Comfort Foods vs. Comfort


From the beginning of time when humans stood erect and hunted for sustenance, food has understandably been a priority. Now we’ve evolved our approach to food in such a way that we’ve assigned emotional labels to it such as “comfort” or “cheats.” We even have “angel food” and “devil’s food” labels assigned to cakes. I’ve addressed this in part before, but today I want to delve a little deeper into “comfort” foods.

Woman eating ice cream for a better humor

When you are stressed or sad, what is your go-to food (or food groups) to pick yourself up? For men it’s often fatty or fried standards like pizza, fries, mac ‘n cheese, or the trifecta: a bacon cheese burger. For women it’s sweets like ice cream, cookies, chocolates, or the grand-slam: ice cream and hot fudge on a piece of cake.



Recently a client confided that although they were seeing positive changes in their body, were content with their job and home, and had a new relationship that was going well (i.e., they were happy with their lives) for some reason they still indulged (or rather over-indulged) in comfort foods on a regular basis. They had gone out with friends for lunch and ordered mac n’ cheese, a side of bacon, a soda and apple pie ala mode for dessert. When I asked why, they had no viable answer and was truly frustrated by their lack of self-control.


But I suspected what the answer was – comfort foods have been so over-used by so many that even when the original reason for seeking them out is no longer present, our bodies (really our brain and it’s ever continuing quest for dopamine) continue to silently urge us to indulge. A perfect example of these “comforting foods” in action (in a negative fashion that is) is played out in real time in the award-winning documentary Super Size Me. (If you haven’t seen it yet, seek it out, it’s quite enlightening!)


The pertinent question at this point should be how do we break our dependency on comfort foods? The answer is simple – moderation and discipline. Never deny yourself any of these beloved foods/meals completely, but you must be willing to institute some self-control over your portion size and frequency of consumption. Your body will stop craving them if you stop using them to fill your psychological holes in the first place! Then when all is well, there will be no more guilt trips over an unnecessary ingesting of these nutritionally void meals.


When you feel the need to soothe your emotions with food or drink, take 30 minutes to write down your feelings, slow your breathing, and calm back down from the helter-skelter inside your head. If after doing all that, you still NEED that “comfort” meal, make it be half the size you used to consume.


Slowly but surely you will either be able to stop abusing food, or at least you might come to terms with what’s really bothering you and deal with it or seek professional assistance to work through the issue. This is crucial to anyone seeking to reduce their levels of body fat. You can exercise 6 x a week, and eat better than ever before, but if you don’t get rid of the emotional baggage that you’ve tied in with food, you’ll never fully achieve your goals. Remember too, that comfort foods usually do not result in you feeling comfort for very long!

How Do You Smell?

I have been blessed (or cursed depending) with an amazing sense of smell. On the good side, my ability to sniff out the delicate nuances of a special glass of wine is an enjoyable asset. But on the bad side, I can sniff out a cigarette being smoked two cars in front of me!


Now I know first hand that America on the whole smells better than many other countries – I honeymooned in Bali and the over-powering and rampant body odor hit me the minute I deplaned and assaulted my senses every time I got in a cab. But for some reason America has gotten fixated on either masking scents within our homes or covering ourselves head to toe with perfumed products. Whether using a plug-in diffuser, aroma-therapy candle, or the multitudes of air freshener sprays, many people care more about scenting their homes with un-natural “country vanilla” or “sea breeze” aromas, than just opening the windows and allowing fresh air to do its thing.


I have an especially high annoyance with men and women who wear too much perfume/cologne. My mother, an “old-school” elegant lady, taught me that perfume was for smelling up close ONLY. “A woman’s perfume should not be smelled before she rounds the corner” she would say. I can’t count how many times I’ve been forced to move from a theater seat (or suffer in silence if I couldn’t change seats) because some woman has drenched herself with an Estee Lauder concoction that would repel a bear!


