hard stuff that matters

zen habits:

The Hard Stuff Often Matters Most

The Hard Stuff Often Matters Most Posted: 10 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT By Leo Babauta (guest writer)

I’ve tried a lot of types of exercise, but by far the most effective exercise in terms of results for time spent is heavy barbell lifts.

For 10-15 minutes of lifting a barbell laden with weights, I get a better physique, improved health, more strength and muscle, less bodyfat.

I’ve spent hours running, doing bodyweight exercises, doing Crossfit, playing sports, biking, swimming, and generally doing the craziest kinds of exercises possible. They’re all very good, but for the time that I’ve invested in them, weights are the ones that matter most.

I’ve found the barbell method — lifting the heavy stuff but for short periods — works for lots of things in life. From productivity to relationships to finances to losing bodyfat to business growth.

The hard stuff really matters.

I’ll get to the productivity/finances/relationships stuff in a second, but first let me clarify: I’m talking about very simple, heavy barbell lifts for few reps and sets (3 sets of 4-7 reps). And do them with good form, or you might get injured. Start out light, get the form right, progressively add weight each week. The most important lifts are things like deadlifts and squats (best two), bench press, shoulder press, rows. Add some chinups and you’re done. With rest days in between. And yes, women should do these lifts too. Yes, runners should do them too. Yes, vegans can lift heavy too.

These lifts are hard, and so people avoid them. But they work better than anything else, for the time invested.

I’ve learned that in lots of other areas, the hard stuff that people avoid is what matters most. It’s what’s most effective.

I’ll give you some examples:

Productivity: If you have a long list of tasks to do, you could waste time checking a bunch of sites, processing your emails, getting lots of easier tasks done, running around from one meeting to another … and most people do that. But on that list, there are probably about 3 really hard things that you’re avoiding. Those are possibly the most important things on the list, and if you put everything else off for a bit to focus on one of those, and then the next one, you’re going to see a world of difference. You’ll be doing fewer things but you’ll be much more effective. The hard tasks that you avoid are usually the ones that matter.

Fat loss: People do a lot of crap to lose weight. Tons of diets, the weirdest workouts, shakes and salads and and elliptical machines and kickboxing dance classes and calorie counting. And yes, if you can stick to some of these, they will probably work. But really, only a couple things matter, and by far the most important one is to eat a diet that’s lower in calories. And the best way to stick to that is to eat a bunch of mostly whole foods (calculate calories to make sure you’re in a deficit) like lean protein (I like tempeh, seitan, tofu), non-starchy veggies, a small amount of whole grains. Pile up the protein & veggies for three meals a day, don’t add other snacks and calorie-rich drinks (lattes) and you’ll probably see weight loss. I’d add some heavy strength training so you don’t lose muscle. So it’s pretty simple, but people don’t do it, because sticking to a healthy, calorie-deficit diet is hard. It means skipping the snacks and binge eating and work party food and all the other sweet and fried treats you’re used to indulging in. It means finding other ways to comfort yourself other than food and drinks. But it works.

Relationships: Building relationships isn’t always easy, because while it’s fun to hang out with people when things are going well, it’s much harder when there’s conflict. So while spending time with someone is important when it comes to relationships, having difficult conversations is often the most important thing you can do in that time. And that’s hard, because it’s uncomfortable, so people avoid it. This only makes things worse. Do the hard work, and have the difficult conversation. But try not to do it so that you’re right or so that you “win” … it should be finding a solution you’re both happy with. I recommend reading Difficult Conversations.

Business growth: There are lots of things you can do to grow a business (or your career), but usually there’s one or two things you can do that are hard but effective. For me, that’s writing useful articles that help change people’s lives. For my 14-year-old daughter’s cupcake business, that’s spending time perfecting her recipes until they’re to-die-for. Those things take hard work, and so we avoid them. We do all the smaller things and think we’re helping our businesses. But actually, we’d be better spending our time on the hard, effective, important things.

Finances: How do you improve your finances? Spend less, earn more, invest. Pay your bills on time to avoid paying fees and interest, but that can be automated. Those are the most important things, and they’re not always easy. So people put them off. But if you spend an hour finding ways to reduce your spending (stop shopping or spending on entertainment), you’d make a big difference. If you spent 20 minutes setting up automatic savings (or investment in an index fund), you’d make a big difference. If you spent 30 minutes paying your bills and automating them for the future, you’d save a lot of headaches.

Mindfulness: Lots of people want to live a more mindful life, and I encourage it, because developing mindfulness is one of the best things I do. But they don’t want to meditate. And yet, a few minutes a day (working up to 10 or 20 minutes) meditating makes such a huge difference.

Now imagine you took your day, which has limited time, and stopped doing all the little things.

Imagine you focused on the hard, effective things. You could spend 10 minutes meditating, an hour doing the hard important tasks that improved your career or business. Another 20 minutes having a difficult conversation, another 20 improving your finances. Another 30 doing two heavy barbell lifts. Another 30 minutes preparing whole foods for your day’s meals.

That’s less than 3 hours of your day, but you’d improve productivity, your business, your finances, your relationship, mindfulness, your health and appearance.

You’d have plenty of time for the other stuff, but focus on this stuff first, and see huge rewards.

A Few Tips for Doing Hard Stuff:

People avoid the hard things, even if it’s the most important, because it’s hard.

So what are we to do?

Here are some things that work for me:

1)Take time to figure out what hard stuff you need to do. This takes a few minutes of sitting there and thinking, rather than procrastinating and checking stuff online to avoid this thinking. But it’s necessary. After awhile, you won’t need to think about it because you’ll know.

2)Take a moment to commit yourself to doing one hard thing. It could be a bout of writing, a hard short workout, paying some bills. One thing, not all of them. Commit yourself for the next 10, 20 or 30 minutes.

3)Clear away everything. Bookmark all your tabs for later, make notes on a task list for things you need to do later, and then close all tabs, all windows, all notifications. Just you and this one difficult tasks.

