Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jack Lalanne, A True Inspiration

When I think of inspiration and accomplishment, there's no doubt that Jack Lalanne will pop into my head. It's so odd to think that this man, who died at the age of 96, still seemed to die young. Lalanne was (so weird to refer to him in the past tense) "The Fitness Guru". Besides being responsible for the first pulley machines using cables, inventing the leg extension machine, being one of the first advocates for female fitness, and much, much more, Lalanne never preached to posses the cliche fitness "secret"!!

This is what made him so special to me. I never felt like he was trying to lie to anyone. He never had some fad secret system or some "magic pill" to shove down American's throats for a high price. Instead, he promoted (and practiced) eating all natural food, staying active in life, and respecting the human body. He had such a sincerity about him that I've really never seen matched.

Growing up as a self-proclaimed "sugarholic", Lalanne used fitness to change his own life for the same reasons he taught others. "My goal has always been to help people help themselves. Your body is your most priceless possession; you've got to take care of it!”.

And take care of it he did! Jack Lalanne accomplished amazing feats:
At age 42 (1956) he set the world record for push ups, completing 1,033 in 23 min on the Art Baker Show

At age 62 (1976) he swam 1 mile in Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed, shackled and towing 13 boats containing 76 people

At age 70 (1984) he swam handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, towing 70 rowboats (one with several guests), for 1 mile from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.

Along with physical accomplishments, Lalanne was also a founding member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness under President Kennedy and played many roles as an advocate for physical fitness.

Lalanne possessed an energy and charisma that ultimately just made you feel good! His presence was a blessing. He was honest and genuine. He practiced what he preached, and most of all, he was a role model for how to live the highest quality of life! I had the honor of seeing him in person a few years back when he won the Life Time Achievement Award at The Arnold Classic. He was probably around 90 at the time and he had so much energy, I was jealous! He delivered a powerful speech and left a mark in my mind that I will never forget. Lalanne died last Monday, January 23, 2011, due to pneumonia related respiratory failure. Although he's no longer with us, I believe that he will continue to teach and inspire people for years and years to come.

Here are some wise words to remember him by:

"If it's man made, it's not made for man!"

"Everything you do in life, I don't care, good or bad - don't blame God, don't blame the devil, don't blame me, blame YOU. You control everything! The thoughts you think, the words you utter, the foods you eat, the exercise you do. Everything is controlled by you."

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Happy New Year!
I figured there's no better way to start the year off than sharing some new and interesting articles. The links I posted cover a variety of topics such as nutrition, workout schedules, and how to manage your yearly resolutions. Both myself and the gang at Priority Fitness wish you a healthy new year full of fitness and good health!

Tips To Keeping Your Workout Schedule

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Run Through The Cold

During the holiday season, Americans tend to gain substantial amounts of weight. " Holiday" weight gain can be the result of many things. One factor is poor nutrition. It seems that everyone has 4 holiday parties to go to a night, despite their own family festivities, which are full of sweets, rich food, and alcohol.

Another factor for this seasonal weight gain is due to a decrease in activity. When the weather is brutally cold (or just not comfortable), people tend to stay inside more. This means that the seasonal outdoor athlete isn't engaging in any activity. The runner who trains when it's nice outside is now hibernating! When pairing an unhealthy diet with a lack in physical activity, the result is unhealthy weight gain and a decrease in metabolism.

One way to prevent weight gain and (most importantly) stay fit, is to keep the fitness consistent. Running outside actually isn't that bad once you are moving. If you are the type of person to wake up and go for a run before work, don't let the weather hold you back. Here are some great articles to help you keep the momentum going.

warming up and cooling down

Good Luck!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Government Wants You To Get Fat!

Hello All!

Often I find myself wondering about the roll the government plays in the food that we eat. This article from the NY Times helps me understand it just a little bit more. I try not to incorporate politics into the Priority Fitness blog, but when it effects our health and well being, something has to be said.

It's a shame when the government puts more energy into protecting itself and its entities than actually helping the public. In this article from the Times, you will read about how "Dairy Management" (a creation of the United States Department of Agriculture) is supporting Domino's Pizza by paying $12 million in a new marketing campaign. Unfortunately that campaign is about the 40% increase of full-fat cheese on their pizza. This is the same slice of pizza that already covers two thirds of your daily recommended allowance of saturated fat (which when overeaten is linked to heart disease). Isn't it ironic that the same government organization that claims to "fight" heart disease is also supporting some of the leading causes?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How To Weigh Calories

There is a lot more to weight loss than just counting calories. The standard concept of maintaining a daily deficit of calories ingested vs calories expended is currently being challenged. An article from the BBC ( focuses on other factors to keep in mind while trying to lose weight.

