were excited by the challenge to that of those who appeared to have just wet themselves at hearing the news. I’m sure that some of the kids may have mentally responded with “oh crap, I better get in shape if I want to be part of this team” while others found these figures to be an exciting challenge they would strive to concur. Regardless of the kids perception of the standards, the coach had acknowledged the “pink elephant in the room” and now everyone has something specific to focus on over the next several weeks, and throughout the season.

If you give it some thought, this is not only applicable to these kids but to each of us on many aspects of life.

“Train With A Purpose”
Fred Fornicola

Monday, February 02, 2009

12K and Counting

Matt Brzycki and I are proud to announce that we are in our 5th printing of our book, "Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness". This means we are crossing over the 12,000 mark in books sold since its release in June, 2006.

We'd like to take the time to thank everyone who's supported us in this project.

Fred Fornicola