4)Don’t let yourself run. Your mind will want to run from the hard thing, because you have an ideal in your head that life will be comfortable and easy and pleasant. This ideal obviously isn’t reality, because putting off the hard things by focusing on the easy and pleasant only makes your life harder and more uncomfortable over time. So focus on the hard thing, see your mind wanting to run, then don’t run.

5)Enjoy it. Lifting a heavy barbell is super hard. I love it. It feels like I’m super strong, like I’m accomplishing something great, like I can conquer the world. You can get the same kinds of feelings from any hard task — instead of thinking about how it sucks, think about how amazing it is that you can move something so heavy. And be grateful when you can.



Principals to train by, expanded by Scott Edwards

principals to live by, Scott Edards, ISSA

Freestyle |Feb|2014|   61

Principles to Help You Perform Exercise… followed by extended comments, in simple terms, by Scott Edwards 

From the “Complete Training Guide” –expanded explanations of training principals. The corresponding numbers from each point are described below for easy reference:

  1. Isolation Principle (All muscles act as stabilizers, synergists, antagonist or agonists. By making one particular muscle the prime mover in any given exercise you have isolated it as much as possible, and therefore the stress applied to it.)
  2. Quality Training Principle (Gradually reduce the rest between sets while maintaining or increasing the number of repetitions performed.)
  3. Cheating Training Principle (Swing the weight past the sticking point at the end of a set in order to add stress.)
  4. Continuous Tension Principle (Maintain slow, continuous tension on muscles to maximize red fiber involvement.)
  5. Forced Repetitions Training Principle (Partner assisted repetitions at the end of a set.)
  6. Flushing Training Principle (Do 3 to 4 exercises for a body part before moving to another.)
  7. Burns Training Principle (2 to 3-inch, quick movements at the end of a set.)
  8. Partial Repetitions Training Principle (Because of leverage changes throughout any given exercise, it is sometimes helpful to do partial movements with varying weight in order to derive maximum overload stress for that bodypart.)
  9. Retro-Gravity Principle (Negatives, or eccentrics as they are called, make it possible to get more muscle cells to respond, because you can lower about 30 to 40 percent more weight than you can successfully lift concentrically.)
  10. Peak Contraction Principle (Holding the weight through maximum contraction at the completion of a movement.)
  11. Superspeed Principle (Compensatory acceleration of movements used to stimulate hard-to-reach fast-twitch fibers.)
  12. Iso-Tension Principle (This is a method of practicing posing, tensing each muscle maximally for 6 to10 seconds up to a total of 30 to 44 flexes in a variety of posing positions.)
  13. Instinctive Training Principle (Bodybuilders instinctively attain the ability to construct diets, routines, cycles, intensity levels, repetitions and sets that work best for them.)



1) Isolation principal. One good example of this in biceps curl. There could be 5 decent ways to train the two heads of each biceps and the reason for the moves are to isolate different regions of the muscle fibers in order to stimulate them. The grip ( in layman terms, I will use overhand, underhand, and neutral grip examples) employed properly will train by essence (isolate) the different places in the biceps. These are commonly known as “hammer curls” “preacher curls” standing barbell curls” sissy bar curls” and such are direct pressure upon the bicep muscle.

The antagonists in this arrangement, ( triceps) are engaged, however, in order to maximize the isolation effect, triceps exercises are not employed to keep the blood or “pump” in the bicep muscle, therefore allowing more resistance on the one muscle and overloading it for stimulation.


2) “quality training principal would be where you outline your number of sets and increase the difficulty by taking a shorter rest period in between sets. What happens when you rest is your supply of glycogen to the muscle is replenished. In a shorter rest, there is less time to recharge. This is one way to vary your resistance. Other ways to increase resistance include added  weight resistance; eccentric repetitions, pre exhaustion by performing exercise on the larger encompassing muscle group before the isolation moves ( Weider principal) – one reason bicep exercises are better performed after general back training) and environmental difficulties such as temperature, humidity and oxygen during workouts.


3) cheating training principal – Don’t let the term “cheat” be misleading … form over everything! always! …again, I will say, form over everything. However, after some period of steady development, plateaus are encountered. The cheat principal can be achieved in one or two ways if done mindfully to gain some advantage in your training development. Notice how in this description says at the end of your set” This is important that it is not a substitute for your regular reps. It is also important that you have mindfulness not to go swinging carelessly and incur an injury because of the exhaustion of the target muscles and stress tendons and ligaments, the delicate connective tissues, or from sloppy form. These last reps are to thoroughly train the last remaining muscle fibers in an extended range. A reduction of weight can be effectively used if picked up immediately, if needed. This is written in the spirit to furiously go after the weight without holding back but not at the expense of good form or thorough sets and ROMs.

Also, a proper spotter can assist in “failure reps”  if performed properly. This gives you a tremendous boost in stimulation to the muscles being trained. Failure reps simply means the spotter will assist on the contraction of the biceps curl because the full extent of the set has been completed and the muscle is too weak to complete one more rep, so a light, guided push is given to assist (note that the athlete still applies full pressure even though failing, stabilizing and pushing thru the repetition)  -and then the negative part of the repetition ( letting it down, -is done slowly and carefully. This is a bit beyond the cheating principal spoken of in #3, and is in itself a negative rep, also performed at the end of a set. Also, see “holds”


   4) Continuous tension principal… is just that, hanging on to that last rep is a good example. but for whatever reason, every rep should be performed in this way, and can be exaggerated, say, when you pick up a weight that is lighter than your training weight. “holds” is the same thing in a static form.  Holding at the end of the set is an eccentric rep in that you are engaging tension and calling on the stabilizers to engage to assist the failing muscle. the point is to apply massive amounts of pressure on the muscle fibers to stimulate them to cause trauma.


