Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Here's Your Chance to WIN BIG!

Please synchronize watches...


Right now there are 4794 people receiving this via email, twitter or facebook...


And after much anticipation and excitement, we're announcing how you can WIN some serious loot.

================ THE FREE STUFF ================


  • ONE FULL YEAR of Training 3 days/week ($4450 value!) 
  • SIX months of Training 3 days/week ($2225 value!) 
  • THREE months of Training 3 days/week ($1112 value!)
Let me first just touch on what you have to do here to win any of those incredible prizes...


It's the first ever 12-Week HealthStyle Fitness Transformation Contest.


You see ... the New Year is upon us. And while the idea is to commit to improving yourself in important areas...


...we know from experience if you don't have a plan, expert guidance, and a system for brining those changes into reality...


…it just doesn't happen.


But YOU have the opportunity to change all that and, instead, get in THE BEST SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE - start 2010 on cloud 9.


Sounds good, right? Click HERE for all the details to be part of this incredible contest.


Hopefully you're still reading ... because here's the BONUS part that the staff twisted my arm to add in.


*** 1st 10 people to register: Will get Dr. Christopher Mohr's HOTTEST SELLING DVD, Is Your Grocery Store Making You Fat - How to Shop Smart to Shed Pounds ($34.97 value)


*** 1st 3 people registered: You'll get the "goodies above" PLUS you'll get 20 downloadable iPod workouts that you can use when you travel, or anytime you need an extra butt kicking workout! ($97 value)


*** 1st person in the contest: You'll get everything above plus you'll get a FULL month of Total Fitness Makeover workouts here at HealthStyle Fitness with one of our trainers. You can use these 20 sessions ANY time you like...and there's no expiration date! Now we're up to a $460+ value.


Now it makes sense to jump on this quickly because you are one of 4794 people getting this email ... and you all get the "green light" to be part of the contest RIGHT NOW.


It's a pretty safe bet these bonus packages will NOT last long.


Go to http://www.cincinnatifitness.com /2010-Transformation.html to get the details and register. Your transformation starts on Monday, January 11th!


Can't wait to see your success in 12 weeks!!


Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spare Tire, Be Gone

At the start of the holiday season, I told you a little about cortisol – the stress hormone. That’s the chemical our bodies release when we’re coping with unusual pressure. It creates a fight-or-flight response, which then signals our bodies to hang onto our fat stores just in case they’re needed for the battle or famine ahead. Despite the progression of our society (famine is hardly a worry for those of us in this country), our bodies’ core responses haven’t changed much over the millennia. And that, my friends, is why ongoing stress is a major contributor to that ring of fat around the middle commonly called the “spare tire.”

While the holidays are coming into the home stretch, it’s still a great time to think about how we can reduce our stress level throughout the year. Our culture is one that thrives on a “more is more” philosophy – we wear our busyness and our consumption like a badge, always eager to add one more activity or responsibility to our already-overloaded plate. Here are a few ways to lessen that load, lower your cortisol levels and lose that spare tire for once and for all.

  • “Yes” is a four-letter word. Well, not really, but it might as well be. If you tend to say yes to everything that’s asked of you, chances are you’re exhausted, burned out and less-than-pleasant for the people who mean the most to you. You’ve also likely been targeted by those among us who like to dump their own responsibilities on people they know are too “nice” to say no. So say it with me: NO. If you can’t bring yourself to immediately say no to requests that overwhelm you, learn to ask for time to check your schedule. Then think about it – do you REALLY want to do this? What will you have to sacrifice to get it done? Then make your decision accordingly. Saying “No” to a request or invitation every once in a while will give you something I bet you haven’t had in years: a little bit of free time.
  • Walk it off. When life gets so out of control that your head is spinning, head outside or to the gym to work it out. Even a short walk around the block will defuse your stress and provide a fresh point of view from which to move forward.
  • Take time to breathe. As simple as it sounds, breath is life. There’s a reason why yoga is so popular – it forces people to slow down and truly breathe, which then helps them reconnect with their inner balance. When your stress level is zooming upwards, force yourself to take deep breaths and get centered again. You’ll calm your heart rate and get body- and brain-boosting oxygen flowing.
  • Prioritize, and then cut yourself a break. Be nice to yourself! You’re the only self you’ve got. If your to-do list is too long, look at it and ask yourself honestly what has to be done RIGHT NOW. Then accomplish those things, and leave the rest to another day.
  • Cut the butts. Obviously cigarettes are a habit you should’ve kicked long ago. But if you haven’t, consider that in addition to its already considerable negative effect on your health, nicotine also acts as a stimulant and can bring on or exacerbate stress symptoms.
  • Make a new list. Many of us keep lengthy to-do lists to keep us on track. Add a new twist to your list: at the end of each day, list your accomplishments. Get your workout in? Check. Bills paid? Check. Provided healthy meals, met deadlines, didn’t forget anyone’s soccer practice or homework? Check, check and check. Seeing how much you got done over the course of the day will boost your self-esteem and make you feel readier to tackle tomorrow’s tasks.
Here's to a reduced stress Holiday Season ... and your best year yet in 2010!

Are you ready to transform you health, fitness and develop the body of your dreams in January?  Click here for an exclusive, early-bird sneak-peek into a Results Guaranteed 12-week fitness challenge!!

Your friend in fitness,
Brian Calkins


HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Moment on the Lips, Forever on the Hips

I've written a lot lately about how good nutrition is ALWAYS important to your overall health and fitness plan, no matter how hard or how much you exercise.

Even if you're training for a marathon, you will not see a leaner version of yourself emerge if you use that tough physical regimen as an excuse to eat whatever you want.

It's one of the most common pitfalls people encounter: we're working out more, which can make us hungrier (and therefore more susceptible to the siren call of the Twinkie), and we begin to rationalize; we've burned all these calories and worked so hard, haven't we earned the right to reward ourselves with dessert every night? It's only a LITTLE cheesecake.

The truth is, occasional treats are ok; A diet that is completely devoid of the foods you love is a diet you're quickly going to abandon.

The trouble starts when we confuse "sometimes" foods with the healthy choices that should comprise the majority of our meals - and we don't even realize it. Lucky for us, there are plenty of ways to stop ourselves from sabotaging our hard work.

  • Dear Diary - A food journal never fails to be a major eye-opener. If you want to see just how often you are indulging in "sometimes" foods and figure out the triggers that make you most susceptible, write down every single thing you put in your mouth for one week. Get a small notebook and carry it around so you don't miss anything. That teeny piece of Halloween candy? It counts. The bites you snuck off the kids' chicken nuggets? Those too. It all adds up, and at the end of a week you will see where your diet needs tweaking. Also write down the times and circumstances under which you're noshing so you get an idea of those triggers. Are you eating healthfully right up until bedtime, and then craving sweets? Or is "tasting" dinner as you get it ready your pattern? Maybe you'll find that you need a salty snack when you're under stress - identifying the things that make you indulge is half the battle. Once you know your triggers, you can see them coming and head them off at the pass with a little creative strategizing.
  • Weighing in on Portion Control - Ever read labels to see how big a serving actually is? Too often our eyes are bigger than our metabolism, and we are eating for more than a single serving. For example, that "single" bag of Cheetos you buy at Speedway likely contains three servings - meaning you're consuming three times the fat and calorie content you think you are. At home, your best tool to help you understand portions is a food scale. If a serving of chicken is three ounces, weigh your piece to make sure what's on your plate matches what's in your head.
  • A Stitch in Time - To keep yourself on track, don't leave room for chance. Plan your meals ahead of time and stick to them. Before you go to the grocery, figure out what you're going to eat at each meal and snack for the next week. Then list the ingredients you need and buy only those items so temptation doesn't lurk in your pantry and everything you need for healthful meals is at your fingertips. Hang your meal plan up in the kitchen and FOLLOW IT!
  • Plan for a Pinch - Sometimes we just don't have the time to prepare a full meal. Here's where it's easiest to stray - you're in a hurry, you're starving, and a trip through the drive-thru sounds perfect. To stay out of the danger zone, keep quick healthy foods handy. Carry an energy bar in your pocket (check the sugar content), keep lowfat cottage cheese in the refrigerator at work and top it with fresh fruit and a half cup of whole grain cereal, and have whole grain breads, nuts, low fat meats like turkey and sliced tomatoes ready to make a quick sandwich.
  • A Winning Strategy - Now that you know your triggers, how can you combat them? Try chewing a piece of sugar-free gum when that 3 p.m. sugar jones hits. Put leftovers in the fridge immediately after dinner to prevent picking, and then brush your teeth - that clean feeling in your mouth helps ward off the desire for a bedtime snack.
Eating well isn't rocket science - it's just planning, a little willpower at first, then the new habits begin to take shape (as you start to enjoy YOUR new shape). I know you can do it!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bengals Commercial on Thursday at 4:30PM...