I also have a few male friends who wear so much head-ache producing cologne that I avoid hugging them lest I have to change my shirt just to stand being around myself.  The other day a young man working out at my gym had so much Axe Spray on that even three rows away I couldn’t’ concentrate on my workout.  I really wanted to say “sweetie, you don’t need to announce yourself that way! You’re a 6′-2″ handsome 20-something with muscles … lay off the damn cologne!”  But of course I didn’t, I just crumbled and moved further away.


Even our laundry detergents offer six to eight different scents, all so strong and invasive, that when my daughter used to have her clothes washed at her grandparents house, I would have to wash them again because it gave me a headache just to hug her. Clothes should be clean with a mild unscented soap that removes dirt and odors, but doesn’t “sterilize” them with perfumes that then clash with deodorants, body lotions, and the rest of our self-applied scents. We even have scented trash bags!  Come on, really?


Why am I on a soapbox today about scents and smells? Because while the essential oils industry has been selling us on the healthful and emotional impacts that can occur when utilizing our olfactory senses, what no one is addressing is the downside of all the overpowering, chemically-created scents we are forced to inhale on a daily basis.

The problem with these man-man aromas is that they dull one of our important, yet overlooked, senses and can cause headaches, loss of appetite, or worse, an altered pallet where we need higher levels of sugar and salts just to enjoy our foods. People likely forget that the first step in appetite and proper digestion is through our sense of smell. Haven’t you ever notice that when our noses are stuffed, food tastes bland.


If we continue to douse ourselves and our environments with these over-powering and unnatural scents, our noses will stop working the way they should. Food will smell and taste different and we will seek to engage our pallet by enhancing foods with the standard taste-enhancers – sugar and salt. More sugar and salt in our diets leads to higher levels of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes just to name a few issues. Plus a dulled-nose will also miss out on the subtleties in nature of healthy clean air, flowers in a meadow, the warm smell of pine needles, or the real (not canned) scent of a sea-breeze (not to mention the warning signs of a fire or food turning bad, etc.)


Some of you may laugh this off, but for those of you who share my nose-sensitivity, pass the word along – and lets lighten up on the perfumed products. A little scent goes a long way – and we should NOT smell you coming around the corner.


Eat This…

Nutrition is a vast and confusing topic, and healthy nutrition can be even more so. With fad diets and an annually targeted “evil ingredient” (i.e., saturated fats, carbs or gluten) added into the mix, it is no wonder that so many of my clients and friends call upon me for advice and guidance about what to eat.


The first thing I can advise/remind you is that lean protein is an important tool to lowering body fat – assuming that you’re engaging in regular and effective resistance training. Secondly, you should already know by now that I NEVER recommend a carb-free diet! As I always point out “diet” implies temporary, and carbs are not our enemy. Processed carbs, and foods that have high levels of sugar, sodium, or saturated fats should definitely be avoided, but carbs themselves are quite necessary in keeping us balanced and healthy.


With all this stated, today I thought it helpful if I review my favorite high-protein go-to snacks/meal replacements, listing my top choice for each of the following food profiles: sweet, savory, salty, and drinkable.

SWEET: Chocolate Cake & Quinoa by Carve Bar (formerly DNA Life Bars)

While there are four fantastic flavors of these gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free and non-GMO bars, this flavor is the best hands down. With a moist consistency and a ganached exterior, their texture is reminiscent to Hostess Ding Dongs.  The added perk is that these bars have only 2 grms of sugar, none of which comes from refined white sugar. They offer 14 grams of protein, and being under 300 calories (per pack), they make a great snack when your sweet tooth is calling in the middle of the afternoon, or after dinner.


SAVORY: Turkey, Sweet Potato, Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed Raw Bar by Bricks Bar

Despite the ridiculously long name, this gluten free, grain free, and antibiotic free option provides 10 grams of tasty protein in it’s 130 calorie bar, and only 11 grams of carbs. It reminds me of a pile of thanksgiving leftovers mushed together, and although that may not sound appetizing, I really do enjoy the taste of this bar when I’m craving something hearty and savory that can serve as a great snack/meal replacement on the go. When lightly microwaved the nuances of flavors come alive.


