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Author Archives: Trainer Greg

Travel and Fitness

This blog comes from Mike Manning. He is a fellow fitness enthusiast, posi-core  yogi who writes some really thought provoking, knowledge-dense articles on his blog: This is a perfect blog for everyone trying to stay fit on the road. Learn Mike’s favorite fitness tips that will help you stay healthy during your travels!


Tips for Travel- Squeezing in Time for Fitness

Travel and fitness don’t always play well together. The stress and changing routines of travel don’t always provide great opportunities for sticking to a regular exercise regime. If you’re traveling with companions, the difficulties can be compounded by the need to accommodate the wishes of others in the group. Before leaving on any trip, take a little time to make some choices on how best to get exercise during your travels.

  • If you belong to a gym that has locations across the nation or the world, check to see if there is one where you will be traveling. You might be able to get accommodations nearby and make time to hit the gym for a quick workout each day during your stay.
  • Check out local running trails. Especially if you enjoy running while at home, a morning run each day of your stay can help you focus and prepare for whatever activities or meetings await you.
  • Take moments on your flight, upon arrival, during breaks between meetings and whenever else you have spare time to stretch or do a few basic yoga poses. This will help you stay grounded and improve circulation.
  • Remember that something is better than nothing. Workout for a few minutes if that is all you have. This study shows that a quick workout is better than none.
  • Travel with a workout band or other portable equipment that will help you workout in limited space wherever you go.
  • Use fitness facilities and in-room amenities at your hotel. This may include a weight room, in-room yoga or aerobic videos, a pool where you can burn some calories or walking trails on the premises. If possible, book accommodations at the hotel that best suits your fitness preferences.
  • Take the stairs instead of relying on elevators in your hotel or at convention centers.
  • Get out and walk rather than driving or taking public transportation.

The best advice I can give is to do a little research beforehand. On my most recent trip, I made sure to research the best hotels where I was going. I found a travel review site and read all about the best hotels in San Francisco. I made sure to choose one that was in a location where I could easily go outside and run. I also made sure that the hotel I chose had a gym that I could use at any time.

Staying fit takes work. Just because your routine is different doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to stay active. A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to traveling and exercise.




Why Dudes Should Do Pilates

I’ve been a personal trainer in New York City for four years now, and whenever I tell new male clients that we’ll be incorporating Pilates in our training programs, they all say the same thing: “Isn’t Pilates for women?”
I tactfully explain to my client that Pilates is definitely not just for women. In fact Joseph Pilates, the guy who invented Pilates was…
A) a dude
B) a beer drinking, cigar smoking boxer who lived to be 84
C) a handyman who turned hospital beds into exercise equipment
You’d think that a man who was half pugilist and half MacGyver would be deemed quite “manly” in the eyes of most males, but apparently not.
Anyway, I think it’s important for guys to do Pilates. And if you’re a woman who wants your male companion to join you for your next Pilates class, this blog may be for you.
Here are my top 4 reasons why dudes should do Pilates…
1. Six Pack Abs. 
Joseph Pilates had a six pack, both in his fridge and under his shirt. You, too can achieve the latter of the two by incorporating Pilates in your workouts. If you’re a guy, you’re more prone to developing body fat around the abdominals than women.
Pilates incorporates slow and controlled moving core exercises that sometimes requires you to hold a pose for an extended period of time. This makes for a very intense and different type of (isometric) contraction for the abdominals that a lot of people aren’t used to. New contractions/exercises shock the muscle group you are exercising and make for great new results.
2. Flexibility. 
Strengthen and lengthen your muscles! Women are typically 7% more flexible than men in their ligaments and tendons, which means guys need to catch up! During the first few weeks of my apprenticeship before I began teaching Pilates myself, I pretty much became the model for what to do if you were training the Tin Man, or someone who seriously lacked flexibility. Towards the end of the comprehensive program, I was able to perform the exercises and stretches that I originally could not even come close to doing!
3. Rehabilitation. 
I had bursitis in my hips when I first started doing Pilates, and now that bursitis is simply a memory. Exercises like side leg kick series did amazing work rehabilitating my hips. I later learned that many doctors recommend Pilates for patients who undergo back surgery.
One of my instructors during the 6 month comprehensive program once suffered a broken back and was now able to do some serious core intensive exercises. Another student in my program had a herniated disc and was still schooling me on some of the techniques we were learning. It became abundantly clear to me that Pilates had some of the greatest rehabilitation work I’ve ever seen.
4. Longevity. 
You can’t run everyday and not blow out your knees. Strength and endurance programs requires you to rest in between workouts. You can’t grapple or kickbox everyday without injuring yourself somehow. Pilates is one of the few forms of exercises you can do every day, and instead of breaking down your body, you continue to progress in strength and flexibility. Bikram Yoga falls into the same category.