You are invited to join us for the filming of a Bengals commercial with Bootsy Collins & Shayne Graham as part of a charity event to support the 216 Foundation (http://www.the216foundation.org/).

We need people for the commercial to fill in and "tailgate" behind Bootsy & Shayne - if you can attend, please wear your Orange and Black!

Meeting at Longworth Hall at 4:30pm on Thursday.

Please confirm by clicking here!(Thank you Amy Haddix for the Opportunity!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Does Fruit Make You Fat?

Last week I took a trip out to California for a 4 day conference.

And while in flight I was counting on finishing a great book, Life's Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard, one of the guys presenting at the conference.

I only had a few chapters to go - and I was deeply entrenched in this novel about a near death experience and getting a second chance at life.

But of course I had the seat next to a real chatter box. A very sweet woman, but a talker for sure!

Hey, I love people and can chat it up with the best of them, but sometimes you get on a plane and all you want to do is keep to yourself, or in this case I REALLY wanted to finish this book to see how it ends.

So partly out of politeness, and partly because I really like to talk to people, Ellen and I chatted it up! FOR THE ENTIRE FIVE HOUR FLIGHT!

And of course, the question comes up, "so, Brian, what do you do?"

Personal Trainer.

And that just opened up the flood gates . . .

"Well, Brian, you know I work out at the gym 2 days per week . . ."

Then the story goes on..."but I can't get rid of this ________ " (fill in the blank, I've heard it all, but in this case Ellen was squeezing her inner thigh).

I love the opportunity to help others. But I often feel in a casual conversation with a stranger they just want the quick & easy answer like, "yes ma'am, if you use the thigh master your legs are gonna slim down and be sexy again".

People tell me the best way to lose weight is walking.

Some say it's sprinting.

I've read recently from a very well circulated magazine that exercise DOES NOT work for weight loss.

And on the same trip last week I overheard two girlfriends debating whether fruit makes you fat. Ironically, the woman whose stance was that a banana contains sugar and will lead to her friend gaining weight was eating a blueberry muffin (a really BIG one with 4 times the sugar in the banana)!

Go figure.

I could go on for hours with stories of how to lose weight.

We are so mislead in the country!!! Eating fruit makes us fat?

Special Note to America: Fruits and Veggies Aren't Making Us Fat!!!!

Over eating makes us fat.

Hey, it's entirely possible to lose weight eating Skyline, LaRosa's, McDonalds AND Chipotle.

I don't recommend it, but we really COULD lose weight as long as we burn more calories than our fast food diet!!

Ocho Cinco is a perfect example of someone who's super fit, extremely lean, and lives on McDonalds.

Is it healthy? Of course not. But he's fit and lean because he burns a ton of calories 6 days per week.

I recently dropped 10 pounds in an effort to become a more efficient runner.

This past weekend I celebrated my 1-year anniversary of structured running, and I'm enjoying it way more than I anticipated when I initially set a goal to complete a marathon at age 40.

So for me, I know I'll achieve that goal of running 26.2 miles if I'm just a bit lighter.

In fact, I've stumbled upon Quercetin, a nutrient dense compound of antioxidants that has provided a significant boost to my energy and metabolism. It's helped my running SIGNIFICANTLY. Loads of research on this stuff that's endorsed by Lance Armstrong.

Why do I share this with you?

Only because I want to provide every single resource that I know of to support you on your journey to optimal health, fitness and wellbeing. If I believe in it, you're going to know about it!!

I'm not sure exactly why taking Quercetin has suppressed my appetite, though.

I suspect it's the fact that I'm putting the nutritional equivalent of 40 apples and dark colored berries into my body with each serving.

See, when we put the right stuff in, our bodies are satiated, they are satisfied. When we put the junk in (processed foods, bleached, enriched ingredients, sugar, trans-fats, etc), the body essentially tells us it needs additional feedings in an attempt to get the better quality nutrients - and often we over eat. Which is why it's nearly impossible to lose weight on the fast food diet.

America is overfed, yet under nourished.

I will NEVER endorse a food or supplement that I first haven't researched and personally found noticeable benefit in my own experience. Quercetin is the FIRST supplement I've ever stood behind, aside from a meal replacement shake or multivitamin.

And likewise, I think what Lance Armstrong stands for (eliminating cancer) speaks for itself in terms of his endorsement of Quercetin.

There was a really cool article on FRS (Quercetin) recently . . .

You can read it here!

Have a GREAT Thursday!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

Facebook Twitter Newsletter

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Does Eating Fruit Make You Fat?

Last week I took a trip out to California for a 4 day conference.

And while in flight I was counting on finishing a great book, Life's Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard, one of the guys presenting at the conference.

I only had a few chapters to go - and I was deeply entrenched in this novel about a near death experience and getting a second chance at life.

But of course I had the seat next to a real chatter box. A very sweet woman, but a talker for sure!

Hey, I love people and can chat it up with the best of them, but sometimes you get on a plane and all you want to do is keep to yourself, or in this case I REALLY wanted to finish this book to see how it ends.

So partly out of politeness, and partly because I really like to talk to people, Ellen and I chatted it up!

FOR THE ENTIRE FIVE HOUR FLIGHT!

And of course, the question comes up, "so, Brian, what do you do?"

Personal Trainer.

And that just opened up the flood gates . . .

"Well, Brian, you know I work out at the gym 2 days per week . . ."

Then the story goes on..."but I can't get rid of this ________ " (fill in the blank, I've heard it all, but in this case Ellen was squeezing her inner thigh).

I love the opportunity to help others. But I often feel in a casual conversation with a stranger they just want the quick & easy answer like, "yes ma'am, if you use the thigh master your legs are gonna slim down and be sexy again".

People tell me the best way to lose weight is walking.

Some say it's sprinting.

I've read recently from a very well circulated magazine that exercise DOES NOT work for weight loss.

And on the same trip last week I overheard two girlfriends debating whether fruit makes you fat. Ironically, the woman whose stance was that a banana contains sugar and will lead to her friend gaining weight was eating a blueberry muffin (a really BIG one with 4 times the sugar in the banana)!

Go figure.

I could go on for hours with stories of how to lose weight.

We are so mislead in the country!!! Eating fruit makes us fat?

Special Note to America: Fruits and Veggies Aren't Making Us Fat!!!!

Over eating makes us fat.

Hey, it's entirely possible to lose weight eating Skyline, LaRosa's, McDonalds AND Chipotle.

I don't recommend it, but we really COULD lose weight as long as we burn more calories than our fast food diet!!

Ocho Cinco is a perfect example of someone who's super fit, extremely lean, and lives on McDonalds.

Is it healthy? Of course not. But he's fit and lean because he burns a ton of calories 6 days per week.

I recently dropped 10 pounds in an effort to become a more efficient runner.

This past weekend I celebrated my 1-year anniversary of structured running, and I'm enjoying it way more than I anticipated when I initially set a goal to complete a marathon at age 40.

So for me, I know I'll achieve that goal of running 26.2 miles if I'm just a bit lighter.

In fact, I've stumbled upon Quercetin, a nutrient dense compound of antioxidants that has provided a significant boost to my energy and metabolism. It's helped my running SIGNIFICANTLY. Loads of research on this stuff that's endorsed by Lance Armstrong.

