Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Frequency In The Gym

Frequency is one of the most important factors contributing to the success of your workout. It seems like common sense when I say you get out of the gym what you put in to it, but you wouldn't believe how many times I've heard a client say, "But Chris! I want to get my dream physique, but I have so many distractions preventing me from getting to where I want to be." Lets face it, we've all been guilty of saying this at one time or another.

Here's the deal. In order to hit your exercise goals no matter what they are you should at least be putting in 4-5 hours in the gym a week. Does that sound like too much? Let's break down your week hour by hour shall we?

There are 168 hours in your week.
168 hrs.
Subtract the 8 hours a night (56 hours a week) of recommended sleep you should be getting that makes...
112 hrs.
If you have a full time job you should be working 40 hours a week. I'll throw in an extra 10 hours for you workaholics. That makes...
62 hrs.
All work and no play makes Chris a dull boy. Let's subtract 20 hours a week for hobbies, dates, going out with friends or whatever. That leaves you with...
42 hrs.
For those of you with families it's important to spend time with them. Kids are at school most of the day, 4 hours a day (28 hours) to spend with your family would be nice. that brings your tally down to...
14 hrs.
All I'm asking is that you spend a measly 5 hours a week to take care of your body. That takes you down to...
9 hrs.

Please keep in mind that I was very generous with my hours here! 20 hours a week for hobbies and recreation time is A LOT! Not everybody works 50 hours a week either! Especially not in this economy. And After all that you are still left with 9 hours to do whatever you want with. If you ask me 4-5 hours of exercise a week is not much!

If you come in to the gym at a frequency of 4-5 times a week you will definitely have a much better chance of hitting your goals.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Top 5 Most Unhealthy Healthy Foods

Last time I wrote about the 5 biggest lies in fitness. One of those lies in particular, the myth about gatorade being better for you then water, got me going on and on. In fact, I had so much to say about the topic that it inspired me to write this next post. So here ya go. Your second countdown in a row. If you don't like it, then too bad. Nobody pays me to write these things anyways.

5 Most Unhealthy "Healthy" Foods

5) Yoplait Light Yogurt

Let's kick things off with a good one, shall we? Yoplait has been running quite the ad campaign over the past couple of years in order to promote their Light Yogurt. If you watch television chances are you've seen this bad boy being pimped on The Biggest Loser, or even on one of the ten thousand annoying TV commercials. Like this one.

Hey Simmons lay off the speed. Those ladies are talking about yogurt.

In reality this "healthy" snack is loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup. That means lots and lots of sugar! Too much sugar in the body can cause our blood sugars to go haywire. When blood sugar levels fluctuate it can lead to extreme exhaustion headaches and moods swings. Not only that but if our body has too much sugar in it for our blood to absorb then the excess will be stored as fat.

The reason this yogurt doesn't get any higher on the list is because it is a low calorie snack. And if you can train yourself to just eat one of these things a day, and your eating healthy then you may have a useful snack, although you're probably better off with Greek Yogurt.

4) Subway Sandwiches

That's right Jared, I'm calling you out! For over a decade now Subway has been running an ad campaign with Jared. You all know the story: Jared was fat and decided to eat nothing but Subway Sandwiches to lose weight. He eventually got down to a healthy size and has maintained that weight for years. BLAH!

This is a perfect example of Subway taking advantage of people who don't know how to read nutrition labels. Let's clear up a few inaccuracies first. Yes it's true Jared ate nothing but Subway Sandwiches, but he only ate two 6 inch subs a day! That's like 1000 calories in total. Not only that, but he did exercise as well. It wasn't like only the power of Subway helped him lose fat. Here's the other thing that gets me, the nutrition facts for a 6 inch Italian BMT (my personal favorite), a fairly standard Subway sandwich is 450 calories, 20g of fat, 1730mg of sodium! Now factor in the fact that most people usually get the $5 footlong version of that sandwich, and you're looking at 900 calories, 40g of fat (16 Saturated fat) and a heart stopping 3460mg of sodium which is more than one and half times the salt you should consume per day, in one sandwich! Compare that next to a Big Mac at 540 calories, 29g of fat and 1040 mg of sodium and what's looking like the healthy option now.

If you think Jared lost all the weight by just eating sandwiches, just let him tell you how he really did it.

Admit it deep down, you always knew Mr. Fogel wasn't telling you the whole truth. Subway healthy. My Ass!

3)Diet Soda

OK, so soda is horrible for you, but take out the sugar and add in carcinogenic artificial sweeteners, combined with the artificial flavors and colors that are in all sodas, and you have a recipe for a Tumor in a Can.

Then of course you’ve got the caffeine factor, which is linked to hyperactivity, high blood pressure, and can mess with your blood sugar. Oh and by the way just because diet sodas may have zero calories, they are not an alternative to water. Right Peter?

Never Mind.