Increase Your Chances Of Surviving Cancer By Becoming More Physically Fit

This next post comes from a fellow blogger David Haas. David joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance back in 2011, and has since been very creative in his ideas on fitness for those dealing with cancer. This is what he had so say about combating cancer with exercise.

Increase Your Chances Of surviving Cancer By Becoming More Physically

There are things you can do to increase your chances of surviving cancer.
Becoming more physically fit with proper diet and exercise can make you
healthier in many ways, including being better able to survive many kinds
of cancer. Some of the types of cancer that have better survival rates with
exercise and improved physical fitness include breast cancer, colorectal cancer,
lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma. In addition to improving
your cancer survival chances, a good exercise program will help you be fitter,
stronger, thinner and less likely to get cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Studies have shown that a physical fitness program and exercise can help
cancer patients at all stages of the disease and afterwards. Exercising from when
you are diagnosed with cancer through mesothelioma treatment and remission
can help you fight depression, anxiety and fatigue. In fact, 2 epidemiologists,
David Batty and Inger Thune studied available scientific data and found that
exercise offered cancer treatment benefits including improved energy levels,
immune functions, bowel health, hormone levels antioxidant defense, DNA repair
and cardiovascular and pulmonary function. Their findings were published in an
editorial for the British Medical Journal.

The National Center For Chronic Disease Prevention and the Centers For
Disease Control And Prevention Publications: 1996, Physical Activity And Health,
A Report Of The Surgeon General, and 2008, Preventing Obesity And Chronic
Diseases Through Good Nutritional And Physical Activity, recommend that
people exercise at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes a day and 5 days a
week for better health and disease prevention. The American Cancer Society
now advises Americans adopt an active lifestyle to prevent cancer and to help
fight existing cancer.

Physically active people should remain active, and sedentary people should get
their doctors advice on starting a level of exercise that they can handle and build
on. Starting small and building up to a level of exercise that will be beneficial
should be the goal. Exercises that help cancer patients fight depression, fatigue
and anxiety, and get more fit are: strength training, aerobic exercises, biking,
walking, hiking and swimming. Patients should choose one or more exercises
that they can enjoy and stick with. Patients who adopt an exercise regimen
can increase their rate of cancer survivorship and live healthier lives. They can
become stronger, fitter and thinner while increasing their chances of living longer.

Visit for more info.


The Earth is 70% water. Your body is made up of about 60-70% water. Coincidence?

I’ve had a few clients in the past who simply don’t drink enough water.

Common excuses include: I don’t like the taste of it, I don’t want to have to pee later, I never remember to drink it, I’d rather drink (insert something not as healthy as water here).

Here is my problem with not drinking enough water… Your body will not operate at it’s fullest potential without the element of life!

The human body is one of the most complex machines I can think of. So many functions, so many abilities, all made possible by water!

Blood is mostly water. The duty of blood transporting oxygen to all the cells in your body is done much more efficiently with adequate amounts of water in your blood stream. Water provides a moist environment for your ears, nose, and throat tissues. Water is part of your immune system, which helps you fight off illness. You need water for your digestive system as well. You need it to excrete toxins. You can’t even live for more than a few days without water! One of my favorite bands is called H2O!

How much water should you be consuming daily? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

Mind you, this isn’t for people hiking in the amazon, or anyone living in a harsh habitat with extreme temperatures, or doing strenuous activity such as spinning or grappling for five 5 minute rounds in the heart of Brazil with no air conditioning in the dojo wearing a 10 pound gi that doesn’t breathe. For those extreme conditions you MUST UP YOUR WATER INTAKE!

During strenuous active exercise your body needs to stay hydrated to remain mentally focused AND physically strong. No water during exercise leads to dehydration.

Dehydration is when the amount of water leaving your body is greater than the amount of water being taken in. Vigorous exercise, diarrhea, vomiting, massive amounts of alcohol can all lead to symptoms of dehydration which include the spins, dry mouth, muscle cramps, dry skin, constipation, and nothing worth having!

Now for those of you who were wondering WHEN to consume your water, please keep in mind that timing is everything.

If you have a workout session scheduled make sure you have been drinking water throughout the day in small amounts here and there. You want to make sure you have some water in your system before exercise. BUT… Let’s just say your boss was talking your ear off for the last 3 hours and you didn’t have time to properly hydrate throughout your day before our 12pm appointment… Don’t freak out at 11:47am and start chugging water because then your stomach will be too full for me (with a good conscious) to have you do box jumps.

