Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Week Workouts ...

Next week, ABC at your regular location will have the week off.  Then we're back in camp on December 1st for the final 3 weeks of camp.

Some of you will be traveling, OR hosting family for Thanksgiving.

I've heard similar stories from campers ... you just didn't know what to do with that time "off" from Boot Camp, being away from home.  Your days started slower ... you felt sluggish.  And a family member or two started getting on your nerves.  Just a tiny bit.

So, what do you do when you're in an unfamiliar place, with no gyms around, no 5:30am wake up call, and the family you're staying with doesn't really understand your need/desire for a couple of workouts during your visit?

Well, if you like to run or walk, it's relatively easy to go out for a long run or brisk walk during your stay.  The unfamiliar surroundings may be a bit strange, but do your best to find some roads that are free from traffic (and where you won't get lost). I love the feature on my Garmin that will tell me how to get back to my starting place, if I'm not familiar with a particular place.  Or use this app for finding awesome running/walking/hiking/biking paths - localeikki

If you're not into running, always remember the exercises that can be performed anywhere:  Pushups, Mt. Climbers, Burpees, Tabata Squats, Rapid Rows, Lunges, Jump Squats, almost all core/ab exercises, and sprints.  Those movements right there will give you a SERIOUS full body workout in 30 minutes or less!

Get out your ABC Travel Fit Deck and pick and choose your workout for the day. Here's the video on how it works: and here's where you can download your Fit Deck.

When traveling, or busy in general, it's important that we reframe what a workout is.  If you're in boot camp, we define it as an hour. 

But why does a workout always HAVE to be an hour?

The truth is, it doesn't.  And it SHOULDN'T be an hour if 35 minutes of the workout isn't productive.  Make it 25 minutes of productive workout time, and save those 35 minutes for something else important/meaningful. 

The point is, often when we're in a pinch (traveling, early work meetings, tired because the kids were up all night, etc) we THINK that we need to get an hour workout in for it to "qualify" as a workout. 

The workout could be 10 minutes of intense SOMETHING.  And guess what?  You've elevated your metabolism.  You've reduced stress.  You've improved your mood.  Your energy.  You're mentally more awake.  And emotionally you're more balanced.

All the benefits are there.  Don't let perfect get in the way of possible when obstacles abound. 

Here are some example workouts for YOU when things get a little tight over the next 5 weeks:

Workout A:

  • 3 minute warm up of jumping jacks, body weight squats, jogging in place and dynamic stretching.
  • Tabata Pushups – 8 rounds, 20 seconds each round, 10 seconds of recovery between the rounds.  (Use your timer on your phone)
  • Rest 2 minutes.
  • Tabata Squats – use the same format as above of 8 rounds.  Now, you can make this one harder by (1) going super-fast on the squats or (2) by doing Jump Squats in lieu of a body weight squat for some of the time.  No dumbbells needed.
  • This workout takes 15 minutes and will work EVERY SINGE LARGE MUSCLE GROUP in your body.  You will feel really good after this one!
  • Stretch/Cool down

Workout B:

  • 3 minute warm up
  • Tabata Single Leg Deadlifts – 8 rounds, 20 seconds each round, 10 seconds of recovery between the rounds.  Rounds 1-4 on the right leg, rounds 5-8 on the left leg.  With a focus on quality form, slow and deliberate movements, this will do a killer job on your hamstrings, glutes and low back muscles – no weights needed.  (Use your timer on your phone)
  • Rest 1 minute.
  • Tabata High Plank Rapid Rows – use the same format as above of 8 rounds.  No dumbbells needed.
  • Stretch/Cool down

Workout C:

  • 3 minute warm up
  • Sprint.  Have a set distance, like 30 yards or 100 feet.  Sprint the full distance, and the walk or jog back to the start and repeat 7 – 10 times.  This will rev your metabolism BIG TIME, and takes less than 10 minutes from warm up to cool down.

All of these workouts are less than 15 minutes, yet EXCEPTIONALLY effective.

Additional exercises that you can substitute into the above list include Walking lunges, Wall Sits, Pushups, Leg Cranks, Planks and all the quality core exercises like Bicycle Crunches, Imaginary Ball Exchanges, Side Planks and 6 Inch Killers.  All stuff we have built into your ABC workouts. 

And you'll notice that NONE of these workouts requires equipment.  If you like to workout to music, bring your iPod – but that doesn't take up any weight or room in your luggage when traveling.

The reality is that the human body is the BEST form of equipment you'll ever need.  Everything else is a nice to have, particularly when you're traveling.

All of these workouts and exercises are FUNCTIONAL … meaning, the movements replicate real world movements which allows us to move or perform better in life.

A leg extension in a seated position at the gym, with your back, hips and glutes supported, will NEVER EVER happen in your day to day normal activity. 

So if you find yourself in a place you're not familiar with, or with others that think you're weird because you "need a workout", feel comfortable with your decision and just stick to it!  In the end, you'll feel good physically, mentally, emotionally, and good about having your priorities in line!  Those relatives are MUCH easier to manage after a good workout. 