5) Forced repetitions principal… I think I covered this above. Forced reps, or reaping beyond failure, is best done with a spotter who understands exactly the right amount of assistance needed to complete the rep… which starts with the minimal assistance. It takes a little practice, but is super effective. Often I find this moment in training quite psychological. When the partner does not realize their own strength and does not realize they are lifting ok, because your spot makes it seem like more help than it is to them. Forget about the appearances of weakness, men, this is where you are training past failure and growing into new territory.


6) Flushing training principal… This is evident in daily body part training. Largest to smallest muscle groups, pre exhaustion, and as in the principals listed in the paragraphs above. In a four day or three day split, when modifying, it becomes more evident and I advise to train largest to smallest and understand where the layover regions may be, such as how shoulders can be generally added after chest or after a back routine, or say after a leg routine. However, The entire area should be trained say, before moving on. you wouldn’t train quadriceps movements and then train deltas in the shoulder area and then return to hamstrings in the leg area. Rather you would train all of legs together, then a series of shoulder movements- like two smaller workouts, back to back. Blood gathers in the engorged muscles groups and can be effective at increasing your lifts and the focus should stay there.


7) Burns Training principal. Im not going to lie. I do not know much about this principal in namesake. I have used the “partial rep method”, say, for example, with biceps again as an example, on a strait bar or sissy bar [actually this [½-¼-¾ rep principal can be used in a variety of adduction motions in this case and it is exampled as, 5 half up reps, 5 half to top reps, then 5 fulln repetitions, and that’s as close as it gets to the short range movements. In theory, it’s another way to fully exhaust muscle fibers and get an incredible pump. In the “15” sets (51/4 repsx3); or “9” (3×3, respectively) are heavier weight and assisted. Another variation is where people go lighter and do “21’s”- (7repsx3 ¼ partials) it gives a heady pump to the muscle and feeds it plenty of blood … leading to…


8)Partial Repetitions Training Principle (Because of leverage changes throughout any given exercise, it is sometimes helpful to do partial movements with varying weight in order to derive maximum overload stress for that bodypart.) I think I covered this one as above. I get ahead of myself!


9) Retro-Gravity Principle (Negatives,  one version of an eccentric repetition, as they are called, make it possible to get more muscle cells to respond, because you can lower about 30 to 40 percent more weight than you can successfully lift concentrically.) see above^ The negative contraction is one of my points of interest in my training techniques. Often people will surrender and relieve tension on the last rep on the way down. This is a loss of ½ of a rep. Always hold your negative rep all the way to completion and get the most out of your set!


10) Peak Contraction Principle (Holding the weight through maximum contraction at the completion of a movement.) – This also works at 50% of the range, and 25% of the range also, with a slow, controlled descent as described in the retro gravity principal above.


11) Superspeed Principle (Compensatory acceleration of movements used to stimulate hard-to-reach fast-twitch fibers.) Not to be a substitute for concentration reps. This should be performed mindfully and in good form, usually lighter, and with careful consideration to joint motion also. anytime added weight resistance is added, care needs to be taken with form especially where an instance of speed is applied. by default, a lighter resistance should be used for speed/power reps to assist in good form. the lighter weight will allow a deeper range of motion to assert trauma to these hard to reach muscle fibers.


12) Iso-Tension Principle (This is a method of practicing posing, tensing each muscle maximally for 6 to10 seconds up to a total of 30 to 44 flexes in a variety of posing positions.) ISOMETRIC contractions… this is effective after a few sets to examine the pump and development of a particular region.


Weider Training Principal (not listed)  Here is one principal that I have been applying in various forms over the years that is quite important and involves all of the other principals, the Weider principal. This is simply pre exhaustion, and can be applied to enhance resistance in various ways. Pre exhaustion works in making the difficulty of the following move increase by working the main muscle groups extensively so that the supporting groups (stabilizers and agonists) are called upon and over all more muscle is recruited and stimulated. Just like adding resistance, shortening breaks, eccentric reps, changing order and stimulating environment ( heat & humidity or elevation) Weider principal is a form of increasing difficulty with pre exhaustion. For an example of this, several sets of weighted pull ups can be performed as a warm up to a back routine where isolated dumbbell rows will follow. the rows will be harder to perform and therefore more benefit can be attained on this day in this way. As with any mesocycle, this ought to be alternated so adaptation does not occur and so that other times you may lead with the dumbbell row in order to go heavier and proceed normally. I wanted to touch upon this concept briefly because I think it belongs in the group of principals here.

13) Instinctive Training Principle (Bodybuilders instinctively attain the ability to construct diets, routines, cycles, intensity levels, repetitions and sets that work best for them.) THIS MEANS PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. It’s easy to develop a bad habit instinctually. The human body, thru evolution tries to stay efficient and not move into trauma or pain or exertion. It finds the easiest way, instinctively to avoid effort to move mass. In this way we must be on guard about instinct. It is important that in the process we become highly aware of our bodies and what we are doing to them. So, in general I think this principal is reserved for finely tuned, well trained individuals, and that as an individual to never stops growing, learning and adapting! Its good to get instruction and direction on your journey and yet stay disciplined and consistiant in your program. Always learn and grow, and be the best version of yourself that you can be!




how to motivate yourself into exercise you will stick to

This Repost  is from something I found on the lifehacker blog, about something we may struggle with from time to time, and thats motivation & focus. The following post is copied faithfully and reposted with gratitude. The original links are retained and all rights reserved for the original authors of this material.




If getting active and staying healthy were easy, everyone would do it…but we don’t. We come home after a long day of sitting in a chair to de-stress by sitting in another chair, unable to summon the energy to take a walk or hit the gym. Sure, everyone says to “make time for what’s important to you,” but oversimplification doesn’t make the struggle easier. Let’s break down the mental walls keeping you from taking care of yourself.

