Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brian Featured in the Business Courier

Ask the CEO - Business Courier of Cincinnati
From The November 21, 2008 Issue

QUESTION: What’s the best advice you ever received, and whom did it come from?
Answer: Take action in spite of your fears. Although I’ve heard this many times, Ron Rosselot, a friend and client, shared this in a way that really made an impact.

Q: What kind of work environment do you try to create?
A: We strive to maintain a high-energy, positive and fun workplace. It’s critically important that our staff feels positive, upbeat and excited when working with clients who share our work environment.

Q: How do you approach your job differently than at the beginning of your career?
A: Early in my personal-training career I was primarily a technician, and business growth was based solely upon my ability to service clients. In those early days, I did everything from training clients to cleaning bathrooms. As I realized the limitations to my growth, I steadily transitioned into managerial and leadership roles. Today … I try to delegate everything that is not directly tied to growth.

Q: What’s the toughest decision you have ever had to make as the CEO?
A: The most difficult decision also has been the most rewarding. It has been to grow HealthStyle Fitness through hiring, training and managing trainers. I quickly admit, it was tough because I was thoroughly unprepared to be a leader and was forced to learn quickly on the job.

Q: What might someone from outside your industry be surprised to know?
A: Running a personal fitness-training business is not as glamorous as it may seem. We are a service-based business, and our staff work long and sometimes difficult hours to be available for our clients. I start my day at 2 a.m. Clients arrive as early as 5 a.m., and some don’t leave until 9 p.m. … An absolute love for fitness and people is a must to succeed in this industry.

Q: What’s the best advice you could give a new boss?
A: Create and operate a business based upon systems that cover everything from marketing, sales, human resources, management and leadership to working with clients. Without well-crafted systems, you and your business will be lost in chaos.

Q: What’s the best book you have ever read?
A: It’s a challenge to choose a single book. I would say the self-help book “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, has made a measurable impact on my ability to grow both professionally and personally.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Here's To Your Best Thanksgiving Ever!

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. The day of "giving thanks" offers a great opportunity for reflection on all of the blessings in our lives, we get to share time with the people we love, and, of course, there's lots of tasty food to eat!

Speaking of blessings, I'm incredibly privileged to share my life with my wife, Carolyn, who is not only a wonderful spouse, but an incredible mom, friend and a tremendous support to our family. I am very blessed by my 21 year old son, Justin, and my 2-year old daughter, Kayla, who both keep me smiling and laughing every day and make me feel so honored to be their dad.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd like to share my annual ritual and hope it offers you the same energy, enthusiasm and connection to those you care deeply for.

1. Workout on Thanksgiving morning! There is nothing better than getting in a nice "turkey trot" the morning before the feast gets started. Better yet, engage the entire family and enjoy some "sweat time" together. Your mental, emotional and physical energy will soar and you'll feel less guilty when you do indulge in the big meal.

2. Have a "Burn the Bird" workout on Friday morning before you hit the malls! There's no better way to ramp up your energy, burn up some Thanksgiving calories and feel great again than a workout first thing Friday morning after the eating fest of the previous day.

3. Eat "healthy" before the big meal! Thanksgiving is often filled with lots of alcohol, appetizers and food. It's no secret that weight gain comes from taking in more calories than you burn off. If you eat a "healthy" snack or meal a few hours before the feast, you'll overeat a lot less when the relatives are going back for seconds and thirds.

4. Write down 10 things you're thankful for! This is one of my favorite rituals because it's so powerful in directing how you feel. When you take a moment out of your busy and often hectic life to become quite and think of all the blessings in your life, you'll soon discover how rich you truly are. Once I get a few things I'm grateful for in my mind, I quickly discover many, many more things that I often forget that I'm incredibly appreciative about. This is a great way to start Thanksgiving!

5. Enjoy the food! Remember, Thanksgiving is only one day, so relax your "healthy" rules and enjoy the day. Remember, if you're exercising and eating right consistently, you can't get fat in a day!! And if you're looking for a Thanksgiving Survival Guide, click the link below to discover how you can eliminate 1500 calories on Thanksgiving and still enjoy great tasting food!

Click here for your Thanksgiving Survival Guide!

Thank you for being a part of my life!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your friend in fitness,
Brian Calkins - Cincinnati's HealthStyle Fitness, Inc

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Healthy Gravy for the Big Meal...