2) Protein Bars

The reason protein bars are so high on this list, is because they aren't marketed correctly. These bars should be eaten as meal replacements. If you do not have an opportunity to eat dinner or breakfast, a protein bar can be a huge energy boost as it will provide you the calories you need to continue your day. HOWEVER, they are nothing more than GLORIFIED CANDY BARS. The only redeeming thing you can get out of one of these things is calories and a boost of protein. They are HIGH in sugar, many of them are high in fat, and ALL of them are high in carbohydrates.

What can you get out of a protein bar that you can't get out of a PB&J? NOTHING! You're better off snacking on a hand full of nuts. You will get the calories and protein you need sans all the sugar.

1) Salads at Restaurants

If you're gonna go to a restaurant and you're health conscious, then you probably understand there is not a lot of healthy choices on the menu. One way you think about sparing yourself some calories is by ordering a salad. Then again, you're thinking might be way off.

Oh yeah, there is nothing healthy about salads at restaurants like Chilli's, Friday's, or Applebees. As a matter of fact I'm not too sure you can even call them salads. The terminology I prefer is Gigantic Masses Of Fat And Calories. Don't believe a salad could be that bad for you? Keep reading.

Going South
While Chili's Southwestern Cobb Salad sounds scrumptious, it contains an unappetizing 1080 calories -- and that's before you add the dressing. That's more than half the amount of daily calories recommended for the average person trying to lose -- or even maintain -- weight. While we love a good Cobb salad, for those calories, you could chow down three medium sized slices of cheese pizza.

Et Tu Cesar
Friendly's Chicken Caesar Salad is no healthful mixture of chopped grilled chicken. Doused with three different types of cheese and a fatty Caesar dressing, this order packs a wallop in the form of 1,030 calories and 84 fat grams.

Seafood Salad Slip-Up
A light citrus dressing tops
Macaroni Grill's Seared Sea Scallops Salad, but that doesn't make up for the feta cheese, Parmesan crisps, prosciutto and toasted walnut toppings which add up to 1,170 calories and 94 grams of fat

If you're gonna order a salad at a restaurant because you're trying to be healthy, do yourself a favor and order the dressing on the side. Spare yourself the cheese and bacon bits as well because those ain't helping you lose weight.

Look, eating healthy can be hard work, but it doesn't have to be. Do research on what you are putting in to your body. Don't let food companies or food chains fool you. Don't automatically assume you are eating healthy just because they tell you that you are. Be smart, be cautious, and don't get fooled!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Top 5 Biggest Lies in Fitness

The Fitness industry has done amazing things for our country. It has helped establish the importance of health and wellness. It is however still a business! That means that it will do whatever it can in order to sell its products to the masses, even if that means lying. Let's face facts. This is America people! Can you really expect anyone not to bend the truth a little if it means they could make a little bit of money out of it. So with that in mind, your personal trainer, Christopher Toscano (that's me), is here to erase the myths, clear up the misconceptions, and eradicate 5 of the biggest lies that the fitness industry doesn't want you to know. Now aren't you glad you know me.

5) Fat Burners Work

Sorry Kardashian girls! Fat burners rely completely on hype rather than scientific evidence. The Quicktrim products that are endorsed by the Kardashian sisters are composed of mostly fillers, diuretics(which just make you pee a lot), and their Celluslim formula doesn't actually list any ingredients at all. Many of their formulas have fruits. Ok cool, but fruits don't necessarily promote weight loss. Especially not in pill form. Fat burning pills and formulas only really sell because of celebrity endorsements and the fact that we really desperately want them to work. I'm not going to lie, if there really was a magic pill that we could take that would give us all celebrity bodies, I would take it. Unfortunately something like that doesn't exist, no matter how much Kim and Khloe tell us they do. I know, it's sad, but your just going to have to burn fat the old fashion way, diet and exercise.

A lot of fat burners use caffeine as an appetite suppressant. In the past fat burning pills have even added dangerous ingredients such as ephedrine in order to get results.

4) Online Steroid Stores

Alright guys this one's for you. Old uncle Chris is going to go ahead and save you a little bit of money right here. So you've had it! You have been working out for months and you haven't put on a pound! You might feel fed up. You might feel like you're never going to have the physique that you want! So a crazy thought pops in to your head. What if you took steroids? Sure why not? All your favorite athletes do it (cough cough Lance Armstrong)! Your favorite singers too (cough cough 50 Cent)! So do your favorite tv actors (cough cough Bea Arthur)! Why not give it a try. If you could only bulk up like 25 pounds you'd be rock solid!

So you decide to google "buy steroids" and lo and behold you see hundreds of different sites offering to ship steroids to your door for the low, low, price of $99.95! Sounds like a great way to get juiced right? WRONG!!! Steroids are illegal in the United States of America. If it were this easy to get steroids online don't you think the US government would step in and do something about it. The reason sites like this haven't been shut down is because they don't sell steroids. I know that may have been a shock to your system so I will type it again in caps. ONLINE STEROID SITES DON'T GET SHUT DOWN BECAUSE THEY DON'T SELL STEROIDS!!! The stuff isn't for real. It doesn't really work. I don't know how else I could say it, but just like the fat burners, it's based completely off of hype and not scientific facts.