Why do I share this with you?

Only because I want to provide every single resource that I know to support you on your journey toward optimal health, fitness and wellbeing. If I believe in it, you're going to know about it!

I'm not sure exactly why taking Quercetin has suppressed my appetite, though. I suspect it's the fact that I'm putting the nutritional equivalent of 40 apples and dark colored berries into my body with each serving.

See, when we put the right stuff in, our bodies are satiated, they are satisfied. When we put the junk in (processed foods, bleached, enriched ingredients, sugar, trans-fats, etc), the body essentially tells us it needs additional feedings in an attempt to get the better quality nutrients - and often we over eat. Which is why it's nearly impossible to lose weight on the fast food diet.

America is overfed, yet under nourished.

I will NEVER endorse a food or supplement that I first haven't researched and personally found noticeable benefit in my own experience. Quercetin is the FIRST supplement I've ever stood behind, aside from a meal replacement shake or multivitamin.

And likewise, I think what Lance Armstrong stands for (eliminating cancer) speaks for itself in terms of his endorsement of Quercetin.

There was a really cool article on FRS (Quercetin) & its benefits recently . . . You can read it here!

Have a GREAT Thursday!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

Facebook Twitter Newsletter

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

What's Your Favorite Cincinnati Food?

Skyline, LaRosa's, Montgomery Inn, Graeter's! We love our Cincinnati favorites!

But are they good for you?

Well, you know the answer to that.

And that doesn't mean you can NEVER have them!

I'm not some extremist personal trainer who says we need to eat a 100% clean diet all the time. Hey, I enjoy my favorite foods on occasion too!

Yes, moderation is the key.

If you're striving for a healthy, lean, highly functional body that'll serve you well after your retirement age, then we must eat the right foods most of the time. There's no way around it.

I love the 90/10 Rule. Eat clean 90% of the time, enjoy your favorite foods 10%.

Yet in our overfed, under nourished culture, that can be challenging!

Tomorrow I'll share with you one strategy I use to stay on target with my ideal body weight!

But today . . .

Click here to see how long it'll take you "walk off" your favorite Cincinnati meal!

Here's to a Healthy & Fit Fall!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

Facebook Twitter Newsletter

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Link Between Fitness and Success...

It's no mystery to successful people that there is direct correlation between sound health & fitness and success in their career and personal lives. Take a moment to recall a successful person you know and they likely show up at the health club consistently, are part of a fitness boot camp program, work with a personal trainer, or get up a few minutes early for a heart elevating morning run. Successful people like to jump start their day with an abundance of energy and the feel-good endorphins that exercise offers. Recent studies identify the direct correlation between fitness and success.

Better ability to focus, improved confidence and enhanced ability to follow through were directly attributed to improved fitness levels according to a 2007 University of Georgia study. Further, a leading executive search company surveyed more than 1,300 executives who earn $100,000 or more annually. When asked to describe their perceptions of weight and work, 75 percent said good physical fitness is "critical for career success at the executive level." Seventeen percent, by contrast, said staying in shape is "a nice goal, but secondary to fiscal fitness."The founder and CEO of that executive search firm said, "Good physical fitness is critical to success as an executive in today's work world. The days of a little extra padding being a sign of maturity and success are gone.'' When asked about obesity, 75% of executives said that being overweight is a "serious career impediment."

Do these responses reflect our obsession with weight loss and mirror the constant barrage of skinny images in popular culture? Probably not. Rather, there is a very strong link between improved fitness and increase productivity, enhanced ability to solve problems, superior stamina & energy, not to mention reduced stress and fatigue, all leading to better job performance.It goes well beyond looking good. Fit people tend to have better eating habits and miss fewer days at work due to a higher resistance to illness. And with competition continually increasing in every industry, companies are now rewarding employees and managers who miss less work and produce more.

A study by Jim McKenna, a British researcher, showed that after exercising participants returned to work more tolerant of themselves and more forgiving of their colleagues. The study goes on to conclude that “work performance was consistently higher, time management skills improved, as did mental sharpness”.All it takes is investing 3 – 4 sessions a week, 30-60 minutes each, to experience these benefits. Combine strength training and cardiovascular exercise, along with sound nutrition to rev up your mental sharpness, enhance your productivity, elevate your mood, better manage stress and simply feel good. As your fitness level increases, likely your position on the ladder of success will too!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Exercise, Nutrition and Personal Responsibility: An Unbeatable Combination

The August 9 issue of TIME Magazine featured a prominent article that made my hackles rise. Titled “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin,” it was a four page expose on the “myth” that exercise and weight loss are inextricably tied. Au contraire, the article claims: actually, tough regular workouts are more likely to make you GAIN weight, not lose it, because vigorous exercisers are more likely to overcompensate for calorie burn by eating high-fat foods, and more likely to be tired and more sedentary throughout the rest of the day. Backed up by numerous studies and anecdotal evidence, the story actually made a pretty good case for its theory. And surprisingly, I agree with its overall premise: that workouts work up an appetite, and if we allow that appetite to control us, or use the calories we burned through exercise as justification for making poor food choices, weight gain becomes a very high probability. Just take a look at your average group of runners training for a marathon: great legs, amazing cardiovascular fitness – and big old guts hanging over their running shorts. Plenty of exercise and calorie burn, and plenty of beer drinking and cheese fries to make up for it. They’re fit all right, but they’re far from achieving an ideal, healthy body.

But. (You knew there was a “but”, right?)

My real issue with the article is that it takes personal accountability out of the equation. You KNOW that you cannot maintain a healthy, highly functional and energized body when you are eating candy and Big Macs on a regular basis, no matter how hard you work out. You KNOW that a Starbucks muffin (as referenced in the article) has upwards of 500 calories, and that it is not an appropriate reward for a great run. Is a tough workout going to make you hungry? Of course it will; that’s physiology. But you are not a prisoner to your cravings; you DO have the ability to make choices that will nourish your body AND eliminate cravings for the wrong foods. Replenish with lean turkey or fish, or a refreshing protein shake, or a handful of almonds. Fuel your body with whole grains & sufficient fiber. Guzzle water to quench your thirst, not sugar-laden Gatorade, pop or “energy drinks” that lead to a massive crash later. THINK about your options, THINK about the hard work you just did for yourself and don’t negate it by making poor choices afterward.

Further, TIME is correct in its assertion that working out too hard (for your current fitness level) will cause you to become more sedentary throughout the rest of the day (and the next, if you’re really killing it.) But again, the solution is common sense. Don’t work out that hard. You don’t have to train like you’re headed for the Ironman (unless of course you ARE headed for the Ironman.) If you’re working out to the point that you can’t move afterward, that's silly. Challenge yourself, but make sure you enjoy your workout and don’t use them as an excuse to take the elevator for two floors instead of the stairs. Again, you do have the ability to make the choices that will lead to a healthier body.

The last thing our overfed, undernourished, sedentary culture needs is another excuse to stay glued to the couch, especially from such a well-read, well-respected publication. More than two-thirds of our country is overweight or obese because we move less and consume more. Period. The bottom line is this: exercise and good nutrition ARE inextricably intertwined, and making good choices in both areas will lead to weight loss, better health, enhanced mental, emotional and psychological well-being. I see it every day as our clients reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Remember this mantra: Exercise changes the shape of your body; nutrition changes the size.

A side note:

The American College of Sports Medicine released a statement last Friday saying it takes "strong exception" to the Time story's conclusions. "Physical activity is one of the most important behavioral factors in enhancing weight loss maintenance and improving long-term weight loss outcomes," said John Jakicic, who chairs the ACSM's committee on obesity prevention.

One expert quoted in the Time piece, Dr. Timothy Church, said his professional opinions were misrepresented, according to the ACSM statement.

Another ACSM member, Dr. Janet Rankin, said: "A practical response to the claim that exercise makes you eat more and gain weight is to look around. If this were the case, wouldn't those who regularly exercise be the fattest? Obviously, that isn't the case."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Pound of Cure: Is it Worth the Ounce of Prevention?

