Tips and Tricks for holiday parties

So the holiday season is upon us were the cookies are plentiful and the beer flows from the kitchen sink. I know kind of corny but you get the idea. This time of year on average people gain between 5-7lbs which can really set you back on your New Years goals. This doesn’t have to be the case if you’re smart and plan your attack at each party or event you attend. 

Disclaimer: I do not have the secret formula that will allow you to eat whatever you want and not gain a pound. If I did, I would be rich! But these tips can help you stress a little less about each time you go to a party. You just have to think about your day ahead of time. Being well-planned will always work out for you in the end. 


1.      If you’re going out that night and you know there is going to be bad food choices that you will consume, eat light all day. Stick to mostly protein and veggies.

2.      If there’s, time squeeze in a workout before your event. This will make you more insulin sensitive and less likely to store fat.

3.      Choose a smaller plate and try to avoid just picking. Take moderate helpings of the foods you really want and enjoy the meal. Don’t deprive yourself.

4.      Liquid calories are your enemy. Avoid these unless it’s a great craft beer, if so drink and be happy.

5.      Eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed. Most of us just eat until we can’t take another bite. Like I said don’t deprive yourself but don’t eat until you have to loosen your belt either.

6.      Get back on track the right away and don’t punish yourself for indulging. 

These are just some to the strategies I use when it comes to going out and enjoying the holidays. I love good food and great beer but I plan my day ahead of time and make smart choices. And if I go overboard, which does happen occasionally, I get back on track right away. If I have a ton of food and carbohydrates that night, the next day I limit my carbs and just eat less that day. 

Enjoy the holidays


It’s no surprise that in order to get in shape and become a healthier person, you must make small, simple changes over a period of time. Trying to take on too much at once only sets you up for failure or even worse, an injury. You can begin making small steps towards a healthier you on your own, so long as you are healthy and have no major health concerns. The New Year is coming and it’s coming fast. Gyms will be crowded for a while and people will have all these good intentions to get healthy and in shape. The one thing most of us miss is that we didn’t gain these 15 lbs in a month ( most likely) so it’s not going to come off over night. 

If you want your new lifestyle to stick and make it a lifelong commitment then it takes proper planning. You don’t want to do a complete 180 and eat paleo and never have a beer or whatever your drink of choice is, because it  won’t work. This will last for about a month and that’s if you really have some will power. Then your back to the way you were last year saying you’re not cut out to be in shape and eating healthy is just too hard. 

The one key attribute we all need to work on is PATIENCE. This will make life so much easier. I have been working on this for a while and it is probably one of the most difficult things to really gain or at least be aware of. I’ll use myself for an example, over the summer I injured my right knee. I went to physical therapy, had an MRI and saw a few orthopedics. No one could find anything wrong with my leg. I couldn’t bend it and I had a little limp sometimes. It drove me crazy! I was doing more foam rolling and mobility than I was sleeping. I tried more supplements than I would ever care to admit. All this because in my head my body is suppose to heal like it did when I was 18, and dare I say it but I’m that dirty number everyone calls 30 ( ouch it hurts to type that). I needed to have patience and let my body heal. So four and a half months later my leg is starting to feel better but is far from a 100%. I look at it this way, everyday it feels even slightly better is a victory and a step in the right direction. On a positive note, I’ve even learned a few things about my body that I probably never would have if this injury never happened.

Think of getting in shape and becoming a overall healthier person as a journey. You want to take it slow and enjoy the process. Really learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t think everything is set in stone and don’t always take everyone else’s advice. That’s their journey not yours. Be patient because anything really worth attaining is going to take time and dedication.

Feel free to comment below 



A smart approach to success

I was reading through some quotes the other day and I thought of something that I always tell my clients but never really put it together. I always hear people say “never look back, always push forward”, but for someone who needs motivation and the push to keep moving forward sometimes I think they actually need just the opposite.  Everyone has days where they are tired and beat down from work and all you want is a pizza and some sweets. But I want you to look back at all the obstacles you have over come to get to where you are now. It doesn’t matter if you have only lost 5 pounds. It’s progress no matter what.