SALTY: Sea Salt Baked Protein Chips by Quest Nutrition

Made by the Quest Bar people, these sort-of “potato chips” are thin, crisp, and salty satisfying your need to munch on something like a chip or pop corn, while containing 21 grams of protein in one small bag (and only 5 grams of carbs). At only 120 calories per serving (a bag) this a great protein option to take to the movies or enjoy alongside a salad or sandwich.


DRINKABLE: Biochem 100% Whey Protein Powder (Vanilla)

As a personal trainer I’ve tried a lot of protein powder, and this product has won my loyalty for many years now. Two scoops provides 20 grams of protein, 0 fat, and 6 carbs in 110 calories. It has no chalky texture, mixes easily, and has no bitter aftertaste from the glycemic index-friendly stevia sweetener. While it is not a choice for Vegans, everyone else can enjoy this gluten-free protein powder. I choose the Vanilla flavor for it’s versatility as you can mix it into fruit or veggie juices (can’t do that with Chocolate flavor), or into milk-based shakes with peanut butter or chocolate chips, etc. I also recommend their “natural” flavor which is unsweetened.



Hopefully you’ll give these products a try as they really do help you always have a quick, healthy protein rich snack on hand, while taking some of the guess work out of your nutrition. All of them are available at affordable prices on-line through Amazon or Vitacost, or on their specific websites.

Kids and Postural Distortions

There’s no denying that things are very different now for kids then when I was a child. While the debate rages on as to whether the advances in technologies are beneficial or detrimental to our kids, one thing I know for sure is that there is an increase in “detrimental” physical issues suffered by our children as a direct result of 21st century technologies and merchandise.


The first and most obvious negative change to children’s bodies comes from vast quantities of time spent being sedentary while assuming poor posture as they type, text, surf, and chat on laptops, tablets and smart phones.


Along with the statistically proven increase in obesity in children due to their increased lack of movement, there are other physical issues such protracted shoulders – a rounding forward of shoulders which causes upper back muscles to carry undue lengthening, while the chest muscles shorten which decrease upper body flexibility and strength.


Traveling downward, there is also a rise in weakened hips and transverse abdominus (muscles running from lower abs around to the delicate lower back region). This postural distortion comes from long periods of sitting with lower back curved and hips and knees stretched forward (like slouching in a sofa).


Both of these poor-postures can cause a myriad of painful issues as our childrens’ bodies grow such as chronic headaches, back aches (between shoulder-blades and lower/sciatic region), and knee pain with reduced strength, speed and ability.


But another postural negative issue recently slapped me in the face when I realized that although I had noticed my daughter’s pronated foot stance for quite some time, it wasn’t until she’d been consistently complaining of foot pain that I realized there was an issue needing correcting. When children (or adults) stand in an uneven manner on their feet, i.e., feet rolling inward (pronation) or outward (supination) not only will their ankles, knees and hips have alignment problems (which causes pain), but their arches will not be supported and their feet will grow incorrectly and suffer from chronic discomfort in and out of shoes.


I now see that many children are suffering from pedi-postural distortions and I blame this on the plethora of cheaply made shoes with little to no arch support (think Toms with their cardboard soles or 90% of the shoes from Payless and Target).


For all of these issues, the solutions are easy to implement, although they will take time and sometimes some money to fix, but the long-term ramifications are positive and well-worth the time and cost. There are corrective exercises for each that I can instruct you on (or you can surf the web), and there are devices that can help in the severe cases (like shoulder trainers or arch-supporting insoles).