If there’s one thing at the center of every political conversation right now, it’s healthcare. What’s wrong with it, what needs to be done to fix it, who has it, who needs it, who’s going to pay for it? There is nothing more central to every single American’s well-being than the critical importance of access to competent, affordable, timely healthcare for all. It’s literally a life or death situation.

One element of the healthcare debate that has caught my personal interest is the discussion of whether preventive care is worth the cost. Many healthcare reform advocates sound the preventive (or “wellness”) care gong: that prevention, often in the form of education and incentive programs, rather than treatment of diseases, is the way to go to ultimately reign in escalating healthcare costs for an aging and the increasingly unhealthy population. On the other side of that fence is the argument that financially, the answer is no.

To borrow from a recent Associated Press article: Mrs. Jones is a hypothetical 55-year-old obese woman at risk for diabetes. It costs $900 a year to hire a personal coach to help her lose weight and overhaul her lifestyle to prevent it. Let’s say that coaching works for Mrs. Jones and she embarks upon a healthy new life free of diabetes, never incurring the need to pay for treatment. But for every person like Mrs. Jones, there are six more for whom coaching is ineffective, and they develop diabetes anyway, or never would have developed it in the first place. Their prevention programs cost a total of $5400, likely more than Mrs. Jones’ bills for diabetes treatment would have amounted to.

The numbers show that it’s cheaper to treat the disease – including preventable ones like hypertension, heart disease and diabetes – than it is to give patients the information, tools and support they need to prevent it. And while prevention leads to longer, healthier, happier lives for the individuals involved – no doubt a common goal for most of us – it’s likely that our government will have to take a hard look at what it takes to do the right thing, versus doing the financially responsible thing. Their ultimate decision may be friendlier to our budgets, but with nearly 70 percent of health costs and deaths attributable to smoking, obesity and preventable health problems, we may not be around long enough to enjoy the extra cash.

So what can we do? We can accept personal responsibility for our choices and their impact on our health. The government and even our doctors can’t bail us out here; if we choose to eat fat, chemical and preservative-laden foods and lead sedentary lives, we can’t hold anyone accountable but ourselves. It’s your body; you CAN control how you treat it, and save yourself a boatload in healthcare costs down the road – not to mention live long enough to enjoy your grandchildren and your retirement years. You don’t have to hire a personal coach, or make sweeping, intimidating changes all at once – just change one thing.

Just for today, choose to enjoy a glass of water instead of that mid-day Mountain Dew. Park a few blocks away from the office instead of in the garage, or take the steps instead of the elevator. Share a relaxing post-dinner walk and conversation with your significant other or your kids instead of vegging in front of the tube. Tomorrow, choose to make TWO new, healthier choices. Before you know it, YOU are the captain of your body’s destiny, and it’s headed in a direction that looks pretty dang healthy.

Your friend in fitness,
Brian Calkins

Facebook Twitter Newsletter

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can You Out Run McDonald's?

Before we get into out-running McDonald's, let's first examine what a calorie is...

Is it...

  1. The thing on the side of a food package?
  2. I don't know, but cookies have a lot and fruit doesn't.
  3. A measurement of heat?
Really, all of the above, but most people simply know if something has 'a lot' or 'a little' amount of calories.

But with that said, all calories aren't created equal.

While 100 calories is 100 calories -- there's a big difference between 100 calories from soda and 100 calories from an apple.

Make sense?

So when it comes to losing unwanted body fat, and fueling the body for optimum health and energy, we need to focus on overall calories, but then we also need to focus on the quality of those calories.

Quantity AND quality of foods is important.

It's not enough to cut calories and live off prepackaged dinners and 100 calorie snack packs. Yes, you can lose weight, but since you want it to be permanent and a lifestyle you can lead forever, packaged processed food void of quality nutrients is not the best approach.

Instead, learn to read food labels.

Learn the amount of calories in your favorite foods (PER SERVING, not per bag or per box) ... then make smart decisions.

Is THIS food worth it?

Sometimes that answer is YES...

...but more often than not, it's no, knowing regular consumption of "Food X" won't get you to your goals as quickly.

I do not advocate deprivation by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, I'm an advocate for getting the most nutrition for the least amount of calories.

These 5 strategies will help you do just that.
  1. Replace 1 major meal each day with a large salad, using spinach as the base.
  2. Plan ahead so you're not "caught" starving, which means you'll quickly turn to poor choices.
  3. 90/10 -- 90% of the time, eat clean, 10% of the time loosen up a bit (as long as 10% of the time doesn't become 20%, etc.).
  4. Replace calorie containing drinks with their non calorie equivalent.
  5. Get 7+ hours of sleep -- yes, this helps you eat less because very often people eat more when trying to boost their energy levels.

And finally, exercise does give you a little more wiggle room in terms of the quantity or amount of calories you can consume. But, be careful! Just because you had a good 1-hour workout, that doesn't give you a license to gobble down a 1400 calorie Chipotle burrito (if fat loss is one of your goals).

To illustrate how quickly you can "out eat" your exercise, I'd like to share a race between Leigh running on the treadmill, and Gabe consuming 1100 calories at McDonalds. Enjoy the event!

Click here to watch Leigh Race Gabe!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Did You Miss National Donut Day?

Did you know June 5 was a holiday? It was, of sorts: June 5 was National Donut Day, a celebration of America's longstanding favorite morning treat. The tasty donut far outstrips its plainer cousin, the bagel, in terms of longevity, devotion and well, sugary goodness.

In honor of National Donut Day, Hostess (makers of more than two billion donuts a year) did a little "donut recon." And they came up with some interesting information. It seems that our home city and the surrounding environs encompass the Donut Regional Capital of the United States. Our riverside neighbor, Louisville, KY, eats the most donuts per capita in the country, while the fair Queen City itself comes in second on the list. Rounding out the top 5 are Roanoke, VA, Knoxville, TN, and Indianapolis. Clearly, this area loves its holey treats.

In the donut holiday spirit, I thought I'd do a little recon myself. After all, there's no disputing the fact that donuts are an awesome accompaniment to a good cup of java, not to mention an easy way to make that morning staff meeting a little less boring. So - if you're committed to living healthfully, as I know you are - how can you indulge in the occasional donut without eventually looking like one yourself (round and soft)?

Let's take a look. Cult favorite hot 'n fresh Krispy Kreme's glazed donut comes in at 200 calories and 12 grams of fat for a single treat. If you opt for the chocolate iced version, you're up to 350 calories and a whopping 20 grams of fat!

If Dunkin Donuts is your preference, calorie intake ranges from 220 all the way up to 470, for a single donut! Oh so delicious going down, but quite a caloric wallop for something that looks so innocent.

So how do you combat that occasional indulgence?

For the average 35-year-old woman who stands 5'7" and weighs in at 144 lbs., burning off 200 or so calories takes a bit of effort:

  • 61 minutes of walking at a moderate pace (power walking will burn calories faster)
  • 34 minutes of cycling
  • 25 minutes of jogging
  • 18 minutes of swimming

Stick to just one, and then carefully manage your nutritional intake throughout the rest of the day, and you can burn your morning donut off in one workout. Keep your indulgence to once per week and just "donut" make it a daily habit!

And, if you're looking for some professional guidance in transforming your health, fitness & body, there's never been a better time than now!

HealthStyle Fitness has 2 incredible June Specials designed to get you in tip-top shape and feel better than ever - and at a HUGE savings!

Option 1: Five Weekly Small Group Sessions in the Total Fitness Makeover for the price of three - that's about $11 per session with a top-level personal trainer! An Incredible Value - limited spaces available and will sell out quickly.

Option 2: Or, for those looking for the best of private, personalized 1-on-1 training, and small group fitness, our combo Personal Training/Total Fitness Makeover program is perfect for you. You pick 3 or 5 sessions per week, combining private training and small group fitness - as low as $30 for a nationally recognized fitness program!

Click here for details!

Have an great Thursday!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Your Total Fitness Makeover!