We’ve shown you lots of great ways to get and stay active. Whether it’s the Lifehacker workout or our daily 20 minute workout generator, you have plenty of options if you’re not sure how to get active and get in shape. Combined with the personal trainer in your pocket (in the form of your Android oryour iPhone), you have all the tools you need to get healthy. So why haven’t you?

Whether it’s time management, stress, a busy job, bustling family life, or something else, in this post we’re going to help you break down the barriers that may keep you from getting up and active. We sat down with some experts—people who have really motivated others—for their tips on how to do what you already know you should. When we’re through, you’ll be in the mental position to take advantage of the great fitness resources we’ve put together.

No Excuses: Tear Down Those Mental Walls

First of all, if you’re struggling with a sedentary lifestyle, you’re not alone. Millions of us are just like you, and we all know weshould get moving, but we stumble and fall back into old habits or never get the traction you need. This is completely normal, don’t think anything otherwise. Very few people spring out of bed one day and say “I’m going to change my behavior for the better for the rest of my life,” do it, and never look back. In the real world things are different. Here are some things to remember:

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Fitness expert (and Lifehacker contributor) Roger Lawson notes that we’re often our own biggest hurdle. “They’re simply too hard & expect too much from themselves; they think it has to be much harder than it has to be and when they don’t live up to the expectations they’ve set for themselves, it all begins to fall apart,” he explains. This is the cycle many of you know: you start something with good intentions, stumble, get frustrated, and give up. Be nice to yourself—stumbles and failures are going to happen, no one’s perfect. Photo by Richard Beatson.
  • Don’t get caught up in the “all or nothing” mindset. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. Doing something is better than doing nothing. “Don’t let optimal be the enemy of good enough,” Roger says. “Sure, you could be doing more or could be doing better, but if in the long run that gets in the way of you doing anything at all then it’s not use to you. Do what you can do and do consistently then worry about optimizing later as you gain traction.” Remember, getting started is everything.
  • Understand how habits work. We’ve talked about the habit loop and how to break bad habits before, but it’s critical here. Richard Talens, co-founder of Fitocracy, your pick for best fitness tracking site, explains it like this: “Most people fail in fitness because they never enter a self-sustaining positive feedback loop. In fact, most people don’t even start. In order to be successful at fitness, it needs to be in the same category of the brain as sleeping, eating, and sex.” He explained that if exercise worked the way it does in the movies—where a montage plays and after every workout you look better and see results instantly, more people would stick to it. The key is to find a routine replacement that works for you, and that gets results for the energy you put into building it into your habits.

  • You’re not lazy, you’re just starting from zero. One discouraging thing you’ve probably thought (or heard) before is that you’re just lazy and will give up eventually, so why bother. Richard dismissed this idea: “To say that people don’t exercise because they are lazy is actually backwards. Often times, people are actually lazy because they’re out of shape and don’t exercise!” He points out that it’s easy for someone in-shape to tell someone who’s having a tough time that they’re just lazy, but the truth is running a mile for a couch potato is far more difficult and requires more physical and mental will than it does for someone who does five every day. Recognize that, especially when you start down the slippery slope of comparing yourself—and your habits—to others.
  • Find your “Secret Sauce”. A lot of people will tell you to “just put the fork down,” or “just get up and do it,” which is easy when that person a: isn’t you, and b: is sitting behind a keyboard. Don’t listen to them: minimizing and oversimplifying the challenge doesn’t help, and while hearing what worked for others can help you figure out things to try, it’s almost never going to be exactly what works for you. Look for your own combination of tools, tips, techniques, and advice that will support you and your health and fitness goals. Accept advice, sure, but remember you’re in this for you—no one else, and you’re the only one who’ll know what really works.Photo by Riley Kaminer.

Remember, health and wellness are extremely personal sciences. You’ll be assaulted on all sides by articles, scams, self-help books, poorly-reported scientific studies, internet commenters, and more who all claim they know what will work for you—and it usually boils down to what worked for them (which is great!) or what they’re willing to sell you (which is not so great.) Having an abundance of options isn’t a bad thing, but remember who you’re in this for.

Stay Motivated and Engaged to Stick With Your Plan

So what does work? Well, there’s more information and advice out there than you could ever possibly use, but the key is to figure out what you’ll stick with, so don’t be afraid to experiment! Just remember what we said: if you stumble or falter, that means you just need to try something new or start slower—not that there’s something wrong with you. Try some of these suggestions:


Set the Bar Low and Start Small. The first time I started working out, I decided to exercise daily for a half hour. Sounds good, right? Well, starting from zero to every day worked well for a while, but when I had to miss a day because I worked late, was sick, or my schedule changed, I felt terrible. Eventually I gave up, and beat myself up over it until I could get motivated to start again. Don’t make the same mistake—if you’re having trouble with every day, start with twice a week, or once. Whatever it is, start with something you candefinitely do effortlessly. This is where suggestions like parking on the far end of the lot and taking the stairs come into play. Try these minimal daily exercises on for size.

“Instead of setting out to exercise 5-6 times a week, aim to do 1-2 times – consistently,” Roger says. “Set the bar low so that you can build up initial success and build the self confidence and examples of winning that you’ll need once things get harder.” Derek Flanzraich, CEO and Founder of Greatist, agrees: “On Sunday nights, schedule your workout times into your calendar for the rest of the week. That removes a ton of excuses— you’ll rarely, if ever, really ‘just fit a workout in’ when you’ve got a free moment. You’re too busy! Schedule it in advance and it’ll be top of mind!” The time for ambitiousness is after you have a track record of success. Remember, we’re trying to get started, and getting started is hard enough.

Whatever You Do, Make It Fun. Roger couldn’t stress this enough, and neither can we. Whatever you do, enjoy it. Choose something rewarding enough to make you feel good about doing it. If you’re having a good time, Roger noted, mistakes feel like learning experiences and challenges to be overcome, not throw-up-your-hands-and-give-up moments. This is one reason that he—and we—love sites like Fitocracy, theMindbloom Life Game (which we’vehighlighted before), and Superbetter, whichalso adds a game-like element to wellness.Photo by Richard Coshott.