Clearly electronics and other devices that have helped cultivate our rampant postural distortions are not going away, but we can still counter-act their negative effects. I suggest you take a look at your kids’ postures head to toe (and yourself too), and get on fixing these issues before they suffer long-term pain and decreased use of joints and muscles.


Never Assume Nutrition

Very often when faced with that dreaded moment where you must choose what to eat that will be quick, tasty and healthy, we make assumptions that we know which option is better (i.e., more nutritionally healthy), and that assumption is usually based upon limited knowledge.


For instance, the other day I was pressed for time for lunch (but as always wasn’t going to skip a meal or suffer inferior (fast) nutrition), so I hit my freezer and had two choices: a Trader Joe’s Chicken & Bean Burrito or an Amy’s Organic Mushroom Risotto. My brain riffled through my solid base of nutritional understandings and told me that the burrito was the way to go because it would have more protein, less carbs, and probably be lower in fat and calories as well. After all, Risotto is pasta-ish and rice-ish both of which are high in carbs and sugars, right?


Well then the trainer in me took pause, and decided to read the labels and compare the stats. To my shock I found out that I was not only wrong in my assumption, but really way off on my perceptions. Here’s what I found:

THE RISOTTO:                                            THE BURRITO:
240 calories                                                     400 calories
8 grms fat                                                         12 grms fat
590 sodium                                                      950 sodium
35 grms carbs                                                  51 grms carbs
2 grms sugars                                                  1 grm sugars
7 grms protein                                                20 grms protein


While clearly I was correct that the burrito had more protein (almost 3x as much), but it also had almost double the carbs and sodium, and 4 grams more fat! Who knew? To help you grasp this further, lets compare a typical Subway sandwich to one of McDonald’s supposedly “healthier” sandwich options than their typical Big Mac:


350 calories                                                 350 calories
12 grms fat                                                   9 grms fat
1030 sodium                                                820 sodium
46 grms carbs                                             42 grms carbs
13 grms sugars                                            8 grms sugars
7 grms protein                                            28 grms protein


While I vehemently oppose ever spending a dime in a McDonald’s, when push comes to shove, I have to admit while I (and many of you I suspect) would assume that a deli-style “cold-cut” sandwich from Subway would always out-health anything from McDonald’s, clearly the facts prove otherwise. In case you missed it, Subway’s sandwich while having the same calories, had far less protein, and more fat, carbs, sugars and sodium.

So the next time you make an assumption about what you’re about to eat, stop and get the real facts and then decide. Your body and fitness goals will thank you for it!


Person Reading Nutrition Label on Packaged Food

Once Again, Why You Can’t Lose Weight

Three years ago I published the following article concerning the daily mantra of many of you — “why can’t I lose weight?”  Despite all my efforts, as well as an increase in National awareness and marketing about how to maintain a healthy body composition, I still hear this lament on a daily basis from prospective clients.  So I decided it was time to reiterate my answer. 


The eternal question why can’t I lose weight is uttered hundreds of times a day – at least in my profession I hear it from almost every prospective new client. The answer is simple – you’re not doing what you need to do to achieve your goals. The power lies within you. So the real question is what’s wrong with your execution?

Successful weight loss (which is really successful fat loss) is achieved with the following 3-steps:

1.   Set an achievable goal for your body type and lifestyle.


2.  Create and FOLLOW a nutrition plan that provides enough calories, protein and yes, even carbohydrates and fats to allow for burning of fat and building of lean muscle;


3.  Exercise regularly – or more accurately – burn more calories on a daily basis than you consume!


That’s it. If you follow those three steps you WILL succeed. Now you may be saying I do, I am, I have – but I guarantee, if you are still not losing weight (fat) you’re missing one or more nuances to one or more of these steps.


1. GOALS:  if you are over 40, in a sedentary job, have lots of stress, have injured body parts (back, legs, shoulders) or weakened joints – any or all of these issues – you MUST take those issues into consideration when setting your goals. With any of these issues you are likely to burn calories at a slower rate than others (age, lifestyle), if you are under stress you may in fact gain weight, and all of these issues greatly impact your ability to successfully follow step No. 2.