I wanted to share a couple of things: First, a Total Fitness Makeover Special we’re offering for the month of June only, and a few training and nutrition questions that I’ve received from clients over the past week...

June Total Fitness Makeover Special!

For anyone who joins the TFM (or extends their existing sessions) for 3 or 6 months in June, you have the opportunity to come 5 days per week instead of 3! That’s 2 extra heart-thumping, muscle shaping workout EVERY WEEK at no extra cost!!!

Here are the groups and times that will meet 5 times per week:

Mon through Friday at 6am - click here to register- 3 spots available
Mon through Friday at 7am - click here to register - 5 spots available
Mon through Friday at 8am- click here to register- 5 spots available
Mon through Friday at 6pm - click here to register - 5 spots available
Mon through Thursday at 7pm, Saturday at 8am- click here to register- 5 spots available

You pay for 3 sessions and get 5, every week when you register for 3 or 6 months of TFM!The June TFM special is good through June 30, 2009 or when the available spaces are filled!

Okay, I’ve received a few questions from clients over the past week, and thought you might find value in the following Q & A…

Q: Why is frequent eating the recommendation?

A: A few reasons -- you want to keep your internal "furnace" going – think of your metabolism as a furnace – wholesome foods stoke your metabolism (sugar, bleached, processed, enriched foods do not). Eating more frequently also prevents you from reaching that intense starvation feeling where you can eat anything in the entire house.Remember, an eating episode can be something like a handful of raw nuts and a piece of fruit, yogurt and fruit, veggies and hummus, etc. I’m not suggesting a buffet style meal each time you eat.

Q: Is Diet Coke Okay?

A: Well, I suppose it’s better than regular soda, from a calorie standpoint, for sure. I’d prefer everyone consumed lots of water, and some green tea; the less "artificial" ingredients we can put in our body, the better we'll be. After all, they are artificial...and there is some research that suggest diet drinks lead to weight gain - Click here for the video “Are Diet Drinks Killing Your Diet”

Q: What is metabolism? What can you do to improve it?

A: Metabolism is the sum of all metabolic processes in the body. Now you may be saying, "Thanks Brian - that textbook definition was clear as mud!” Okay, you want the non-textbook definition?

Well your total metabolism is made up by a number of things. You have:

1. Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) - the number of calories you burn by breathing, maintaining your cells, and keeping yourself alive. In general, REE is higher in men and younger individuals, individuals with more lean muscle tissue and taller individuals.

2. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) - you burn more calories by eating and breaking down food than you do at rest. That's why nutrition experts suggest eating small, frequent meals throughout the day rather than 2-3 large ones; each time you eat, you get a little boost in your metabolism. And certain foods, like protein, have greater thermic effects than carbohydrate and fat. Now, I don't want to convey that means eat more food and live off protein - because you don't burn that many more calories and we absolutely need whole grain carbs and essential fat.

3. Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) - this refers to the calories you burn in activities other than exercise. Walking, standing, pacing, shaking your leg when you sit at your desk, fidgeting. It all adds up. In fact, in a study done at the Mayo Clinic, researchers found that lean individuals expended 350 more calories per day than obese men and women because they spend on average about 2 1/2 hours more per day standing up and moving around!4. Exercise Expenditure - the number of calories you burn doing exercise like the TFM, walking, running, etc. The higher the intensity of exercise, the greater the energy expenditure.

So, if you believe your metabolism isn't working for you, you do have many things within your control.
  1. Make sure you're exercising -regularly. Got this one covered with the 5-day per week TFM Special.
  2. Choose to move - on the days you don't workout, or even when you do - decide to move more. Spend more time standing, walking, playing with the kids or grandkids - those calories add up over time.
  3. Choose small frequent meals of lean protein and complex whole grain carbohydrates and whole fruits and vegetables that take longer to break down and require more energy to digest.

Make sense? Three take home points.

  1. Everyone has a metabolism.
  2. Exercising increases metabolism.
  3. Eating smaller, more frequent meals that includes protein will increase metabolism.
Have an awesome Tuesday...we look forward to seeing you soon!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Time to Play!

As adults, often we don't think about play very much.

Growing up for most of us, however, play was a natural part of our daily lives. We didn't worry (at least not as much) about child abduction or other safety issues. Think about it, when did the bicycle helmet for the Huffy become standard equipment?

Of course I will make sure my daughter wears a helmet when she's ready for the bike, but as a kid we NEVER had helmets (or elbow and knee pads).

We didn't have TiVo and 500 channels on standard cable, or the internet, either.

Okay, now I'm sounding like my father. Ugh!

Seriously though, what we did do is create our own fun, and typically that meant lots of activity (back in the day).

I remember leaving my house first thing in the morning, and returning hours later after riding my bike, playing all kinds of games (baseball, slip 'n slide, basketball, kick the can, soccer, tag,) and engaging in tons of fun activities (climbing trees, swimming, etc.).

My friends and I NEVER thought about how far we ran or biked.

We didn't try to quantify how many squats or lunges we did - in fact, we weren't aware we were even doing them when we were hiding behind the bushes playing Hide and Seek.

But as we did these things - we prepared our muscles to be stronger and better suited for all of the other activities we did each day.

Play taught us something too. It taught us what we were good at - and what we needed to improve upon. Every day that we played we learned something about ourselves, other people and our bodies. Play taught us how to interact in the world around us, developing our social skills.

Exercise should be fun, it should feel a lot like playing. Yes, even as adults we NEED fun AND play!

Part of our mission at HealthStyle Fitness is to bring back that 'lost' play.

If you've worked with our trainers, or attended our Adventure Boot Camp for Women, or Total Fitness Makeover program, you've seen a lot of play and fun. It's different, constantly changing, challenging your body in fresh ways.

And with that play, just like kids, we gain more self- confidence, a thinner or firmer appearance, & improved movement patterns that all carry over to being healthier, happier, better functioning adults!

So, whatever you enjoyed as a kid, do that! Play, create games, exercise in a park, join a running group, dance in your living room for 30 minutes, just enjoy your movement and you'll be hooked for life!

And for those who have ever wanted to run a 5K, 10K, Half or Full Marathon, the HealthStyle Fitness running group begins next Tuesday, May 26th.

Some say, "running isn't fun, Brian!" And I probably would have agreed with that a year ago.
However, running in a group is a blast! Something about the group dynamics got our running crew hooked, and these were mostly people who reported that they "hated running".

Click here for details on the running group!

And while we're talking about the importance of play, Leigh, our certified kids fitness specialist, and I have finally launched a VERY EXCITING project in an effort to help the kids in Cincinnati get more play to enhance their wellbeing & development. The new program, FitKids, is targeted toward 4-13 year olds that just don't get enough fun moment in their day to day lives.

As we have researched and studied children's habits, they just aren't playing like we did as kids. That's a BIG BUMMER. Research shows that kids who play are substantially better equipped emotionally, mentally AND physically as they mature into adulthood.

You can learn more about FitKids by clicking here.

The program starts on June 15th.

Have an great Tuesday!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Are You Ready to Run?

The Flying Pig Marathon really did a number on me, and I didn't even run the 26.2 miles last Sunday.

But, I did train with an incredible group for almost a year in preparation for it.

This is a group where we started running very short distances, and built up over a year to being able to complete a full marathon.

And I was SO close to doing the marathon.

But I violated my own training philosophy. In one short 5 day span I just did too much in too short of time, in order to accommodate an important family vacation.

It was a valuable lesson. Stick with the principles of science, how the body best responds to progressive overload! But, I have no regrets, I grew out of the experience. I'm smarter and wiser. And, I'm way more fit than I was a year ago.

Seriously, how many people can say that they've run 21 miles during a single exercise session? ;)
So, instead of running, I excitedly watched the joy of each of the running group members achieve an amazing milestone that they'll carry with them for the remainder of their lives.

And in that process, I became even more inspired and recommitted to complete my own marathon.

May 2, 2010 will be my day!

And, I'm inviting you to join me.

Before we get into the details of how you can join our next running group, here are a few running
benefits to entice you to consider making a similar commitment.