Derek suggests picking a fun challenge designed for people in your shoes. Stuck on the couch? Try the Couch to 5K running plan! Maybe a mud run or martial arts class would be more up your alley. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you’ll have a great time doing, and is low-enough impact that you can get in, keep up, and slowly challenge yourself as it progresses.

Join Communities that Build Positive Habits. Speaking of Fitocracy, Richard explained that services like Fitocracy do so well because they offer consistent, positive rewards for sticking to your guns. Even if you don’t see results in the mirror right away—and you won’t—a site like Fitocracy rewards you with levels, badges, and other treats that keep you engaged and motivated to do better. That’s all great, but Richard explained it’s really just a carrot to get you to the real prize: the community. “Wanna know our dirty little secret? I haven’t really told this to any journalists explicitly, but points don’t help all that much in the long run. They’re merely a gateway drug that gets you involved into the community.” Don’t get caught up in counting calories and tracking steps walked that you miss out on how powerful a community, a workout buddy, or family and friends, rooting for us can be. It can make all the difference.


Use Technology Wisely: To Recount Your Victories. Technology can be a huge benefit to help you see your progress in a way that looking in the mirror won’t show you. Our own Adam Pash got in shape with the help of the right gear, and Roger suggests keeping a calendar as a visual track of your victories. Each time you stick to your plan, whether it’s diet, exercise, or both, mark it on the calendar. Sound familiar yet? That’s right, it’s Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret, or “Don’t Break the Chain.” The goal is to keep that track record, whether it’s on a calendar, in an app, or on a website, going unbroken as long as possible. Just remember, quantifying your efforts is just a method to get feedback and track your progress. Your tech should be a means to building better habits, not the habit in itself. Photo by Yusuke Kawasaki.

You’ll notice we haven’t given you a workout routine or exercise plan to follow here. That’s because we’ve done that before several times. You can take those workouts and start today, but before you do, make sure you’re in a place mentally where you’re set up for success. In a few months, you don’t want to still feel miserable every time you begin a workout, or know you have to work out today—it should be second nature, just something you do, like taking a shower or doing the laundry.

Derek reminded us that the turning point for him—and likely for many of us—is when we realize that we’re in total control of our choices—not someone else who with a fad diet or book to sell—and that can be incredibly empowering. Once you make that realization, Roger notes that you should always remember where you are now when it comes to health and fitness. Whether it’s diet or exercise, being honest with your current situation will keep you from being too ambitious and setting yourself up for failure, or from giving up entirely. “Begin where you are, not where you want to be. Becoming overwhelmed initially is the fastest way to halt all progress. As you get better, do better, and not a moment sooner.” We couldn’t agree more.

Roger Lawson is a fitness expert and the man behind Rog Law Fitness. You can find him on Twitter at @RogLaw, on Facebook at Rog Law, and subscribe to his YouTube channel, RogLawFitness.

Richard Talens is the Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Fitocracy, a fitness tracking site and social network that’s makes tracking your exercise a real-world game that’s fun to play. You can find him on Twitter at @dicktalens.

Derek Flanzraich is the Founder and CEO of Greatist, an amazing resource for health and fitness news and tips. You can find him on Twitter at @thederek, and follow Greatist at @greatist.

All three volunteered their expertise for this post, and we thank them.

Title photo made using Leremy (Shutterstock).

Hot stuff for you -turn up the fat burning with these hotties

its true.


Its because of something called “thermogenesis“.

In Britain, researchers added just 3/5 of a teaspoon of hot chili sauce or regular mustard to a meal and the results surprised them. Metabolism spiked by 25%, burning an additional 45 calories (some subjects burned over 75 calories) for 180 minutes (3 hours) after the meal.

•Salsa was shown to stimulate the metabolism by approximately 15% to 20%.Researchers are looking at ginger, too. Animal studies have found that dry and fresh ginger extracts (specifically the component gingerol) have been shown to boost energy use by nearly 20%.

I always loved Peppers. They not only seemed to help my breathing but also invigorated me. After a little while your brain gets use to the intensity and you can actually tell subtle differences in character and flavor. I have seen studies where it was discussed that  there is basically a reward center in the brain for the sensation of injestin’ a hot chili pepper , much like the endorphins you get from an intense burst of activity … but now theres’ more,  this actual hot stuff  can speed up your internal inferno and help you burn more calories with a chemical reaction within your body called thermogenesis. Take advantage my readers.

and NO that does not mean that you can have the chicken wings because they are extra hot, Joe -sorry. You must remain diligent about not putting fat into your body in the first place, getting regular nutrition and exercise and rest is your best defense, but every small bit you do counts.

Research was performed by the Oxford Polytechnic Institute in Britain.


  • summary: Green Chilies are high in Vitamin A & C;
  • Chili peppers fight migraine headaches, also;
  • Prevent sinusitis and relieve congestion
  • Chili peppers fight cancer
  • Helps lower high blood pressure
  • Fights inflammation
  • Can help soothe intestinal disorders
  • Thermogenesis helps you burn fat, use energy in metabolism and lose weight
  • protect your heart
  • warm your feet. and your chest :)
  • and make other people think your amazing. ( ok, I made that up )




Reblog, about relationship happiness… (from Lifehacker)