Yesterday I shared a recipe for mashed sweet potatoes. Today, we're making over your gravy. Believe me when I say that I like real foods, and not some imitation junk that "you have to get used to" -- if you have to get used to a flavor, why eat it?!

So this gravy doesn't skimp on flavor, just on calories and fat. Typically 1/2 cup gravy adds another 100 or so calories and 5ish grams of fat. This doesn't sound like a lot, but remember yesterday, when we talked about the 4000 calories or so Thanksgiving often delivers. And if you thought homemade gravy was healthy, don't forget about all those drippings (which are at least 50% fat) that are used for flavor…

I’m not about taking your favorite foods away…remember, this is an option if you want to prepare a bit more healthy-friendly Thanksgiving meal. I’ll be in South Carolina with Carolyn’s (my wife) parents…and with their southern influence upon cooking, I’ll be consuming most of the bad stuff for that day, which admittedly tastes so good!! But we always have options…

Here goes:

1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water

Make the gravy: Skim off the fat from the drippings -- this is easiest if you're pour the drippings into a measuring cup, put into the freezer, where the fat will rise to the top and you can skim it off. Add the drippings back into the roasting pan, with the apple cider, 1/2 cup chicken stock, vinegar and sage.

Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by 1/3. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 minutes more. The gravy should not be thick, just slightly thicker than au jus. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Makes 1 1/2 cups gravy.

Double, triple, or quadruple the ingredients for larger parties.

This recipe has a great flavor, yet not as many calories or fat as "traditional" gravy (and it's a cinch to make)!

Another great way to get Thanksgiving started is to workout first thing in the morning. We have a group that is meeting to run or walk the Thanksgiving Day Race, a great way to create a calorie deficit before the big meal. If you would like to join in the fun and burn up some calories, send an email and we'll have Leigh organize a group walk/run that morning.

Click here to learn more about the 99th Annual Thanksgiving Day Race

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins - Cincinnati's HealthStyle Fitness, Inc

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiday Survival Guide

Okay, I got a great question over the weekend from a client who listened to the nutrition webcast Thursday of last week. She asked:

Q: I saw a commercial that said the average Thanksgiving meal would take 20 miles of running to burn off the calories. Is this true? How could it be? That would be equivalent to a whole month of working out.

A: Fantastic question, which starts off our Holiday Survival Guide this week. First of all, we burn A LOT more calories in a month of working compared to running 20 miles. Running works the heart rate, our training not only makes your heart work at intense levels, but also requires multiple muscles to work simultaneously against resistance. So, you burn A LOT more calories! And I hate to disappoint you and everyone else, but to be honest, an "average" Thanksgiving meal would actually be more like 40 miles of running...just to break even!!

Yes, it's true. It is suggested that on average, Americans consume approximately 4000 calories at the Thanksgiving table - between appetizers, dinner, dessert, alcohol, seconds, thirds, etc! You burn approximately 100 calories per mile when running (variables include pace and size of the runner), so that means 1 1/2 marathons later, you'll be at square one. See what we mean when we say you can easily "out eat your exercise?"

First, here's how to take Thanksgiving on head first. First, PLAN AHEAD!

Remember, Thanksgiving is always on the 4th Thursday in November, so don't tell us it "just snuck up on you" like we so often hear.

Planning ahead means getting some exercise in that morning! Plan to participate in the annual Thanksgiving Day Race (you can run or walk…or even a combination of both) before the big meal! I know several clients will be out there doing it next Thursday. You all can meet as a group and enjoy the great company. If you would like to join in the fun and burn up some calories, send an email and we'll have Leigh organize a group walk/run that morning.

Click here to learn more about the 99th Annual Thanksgiving Day Race

Next, think of a plan of attack. If you're cooking, check out some healthier recipes. Eating Well and Clean Eating both have great Thanksgiving menus to try - without sacrificing taste. And I’m not suggesting you have to eat Tofurky (well, unless you want that). Or you can try the recipe below for a healthier way to make a traditional dish (I’ll share a new dish each day this week to allow you to build a complete and healthy meal).

Now there are two schools of thought on Holiday eating. I’ve followed both approaches in my 20 years of striving to eat quality food consistently.

Healthy School of Thought 1: Simply understand that there are some holidays and special occasions where you’re going to “indulge” in the traditions and enjoy some food that you know isn’t the healthiest in the world. That’s okay! Provided you’re consistently exercising AND consistently eating quality foods, you can’t get fat in a day! Heck, you’ve earned the right to indulge at Thanksgiving!! I tend to favor this school of thought at this stage of my life. Click here to read “Calories and Weight Loss”.