Benefits of Running:

1. Running Makes You Feel Good. Ask any long time runner and they often refer to the "runner's high" they feel during and after their exercise of choice. Runners will tell you that they have a significantly clearer mind, as well as a significant reduction in stress, through running.

2. Running Allows for Good Heart Health & Great Fitness. Running, or any cardiovascular exercise for that matter, keeps your heart healthy by reducing plaque buildup in the arteries. As you become increasingly fit, the quantity of blood that your heart pump with each beat goes up substantially, while reducing the number of times your heart needs to pump per minute. Having a stronger, more efficient heart allows for better nutrient and oxygen delivery to all of the cells of your body, giving you significantly more energy and better health.

3. Running Leads to Weight Loss. Running speeds up metabolism and allows you to burn significant calories. In addition, many runners report that their appetite dwindles for a period of time post exercise. And although resistance training and quality nutrition are critical for optimal health and body weight, the functional caloric requirement of consistent running is substantial.

4. Running Enhances Self Esteem. Along with the benefits of feeling and looking good, runners often report higher levels of confidence and self esteem. Those who set goals for achieving a 5K or 10K, half or full marathon get a tremendous feeling of achievement as they cross the finish line. The synergistic accumulation of all the benefits of running allow for a sense of considerable self-satisfaction.

5. Running Gives You a Sense of Connection. Whether you have a running partner, use a group training program, or just enjoy saying hello to your neighbors as you run past, the nature of running is one of human connection. All you have to do is attend a running event to watch the support of fellow runners and onlookers to get a real sense of how running allows you to feel a part of the community.

If you've ever wanted to train for a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon, the opportunity is here. Contrary to what you may believe at this moment, it's not as insurmountable as you think. With the proper guidance and small weekly progressions, you can achieve any distance up to a full 26.2 miles. Our next running group begins on May 25th!

For more information on joining these first time runners,

click here!

Have an great Tuesday!

Your friend in fitness, Brian

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665, x-105 www.CincinnatiFitness.com

Friday, May 1, 2009

Support the Flying Pig Marathoners On Sunday!

We have a bunch of clients running in the Flying Pig on Sunday. And I know some of you expressed an interest in showing your support.

We will be meeting at 8:00am at the HealthStyle Fitness Studio parking lot - Click here for a Map and Directions!

The first runner in our group will be running past the intersection of Erie and Brotherton at about 8:15-8:20am. This intersection is a 2 minute walk from the studio. (This will be approximately the 14 mile point in the marathon)!

Then if you like, you can see the runners again around mile marker 17 by heading to the Murry Bike Trail, which is about a mile walk from the Erie/Brotherton intersection. Or you can drive to the bike trail, as long as some of the side streets are open, which I believe they will be.

I’ll be on my bike at 6:30am trying to see as many of our runners at various points in the race. If you’re interested in coming down to the finish line, call my cell at 513-325-0886 and I’ll let you know where we are. The first runner in our group will be finishing around 10am.

This is a really special day for these runners. Incredible determination, hard work, lots of early morning running 3 hours before the sunrise, in temperatures well below freezing.

In fact, I can remember about a year ago when we started the running group, it was a challenge for some to complete our very first run of 2 miles. On Sunday, they will complete 26.2.

We'd love to see you if you can make it. 8am at the studio!!

Additional info, including maps and parking suggestions for the Flying Pig Marathon, can be found by clicking here.

Have an awesome weekend!

Your friend in fitness, Brian
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

FDA Bans 72 Supplements...

On Friday I received an email asking me what supplements should be taken to help with weight loss. It’s a VERY common question. Young athletes want to know what supplements will make them stronger and faster. Adults want to know what supplements allow us to burn fat rapidly.

Ironically, the same day I received that question, the FDA banned 72 weight loss products it says contain harmful ingredients – a link to those products is below, along with my opinion. And by the way, the opinion below is shared by Dr. Chris Mohr, Ph.D., RD, as well as countless dietitians and ethical trainers. Be leery of any person or ad that tells you a supplement will make you stronger, faster or burn fat more quickly. 99.9% of the time it’s hype or a very dangerous compound to put into your body.

What Supplements Work?

Eating right in combination with a well structured exercise routine is the most effective path for long term enhancement in your health, fitness, and the achievement of your weight loss goals.

And to eat right simply means to eat smaller meals frequently, combining lean proteins (chicken breast, turkey, seafood), whole grain carbohydrates (including whole grain breads, pastas, cereals, rice, legumes) and fibrous carbohydrates (whole fruits and vegetables). Ideally you’ll eat about 500 fewer calories less than you expend in a day if you are seeking a leaner, more toned body.

If then, eating in this manner provides all of the nutrients and support our bodies need, do supplements provide any value? Well, the answer is yes and no.

There are some food supplements that contain calories and nutrition that will help us fill in the eating gaps during our day. A meal replacement shake, for example, is a great way to give your body a nutritious meal without having to stop and prepare the chicken breast, whole grain rice and green salad. Although real food is always best and the first priority, meal replacement shakes give us a nice second option when we’re busy or a complete meal is not easily accessible.

Whole fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidant our bodies need for a whole range of functions. But because many of us struggle to eat the appropriate daily requirements of these “live” foods, a good quality multivitamin will also act as an insurance policy providing our bodies with these necessary micro nutrients.

In terms of offering our bodies nutrition and benefit from supplements, we could end this discussion right here. What follows, however, is a brief review of supplements that do not provide calories and oftentimes, when consumed, lead to serious health consequences and sometimes even death.

I have witnessed more conversations where someone was offering “advice” on taking this “supplement” or that “supplement” to “burn more fat”, “add more muscle”, “get stronger”, “elevate metabolism” and “run faster”. I have heard countless stories from clients who got “professional advice” that they needed this or that supplement to reach their goals. Most of these products are either bogus and do very little, or they are simply drugs that have far reaching side effects.

Some of these drugs include ephedrine, steroids, amino acids, yohimbe, mega-doses of caffeine, androstenedione, and so on. Frequently these drugs are being marketed with, “based on research” or “proven by science” yet the consumer has almost no way of distinguishing the hype and false promises. Since 1994, the FDA does not monitor such supplementation offerings. In other words, you can go into Kroger, or hundreds of places online, and find a product that promises to help you burn fat and elevate your metabolism and it could be 100% useless (providing no value) or it could lead to cardiac arrest (as in the multitude of cases with ephedrine found in products such as Metabolife 356).

The only time the FDA steps in is after consumers are subjected to a product on the market and have likely been injured (from the product), or when the FDA find claims in a product that have been substantially overstated or misleading.

On Friday the latter happened when the FDA named 72 weight loss products found to contain undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients, include prescription drugs in doses that the agency said could lead to serious health consequences, including death. You can view the list of banned products here:http://www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/weight_loss_products.htm.

This is not written to scare you, rather to empower and caution you against taking a supplement outside of a quality meal replacement shake and multi vitamin. In our quest for enhanced health and fitness, remember, the combination of eating the right foods in the right quantities, elevating your heart rate, and engaging in resistance training will take you far beyond the promises of the supplement offerings of today.

Train diligently, eat wholesome foods, and be safe!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins - Cincinnati's HealthStyle Fitness, Inc

Friday, March 20, 2009

3 Steps To Fitness Success...

There are three critical steps to achieving a new level of success in any endeavor, including your health, fitness and body fat reduction goals. They are:

1. Know exactly what you want! Clarity is power. You cannot achieve a goal or new endeavor if you are not crystal clear about what it is that you want to accomplish. Know exactly what your target is. Do you want to lose a certain percentage of body fat, or a number of pounds (of fat), or inches? Do you want to have more mental clarity? Emotional balance? Physical energy? Do you want to be more productive at work and at home?

Whatever it is that's important to you, write it down. Get specific. Tap into the power of what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. Will it make you a better parent? A better professional? Friend? A better spouse? Will it give you a self-confidence boost? Will exercise allow you to better handle the stress and demands of life?