Sometimes I like something that I come across so I will repost it. This is a second article from my friends over at lifehacker, and Its pretty interesting. I have been taking an interest in reading about relationships lately and I am considering adding this to the fitbody blog because its such an intrigal part of your inner self that should be considered when we are talking about improving your mins, spirit and body. Enjoy, and thank you lifehacker and the original authors and designers. View post here: lifehacker.com



tribute to Joe Weider, visionary and leader

Arnold&JoeI remember how seeing these magazines in the 80’s- It influenced my vision and actually, gave me the only vision into the world of muscular fitness that I had ever seen. From there to all that we have today, everyone in the fitness business, owes some respect to Joe Weider for his vision and contribution. His passion created a legacy. It helped a lot of people, and when people get better, we collectively improve. I am not an expert on Joe Weider, but I do know that he deserves a decent tribute and with anything worth looking at, will take some study and consideration to absorb the years of development and contribution that was made…
Earlier this year we also lost another great, Robert Kennedy, who was also a visionary who created the best in fitness photography as far as I am concerned; He did not re invent the wheel, he just had a way of putting it together that was different, visual and edgy. As the time passes I hope that in this spirit we can continue the good work that these men began. It is in fact the spirit behind making your own publication such as a blog like this one.
In the name of self improvement may you lead by example, support each other out there, celebrate each day we have together, and know that its always worth working for improvement. Perhaps in the days to come I will discuss some of the basic Weider principals and how these apply even today in and out of the varied world of workout science. For me it was always these principals that ignited my interest so many years ago and still linger in my core beliefs as a trainer, and as a person.
Thank you Joe Weider and Robert Kennedy. I will improve my blog I promise.

 “Bodybuilding is about changing for the better, not just growing enormous.  Once you decide to change yourself for the better, you can make everything in the world better.”

http://www.ifbbpro.com/features/joe-weiders-principles/arnold & Joe

royal jelly…an interesting protein

Royal Jelly – its not the same as honey. It looks like it -and usually comes available in honey, but what is this compound, exactly?  In the ever increasing world market it can be hard to differentiate the brands and origins of the many products available. After some quick research, I have found the most interesting facts about royalactin, or the protein found in the compound “royal jelly” where it comes from and its composition.

In holistic healing circles & alternative medicine folklore, royal jelly is believed to have anti aging properties (stemming primarily from its amino acid content) and  its broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Its reputation for providing fertility and libido assistance is gaining traction, tho there is little  clinical research to support this. Royal jelly is also used topically as a component in skin care & natural beauty products, women can smear it all over their faces after a dermabrasion for the benefits to the skin.

Fresh Royal Jelly is not a vitamin or a drug. It’s a unique and precious food substance straight from the beehive. It is not honey or pollen, but the food of the queen bee. The queen lives approximately 6 years exclusively on a diet of Fresh Royal Jelly, while the worker bees live about 6 weeks eating honey and pollen.

What do you say is the big deal? Well,  This stuff makes the queen larger than all the workers, up to 42 .6 percent larger and 60.6 percent fatter. While a worker bee lives 6 weeks, the queen lives about 6 years. Sometimes farmers who harvest the manna remove the queen after 5 years in order to keep the hives going stronger. It is known that the women in egypt used this on their skin, and that it was used as a tincture to preserve the dead.

In a more modern study, when given to fruit flies, they too responded to a diet of royal jelly. So- how is it being used today?

Cultivation and Delivery of the product

This comes from bee hives. Harvesters have to gather the stuff from the hive.

Royal Jelly is offered in one of two ways. In its pure, natural state it is like a thick milky substance.  This form is very unstable and it must be frozen or refrigerated in order to preserve it. The second form of Royal Jelly is an extract (powder or liquid form).  The powder extract is by far the most popular and is what capsules contain.  There are two methods of achieving a powdered extract, (1) Freeze-dried or (2) Spray-dried.  Freeze-drying the Royal Jelly cost more to manufacture but it is also the best way because no food preservatives have to be added.  Freeze Drying the Royal Jelly removes all the moisture content and contrary to what some Royal Jelly providers say, NO nutritional value is lost in this process. However, the spray dry process requires that a preservative be added to it and that honey alone is not a stable preservative.

I found it online in prices ranging from 8$ to 25$ for different forms. Some more thorough  investigation was required. A local shop offered a form of royal jelly that was much like honey in a container and said it was “tested for 10-HDA”

It tastes sweet and mellow and doesn’t show any form of crystallization. I wonder how you can test the potency of something like this.


According to research, royal jelly is a honey bee secretion that is used in the nutrition of larvae and adult queens. It is secreted from the glands in the hypopharynx of worker bees, and fed to all larvae in the colony. When worker bees decide to make a new queen, either because the old one is weakening, or was killed, they choose several small larvae and feed them with copious amounts of royal jelly in specially constructed queen cells. This type of feeding triggers the development of queen morphology, including the fully developed ovaries needed to lay eggs. [wiki]

Royal jelly is secreted from the glands in the heads of worker bees, and is fed to all bee larvae, whether they are destined to become drones (males), workers (sterile females) or queens (fertile females). After three days, the drone and worker larvae are no longer fed with royal jelly, but queen larvae continue to be fed this special substance throughout their development. It is harvested by humans by stimulating colonies with movable frame hives to produce queen bees. Royal jelly is collected from each individual queen cell (honeycomb) when the queen larvae are about four days old. It is collected from queen cells because these are the only cells in which large amounts are deposited; when royal jelly is fed to worker larvae, it is fed directly to them, and they consume it as it is produced, while the cells of queen larvae are “stocked” with royal jelly much faster than the larvae can consume it. Therefore, only in queen cells is the harvest of royal jelly practical. A well-managed hive during a season of 5–6 months can produce approximately 500 g of royal jelly. Since the product is perishable, producers must have immediate access to proper cold storage (e.g., a household refrigerator or freezer) in which the royal jelly is stored until it is sold or conveyed to a collection centre. Sometimes honey or beeswax are added to the royal jelly, which is thought to aid its preservation, but a food preservative is required. {these hyperlinks take you directly to the wikipedia definition of the vitamin compounds}

Royal jelly is collected and sold as a dietary supplement for humans, claiming various health benefits because of components such as B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). The overall composition of royal jelly is 67% water, 12.5% crude protein, including small amounts of many different amino acids, and 11% simple sugars (monosaccharides), also including a relatively high amount (5%) of fatty acids. It also contains many trace minerals, some enzymes, antibacterial and antibiotic components, and trace amounts of vitamin C, but none of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K.