Certain components of food such as fiber and protein require the body to expend more energy during digestion. This process results in a higher net calorie expenditure (when compared to food of equal calories with less protein and fiber). A higher net calorie expenditure, in this case, means that your body burns more calories digesting food with protein and fiber when compared to food of equal calories that lack both protein and fiber. If you burn more calories digesting certain foods, you may end up with a larger calorie deficit. The greater the calorie deficit, the more weight you lose. If you eat at a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories for a week, the total loss will be 3500 calories, which is worth 1 pound of fat. Is it now possible to choose your food based on how many calories of energy it takes to digest?

Besides picking certain foods, another factor is chewing! The more you chew, the more energy you expend. Give your body a workout to digest food! Even though the calories required to chew are minimal, it still is a factor.

So, the debate of traditional calorie counting vs choosing high quality foods ends like this- “You can gain weight over eating healthy food. You can also hinder your metabolism and really hurt yourself if you only chose to eat foods based on the amount of calories they contain”. I just quoted myself....

If you eat with a “calorie conscious” attitude and pay attention to sensible portion sizes, you’re going to be A-OK.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How To Push Past The Pain

The article (linked below) in the NY Times focuses on elite athletes. It goes into depth about the physical (muscle) pain that must be endured during training and competition in order to succeed in competitive sports. The most significant point in the article is that these elite athletes are not exempt from the excruciating pain of hard physical training: they simply learn to accept this feeling. They understand that training under grueling conditions is just a step forward in the path to success. Pain is no longer an indication to rest, rather it is a feeling that actually triggers athletes to work harder.

The act of working harder when feeling pain draws the line between most people who see results and most who don’t. This “pain” also refers to emotional discomfort as well as the muscular toll of either a strict training or dieting regimen. It’s extremely difficult to be challenged yet still maintain enough discipline to overcome what’s in the way.

If you want to reach a goal or be in shape it helps to accept that it is going to be really hard! Allowing yourself to endure pain (whether it be mental or physical) will prevent that first instinct to give up when something becomes difficult. If you really think about goals, isn’t the whole point of it to challenge yourself? When someone loses 100lbs or runs their first marathon, are they going to say it was easy? I doubt it! And that’s ok. It separates the strong from the weak. It explains why the percentage of marathon runners and successful dieters in the world are the minority. But that doesn’t mean that who ever is in the “majority” is stuck there.

So, the next time you decide to embark on a new challenge, ask yourself- “Are you ready for this? Are you ready to do something that is going to be hard, yet still keep on pushing?”

Perhaps understanding what a challenge consist of is will help prepare you.

Fantastic quote from the article

“Can you train yourself to run, cycle, swim or do another sport at the edge of your body’s limits, or is that something that a few are born with, part of what makes them elites?

Sports doctors who have looked into the question say that, at the very least, most people could do a lot better if they knew what it took to do their best.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lose Weight To Actually Keep It Off.... Crazy!!

"Slow and steady wins the race" in the battle of the Tortoise and Hare. The tortoise wins because, clinically speaking, the hare burns too much muscle mass during his poorly fueled sprint. He burns himself out while the tortoise methodically takes steps forward by racing at a speed that is realistic for him. This children’s story, through the eyes of a creative (or twisted) personal trainer, can offer dieters wisdom in how they approach their own weight loss program.

An Article for "Runners" To Lose Weight Slowly

I posted a link to the article above because it stands out amongst others due to the comparison made between a "dieter's" strategy to lose weight and a "runner's" strategy to lose weight. The "dieter's" weight loss goal is to drop pounds fast and focus on short-term goals. This method is much like the hare’s: impatient and hasty. However, like the tortoise, the "runner's" idea of losing weight is to drop pounds slowly and then focus on a "postloss plan". Postloss plans are simple. The main requirement is to be aware of what you are doing to your body. Too frequently do I see people reach their goal and then unfortunately let their guard down to the point where they take steps backwards.
Very seldomly do I read a weight loss article that focuses on long-term goals and how to maintain a goal once it is reached. It is important to demystify fad/speed diets because research shows that the majority of dieters are yo-yo dieters who reach their short-term goals by engaging in some sort of drastic behavior and then gain it right back! Anyone can lose weight, but few can keep it off. Although most people on a weight loss plan hope to see huge and rapid changes on the scale, losing weight slower and healthier will absolutely help keep weight off. The more realistic someone's lifestyle is while they lose weight, the easier it is to maintain weight loss.

The moral of the story is: if you are on a weight loss plan, you should consider if your priority is to lose a lot of weight very quickly, or to be patient like the tortoise and win the race in the end.