Inspect your urine. I’m serious. If your pee is very light yellow/clear, your body might be in need of getting rid of excess water. Put the Brita down and chill for a bit. If  your urine is a very dark yellow, it’s holding on to water as a defense mechanism, so it’s probably time to drop a dollar and pick up a bottle of Poland Spring.

I’m not a fan of drinking JUICE with your meals because the sugar in those beverages gives you a temporary sugar high, which will just lead to a crash later. Too much coffee or caffeinated beverages are addicting and will give you the jitters. Soda contains too many calories and is one of the reasons why this country is so overweight… Just stick with the water! It’s free!

Give yourself a reason to step away from the desk and refill your water bottle now. Mandatory water break for everyone!

The Good Fat, The Bad Fat, and The Ugly Fat. Part 2


Saturated Fats are typically found in animal fats. Burgers, bacon, dairy products… They all contain the bad fats… SATURATED FATS!

If your goal is to lose weight, your best bet is to stay away from animal fats/Saturated fats. That stuff clings to your body! Think about it, it takes 4 calories to burn up a gram of a carbohydrate, but 9 calories to burn up a gram of fat. Hey, want to continue eating yogurt, hot dogs, and grilled cheese sandwiches so you have to stay on a treadmill 2.25 times longer to lose weight than if you ate fruits, vegetables, and grains? OF COURSE NOT!

Besides carrying around extra weight on your body, and maybe not looking as good as you’d like to look on the outside, it’s really the damage on the inside of your body that turns me off when consuming saturated fats.

Raising the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) increases your chances of having a heart attack, and that’s exactly what this stuff does. A meta-analysis published in 2003 found a direct relationship between saturated fat and breast cancer. In 2007, a systematic literature review published by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research found consistent evidence for a direct relationship between animal fat and colorectal cancer. Throughout the years there has been many studies and experiments done that link animal fats to cancer, and many experiments done to label saturated fats as unhealthy, but Trans Fats are the real bad news…


Trans Fats are typically found in packaged goods and fast food restaurants. Twinkies, doughnuts, KFC, McDonald’s… They all have/use the ugly fats… TRANS FATS!

Back in the day (late 19th century) scientists discovered that they could create a fat that would prolong the spoiling of packaged goods by simply adding a hydrogen atom to an unsaturated fat. The partially hydrogenated fat creations wouldn’t spoil as easily as nonhydrogenated fats, plus they didn’t break down during temperature changes, which made transporting them easier, and they were less expensive than animal fat. Well done boys, yet another amazing man-made invention!

Obviously food makers all over the world were all about trans fats! McDonalds, along with other fast food companies starting using trans fatty oils to fry their foods with, packaged junk foods like twinkies and cookies were all being made with trans fats… Until 1981 when a group of Welsh researchers linked Trans Fats to heart disease.

It’s like this… Trans fats aren’t naturally occurring fats. Think of them as foreign substances that you are putting in your body. The stiffer and harder fats are, the more they clog up your arteries. Over time the artery cloggers will in fact make it quite difficult for your heart to operate which could lead you to a trip to the operating room.

These artificial/man-made trans fats not only raise the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL), but they depelete the “good” cholesterol (HDL)!

12 years after the Welsh researcher’s discovery, a Harvard experiment strongly supported the hypothesis that intake of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats) contributed to the risk of having a heart attack. Since then they have been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, Obesity, Cancer, and Liver Dysfunction.

Skip out on the Twinkies and eat some fruit if you want something sweet. Drive past the McDonald’s on your way home from work and pick up a salad at your local health food store. STAY HEALTHY!

The Good Fat, The Bad Fat, and The Ugly Fat


Besides not only being an essential (not synthesized by the body and must be consumed through diet only) nutrient that everybody needs, fat supplies essential fatty acids for growth, healthy skin, vitamin-absorption, protects our organs, keeps us warm, and regulates our bodily functions. A LITTLE FAT IS NOT A BAD THING!

In fact, 30%-35% of your daily caloric intake should consist of fat!

Now, don’t get it twisted, NOT ALL FATS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! And, keep in mind you WILL be exercising as you consume your fats daily in order to efficiently metabolize and put to use your food. Don’t just think you can eat a pound of unsalted nuts and watch Biggest Loser on TV all day and think that’s healthy. MOVE!

So, which fats should you consume? Well, I like to look at it like this… There are good fats (Unsaturated), bad fats (Saturated), and then absolute garbage/junkyard crap fats (Trans fats).

