Do's and Don'ts on Vacation

If you’re anything like me, then you’re starting to get that itch for time on the beach. Am I right? On your way there now? Counting down the days? Yeah. I thought so.

But here’s the thing about vacation. People take it to such extremes—either letting loose and giving up all self-discipline for seven days, or being a work-horse, working out every day of vacation without actually giving your body (and your family) a chance to rest. Is there a way to make vacation work—for you and your overall fitness?

Of course there is. 

1. Know what you're working with. We recently set up the only privately operated Bod Pod in Nashville, and as people come in to be tested, I’ve been amazed how little they know about their own bodies. The Bod Pod test takes about 30 minutes, and measures your full body composition, uncovering exactly what percentage of your body is fat tissue, and what percent is lean muscle tissue. (Some have said it feels like getting your blood pressure taken, only all over your body.) The test will immediately report just how many calories you need to be eating in order to maintain muscle mass, lose fat, or gain muscle.

You’d be surprised. Most people are under eating. If you’re eating kale salad and quinoa and brown rice, I feel sorry for you. It sounds healthy but it’s not enough calories to sustain you. When it comes to vacation—when the drinks are flowing, and meals are expensive—people restrict their eating far too much. Know what you’re working with first, so you’ll be motivated to keep on track while you’re away.

2. Don't stay in a hotel.  Let’s be honest. A hotel might sound nice on the front end, but aside from a beach-front location, all you’re getting along with that room is a whole lot of headache. Finding places to eat for every meal or suffering through bad or over-priced hotel food just isn’t worth it. In my opinion, reserving a condo or house provides so many more amenities that you can tailor to your own liking. Namely: an oven.

I always eat 5-6 meals in a day. If I were forced, all of the sudden, to survive on 3 meals a day, I would go crazy. Having access to my own food (and my own refrigerator) helps make eating far less time consuming. Stop by a grocery store and stock up on the things that will make you feel great: lean protein, vegetables, complex carbohydrates. My favorite beachy snack: greek yogurt with fruit.

3. Make sure you have access to good water. Have you ever been to the beach, turned on the tap, only to discover that the water tastes sulfuric or stale? If the tap water tastes funny, chances are you’ll turn to *cough* other beverages… which are totally useless calories that only serve to dehydrate you more. If you need to, buy a few gallon jugs of water at the grocery store, and invest in a quality water bottle like a Hydroflask, which keeps water at the temperature you want, even if it’s sitting out in the hot sun.

4. Do at least one workout. You don’t need equipment. You don’t even need that much time. Here’s a favorite: 10 burpees, 10 pushups, 10 jump squats, 10 jumping lunges, then run 40 yards. (40 yards is 20 yards sprint forward and 20 yards back.) Do as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes.

5. Do Follow the 80/20 rule. Originally, the 80/20 rule was created by an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto. He claimed that 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. So while you try to figure that one out, just think about it this way: only eat out once every other day while on vacation. If you cook 80 percent of your own meals while on vacation, then you’ll enjoy those few meals out that much more.

Bod Pod Testing in Nashville

If you’ve been to Marathon Fitness in 12 South anytime in the last few weeks, then you’ve seen a large egg-shaped container sitting in our back room. No, it’s not a spaceship. No, it’s not a time machine. It’s a Bod Pod, and it’s just waiting for you to get in.

What’s The Bod Pod?

Here’s what The Bod Pod website tells us: “The Bod Pod is a Air Displacement Pleythsmograph that uses whole body densitometry to determine body composition.” In plain English: The Bod Pod is the gold standard when it comes to measuring body composition. Forget stepping on a scale and analyzing your progress by one (often error-ridden) number. The Bod Pod measures your density. That means, this machine can detect not just how much you weigh, but what percentage of that weight is muscle, and what percentage of that weight is fat. Your home scale produces a data point. The Bod Pod produces a Rembrandt.

How does it work?

When you step in the Bod Pod, it seals off using high-tech magnets. Then, in addition to weighing your body with a scale, the device measures the volume of your body, by measuring how much air is displaced from inside the dome. Are you flashing back to your days in the high school science lab? Density = Mass/Volume. To know what you’re made of, we don’t want to just know what you weigh—but the place you take in the world. In the past, this kind of measurement could only take place in an underwater scale. Now, we can do it in the space of our very own gym.

Why does it matter?

What’s really amazing about this device is that armed with this information about your unique body composition, we can give you a highly customized meal plan, designed to hit your fitness and appearance goals What they say is true—muscle weighs more than fat. And all too often, when people being a weight loss journey, they get frustrated when they work really hard and then the number on the scale doesn’t budge. With the Bod Pod, we can forget judging everything by just one single number. Instead, you can discover week to week, how your fat content is decreasing, even while your muscle mass increases.

So stay tuned. We’ll be offering Bod Pod measuring any day now—at $40 per test for walk-ins, and $20 per test for Marathon Fitness members. We can’t wait to get started.

Posted on March 17, 2015 .

How to Choose The Right Workout For You

I always think it’s funny that we need research to confirm what most of us already know. Of the 45 percent of Americans who make New Years’ Resolutions, 82 percent set their sights on losing weight.  Only 8 percent of people who set out to lose weight at the beginning of the year actually achieve that goal. 

The story is all too familiar—the beginning of the year, the gyms are full of committed people ready to make a change. But by Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day? Forget it. Those treadmills will be wide open again. Believe me. I’m not being mean. It’s statistics. And the older you are, the less likely you are to be successful. What gives?