We all tend to see the big picture or shall we call it your end goal, to lose that 25 pounds, but we never stop and look at all the small steps we have to take to get to that end goal. I am always telling people to enjoy the process and not get stuck on the final outcome. Celebrate that 2 pound loss or even that 5 pound PR when it comes to lifting. All these small steps add up over time and before you know it, you can reach your goal and then some. It’s a tough process of getting the body you want with all the distraction in life, be it your friends asking you to hangout and have a few drinks or just those apple cider donuts calling out your name. Willpower is draining fast as soon as you wake up and I think the best way to fight it is to really give yourself credit on all the small things you accomplish. It could be as easy as having protein for breakfast every morning this week or taking the stairs into work for the week. These little victories set you up for a big win in the long run. So next time you’re feeling down over something, think how far you have come and not how far you have to go.

Here are some small challenges for you to try

  • Get up and walk around each hour if you have a desk job
  • take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • protein at every meal of the day
  • veggies at every meal of the day
  • no liquid calories
  • less TV time at night unless walking dead is on which = a free pass
  • making recovery a priority in your weekly routine

These are just a few random ones I can think of but it doesn’t have to be crazy like no carbs for a month or working out for 2 hours 6 days per week. Make it easy for yourself to succeed and build momentum and I think you will amaze yourself with the results.

Try it out and let me know what your little victories are and the obstacles you overcome.

Goals, life, and the Big picture

In life there are many obstacles that you will have to overcome on a day to day basis. Hell just getting up for work every day could be one of your obstacles but you always manage to do it. I watch people do things they hate or don’t like every day. Yet they continue to press on even when some of these things can actually hurt you or not contribute to a better life and I always think to myself, why do we do this to ourselves? We go to a job we despise, take orders from a boss we hate and don’t respect just to get by in life. We also workout and hate every second of it just because we think it’s healthy and we are doing the right thing. But did you ever stop to think that maybe there’s a different way to go about it? 

You always have to question your beliefs and make sure there in line with your end goal. If your goal is to be happy and successful but you’re working a job you don’t truly get excited for I can tell you you’re probably going down the wrong road. If you’re going to the same classes or gym to work out and doing the same things over and over but you hate every second of it you’re probably wasting your time. Find something else that will cause you to move and break a sweat. You see to be truly great at something or to get the best results you have to be 100% into it in mind, body and spirit. And yeah yeah I know it sounds all woo woo but its true most people who excel at things really have a passion for it or are solving a problem they have had. 

 Where am I going with this you ask? Well if you know me I have been very active most of my life in some way or another, whether it’s outside activities or competing in KB sport I’ve always pushed my body hard to do my best and I have no regrets. But as I have gotten older, I have realized I was always looking at this small window in my life and not the big picture. With two injuries under my belt my views are evolving and maybe I don’t need to be the best or the strongest. What about being able to move in all the human movements without pain or restriction? I don’t want to wake up in the morning and be stiff or sore and who the hell am I trying to impress?! I am far more impressed with a person who actually cares about being a great person and helping others find the greatness in themselves, than someone who looks great in their muscle shirt flexing in the mirror talking about how many grams of protein they take in everyday. 

Think about it, what do you want to be known for when people talk about you? Do you ever want to look back someday and be like I regret doing this or that for so long? Time is the most precious thing we all share and it’s the only thing we can’t get more of. So I challenge you to think about different aspects of your life and see if they match up with your big picture. If not maybe it’s time to start planning a change.

Since this blog is called the journey into fitness and nutrition, I figured why not write about my journey and how it all started. I have always been an active person and always riding my bike or playing some outdoor sport so I guess you could say it started there with the pushups sit ups, and pull ups in my room at night.  Just seeing the way my body responded got me hooked instantly and I never looked back. At certain points in my life I took things to far and was even hospitalized when I was in my young teens for over exercising and not eating enough to the point where my heart rate slowed down. This was a big wake up call for me, I never expected to go through something like this. It was scary learning how much I actually messed up my body from not having enough knowledge about exercise and the role of nutrition.

So after that experience in my life I took it upon myself to educate myself and make sure never to go down that road again. I read everything on training and nutrition I could get my hands on. I got really obsessed with body building and getting huge and shredded, basically eating every three hours and eating out of plastic containers everyday. Not going to lie looking back its embarrassing to think all I did, even measuring my arms all the time and posing in the mirror. But it was what all the best guys were doing plus the behind the counter supplements that I would never use.