Unsaturated fats are the good guys that are here to help you, so let’s start with them. They will lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are under the same GOOD umbrella.

Polyunsaturated fats include my favorite fat of all time… OMEGA 3’s!

Omega 3’s not only do all the good things typical polyunsaturated fats do, but these guys actually have helped me personally with achy elbows and knees (thanks to years of hyper-extension) by lubricating my joints! If you have achy joints, I would recommend Omega 3’s to you too.

You can get your Omega 3’s in foods like walnuts, flax seeds, and my personal favorite Chia seeds.

Before you go into your Def. Comedy Jam routine with some cheesy “Chia Pet” joke, please know that Chia seeds are odorless, tasteless, and in the one spoon full of the Chia seeds I put in my daily protein shake I consume more Omega 3’s than if I were to eat an entire Salmon, twice the amount of Potassium than a banana, and three times the antioxidants than a serving of blueberries contains.

Olive oil, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter are all foods rich in Polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats are equally as important as polyunsaturated fats. Avocados, hazelnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds are all rich in monounsaturated fats. These fats also help reduce the risk of heart disease, but they also promote healthy brain function and reduce the risks of a stroke. I just recently turned 28, so to prevent cognitive decrease, I will definitely be snacking on some guacamole later.

Stick with the good guys of fat. You are the company you keep. Use your head (especially if you are eating more monounsaturated fats than usual).

Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is when people use food as a way to deal with feelings instead of to satisfy hunger. So, let me ask you… Are you an emotional eater? Let’s talk about feelings, friends!

If your eating habits have a direct relationship with your emotions, you need to get a hold of yourself! Major life events like death, heartbreak, and overall frustration can make a person do something crazy like eat emotionally just as a quick escape for the harsh realities of life.

Here’s a tip… Pause for a moment.

You are trying to get/stay healthy. You have been putting the time in at the gym. You have me stalking your calories on, and you WILL have to answer to me if I see Fettuccine Alfredo in your food logs… We are working towards a goal, don’t let your emotions get in the way.

Ask yourself this: Do you feel a loss of control when you are around food?

A lot of times people do things (in this case, eat) strictly out of habit. I remember when I was a kid I used to come home from school and head immediately to the kitchen to annihilate the snack drawer. I was a chubster. Looking back on it, I can’t help but realize I was emotionally eating.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always this cool and good looking. I got made fun of a lot by kids, security guards, teachers, and pretty much didn’t have any fun in high school, so to make up for it I stuffed my face with sweets the second I got home from school.

Nowadays when I feel like I am about flip my lid and go to Terri’s to buy some muffins (my vice), I immediately try to either do something productive like work out, or pause for a second and find out if I’m really hungry or just being emotional. If I am in fact hungry, I drink some water, think about how many calories I should eat at the moment, and carefully decide on a meal that will nourish me efficiently and satisfy me for the time being before I make a mistake with my diet for the day.

If you eat emotionally through some serious hard times like the loss of a friend, or the overwhelming stress of life, you are more liable to eat emotionally for the not so serious bad times in life.

Being stressed out at work is very common for my NYC clients. Some of them have turned to carbohydrate rich foods like pizza after another 15 hour work day. Why? Because studies have shown that huge amounts of carbs releases a chemical in your brain called Serotonin. Serotonin has been clinically shown to ease tension. This may feel good for the hour or two you are on your carb high, but what happens when the instant gratification of eating an unhealthy and fattening snack wears off and you realize you are now probably going to go over your CALORIC BUDGET for the day and you just NEGATED YOUR WORKOUT?

Boredom is an emotion. You are bored to tears at work or school so you hit up the candy machine and down a snickers bar. 271 calories of crap has just been released into your system, which include about 29 grams of PROCESSED SUGAR into your blood stream and suddenly life isn’t as boring. This is because high concentrations of processed sugar releases the brain chemical dopamine, which is known as “the feel good chemical.” But, once that sugar high crashes you will be feeling down and simply craving more of the same garbage that has put you in your current depressed state.

People at emotionally when they are feeling happy too, but it just leads to the same conclusion!

You just aced an exam or got a huge raise, so to celebrate you go out drinking with your friends. You drop about $50, and consume about 1000 calories worth of alcohol that will make you gain weight/lose strength gains.

Before you act on your emotions ask yourself these questions…

Do I REALLY need to eat that donut, or am I not even really hungry?

Is this hunger, or a craving for carbs I feel right now?

What are the long term effects going to be if I eat this bag of M&M’s?

Count to 10. Think before you do.