After all, are WE really the "weird" ones because we want to take care of ourselves? 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 |


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fall Harvest Salad:

  • 4 cups chopped kale (I like the Trader Joes bagged Kale for salads)
  • 4 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 pears or apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds 
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled goat cheese (I prefer the low or fat free option)

Key here is to remember 3 parts vinegar to 1 part oil.  I recommend using a variety of flavors of balsamic vinegar (Berry, Fig, Honey, White Balsamic) to make your own flavored, great tasting dressing.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What's Non-negotiable for you?

Think about some of the things you make non-negotiable in your life:

  • You don't leave your child with a stranger.
  • You don't show up late to an important meeting (at least without a good reason).
  • You don't rob banks or drive intoxicated or take drugs. 

All pretty obvious, but not everyone lives by those standards.

The cornerstone of a new standard is what you make non-negotiable

For many of you, working out is non-negotiable – no matter what else is happening in your life, you make sure your workouts get done.

As a wrap up to last week's emails, let's take one more quick look at a day of fat loss eating.

A good breakfast might be 2 eggs with whole grain toast.  Add 2 servings of whole fruit or veggies and this becomes a fat loss food and a great breakfast. 

A good snack might be a protein shake.  Blend in spinach or have your shake with whole fruit and you have a fat loss food that will keep your energy high, and your hunger and cravings in check.   Or opt for the Triple Berry Chia Pudding for a delicious snack. 

A good lunch could be a chicken breast sandwich.  Transforming that from good to great, opt for chicken breast on a bed of salad greens (kale, spinach, red leaf) and a colorful mix of veggies, with your favorite combo of oil and vinegar (the Spicy Olive is a great place to get amazing options!)

A good dinner may be homemade white bean chicken chili.  Add a salad starter and you have an ideal fat loss food that will help keep your total daily calories in line.  Other really great tasting dinner options include the Asian Lettuce Wraps, or in lieu of traditional spaghetti (very high in carbs and sugar), instead prepare Zucchini Spaghetti (way better tasting than it might sound :)). 

You might notice a pattern here … adding whole fruit and/or fresh veggies to "healthy food" transforms them into fat loss eating.   It's a key, critical distinction most people miss.  "I eat healthy, but I can't lose weight."

What if between now and the end of the year you made eating fruits and veggies as a part of every meal non-negotiable?  How might that elevate or reinforce your new standard?

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 |

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

This week in camp ...

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow for week 4 of the Holiday Fitness Challenge!

This is our last outdoor week and the weather looks pretty good for tomorrow.  Remember your layers on days that might be cooler

For week 4, think about what you'd like to make non-negotiable: something around your workout – adding 15 minutes on the track before camp begins, adding an extra workout day, working at your personal best, minimizing distractions, or something around eating high water, high fiber and protein at each meal. 

Here's to a GREAT week!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 |

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Winterize Your Workout ...

A fun "customized" finish to our 3rd week in camp with the "Take One" workout. 

We have one more week working outdoors in 2014 before heading back inside for the winter. 

Bridgetown and Blue Ash locations will remain indoors at St. Jude and Sycamore high school.  Anderson moves to McNick High School while Oakley moves to Purcell Marian High School.

The next session starts on November 17, without the traditional 1-week break between camp sessions.  The reason we're moving right into the next session without a week off is to allow everyone to have the week of Thanksgiving off (Nov 24 - 30) with the holiday and travel many of you are taking. 

Then we're back in camp on December 1st for 3 weeks leading right up to Christmas! 

So with one week remaining outside, and the potential for cool temps, there are 3 keys to staying warm throughout your workout:

  1. Wear a base layer of clothing that helps you stay dry, allowing perspiration to leave your skin
  2. Wear several layers – you can shed them as needed as your core body temperature increases
  3. Protect and cover your head, neck, ears, feet and hands – our extremities tend to get the least amount of circulation and heat. 

Here's an article to help you "Winterize Your Workout" …

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 |

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Focus on progression ...

We got some really good questions from yesterday's "What's for Lunch?" email.

The most important thing to keep in mind is in order for a Fat Loss Food to really qualify for fat loss, ideally the meal has sufficient protein (~20g), is high in water, and high in fiber.  And you want to run it through the Label Rule to check it out.  Some foods/meals do score 10 or lower on the Label Rule, but are missing one or more of the following: sufficient protein, water or fiber content.  So both rules really need to be met for the most ideal Fat Loss food or meal.  

For example:

  • Avocado meets the label rule, is a great source of fiber, but is too low in protein & water.  It's a good component of a FULL meal, for example in a salad or in the Avocado Salsa Turkey Burger.
  • Eggs meet the label rule, are a great source of protein, but is void of fiber and water.  Incomplete by itself, but built around veggies in a salad or omelet will become a Fat Loss Food. 

Perhaps equally important is to make the best choice for where you are in this moment, and don't let perfect get in the way of possibleFocus on progression, not perfection.

For example: let's say someone's diet up until 2 weeks ago was pretty much fast food, processed frozen microwave meals, or foods in boxes with cartoon characters.  A huge step in the right direction (progression) would be to begin preparing food at home, rather than buying prepared nutritionally void food.