Next came the adventure into pure strength, I still remember the good old days lifting with my  buddy Dave Whitaker out back if my house in the garage gym we called The Grind. We always had a good time and pushed each other. This also was about the time where I picked up kettle bells and boy o boy did I fall in love. I got the best results in my life swinging those around in my back yard. I saw my body fat levels drop and my muscles grow at the same time which was something I strived for my whole life. I even went as far as getting RKC certified sometime around 2005-2006. This was an experience I will never forget, that weekend was the most brutal training I have ever been though, talk about an ass whooping. But I managed to complete it and got my certification.

I started to combined all sorts of bodyweight, kettlebell, and bodyweight training all out of my back yard for a long time and loved being able to be outside and get creative with my workouts. Then I found the sport of kettlebell lifting and got hooked instantly. It was brutal and pushed me both mentally and physically at the same time. I seem to improve really fast and couldnt get enough. I even got a coach, His name was Chris Duffey. He was one of those tough love sorta guys, no bullshit you either were doing good work or your sucked. I learned a lot from him and we became great friends traveling all over the US competing and pushing the sport. I finally achieved Master of sport in Biathlon and started working on Long cycle when I got injured. My right shoulder started killing all the time and got very weak, I pushed it out of my mind and kept training. I had a competition in california in February and would not let anything stop me. Well to say it lightly I was dumb and managed to compete in that competition but missed Mater of sport long cycle by 2-3 reps which was a huge let down. I flew home and made an appt with the doctor to find out I torn part of my rotator cuff and might need surgery. My world would turn upside down after that day.

I got depressed for a while, Kettlebells were my identity and my life. What would I do not being able to compete. I had been teaching kettle bells for a while during the nights after work so I thought maybe I could pass on my passion of training to other people. I looked into becoming a personal trainer, I mean why not I love exercise and fitness. So I found a great certification in NASM and started my journey into becoming a trainer, after 6 long months I passed my exam. At this point I picked up another training position at a gym and was really starting to enjoy the process of helping people and getting the most out of there time in the gym. But I also learned that its not just about the fitness aspect its also about selling and I sucked at selling.

Horders,Mindset and Happiness

Do you ever wonder why some people are so damn happy all the time and no matter what you do you just can’t seem to achieve that feeling? You’re successful, you’re in great shape, you have a great significant other, life is going great but you’re still miserable inside. How can this be? How can this other person be so happy and always love life when they don’t have that much going for them and you have everything yet here you are hating every second of it. 

From what I’ve been practicing and reading a lot about lately is it comes down to mind set. Your mind is one of the most powerful parts of your body. It can completely change your life if you can just tap into it and use it to your advantage. Things will never make you happy, well they may for a few hours or weeks but then you will be back searching for the next thing to make you happy again. It becomes a vicious never ending cycle till your house looks like the ones on that TV show Hoarders. Maybe it will never be that bad but you get the idea. You’re basically just masking your happiness with objects and stuff that takes your mind off the present for a little while but then it’s back to reality and your start over. 

This can happen with anything in life. It could be a job or career, or getting the body you want only to find out all that hard work, eating egg whites and plain chicken all day didn’t make you any less miserable. How could this be you have 4% body fat and you can see your bicep veins, and anyone who workout knows how awesome a bicep vein is. The chicks should be lining up to take you on a date (and pay for it too) that’s how damn good you look. 

But the reality is it doesn’t matter how much body fat you have or how successful you are (unless you’re a billionaire) people will not want to be around you if your miserable and not fun to be around. I am not saying don’t chase goals and work your ass off to get what you want and be successful. But remember it won’t change your outlook on life and make you happy. 

My advice if you care to know is learn to appreciate things more. Take the time to say thank you to people. Start a gratitude journal and make a habit to write in it every day. You will be surprised how these small little habits can change your outlook on life and maybe make you happy with what you have and not focus on the things you don’t have. I am not saying I am an expert, I’m on a journey myself and trying to better myself every day. I try to create small habits and only add one at a time so it’s manageable and I stick with it. Give it a shot! What do you have to lose besides being miserable!

If you have any questions drop a comment below and I’ll answer it to the best of my abilities.

Practice makes you sexy!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about enjoying the journey to your goals and how not a lot of people do that. I always see people wanting to do more or make it more difficult when in reality they should probably do a little less and actually work on feeling and practicing the movement. I’ve done this for a lot of my workouts as well. I would push myself harder, add in more intensity, just to think I’m getting more out of my workout and going to get results faster. When in reality, in the gym you should be practicing and building your strength.

