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  • The only way to get rid of that spare tire


    By Travis Steffen on Thursday, January 28, 2010 3 comments

    CB060675It’s among the top five questions I am repeatedly asked by clients. If I had a nickel for every time I heard it I’d be writing this blog while chillaxin’ in my private jet, piloted by John Travolta himself, on my way to a weekend shopping extravaganza in Milan.

    “How can I lose my belly?” “What can I do to get rid of my spare tire?” “What lower ab exercises will shrink my gut?” I know my answer never makes me popular but it’s the only honest one I can offer. You simply cannot spot reduce! In order to get rid of the flab on your midsection, you must follow a balanced, consistent and intelligent program of proper nutrition, calorie control and EXERCISE! I see you rolling your eyes and before you ask….there are no magic ‘muffin top’ pills, no fancy ab roller gadgets and no ‘break through metabolism stimulating, hormone regulating, fat melting, super power foods’ that are going to do it effortlessly for you. Enjoying the luxury of a flat midsection is earned through regular cardiovascular and strength training workouts coupled with a diet rich in nutrients designed to meet and not exceed daily caloric requirements. Bottom line.

  • Losing weight at the neighborhood pub


    By Travis Steffen on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 1 comment

    imagesCAHJUO9HJust wait for it… it’s inevitable. Sure enough, every time I design a nutrition program for a client whether it’s for fat loss, muscle gain or a combination of the two, I always hear the same million dollar question. Three or four days into their program I receive an email asking “So what can I have for alcohol? Am I allowed to drink?” I expect it and I can totally appreciate it since after all, I’ve been known to guzzle sip a bottle glass or two of pinto grigio in my time. So what’s the harm in a little wobbly pop indulgence every now and then while you’re trying to shed some fat and tone up? How much is too much? What’s the best choice and which ones should stay behind the bar?

  • Perfect form ensures a fantastic physique


    By Travis Steffen on Thursday, January 14, 2010 5 comments

    I often see people in the gym performing exercises with the best of intentions, yet using less than optimal form. Beginners, intermediates and die hard gym rats may all experience improper technique in their workout routines from time to time. The correct execution of prescribed exercises is crucial to avoiding injury as well as realizing the full potential of your workout.
    For those that are new to working out, it’s important to learn the proper technique of an exercise from a professional. While there are a lot of people in the gym that may be doing an exercise right, there are also a lot that aren’t, which could lead to injury. Have a knowledgeable personal trainer show you how an exercise needs to be performed so that you can get it right the first time and avoid picking up another persons bad habits.
    For experienced gym goers, it’s a good idea to periodically re-evaluate your form. After an exercise becomes routine it can be easy to slowly slip into less than perfect technique. It’s best to have a professional take a look at your form and let you know if there are ways to improve. Check in every once in awhile and you’ll continue to reap the full benefits of your workout.
    A large part of performing exercises properly is remembering to stay mentally focused on the task at hand. Visualize the way the movement should look while you are doing it and focus on the muscles involved. You shouldn’t be talking with the person next to you or your training partner, looking around or making a grocery list in your head. An effective training session takes just as much mental energy as it does physical. Concentrate on the correct posture and movement of your body and save everything else for later.
    Keep your movements smooth and controlled. For example when performing a bicep curl, after you have raised the dumbbells, control them on the way down as well. Don’t just let your arms fall to your sides. The negative portion of the exercise needs to receive just as much effort and attention as the positive and vice versa.
    Once you have learned the proper execution of an exercise keep a mental checklist of things to consider in avoiding injury. For example, when performing a squat you want to remember to keep your head up and your core tight. With a chest press done on a flat bench, you want to make sure your back stays flat against the bench to avoid a lower back injury. Learn what the specific cues are for each exercise you do and remind yourself of them throughout the workout.
    Some other points to keep in mind
    Be prepared. Make sure your workout is suited to you and that you are working at the appropriate level for your ability. Your workout should be difficult enough in order to get the full benefits, but not so difficult that you can’t do them.
    Dress appropriately. Wear proper shoes for your particular workout that are comfortable and offer good support. Your clothes should be lightweight, fit well, breathe well and be comfortable. If you are working out in the cold, dress in layers to easily adapt to your changing body temperature.
    Notice the equipment. If you are working out at a gym or health club, make sure their equipment is in good working order. If you notice any pieces that appear to be missing, frayed cords, deflated stability balls or anything else that doesn’t look right, notify an employee so things can be fixed.
    If you are working out at an appropriate level for your ability and using proper technique and good form, you will reach your full potential. Sometimes you may just need to make minor adjustments in your execution to see some positive changes. Just make sure you are learning and taking advice from the right people.