Healthy School of Thought 2: Just simply modify your holiday meals by making them better choices. And if you decide to make these modifications, below is our first recipe for Thanksgiving dinner.

It's common for a lot of people to make Candied Sweet Potatoes with marshmallows – but the recipe below saves over 100 calories per serving when compared to "traditional" candied sweet potatoes, and if you also use it in place of the mashed potatoes, meaning you kill two birds with one stone, all in all, you just saved about 400 calories and 15-20 grams of fat. Not bad, huh? See, Thanksgiving CAN taste great and actually be pretty healthy.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), peeled and cut into a large dice
1/4 cup buttermilk, warmed slightly
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional

Directions
Steam the potatoes in a large covered pan fitted with a steamer basket until they are tender, about 8 minutes. In a large bowl mash the potatoes with the buttermilk and orange juice. Stir in the zest, salt, and nutmeg. Serve the potatoes topped with the butter, if desired.

Your friend in fitness,
Brian Calkins - Cincinnati's HealthStyle Fitness, Inc

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

5 Holiday Nutrition Tips

You surely have heard the media stories about weight gain during the holiday "season." What is the holiday "season" anyhow? Last I checked, Thanksgiving is one day, Christmas is 1 day, Kwanzaa is 7 days and Hanukah is 8. But there's this 6 week "season" that everyone refers to which prods them to throw their health & fitness right out the window!

It's craziness!

Sounds like a little planning is the key! Here's a tip to help -- Thanksgiving will again be on a Thursday this year, Christmas on December 25th.

There you have it - now I don't want to hear that they just "snuck up on you." :)

Think about this. If you have a goal to lose weight, you can start RIGHT NOW and by December 31, 2008 (nearly 6 weeks away), you can lose up to 12 lbs!! Or, on the flipside, you can gain the 3-7 lbs most Americans do during this time and then be behind the 8 ball come January 1st and working as hard as you can to make up for lost time. Which would you rather do?

Maybe your goal isn't to lose weight, but to run in an upcoming race. Cross training will only help improve your running and your health because of the different muscles used - and it's also a great way to break up the monotony.

So what can you do during this holiday season to maintain or improve upon what you've worked so diligently to achieve?

Of course, regular exercise is a great start.

Making time for it is the other important piece to the puzzle--time is tight, stress is high, and exercise usually goes right to the back burner. The no excuse hour is there for a reason.

Eating is the other side of the equation, which is weighted more heavily, particularly now with the parties, desserts, treats, family gatherings, etc.

These 5 tips will help you make smarter nutrition decisions:

1. Prepare your own dish if going to a party. This way you have complete control over what you're eating.
2. Plan ahead -- Pack meals ahead of time. Oh yeah, and schedule your exercise, like any other important appointment.
3. Always have fruit/veggies on hand. We can't eat enough of these healthy snacks and they also help fill you, so it's a win win for you.
4. Put the candy and nut dishes away. When food is out in plain sight, you'll eat it. Everyone will. We've seen it in research. We've seen it in the real world.
5. Enjoy the foods that are the greatest traditional foods rather than filling up on the everyday type items. If you can only get grandma's stuffing once a year, by all means eat it. But then pass on the store bought rolls you could have any old day of the week.
6. OK, OK -- I said 5, but I couldn't hold back. Get your exercise done in the morning so it's out of the way!

And, lastly, here are 5 healthy holiday gifts to ask for -- from stocking stuffers to more "serious" gifts.

1. A subscription to a favorite healthy cooking magazine.
2. A favorite exercise video.
3. Fruit baskets -- Edible Arrangements is a favorite of mine (these work wonders for offices or clients, too). http://www.ediblearrangements.com/
4. Exercise clothing -- nothing says I love you like giving/asking for clothing for someone to be active and take care of themselves in.
5. Adventure Boot Camp -- and nothing says I love you even more than a Gift Certificate to Adventure Boot Camp! If you'd like to "drop a hint" to your husband, boyfriend, partner, or friend, send the following link along:

Click Here for Adventure Boot Camp Gift Certificates!

Next week, I'll share some tips to make your Thanksgiving the best ever as well as send you an invitation for you to join us for a special "Burn the Bird" Boot Camp workout on Friday after Thanksgiving!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins - Cincinnati's HealthStyle Fitness, Inc