2. NUTRITION PLAN: First off, you’ll never succeed if you follow a diet – which implies a temporary change in how you eat (one in which you will cease when you’ve reached your goals). Second, you need to cater your meal plans to your schedule, taste preferences, and budget. Trying to eat what worked for one person who has a different set of criteria is a sure fire way to not succeed.


 3. EXERCISE: You’ll note I really addressed this issue as calorie burn. Whether high-impact or low, 10 minutes or 45, resistance training or group classes, your success at embracing and maintaining a consistent exercise (calorie burn) regiment hinges upon you enjoying what you’re doing. If you hate the gym, but love to hike – make it so. If you prefer DVD’s at home rather than working with a personal trainer then do that. The key to remember is BURN MORE CALORIES THAN YOU CONSUME.


That being said, please heed this important note: eating less calories is NOT the answer. The more you burn calories – especially in a proactive way such as resistance training (the fastest way to lose fat) – the more you’ll actually need to eat. You’ll still be at a deficit, but beware of eating too little calories. Your body will hoard what you do eat and you’ll not see a change!




SHAMELESS PLUG: I would be remise in this page of advice if I did not take advantage of a place to make a shameless plug for my services. I have a website where you can purchase specifically customized workout routines and meal plans that will take into consideration all of the issues I’ve detailed herein and if followed will help you achieve your goals!


Look At It This Way…

In my role as a life strategies coach I regularly utilize a few choice analogies to help my clients cope with and solve issues by seeing their situation from another perspective. Stepping back and changing your perspective on an issue or problem is the best way to remove emotional triggers and baggage which in turn allows you to find the best solution.


Today’s blog, while it might seem rather heady, is designed to help those of you who are feeling the stress of the last quarter creep into your bodies. Many of my friends and clients suffer from stress induced headaches, illnesses, and depression this time of year because they panic that goals set in January have still not been met, and/or the kids and their schooling require more attention, and/or the expensive holidays are around the bend, etc.


Here are my three favorite and most used analogies to help you gain perspective on a goal not met; relationships stuck in detrimental cycles; and the ever-present pressure of time ticking away from your life.  So look at it this way:

Swim upstream, find exhaustion; float on the current, and find dry land.

Often we get so emotionally focused on achieving a goal even when things aren’t working, or an expectation or what we felt we deserved, and what is just, that we plow through muddy waters swimming against the current and downpour of debris just to make our point (risking drowning in the process). But imagine if you simply stopped fighting and floated along with the current. You would undoubtedly eventually be lead (or easily steer yourself), towards the safety of the shore, and to your further benefit, often what was upstream finds its way downstream as well. In other words the issue could resolve on its own or be revisited another time when there are less impedances or emotions are calmer.


You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.

Having spent years riding horses, this analogy is a favorite of mine because it’s simple and true. Imagine leading a horse to water…then what? You cannot force their heads to the trough. If they aren’t thirsty they’re simply not going to drink. If you have a spouse, child, family member or friend that repeatedly requests your advice or repeatedly makes the same unfortunate choices and then anguishes over them – you can advise, negotiate, dictate, plead and bargain, but even if that person agrees completely with the right course of action – if they do not feel full conviction in taking that path, they simply won’t. Save your breath, save your strength, show them where the water (salvation) is, but then let the rest be up to their fate.


This moment is but a speck on the road.

The road of life is long, and for all of us there are ups and downs, some are high or lower than others, but we all walk the same concept: born – walk – live – walk – grow – walk – age – walk – end. My point is that what seems crucial, urgent or important at this very moment in time, with a little distance (more time) becomes a barely recognizable speck on your road. Granted, there are issues we face that cannot be trivialized (like unemployment, divorce, cancer, or death), but almost everything else that upsets us on a daily basis is trivial, and if you can just remember that it’s ONLY a speck on the road, your anger, frustration or sadness will lessen almost instantly, and most certainly in a day, week, or month, you’ll look back and think what was I so upset about?