2. Get an expert road map! Once you know exactly what you want, your next step is to find the most effective path to get from where you are right now to what you want to achieve. Find an expert and learn from him or her. Join a fitness program or hire a trainer to help you navigate toward your health and fitness goals without wasting time on trail and error approaches.

3. Resolve internal conflicts! The final step, after you know what you want and have an expert road map towards achievement, is to resolve the inevitable internal conflicts (or road blocks) that come up. Anytime you know what you want and have an accurate process to get there, yet fail to reach the destination, an internal conflict is apparent. For example, someone wants to get fit, drop 2 dress sizes, lose 12 pounds, increase energy and be more productive professionally. They get started on a new fitness routine, and eventually stop before achieving their goals. Why?

Because she was too busy to exercise - she's a mom and busy professional and just didn't have time to exercise. There's the internal conflict - she wants fitness, yet doesn't have time. You have to resolve those things that hold you back from achieving your MOST important goals in life.

Two things to keep in mind if you feel you don't have time. (1) Regular exercise helps us become more productive. Lots of peer reviewed research demonstrates regular exercise allows us to be more productive, allowing the brain to function at higher levels, more energetic, etc.

Also realize that (2) the ONLY thing that makes all of us identical is we all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year.

We all have the exact same amount of time. The key is how you invest your time. If presidents Barrack Obama, George W Bush & Bill Clinton can find time in their demanding lives (while heading up the nation) to exercise consistently, I think we all can find time. And there are countless other super-successful people who have crazy-busy lives, yet workout 5 days per week.

Exercise is an investment that provides valuable returns. When you invest 1-hour a day, your immediate return is enhance physical energy, emotional balance, mental clarity and being better equipped to handle the stress and demands of life. Longer term returns include better health, a more fit body, protection from illness, reduction in anxiety and depression, the list is long and plentiful. There's even a study in one well known journal of medicine comparing fit employees to sedentary ones - the more fit employees had higher incomes than their co-workers (all other factors like education and experience being the same), and they were more tolerant of their peers AND themselves.

It's not as much about time, as it is about investing our time in productive activities (like consistent exercise) that give us big returns.

These 3 keys to change work for any area of your life in which you're looking to grow. Get crystal clear about what you want (and know why you what to reach that goal), get an expert road map that will get you there without wasting time on trial and error, and resolve any internal conflicts or road blocks preventing your ultimate achievement.

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

Friday, March 13, 2009

Announcing – Fitness Boot Camp Expands to Dayton!

HealthStyle Fitness, located in Cincinnati Ohio on Red Bank Road, today announces the opening of its 4th Adventure Fitness Boot Camp location in the Dayton Ohio Market.

The Springboro Adventure Fitness Boot Camp will launch its first session on Monday, April 20th, 2009. Fitness instructor Leigh Smith will lead female participants through a 4-week fun and challenging workout to jump start their fitness.

More information is available here: Springboro, Ohio Adventure Fitness Boot Camp for Women!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Is Dark Chocolate All It's Cracked Up to Be?

By Dr. Chistopher Mohr, RD

Got high blood pressure? Pop a bon bon. Pre-disposed to heart disease? Forget oats, reach for a candy bar. At least that’s what some may suggest.

Alright, that might be somewhat of a stretch, although sometimes we hear the message that “chocolate is healthy” and rationalize that chocolate bar or candy bar on a daily basis.

Research has shown, however, that dark chocolate – but not milk chocolate or white chocolate – has heart health properties.

February is heart health month, after all. But with Valentine’s Day comes the question of the health benefits of chocolate.

So the question is – does a chocolate a day really keep the doctor away?

Let’s take a look some of the data that are out there.

Research published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and others have examined this question – and the answers are promising.

It starts with the antioxidant properties of dark chocolate. Antioxidants can be thought of as scavengers in the body that gobble up dangerous free radicals and other destructive molecules.

Think of antioxidants like Pac-Man – and the destructive molecules as the dots in the game that Pac-Man gobbles.

Of course antioxidants aren’t just in dark chocolate – fruits, veggies, tea, and other foods are all loaded, which is why we suggest you eat a varied diet, including those foods regularly. In fact, while dark chocolate is a great source of certain antioxidants, and one of the highest sources of flavonoids and catechins, other foods are better sources of other antioxidants. That’s why variety in the diet is king.

A recent study published in the Southern Medical Journal examined the effectS of dark chocolate on inflammation, lipid levels, and the stickiness of the blood (known as platelet reactivity) in 28 individuals.

They fed the individuals 1 oz of dark chocolate daily for 7 days. The results:

  • LDL (the bad cholesterol) dropped by 6%
  • HDL increased by 9%
  • hsCRP (inflammatory marker) decreased
While this was a short study, it can be combined with the other positive data that are available to support the inclusion of dark chocolate into the diet. Other studies suggest including dark chocolate into a varied diet lowers blood pressure too.

Take home points:


  • This isn’t a “free pass” to gorge on chocolate daily – it still contains lot of calories and fat, so if you want to include chocolate, keep those calories in check, but reducing your intake elsewhere.
  • Aim for chocolate that has at least 70% cacao (it will tell you this on the package). Our preference are 100% cacao nibs – add them to yogurt for added crunch and you’ve got a great treat that’s healthy, yet not loaded down with sugar.
  • Dark chocolate does not mean King Size Twix, Heath Bars, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, etc. It means quality chocolate, without the added junk.
  • Limit that intake to about 1 oz per day.
  • Make sure the addition of chocolate is part of all the other heart health diet strategies we’ve talked about, including exercising daily as well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

See it, Feel it, Achieve it!

Visualization is a great way tool to help you achieve your fitness goals, including weight loss. Here’s how it works – you develop a clear picture in your mind of how you want your body to look and feel, and you envision this for just a few minutes every day. This sets in motion a congruency that supports you toward achieving your goals, and much more quickly than without this process.

Sound hokie? Yeah, it did to me too the first time I heard it. How in the world could me imagining something I wanted to achieve in my mind translate into the real world?

Mainstream science does not totally understand it yet. But scientists can tell us that the subconscious mind drives much of our behavior. And the subconscious does not know the difference between something that is real and something that is vividly imagined, so whatever picture, image or visualization you consistently think about will drive us to create that exact reality.

So, all you have to do is concentrate on a picture in your mind of how you would like something to be, and it becomes your reality with rehearsal. So, to visualize losing weight, hold a picture in your mind of your ideal body. If you like, you can use an old photograph, or a magazine picture, to help you visualize. The clearer the picture, the more successful you will be.

Then, spend some time each day thinking of yourself as already having embodied this image – this new, improved you. Over time, this will bring you closer to your weight loss goals by working on your subconscious mind to achieve the desired results. Suddenly, desserts will seem less tempting, and exercise will seem more fun, because that's in line with the image you are picturing.

Interestingly, this process seems to work even for people who are very skeptical of it – and who wouldn’t be, at least at the beginning? The fact is, for many people it’s very hard to believe that what we think can affect reality in any way. Thoughts and concrete reality seem very different from one another. Yet, in every study of visualization that has been done, the results are pretty clear – what you visualize has a greater possibility of happening, and the more detailed your visualization is, the greater your chances of success in this and other ventures.

So, instead of putting negative thoughts into our head (like a typical newscast), let’s put positive, supportive images into our brains! Try it out and see how it works for you!

Monday, February 9, 2009

I’ve Finally Found the Missing Link!

Every other Saturday morning we offer a 90 minute nutrition workshop to help shed light on the importance of eating in a manner that supports our client’s health and fitness goals.

And occasionally a clients might say, “oh, thanks, but I already eat healthy”, declining to attend the presentation. So I usually ask, what do you typically eat?

And the answers are so varied that it’s impossible to capture them in a single blog posting, but they often reflect the massive confusion about “eating healthy”.

And let’s assume that someone is consuming the right foods. Is it possible to eat the right stuff and not achieve your health, fitness and weight loss goals?

Absolutely. In fact, I see it all the time.

Where did we learn our eating skills? Mom & dad? Advertisers selling food? From a friend who lost tons of weight? News reports that consistently contradict? From a book that told us to eliminate carbs, eat cabbage soup, eat a special berry, eat for our blood type or to just get into the “Zone”?