Whenever you see someone who excels at something it’s because they have put in the hard work and practiced many hours. It’s not because they were just going through the motions and trying to burn more calories. Usually these people are in pretty good shape as well. It has to make you wonder maybe putting in more practice and thought into your training or whatever you call it, and actually try to feel what’s going on in your body will get you better results instead of just trying to do more volume all the time.

Here are some things to try on your own

Try to feel your muscles working 

Think about what you’re trying to achieve in your workout 

Practice while trying to stay fresh 

Always enjoy what you are doing

These are just places to start. It’s a lot like yoga; they treat each workout like a practice and enjoy it. They’re not in a rush to get to their end goal by a certain date, they just like to practice and get a little better each day which is how you keep yourself healthy and strong over the long haul. If you just go through the motions you will end up burning out and just giving up. Face it, most people don’t love to exercise in the first place so it’s the easiest thing to just give up.

Find something healthy you enjoy doing and devote time to practicing and getting better. I think you will be surprised at how much fun it can be and you won’t even feel like you’re working out.

Enjoy your journey

It has been way too long since I’ve written anything. Life takes weird turns and you find yourself   getting lost in your day to day tasks as life flies by. Most of us tend to get caught up in so many things that we never just stop and enjoy the present. I have been caught up in this situation a lot lately. You find yourself saying yes to everything that comes your way and leave no time for yourself or the ones closest to you. This only leads to a downward spiral in almost everything else in life. Without a balance certain aspects of your life will suffer. I know this isn’t the case all the time. There are always points in your life when you have to buckle down and just dig into one thing really deeply. This is the only way you can get ahead, but once the dust settles you have to search for balance again. This is kind of where I am at in my life right now.
I left a safe and secure job that paid me pretty well to go after my dreams and passions. There’s no real security and starting out is tough when you first dive into personal training full-time. But you can’t always chose the safe route, especially if you’re not happy. Life is way too short to not take chances and go after what you want. It’s scary, but if you want it you will find a way to make it happen.
I guess what I’m trying to say is enjoy the journey and don’t obsess about the end goal. Yes you want to get there as fast as possible and be ahead of the game but life isn’t a linear cycle. Your going to have your ups and downs, obstacles to over come, and times when you feel like you can’t go on anymore. But that is usually where the break through happens and you reach the next level. So learn from your mistakes and try to make everyday count.

Your body isn’t dumb

There is more information out there about health than ever before. People who have lost weight think they have the secret key to success and they might, but it’s their key to success. Everyone’s body is different. And that is what makes you, actually you. There is not one person on this planet that is the exact same. That is why it is important for you to really take the time and figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.  I wish there was a one size fits all approach to getting healthy and in shape but that doesn’t seem to be the case in my experience. I know people who can eat no carbs and feel fine just the basic of  veggies and protein all day. These people believe that their approach works and it might for them.  But that same approach might make you feel like shit. I’ve tried the whole low carb thing and I can barley make it through the day without going crazy and wanting to chew tree bark. One time I went on a one month long experiment of cutting down my carbs to the bare minimum. I was training pretty hard but taking in barley any carbs and I would end up craving Heady topper when I woke up every morning. For those of you who don’t know what a Heady topper is, I feel sorry for you because you are truly missing out! It’s a double indian pale ale from Vermont and it is simply delicious. But craving that at 630 am is a little scary!! So for me at this point I know that lower carbs don’t work if I plan to have some intensity in my workouts.

This is where it gets tricky and most people give up. There are too many quick fixes out there that will solve your problems in on simple step or pill. Sadly to say this is not true. You need to try different things and give them an honest shot before you know what works best for you. Go without dairy for a month see how you feel. Go without grains for a month you might be surprised at what happens or you might not notice anything. That’s the only way you will find out what works and what doesn’t.

Most people don’t know how truly good they can feel with an adequate diet because they always feel like crap and have a caffeine IV in the all day. If you fuel your body with the foods it needs you will experience just how good you can feel. The one down side I have found personally with myself and with most people I talk to is that once you get your body running on the good stuff, eating just some of that junk you use to call food you will really end up paying for it. You will notice how bad you feel and will be amazed at how you went through life feeling like that now that you know how good you can feel.

So I challenge you to experiment with your dietary habits! Do some research and see what really works for your body and what doesn’t.