* * * *

I hope one or two of these will pop into your consciousness the next time there is a circumstance befitting the use of these life-strategy analogies, and please feel free to share any analogies that you have come to rely upon when a coping tool is needed.

Fast Results For Fall

Okay, so the kids are back in school and everyone’s weekly routine is quickly settling in for the Fall season. What that means in the fitness industry is a large segment of clients drop off because the “summer-skin-showing” motivation has waned, while another segment of clients ramp up as they frantically seek to work off the extra fat calories gained during vacations and time off with the kids. It is those of you whom I am targeting in this week’s blog (and if some of you summer-bums are seeking renewed motivation this will work for you as well).


Rather than go back to the same old routine you’ve been following all summer (or dare I say all year) – try changing things up and shocking your body into a fast burn of calories with the REPS TO EXHAUSTION method. This type of resistance training is highly efficient at burning fat calories (especially 24-48 hours after) thereby toning muscles rapidly (i.e., you’ll see fast results).


Here’s the gist: for each muscle group choose any exercise (with either free weights or machines) and find the weight amount that is light enough for you to perform 10 reps, but too heavy for 20-25 reps. Then perform that exercise, doing your best to isolate the targeted muscle(s), and continue lifting (or pushing/pulling) the weight until you absolutely positively cannot possibly lift/push/pull any more (ideally somewhere around the 17-22 rep mark). Then rest for 1 full minute and repeat. You should perform 3-5 sets for each exercise.


If you want to keep your workouts to 30-minutes, you can choose just one or two muscle groups per day (like biceps & triceps or quads & hams). In case you need a body-breakdown reminder, here are your targeted areas, all of which you should perform at least 2 different exercises per muscle group, hitting each muscle group 2x per week:

  • Biceps (front of arm)
  • Triceps (back of arm)
  • Deltoids (shoulders)
  • Traps & Lats (upper and lower back)
  • Quads (front of thighs)
  • Hamstrings (back of thighs)
  • Calves


As always, abs are best hit without weights involved. But here too you can choose to perform all exercises (whether crunches, leg lifts or v-sits) until your ab muscles are crying! Don’t forget to always through in several prone-iso-abs (planks) which will strengthen your core from bellybutton to back – and if you’ve been holding them for 30-seconds (the average) – now push yourself to hold until exhaustion.

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Keep in mind that this method of lifting requires you to ignore your brain screaming “stop, you’re exhausted and listen instead to your muscles. When you simply cannot lift/push/pull anymore because your muscle is truly fatigued – that’s when you rest!


Try this method for the next several weeks, and then switch it up again. If you’re not sure what to do at that point, you know who to contact. Now go get exhausted!


The Cost of Health

As a fitness professional who focuses daily on healthy-nutritional choices (for myself and my clients) I am saddened to see healthy food choices are still costing so much more than junk food. I understand that junk food is called “junk” because that it is made up of man-processed and highly-altered basic ingredients like refined sugar, sodium, high fructose corn syrup, etc. and that those ingredients are in abundance and therefore inexpensive to produce. I also understand that “fads” are great vehicles for capitalism to charge higher amounts for these newly in-demand items. But what worries me most is that very few people are factoring in the health costs that arise from eating the cheap stuff for years and years.


Recently I took my daughter and some friends to a water-park for a day of refreshing fun. The park very clearly stated on their website and at their gate that NO outside food was allowed in the park, so off we went with fingers crossed that there would be something decent to eat. When lunch time rolled around, the choices were black and white: fried, salty, sugary cheaply produced crap at a very affordable price, or one (and I do mean singular) option that was healthy but cost twice as much.

close up of fast food snacks and drink on table

So my daughter had a slice of greasy cheese pizza and a large (only one size) lemonade (better than soda?) for $5.95. I had a small dollop of hummus in a plastic box containing 10 carrot and celery sticks, five triangles of bland pita bread, and a bottle of water for $12.00! So clearly sugary-water, and bread with a slathering of tomato paste and some generic cheese is cheaper to produce than a small scoop of garbanzo bean paste (humus) and some generic veggie slices?!