The component of royal jelly that causes a bee to develop into a queen appears to be a single protein that has been called royalactin. It is worth noting that jelly which had been rendered inactive by prolonged storage had a fresh addition of each of the components subject to decay and was fed to bees; only jelly laced with royalactin caused the larvae to become queens. Royalactin also induces similar phenotypical change in the fruitfly (Drosophila melanogaster), marked by increased body size and ovary development.

pullquote”The queen/worker developmental divide is controlled epigenetically by differential feeding with royal jelly; this appears to be due specifically to the protein royalactin. A female larva destined to become a queen is fed large quantities of royal jelly; this triggers a cascade of molecular events resulting in development into a queen. It has been shown that this phenomenon is mediated by an epigenetic modification of DNA known as CpG methylation.

…this is some really interesting stuff as we know what methylation can do within human cells.


if you have had any experience with this I would like to hear about it. As far as I am concerned, how could you go wrong?

References Wiki, healthypro.org, and durhamsbeefarm.com , for information about the royalactin and harvesting; Chucks food store in Brandon for the 11oz royal Jelly 30,000 for   $21 and my client who asked the question about it~ I truly have not heard or tried this and It sure is interesting:)

to your health…Scott


Zumba Fitness:

BOUT: ZUMBA     Sweet beats improve your cardio (:

pictured: Jamie Lynn, Left, & Erika Rivere, a Zumba instructor in Apollo Beach, Florida, enjoy the effects of Zumba fitness. I recently spent a day last week shooting some photos while they practiced some moves. Photo courtesy of LucidMojo.com ©ScottEdwards 2012

Zumba! A fun, sexy latino inspired trend is gaining momentum in popularity. What is it & where is it from?

What it is: “Zumba” (pronounced Zoom-ba) -is a latin dance fitness program that was created by Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia the 90’s. It combines dance and aerobic elements which choreography includes soca, saba & mambo as well as moves that include squats & lunges; and even Bollywood style belly dancing. It is a challenging, continual movement that requires control, stamina and some grace. It has an interesting backstory, too.

Perez applied the backbeat of salsa & merengue latin styles to the aerobics classes he led, improvising with this approach -a rather untraditional musical style to apply to aerobic maneuvers, serendipitiously when he was short on good music for his Classes. Legend has it that he used tracks on cassette tape he had in his backpack in his car- It was a success & caught hold of Perez & many others attention around the globe. “The results are an electric combination that adds a sweet layer of all that this music has to offer.”  Its a marriage of rhythm & dance and it takes work to do it- but doesn’t seem like it because its fun”, says Jamie Lynn, an educator from Apollo Beach florida, who attends zumba classes at least 3 times a week.

Perez moved to the US in 2001 & Teamed up with a friend and co founder, Alberto Perlman. They produced a demo reel, and the concept was discovered & licensed by Fitness Quest. The company created marketing campaign that produced rumba home videos in 2002. After some considerable time, It has organically gained popularity and brand, with seven different types of of classes including aqua zumba, that is based in a pool. Newer technologies have allowed for developments of rumba video games, The new bio-feedback style body/video games like the Xbox Kinnect and the Wii fit  allow for an interactive rumba experience that provides an interesting feedback on your workouts performance because of the interface. Further, there are now more than ever thousands of  instructors teaching zumba in countries around the world thanks to the reach of the internet.

The motion is in the lotion…

The Zumba exercises lend themselves to the musics various slow and fast rhythms as well as resistance training exercises to the lilting latin beats. It has been noted that persons who participate in a session experience a fun, informal, even party like atmosphere as thegang moves loosely in dance. It is also noteworthy that there is a drummer often present, something I thought myself is rather sweet. Others claim to experience a responsive wave of  endorphin like and adrenal effects. I would like to note the overtones of studies that show how frequency vibration is an element that only happens on subtler human frequency perceptions, and affect rhythmic heartpatterns and certain brainwaves.

The motion is based on aerobic cardiovascular activity but the variations and modifications make you move your entire body, and there are up to seven “levels” of zumba training that vary wildly. The one thing that anchors everything is the music. 

Aside from the boost of self confidence the movements include lower body (legs – quadriceps, hamstring from squat and lunge positions to calves and hip adduction from other transitional poses, similar to moving yoga , tai chi and even belly dancing. Core strength is emphasized with the full body movement, and even shoulder region is affected by hyperflexion and abductor contractions. Centrifugal force and counterbalance agility also is emphasized.

Cardio is the main emphasis as far as this activity would be mainly classified. It is a light cardio at that, say different from HIT training, Tablata, or other intense programs. It’s emphasis on fun is what makes it attractive. I believe that is incredibly important for all levels of workout programs.

A standard class is an hour in length and uses four basic rhythms based on simplified salsa, merengue, cumber & reggeaton, I think is ½ ? 4/4 4/8 /16 etc. There are elements mashed from mambo Flamenco, Rumba Calypso beats to round out a facemelting latinthumping sound experience to dance to get your cardio on. From there you can advance to make these fluid motions more difficult and more beneficial in the way your body adapts to the cardiovascular conditioning.

The group element adds to a sense of community and accomplishment as an individual since you are really only required to push your own levels of exertion which increase as you practice.

There is definitely a factor in making a workout varied and fun for your clients as a personal trainer. You deserve to look into what Zumba has to offer in spirit and attitude as well as a few fresh moves to challenge you in your and your clients workouts. Certainly the music adds a real ambiance. Studies have reflected that listening to music with an elevated beat pattern of around 110 to 120+BPM that can help endurance athletes who move with the music because of the brains subtle ways of syncronizing within a beat pattern- hence the phenomenon of music altogether.
I say give it a try . I have been recently intruduced to these new forms, and would like to hear your comments about your experience!
thanks for reading.

