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June 8, 2018

Weightlifting For Women

“I want to be Toned.”

“I don’t want to be Bulky.”

Let’s provide a little insight into a common concern in regards to Weightlifting For Women.

I hope it encourages you to stay the course.

What is really going on?

At first, when you begin a weightlifting program, your body will adapt by increasing muscle glycogen (carbs).

Some extra water may get stored along with the glycogen, especially in women.

This may temporarily give you a “bulky” look if you haven’t lost body fat yet.

This temporary increase in glycogen and water is the body’s way of using carbs to adapt to your new exercise program.

It happens when you first start weightlifting or when you return after a long break from exercise.

Think of it as putting gas in your car before driving a long distance. It protects your body and brain from running out of gas.

Over time, the water retention will stop, your metabolism will improve and the small amount of lean muscle you gain will encourage your body to burn more body fat.

So stay the course!

You’ll feel great and develop more TONE rather than feel “big and bulky.”

Apply now to see if BAM Strength is right for you.

June 19, 2017

5 Essential “Health” Foods

5 Essential “Health” Foods

“Low Carb or No Carb?”

“Low Fat or No Fat?”

“And…what about gluten?”

“How many calories?”

“Have you heard of the: Paleo, IIFYM, Juicing, or Carb Cycle Diet?”

These are common nutrition-related questions I encounter on a daily basis. Each one is a great question.

But it’s best to focus on five essential “health” foods…rather than chase the latest trend or fad.

1. Protein

Lean protein such as poultry, fish, eggs, and lean beef are always a great choice.

2. Veggies

Fresh or frozen. Steamed or sauteed. Cool!

3. Fruit

Fresh, in a smoothie, or in a protein shake. Perfect!

4. Carbs

Potatoes, Rice, Quinoa, pasta, yes…even whole grain bread. All great options.

5. Healthy Fats

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Unsalted Organic Butter, nuts & nut butter, avocado. You can’t go wrong with these healthy fats

I hear ya. I just listed food groups rather than “health” foods. And that’s the beauty of it.

Before reducing calories or removing food groups from our meals there is a much easier approach.

Have you noticed a common theme in these 5 Essential “Health” Foods?

Each of these foods is minimally processed.

Just make sure each of your meals contains a reasonable portion of Protein, Veggies, Fruit, Carbs, and Healthy Fats.

Burning additional calories and losing body fat through exercise and healthy nutrition works every time.

It’s a more realistic approach to focus first on food quality. There will always be a new diet or nutrition trend based on a popular celebrity or athlete, Dr. Oz, etc.

But, at the end of the day, you should feel comfortable eating foods that you enjoy. For many, counting calories can become obsessive and even create more stress in their lives.

So, just as a solid training plan will focus on the basic lifts.

A solid nutrition plan will focus first on eating good quality and nutrient dense calories.

Reward yourself and splurge when you’ve earned it. Have an occasional beer or glass of wine. Eat a few of grandma’s homemade cookies. Just keep your portions within reason. After each meal, you should feel satisfied rather than stuffed like Thanksgiving day.

Avoid convenience foods and mindless eating while watching T.V.

If you follow this nutrition strategy and follow a solid training plan you’ll get tremendous results.

June 19, 2017

Push Ups Are The Best Chest Exercise

Everyone wants a stronger and more defined chest. It’s a clear sign of upper body strength that helps you walk with confidence.

For a stronger and more developed chest, you just can’t beat push ups.

Push Ups have been around forever because…they work!

Push ups are one of the most effective movements for both upper body and core strength. Push ups will develop the muscles in your chest, triceps, shoulders, and abs.

Best of all, you can do push-ups anywhere, using only your bodyweight. You can also include them in almost any workout such as a full body workout, push/pull superset, or as a “finisher” at the end of a chest workout.

Good ol’ push ups were first taught to us in grade school gym class.  Maybe this is why it’s easy for us to take them for granted and overlook good technique. Some common form flaws are partial reps, butt in the air, and allowing the hips to touch the ground before your chest.

Training with poor form on any movement is a waste of time and energy.  Here are a few simple and effective progressions to you perform a pushup properly and specifically target the chest.

The Basics

Before you “drop and give me 20” make sure you feel confident in bracing your core properly. The plank is a great exercise to help you learn how to brace your core, and maintain alignment of the spine. Once you master the basics of the plank you can easily avoid some of the flaws I mentioned above.



Upper body emphasis

Alright! Now that you know how to brace your core let’s focus on pushing with your chest. The elevated angle of an incline push up will help you push with your pecs and triceps. If you have a tendency to raise your butt in the air or let your hips slump to the ground, this movement is a great training tool.


Depth and shoulder safety

Great! Your bracing your core, and pushing with your chest. Nice work! Before we go right into push ups, let’s focus on performing them all the way down to the proper depth, and take it easy on your shoulders. The T Push up is a great tool to help you maintain alignment, push with your chest, and prevent wear and tear on your shoulder socket.



Medium Grip Push Up – The Best Chest Exercise

Here we go! This is the best chest exercise. To get the best chest development out of your push up I recommend performing them with a medium grip. Bringing your hands in closer to your armpits has been shown to stimulate the chest more than the traditional push up.