Nutrition is critically important to your health and fitness success. And the application of proper nutrition is the missing link.

Although I tirelessly tout the never-ending array of incredible benefits to regular exercise, people often find themselves frustrated without a system to eat in a way that allows them to achieve their goals.

Yes, you can be fit and healthy by consistently following a progressive exercise routine while not having much concern for nutrition.

However, people who exercise consistently yet fail to achieve their weight loss targets, do so because they are poorly equipped to accurately monitor what goes in their mouths. That’s not a judgment on my part, it’s the sobering reality in our culture.

And often these are the same people who work hard with their trainer, at boot camp, in the gym or on their own. I have total compassion for the effort; it's just that we were never taught healthy eating skills in school, and as a culture we just don’t have a clear understanding of what and how much to eat.

Here’s a quick example: Last year I had the rare pleasure of watching a good friend complete an Iron Man event where he had to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles, and then finish this grueling affair by running 26.2 miles. Ouch! And cool enough for me, my friend just happens to be a Ph.D. dietitian, so he thoroughly understands the whole calories in, calories out thing.

To complete the Iron Man, you use approximately 14,000 calories!! That’s enough calories for an entire week!

Here’s what struck me as extremely intriguing: About 25% of the IronMan competitors were overweight! I couldn’t believe it. These athletes are fit enough to swim, bike and run hard for 15 straight hours, yet they have a significant amount of excess body fat! How could this be, I remember thinking?

Simple. If these athletes were burning 7000 calories in a day, they’re eating 7500.

I then recounted the hundreds of conversations I’ve had with clients that have been working hard with their exercise, yet disappointed with their fat loss results. Then it hit me, out-eating your exercise can happen to anyone.

Hey, if it can happen to a guy that burns 14,000 calories in a single day, it can certainly happen to you! I know it's happened to me. I’ve watched it happen to way too many well-intentioned exercise enthusiasts.

Nutrition application has been that proverbial “sword in my side” over the years. As a trainer dedicated to our clients' success, I can teach others everything they need to master their health, fitness and body, but I cannot monitor what and how much a person consumes.

Until now…

In December I stumbled upon Stacey, a very cool, high energy woman who lost a lot of weight recently.

Of course, I asked her how she lost so much weight. No surprise to me, she said that she’s been working with a personal trainer.

But she admitted, even though she knew what types of foods to eat, she had know way of knowing when she consumed more calories than she expended.

The key to losing weight is understanding when and how much of a caloric deficit your body is in. It wasn’t until she got a cool device called the bodybugg that she knew exactly where she stood on her weight loss journey.

A bodybugg?

After picking Stacey’s brain, I was very intrigued. I learned more. And I have been truly impressed! In fact, the bodybugg is being used right now with the participants on the Biggest Loser and last week it was featured on Oprah.

We’ve been so impressed that Leigh in our office became a certified practitioner of the bodybugg. We were compelled to bring this cool device to Cincinnati (as of right now, HealthStyle Fitness is the only licensed practitioner in Ohio) in an effort to support our clients. This is the missing link I’ve been searching for.

The bodybug tells you exactly where you are, all the time. How many calories you’ve burned, how many you’ve consumed, and whether you’re on track to achieve your goals (whatever they may be). It’s by far the greatest gadget I’ve ever found when it comes to health and fitness (with the heart rate monitor and my Garmin running computer a very close second).

I can tell you with 100% confidence, if you are exercising consistently and not achieving your body fat reduction goals, you’re eating in a manner that is sabotaging, or at the least, minimizing your success. Eating the wrong foods or eating too much, or a combination of both happens to all of us.

If you’re serious about losing unwanted body fat, the bodybugg will give you the missing piece.

It’s like having a dietitian and trainer with you 24 hours a day. Yes, it’s that good in terms of what to do and what to eat to achieve your goals.

Check out the bodybugg here – you can watch a short video showing you this incredible new tool.

Click here for a related article: Calories and Fat Loss!

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

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Illusion of The Biggest Loser!

Did you catch the Biggest Loser Tuesday night?

Now, I'm not a big advocate for reality shows, and not even a fan of this one...but this time of the year we do get emails and questions about how the contestants lose "so much weight".

Last week, for example, Ron lost 32 pounds - the biggest loss ever in one week on the show.

So how do they do it? Well, I shared this with our Adventure Boot Camp ladies last week after the first episode.

For those who've been watching the show, Ron started off well over 400 lbs.

First, understand that weight comes off more quickly when you're heavier -- the heavier a person is, the quicker it will come off with such drastic change.

Second, realize that to get to 400+ lbs, you have to take in a VERY high amount of calories each day, day after day after day.

Now you're confined to the "campus" of the Biggest Loser and eating 1200 calories each day. 1 lb = 3500 calories.Therefore, to lose 1 lb, you have to take in 3500 less calories.

For the sake of simplicity, let's say that Ron was eating 8200 calories each day (which is very likely since he was maintaining 400+ lbs). That means he's now eating 7000 less calories EACH DAY. That's 2 lbs per day of weight loss through food alone. Or 14 lbs. in a week. And he was also 100% totally inactive before The Biggest Loser. Now he is exercising for around 6 or so hours each day, which of course will burn a significant amount of calories as well. And, the bigger you are, the more calories you burn. So he can lose another 10-14 lbs just through that expenditure. And MUCH of his 32 pounds of loss is water loss because of all the sweat through exercise. And, there you go.

If you watched this week, Ron's weight loss was not as drastic -- he lost 3 pounds. And week after week, the number will go down for the contestants as their bodies shrink.

So while it's an unrealistic comparison to you, if you do watch the show, it shows what's possible. Most of us don't have lifestyles that allow for 6 hours per day of exercise, nor do we have personal chefs that prepare our food, and an environment in which if we DON'T exercise and eat how the trainer says, we'll be in some SERIOUS PAIN (verbal abuse, public humiliation, etc).

Think about that. These contestants have some SERIOUS motivation. Yes, money is a big factor - everyone wants the reward financially. But another huge dose of motivation is the fact that millions of people are watching you!! If you mess up, there's no hiding. There's no BS about how a contestant had to work late, or the kids were sick or they had to go on a business trip, or anything. The environment supports the success 1000% - there are NO distractions - no kids, work, husbands, errands to run, groceries to buy, food to cook, family who needs you, etc. Very unrealistic for us. The Biggest Loser contestants have no choice but to do the work, or they're off the show. They have VERY BIG reasons why they HAVE to succeed.

So, although you cannot get onto the Biggest Loser (at least not this episode), you can create an environment that supports your health and fitness goals. And you CAN discover your own personal reasons why you're going to be a successful loser, if that's a goal for you. You can establish and look at your goals every day.

See, when you know why you absolutely HAVE to get fit, lose weight, increase your energy and be healthy, there's nothing stopping you! This motivation last. The Biggest Loser? Well, after the season is over, they have to go back to the real world. And all that temporary motivation of being in front of millions of viewers and that supportive environment of trainers, dietitians and chefs is gone. Unless they tap into their reasons why they MUST keep the positive momentum going, they have a rebound into unsuccessful, old unhealthy habits.

In fact, a former Biggest Loser was on Oprah on Monday, and sure enough, he's put 110 pounds back on since leaving the show.

You've got to know why you want to change your lifestyle habits. Do you want to be more successful in business, your career, your profession? Do you want to be a better parent or spouse? Do you want to be more productive professionally and personally? More mentally sharp? Have more energy and vitality? Reduce or maintain your weight? Or just be healthier, reducing heart disease, or the risk of cancer? Studies have shown that exercise will significantly help you achieve all of these benefits...and more.

Whatever your goals, tap into your reasons why you want to get fit and healty, and stay diligent in your approach.

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

The Bodybugg is Available in Cincinnati...

Now available to Cincinnati, as seen worn by the contestants of NBC's The Biggest Loser, the bodybugg! Click here to learn how the bodybugg can help you lose weight!