I perused the rest of the menu and found the most financially enticing options were for “families” – a whole pizza, 4 large sodas, and 4 churros (fried Mexican doughnut sticks) was only $19.00 = $4.75 per person for a family to ingest overly-processed and nutritionally void carbs, fats, sugars and salts. But hey, food is food, right?


This up-charging of “healthy” food choices happens everywhere from McDonald’s (sodas are cheaper than bottled water) to cafes and bistros (adding cheese to a sandwich is often free but adding avocado or brown rice costs $1.00 more). I remember the last time I went to Disneyland the snack items that were sugary and salty (popcorn, ice cream, etc.) were one price level, and the “healthy options” like fresh fruit, granola bars, and trail mix were a higher price. Just yesterday at a gas station we stopped at returning from a vacation, I bought two bananas – the cost $2.75 – but a bag of fruit flavored candies on display beside the fresh fruit was only 99¢.



What really frustrates me is that I do not believe that healthy food is more expensive to create or purchase by retailers. Granted, organic foods can cost more due to small production sizes, etc., but I know that this game of cost is all tied to the need of Americans to eat as much food as they can for as little money as possible. The majority of consumers don’t care about the quality of the food as long as it tastes good and is in abundance.


As I stated at the top of this rant, the “down the road” health ramifications, and costs incurred therein are very real, though most prefer to stay blissfully ignorant of the future. But you cannot escape the truth that consistently eating saturated fats, volumes of refined sugar and sodium will cause havoc on your insides and eventually result in the need for medical help and prescription drugs – all of which cost way more than that pizza you just ate!


Unfortunately, I do not see an improvement in this imbalance to the cost and availability of healthy food compared to junk until the masses demand a more balanced choice and price for their “on the go” meals.


Work Your Strengths.

The most valuable tool in your fitness arsenal is motivation. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to see and feel results. The fastest way to see and feel results is through resistance training (weight lifting). I’ve already discussed in my blog that women need to lift weights more often and heavier than most do – that you won’t look like a muscle-bound German swim team member, and that you’ll burn more fat calories than cardio. So the beneficial reasons are clearly well stated and proven – now you just might need a little more help getting and staying motivated to keep pushing and pulling those heavy weights.


Therefore, my advice today is to work your strengths. Everyone, every body type, has one or two muscle groups that are their strongest muscles and/or the ones they like to work the best. For me it’s my biceps and triceps. For you it might be your quads (thigh muscles), pecs (chest), or deltoids (shoulders). Regardless of which muscles they are, playing to your strengths will deliver quick results which in turn garner huge increases in your motivation to work harder.


Despite having long thin arm muscles, I am unusually strong in my biceps and triceps and can lift way more than others my size. Therefore, my ego gets a huge boost which drives me to lift more, and I see quick growth (tone and definition) in my arms which makes me very driven to see more results.


Back when my best friend and I were workout partners, she, who is five inches shorter than me, had huge arms (shorter muscles get larger quicker), but couldn’t curl as much as I. Conversely her chest was her strongest muscle group, and she could bench press twice as much as I could. Consequently she loved chest and back days, while I preferred arm days. But together we kept each other motivated. (Hint: there’s another tip if you missed it … workout out with a spouse or friend and keep each other accountable and motivated.)


I guarantee each of you have one workout day or one body part is that is your favorite and that you can willingly (and enthusiastically) push yourself to do more with. I challenge you to do so, while not forgetting to push a little harder on your other muscle groups until all your workouts are challenging and enjoyable.


Now go lift!