    blog10I often see people in the gym performing exercises with the best of intentions, yet using less than optimal form. Beginners, intermediates and die hard gym rats may all experience improper technique in their workout routine from time to time. The correct execution of prescribed exercises is crucial to avoiding injury as well as realizing the full potential of your workout.

    For those that are new to working out, it’s important to learn the proper technique of an exercise from a professional. While there are a lot of people in the gym that may be doing an exercise right, there are also a lot that aren’t, which could lead to injury. Have a knowledgeable personal trainer show you how an exercise needs to be performed so that you can get it right the first time and avoid picking up another persons bad habits.
    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Do’s and don’ts of a successful bodybuilding program


    By Travis Steffen on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 4 comments

    blog1If you’ve decided to take on the challenge of adding some muscle to that frame of yours you will no doubt be almost immediately bombarded with “helpful advice” from anyone and everyone that’s ever touched anything heavier than a five pound dumbbell. Be very careful who you listen to, taking most advice and information with a grain of salt. Building muscle is more than just showing up at the gym, picking up a weight or two and devouring pounds of chicken breast. Just like everything else worth having in life, achieving success with muscle building workouts takes knowledge, hard work, dedication and commitment. Acknowledging the things you’re doing right as well as those you’re doing wrong will help you get to where you want to be.

  • Break through your weight loss plateau


    By Travis Steffen on Thursday, January 7, 2010 30 comments

    01If you just started your fat loss workout on the first of January, I’m sure you aren’t experiencing the frustration of a plateau just yet, but without a doubt you will at some point. As long as you’re prepared for it you’ll be able to sail right through with the least amount of hair pulling. Here are a few tips that will come in handy when that number on the scale just won’t budge.

    Be honest with yourself

    Have you been keeping up with your food log? It’s normal for us to get so accustomed to our diets that we become complacent with journaling our meals and snacks. Be honest with yourself and take a good look at everything that goes into your mouth. A little bite here or a taste there can really add up at the end of the day. Get your pencil and paper ready and start being as detailed as possible. You may be surprised by how much is overlooked.

  • Make your fitness resolution stick in 2010!


    By Travis Steffen on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 3 comments

    01

    Are you already struggling to stick with those health and fitness resolutions you promised yourself only 5 days ago? You’re not alone! As a personal trainer and nutrition consultant I see the exact same pattern every January! Good people, with great intentions pack the gyms and line up in health food stores for a solid three weeks, determined to stick with their goals this time! By the end of the month though, they’ve somehow fallen off the horse and the only people that remain at the gym are the ones that are there all year long! So how do they do it? How is it possible to stay focused on a diet plan and workout program when so many other things get in the way? Once again, it all comes down to the plan. Use the SMART technique to keep yourself on the right track and really achieve success this year!

  • What’s YOUR New Year’s Resolution?


    By Travis Steffen on Friday, January 1, 2010 No comments


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    Happy New Year to everyone!

    Hopefully 2010 is already off to a fantastic start for all of you!

    Along with a potential pounding headache and a craving for a Peptobismol smoothie, ¬†January 1st often brings feelings of hope, inspiration and re-birth. There’s a sense of freshness in the air, knowing that this year may bring change and redemption as we wipe past behavior and old habits from our newly cleaned slate.