Execution:

  1. Begin in the pushup position with your hands just outside your armpits.
  2. Lower your body to the ground slowly until your chest touches the ground.
  3. Push all the way up until your arms are straight (avoid locking your elbows).

*Try the medium grip push up as a “finisher” by doing 1-4 sets of as many reps as possible at the end of an upper body/chest workout.

The Takeaway

Push Ups are King.

Push ups really are the best upper body movement. Performing push ups with a Medium Grip will stimulate the chest even more.  

Master proper form first. Once you notice that you can do 50 continuous pushups then, progress to more advanced push up variations.

June 14, 2017

Lose Inches From Your Waistline

Shrink Your Waistline By Ignoring It

Get Killer Abs in 8 Minutes…

Watch The Pounds Melt Away..

Six Easy Ways To Get Your Summer Six Pack…

The headlines grab your attention, but you suspect they are too good to be true. You wonder if you’ll really get the promised results.

As a personal trainer and nutrition consultant, I help people get stronger and reduce their waistline. Some even take it a step further and get a six-pack. Very cool! But, I have to tell you:

Abs Don’t Matter

I’m just like you. Not much has changed over the years when it comes to taking my shirt off at the pool. I still have this automatic and uncontrollable need to suck my gut in. I guess the idea is that a six pack will magically appear, just as the beautiful girl in the Bikini walks by.

Most of us don’t necessarily want an extreme six pack like we see in the movies or in fitness magazines. We just want to reduce our gut and do what’s necessary to keep it under control as we age.

That said, visible abs look cool. They tell a story of a person’s physical activity. However, don’t forget that we all have abs and use them during daily activity. Someone with visible abs is either physically fit, a lifelong athlete, or perhaps genetically gifted. 

But avoid comparing yourself and avoid the ab myths. Many are promoted on Informercial DVDs, ab classes at gyms, equipment manufacturers and sketchy supplement peddlers.

Most of all, avoid a short-term goal like “12 weeks to shredded abs.” Don’t get me wrong. You can definitely achieve a lot in 12 weeks, but don’t let it stop there. It’s easy to transition back to old habits and revert back to the old you.

Should you train your abs exclusively?

Ab mats, ab machines, and ab classes. These are the most popular things in your gym too, right? But, should you train your abs exclusively? Probably not. Focusing exclusively on our abs and ignoring everything else is a recipe for disappointment. Your body works together as a synergistic group of muscles that cooperate and support each other to perform. Isolating just one muscle group is not effective.

There is no one thing you can do to have a six-pack and see your abs. Abs are made through genetics and exercise. They become visible through nutrition.

Training your abs just so you can see them seems logical, however, it’s a common misconception. If spot reducing our waistline were a reality than every home would still have a vintage 1930s exercise belt decades later.


Train Everything

The best way to shrink your waistline is to train your entire body.

Everything from your legs to your back, chest, and arms will help you get stronger and reduce your overall body fat.  As you reduce your body fat you’ll be much closer to reducing your waistline. This is so much more fun and realistic in the long run.

Exercise is supposed to help you feel good and move better.  When you train everything you help everything in your physique and lifestyle. It all gets better.  Ignore how you look for a bit. Think more about the multiple benefits of getting in great shape.

The most gratifying yet least discussed benefits of getting in shape is the increased ability to contribute to your family and society.  You’ll have more fun and feel comfortable playing with your kids without pain or running out of breath. You will help your spouse with yard work in less time. Or better yet, be that cool guy who was able to help their senior neighbor carry that heavy bag of salt to the water softener or shovel their driveway in the winter.

Strength First

Rep after rep after rep for any specific muscle group will “pump the muscle”.  The pump looks and feels great during the workout but doesn’t necessarily achieve long-term strength and development of the muscles.

Having a strong core improves posture, prevents back pain, and improves daily physical activity. Basic fundamental lifts will build the abs. Some specific movements to include in your workouts are:

Push: Push-ups, Bench Press, Dips, Overhead Press

Pull: Pull-downs, Pull-ups, Rows, Bicep Curls

Squat & Bend: Squats, Deadlifts, Good Mornings, Kettlebell swings

Conditioning: Jog, Hill or Stadium Sprints, Sled Drag, Battling Rope, Farmers Walk

Eat Lean

You don’t have to eat less. You just have to eat right. Getting strong is great. But to see your abs you simply just have to get leaner. Something that’s often ignored in the world of “looking bigger” is, if you want to look bigger and more muscular you’ll have to get leaner. People often underestimate how much they need to lose. You can still train for size and lift heavy, but your nutrition habits should focus on lean eating rather than bulking.

The Takeaway

Chasing after 6 pack abs while following strict diets and excessive supplementation can lead to both physical and mental issues, hinder your metabolism, and get your hormones out of whack.

To reduce your waistline, just ignore it. Train your entire body.

Focus more on posture and performance rather than aesthetics. This approach has given many of my client’s tremendous results, smaller waistlines, and visible six packs.

Enjoy your workouts and enjoy life. Stay positive and know that you’ll achieve your goals.