~Scott Edwards

exercise can improve your mood, prevent chronic disease, aid in weight management, strengthen your cardiovascular system, promote better sleep, and can even enhance your sex life. Most importantly and often forgotten, exercise can be enjoyable! why wait? add some to your week and feel good about it. Too often we get sedentary and pay a steep price in the decrease in quality of life for it. I suggest all sorts of athletic activities and healthy alternatives to keep fit. got any suggestions or feedback? would love to hear from you! 

Join the party: instructor Berto Perez leads a Zumba class


About: local Zumba… meet instructor Erika Rivere:


LOCAL ZUMBA INSTRUCTOR Erica Rivera hosts wild for rumba sessions in Apollo Beach, Riverview and you can find out the class availability times from this link: {URL} @Zumba.com:      https://www.zumba.com/en-US/profiles/65498/erika-rivere/             @Youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/alwaysbonita                                                        

You can contact her thru the links provided,  (& tell her you heard about it here:)



Support for local trainers scott@fitbodyguru.com, ISSA certified CPT Tampa Bay ©ScottEdwards2012




  1. ^ Sweat Equity, Miami Herald, p. G1, 13 February 2012
  2. ^ Zumba brings the dance party into the health club, USA Today, 10 October 2011
  3. ^ Fitness Guinea Pig: Zumba, Brides Magazine
  4. ^ Zumba Shakes the Monotony Out of Ordinary Aerobics Classes, The Washington Post, 31 July 2008
  5. ^ Zumba Turns Dancers Into Entrepreneurs, Inc., 26 May 2011
  6. ^ Get fit dancing: Dance to a different beat with Zumba, Daily Telegraph, 30 March 2009
  7. ^ About Zumba Fitness on official website
  8. ^ The secret to fitness craze Zumba’s success?, The Independent, 7 September 2011
  9. ^ Zumba Movement Catches On, Now Comes the Hard Part, Fox Business, 11 April 2011






The Davis Park bootcamp

hello everyone. The Davis Park bootcamp sessions are now available on Saturdays In Brandon for those of you who work all week.
If you can not make daily sessions, you can now have an invigorating midmorning session that includes tablata, crossfit, core and cardio on saturday and Sunday.
Anyone interested in these sessions needs to give me a heads up – please call me

Sunday we arrive at 930 and warm up, starting relays and challenges at 10Am to 11Am, winding down before lunch at 11:30
expect the grind. I will be inventing new challenges every time:) and bringing back the favorites!
a session like this has varied High intensity challenges that constitutes complex movements and burns fat.

Anyone  is welcome to join.Group session rates are 20 per session, 15 per 2 sessions,pre paid, add ons for existing clients will be 10, and if you are an eisting client and bring a friend, it will be 10$ for them, pre paid.

Do not let the price stop you from showing up. you still have to work out, so get your butt down here and I will give you good faith. no excuses. Spring is around the corner and there is no time to waste!

see you then! :)

Happy holidays from Scott :)

If anyone hasnt noticed that I have taken a break from posting to the blog, It was because of a number of things, but mostly because I am quite busy and I do all of this for free. I have been writing and getting some ideas together for a better fitness site. It is hard to keep up with all of the things when I am a one person crew on the site.

I have a few extra minutes this morning and thought about how the tradition of thanksgiving effects us as we progress thru the holidays for the next six weeks. Six weeks is enough to make an impact on your physique. You could make a decision to do a few things today, tomorrow and the next day, so that by new years you are well on your way to a lean body, rather than bloated and overwhelmed and making ‘resolutions’ on new years day to change, with only 90 days to spring.

There is no reason why you can not enjoy normal food, wine, and trsappings from family and friends. All you have to do is remember a few points:

  • Moderation. even a little restraint: If you LOVE these deserts, decide which one is worth your while- and just take a taste. Even just a half of a piece of cheesecake, rather than the whole pie. If you think about what this stuff is made of, do you really want to challenge your body to digest this, when it will not be nutritious and not feed your lean physique?
  • consideration. if you understand the food groups, then you know that you do not need double and triple carbs- such as stuffing and potatoes and bread and .. and… and… and… Portion is everything. if you want to have both, then just cut your portion size down so instead of 6 oz of each, try 3oz instead. Remember that more smaller portions thru the day are better for your metabolism than giant meals which spike your insulin and toll your digestive system.
  • look for your protien. Turkey is an awesome source of clean protein! but spare eating the skin and fat. don’t skip on the protein!
  • cut out fats… obvious, like taking in excessive carbs, with the extra portions comes the extra fatty toppings- forgo the butter, and if you are preparing your meals, remember, that if you remove the fat before you cook it will not melt into your food. If you are not cooking, just watch out for the marshmallo topping on the sweet potatoes and the melted butter on your bread and stuffing. I know a lot of my friends do not understand this lifestyle, the conscious decision about every thing you put into your body. Every little choice adds up and you must be diligent about it, always. Just remind them that it isn’t that you don’t care that they made it ( sorry mom ) but that you just prefer it that way. You may even influence them when they see your clear skin, bright eyes, and poppin’ bod to listen to what you are telling them about your lifestyle.
  • STAY ON YOUR WORKOUT! If you are finding a way to get your heart pumping, weather you go for a impromptu run, bike ride, hike or even a 15 minute push up-pull up drill … or hit the gym. If you are keeping up with your work out, you can eat pretty much whatever you want and enjoy it, you earned it. The boost in calories and carbs can swell your muscles out. You do not have to skip Today or any day, as you don’t want to wait for your results, do you? why wait until new years? make the changes that you want today and get the body you want, no new years resolution needed if you resolve to eat right and exercise today.


There have been some real changes happening to BodyRock.tv, if you have not heard or seen. I am in full support of the changes, but this is for another post, and has had over half a million comments on the bodyrock blog. So, with all this change in the air…I hope you all enjoy a healthy holiday season. Eat good, live good, and I hope to see you soon.