As someone gets more comfortable with that step, then refine, and go for the next step – maybe 20g of protein at each meal, or maybe having a fiber & water rich fruit or veggie every time she eats.  And progress from there. 

I'm not saying let yourself off the hook, rather do the best you can with where you are today.  Focus on progression, not perfection. Not every meal will be perfect or ideal, but making progress makes a significant impact over time. 

Here's a list of foods that are high in water and high in fiber, as well as a list of great sources of protein:

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 |

What's for Lunch?

The past couple of days we've been building an ideal Fat Loss eating day.  We covered breakfast, and the mid-morning snack

For lunch we simply want to continue to eat food that keeps you full and provides sufficient energy for another 3 hours, and doesn't trigger a major craving at your next meal.  

I love the protein veggie rice (you can make a big batch in advance, and portion it out for several meals during the week), or a big salad topped with your choice of protein (salmon, chicken, chopped or shredded turkey breast).

Keep in mind, you're not limited to the recipes, or my suggestions.  Build any meal you like that follows the Label Rule using the Recipe Analyzer

Here's an important distinction – we're looking at the entire meal, not the individual components of a meal, when it comes to applying the Label Rule. 

For example, eggs by themselves are high in fat, a great source of protein, but have no water content or fiber.   By themselves, eggs wouldn't qualify for a "Fat Loss Food" (we're missing the high water and fiber content, although protein is good).  So we need to build on the protein content of the eggs, maybe by adding some spinach, mushrooms, peppers and onions for it to become a fat loss food (example: the Power Breakfast Scramble).  Or we could eat hard boiled eggs with some fresh fruit as a snack, and then the meal would qualify. 

Eggs are high in fat, as are avocados, nuts and seeds, etc.  All of these are considered healthy options, but to qualify as Fat Loss Foods, they need to be considered in the context of a complete meal. So the label rule works in conjunction with the other fat loss rule of "high protein, high water content and high fiber". 

Do your best NOT to get hung up on fat content. Again, with a focus on the Label Rule and eating "high protein, high water content, and high fiber" and within your calorie ranges, fat intake will balance out.  If your daily calorie intake is 1300 for fat loss, AND your meals meet the label rule, AND contain sufficient protein (~20g per meal), high water and high fiber, you won't eat too much fat. 

Does that make sense?

If this is confusing, the safe route is to eat the Fat Loss Food recipes.  But we don't like to limit you to our recommendations, so using the Label Rule/Recipe Analyzer and the Fat Loss Guidelines, you can create foods that meet your individual preferences. 

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 |

Mid-morning snack ...

Starting your morning with gratitude and peace, then having a great breakfast that supports your energy and goals is a tremendous start to your day.  Most people don't get to experience that ... it's a standard too few have set for themselves.   

So what's next?

If you're eating within your calorie ranges, and your first meal was a fat loss food, then you'll likely be hungry again  2½ - 3½ later. 

Next is simply keeping your energy strong, while minimizing hunger and cravings. 

I like to have fresh veggies and Fage hummus next.  Or, often I'll have the chocolate peanut butter delight with fresh fruit.  Both of these options keep me full for another 2½ - 3 hours, and again, without consuming a ton of calories.  At this point I've made it to lunchtime and all of my food has supported my health, fitness, and fat loss goals. 

Each day we get to choose how we're going to do that day.  It's the little things that we do consistently that establishes the new standard, none of which is overwhelming or monumental. 

Tomorrow we'll take a look at some lunch options to keep you energized and moving strong throughout the afternoon!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 |

Breakfast: Set the tone for your day ...

Last week I told you about my childhood best friend Steve and his obsession for kicking a crushed up Coke can for two miles. 

Kicking the can is a metaphor for doing ordinary things consistently day after day. 

There's no way Steve could have kicked a can for 2 miles with one huge boot, just as there's no way we reach our health/fitness destination with one killer workout, one week of workouts, or even after a month of working out. 

Ordinary things consistently done produce extraordinary results.

We talked yesterday about how you start your day, mentally, emotionally.  Just as important is how you start your day nutritionally.

For years now the first thing I eat every day is a chocolate protein shake blended with spinach.  It sets the tone for my day.  High fiber, high water, sufficient protein.   It keeps me full for 3 hours, all for less than 200 calories.  And it eliminates secondary consequences in terms of me craving something else at the next meal. 

Contrast that with Fruit Loops, or an Energy Bar, both loaded with sugar, void of water, insufficient protein, and too little quality fiber … and the day is off to a rough start.  This is true for just about any meal that is higher than a 10 on the Label Rule

Starting the day with Fat Loss Foods sets the tone, and makes it a ton easier to build on that momentum.  Starting it off with the traditional breakfast, and it's hard to recover and get back on track. 

Starting tomorrow morning, what could you add to your daily routine, that when you do it consistently over time, makes a HUGE impact?

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

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HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4700 Smith Road Suite C, Cincinnati, OH 45212 | 513-407-4665, x-105 |