I think the biggest obstacle to perseverance in fitness goals is a lack of accountability. It’s great to get a brand new membership at a commercial gym. But when the going gets tough (and it will)—who is going to be there to make sure you’re pushing yourself and not letting up? Accountability is essential to my work as a personal trainer in Nashville. Some of my clients choose to partner with me one-on-one, but others choose to join a boot-camp style class. So what kind of accountability is best for you?

1. Are You a Social Butterfly or a Worker Bee?

Boot camp classes are a great way to ramp up your fitness in a social environment. There’s a certain camaraderie that develops among people who sweat together. It’s natural, and it can be a ton of fun! But for those people who’d rather not make friends while grunting and sweating—personal training can be a great way to focus on your fitness without distraction. That means if you’re uncomfortable jumping around with a group of people—you might not be comfortable in a boot-camp style class. (Sorry, but it’s true!)

2. Are You Overly Competitive?

Not all fitness classes are created equal. At Marathon Fitness, I’d like to think our boot camp classes aren’t overly competitive, but they are more independent. If you’re attending a high intensity workout for the first time, it’s healthy to expect to struggle through exercises that other people seem to breeze through easily (well, not really, but at least they’ll be able to accomplish the circuit without muscle failure). That being said—if you are hyper competitive, it may be best to avoid the boot-camp setting, if you know you’ll push yourself too far and risk injury.

3. What’s your budget?

Another factor to take into consideration is cost. Personal training, of course, is the more expensive of the two options. But as you’re shopping for a boot camp class in Nashville, take note if the class feels too big or that you’re getting lost in a crowd. It’s important for your instructor to pay attention to form and be able to coach you through new moves as you learn. We try to limit our classes at Marathon Fitness to no more than 15 people. Beyond that, and it begins to feel like a mad house, not a boot camp.

4. What baggage are you carrying?

We all come to the table with personal fitness “baggage.” If you’ve suffered injuries in the past, or have a fear of repeat injuries — you don’t need to be in boot camp. Personal training can help you regain confidence. And if you choose to hire a personal trainer, make sure you feel that you’re getting value for the cost. It’s important that your trainer listen to your concerns and goals. If they don’t ask you about your prior history—your baggage—that should be a huge red flag.

5. What’s your fitness level?

10:15 Boot Camp meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at our 12South location.

10:15 Boot Camp meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at our 12South location.

Boot camps generally attract a younger crowd—45 and under—people who are interested in a high-intensity conditioning workout. But I typically encourage my clients who are over the age of 45 to work focus on building strength rather than excess cardio. (Muscle mass and bone density are both highly important as we age, and are enhance by your strength, not your mile time.) Because of that, I often recommend that my older clients enlist a personal trainer, simply because one-on-one, you’ll be able to reach your goals much faster.

No matter what you choose, if you’re making fitness goals for 2015, you’re not in it alone. Ultimately—accountability is your personal responsibility, and your own personal decision. As always, I’m happy (and here) to help you sift through the options. Feel free to contact me here.

Posted on January 9, 2015 .

The Ultimate 30-Minute Hotel Workout

People that live in Nashville travel all of the time. Whether you're on the road with a band, hopping between cities for work, or visiting family, there's no reason to let your fitness suffer. Check out my favorite go-to hotel-approved workout below. Make sure you've got water and a stopwatch. That's all you'll need.

First Fifteen Minutes — As Many Rounds As Possible 

 15 Rolling Pushups

In a plank position, lower down to a pushup, then raise one arm up to the side. Do the same on the other side. Do a total of 15 pushups. 

In a plank position, lower down to a pushup, then raise one arm up to the side. Do the same on the other side. Do a total of 15 pushups. 

15 Standing Squats

From a standing position, with your feet shoulder width apart and toes slightly turned out, squat as low as you can while keeping your chest and eyes up and your back straight. Repeat 15 times.

From a standing position, with your feet shoulder width apart and toes slightly turned out, squat as low as you can while keeping your chest and eyes up and your back straight. Repeat 15 times.

15 Jumping Lunges

Start with your right leg forward in a lunge position. Jump up as high as you can, and switch legs. Do fifteen lunges total. 

Start with your right leg forward in a lunge position. Jump up as high as you can, and switch legs. Do fifteen lunges total. 

15 Jumping Squats

With your hands behind your head, complete a low squat, jump up, and complete another — 15 in a row!

With your hands behind your head, complete a low squat, jump up, and complete another — 15 in a row!

Water Break!

Second 15 Minutes — As Many Rounds As Possible

15 Up-down Planks

From a plank position, raise up on your hands, then back down on your forearms, using one arm at a time. 

From a plank position, raise up on your hands, then back down on your forearms, using one arm at a time. 

15 Crossover Crunches

On your back, cross your right leg over your left knee and crunch, bringing your right knees and left elbow toward each other. Do 15 on each side!

On your back, cross your right leg over your left knee and crunch, bringing your right knees and left elbow toward each other. Do 15 on each side!

15 Crunches

Turn the soles of your feet toward each other, and with your hands loosely behind your ears, crunch! 

Turn the soles of your feet toward each other, and with your hands loosely behind your ears, crunch! 

15 Flutter Kicks

Finish with 15 flutter kicks! 

Finish with 15 flutter kicks! 

I dare you to post how many rounds you were able to crush! Or better yet, just come join me in the gym when you get back in town. 

Posted on October 31, 2014 and filed under Workouts.