Look, taking steroids is already a really, really, stupid idea and you are already not too bright for purchasing them, but thinking you can just buy them on any old website and ship them to your house with out the feds noticing is just plain asinine.

Oh and by the way, I know she's passed away recently, but you can't deny the fact that Bea Arthur's legacy has definitely been tainted by performance enhancing drugs. Didn't anybody notice the 35 pounds of muscle she put on between season 2 and 3 of The Golden Girls! All I'm saying is how can you expect shows like the New Adventures of Beans and Baxter and Tour of Duty to even compete against such a roid-powered show? And it didn't stop with the Arthur. Betty White, Rue McClanahan you're all a bunch of needle Juice Apes. There should be a big Asterisk next to this show when we look back at the great Saturday night TV ratings war in the 80's and early 90's. The sad part is how these Roid-Monkeys have destroyed the legacy of Estelle Getty.

Sweet Sophia, you'll always be my favorite Golden Girl.

Of course, when you are performing on such a high level, almost everyone is trying to get an edge.

Remember when Alf bulked up for sweeps week?

3) Gatorade Is Good For You

Ok so this one depends a little bit on what your activity level is. If you are Kevin Garnett playing in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals dunking over anyone in your path Gatorade may be good for you. If you are running the Boston Marathon, a little bit of gatorade is good for you. If you are Adrian Peterson and you just got finished running through a pile of 350 pound NFL lineman for a 75 yard touchdown and you need a drink on the sidelines Gatorade is good for you. If you are Joe Schmoe and you just got off the treadmill at the gym because you're trying to drop ten pounds before summer, Gatorade is NOT good for you.

For the average person with average health and fitness goals gatorade will end up being more of a hinderance than a help to your workout program. Don't believe me? You've been watching too much TV. All you've got to do is read a nutrition label. And lucky for you, I just happened to have one right here!

Ok so 50 calories ain't that bad. Look closer. 4 servings per bottle. That means in one bottle of Gatorade there is 200 calories, 56g of carbs and 56g of sugar. This isn't some super athlete drink. This is fruit juice. And yes I know the label says no fruit juice, but there is a hell of a lot of sugar in this. Most people work out to lose fat. In order to lose fat, you must be at a calorie deficit. If you burn 300 calories after 30 min on the treadmill, and you drank an entire gatorade while you did it, then surprise, surprise, you only lost 100 calories in thirty minutes of exercise. You did in thirty min what you could have done in ten. Good job!

Gatorade. It will make you dunk like Jordan.

Not only that, but take a look at the absurd amount of sodium in one of these. We're talking about 440mg. Sodium (salt or as Gatorade would prefer to call it, electrolytes) causes the cells in your body to retain water, keeping you hydrated if you are partaking in a rigorous exercise activity (i.e. The Super Bowl, NCAA Basketball tournament). While it is important to stay hydrated, too much sodium in your diet can lead to hypertension, which can lead to heart disease. You don't need Gatorade if you are going to the gym to lift weights for an hour. Otherwise, you are just adding calories and an unnecessary amount of sodium to your diet.
Gatorade has benefited over the years from amazing advertising campaigns, but unless your an athlete, it's really no better for you than Hawaiian Punch.

Watch out Morgan Freeman, Lil Wayne might be the new voice over King!

Nice commercial, but the Jabbawockeez kind of kill it at the end though.

Want to drink something healthier try this:

It's Water!

2) Sweat Out the Fat

This is a good one. As a personal trainer I see this all the time. People working out all the time in these giant plastic bags. Once again the this is an example of the fitness industry praying on our lack of knowledge of diet and exercise and our desire for an easier way to burn fat.

I am going to restate something I said earlier in this blog: The only way to lose weight is to be at a calorie deficit. You must burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis. The weight you lose when wearing one of these stupid suits is from water not weight. In short all these things do is dehydrate you and make you sweat out tons of water.

Plus it makes you look like a jackass!

1) Spot Reducing

This is a great one. I see this advertised on basically weight loss commercial and in every add. There is this myth going around that you can lose fat in just your belly, or butt, or just your arms. In actuality no pill you can take, no piece of exercise equipment you can buy, no amount of crunches you can do will ever, E-E-EVVVEEERRR make you lose fat in just your one part of your body.

When you burn fat you actually burn it all over your body at the same time. If you want to lose fat you (get ready for this) have to be at a calorie deficit every single day until you reach your weight loss goals.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hey Guys! Christopher Toscano Here. I'm one of Los Angeles' newest personal trainers. Follow my blog for tons of articles on Health and Fitness. If you've ever wanted a personal trainer, but never felt like you could afford one, then you are in luck. My blog is here to give you advice on how to exercise and eat right in order to create a healthier you! If you are interested in getting a personal trainer and you are in the Los Angeles area, you can train with me at this 24 hour fitness location. For more health and fitness news written by me check out www.dynastyfitness.com or read the official Dynasty Fitness Blog. Thanks for reading and get ready for some great articles. And more of my pasty white chest.