Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why America is getting weaker ...

A recent television commercial advertised the wonders of a new type of cat litter. The scenes transition from a woman in a parking lot loading her car after shopping, who throws the cat litter to a man on a bicycle, who then throws it to the person in the next scene and so on. How is this possible? Because the cat litter is a new kind of ultra-lightweight cat litter.

Everything is getting lighter, easier and less difficult. At the same time, humanity is getting heavier, everyday life feels harder and more difficult, with many people feeling exhausted despite having done very little taxing physical work on any given day. We keep lowering the physical bar for ourselves and our physiology is adapting by reducing our capacity as well.

Yet we want to live in capable bodies and feel good while going about our day. In our workouts, we want to see results for our efforts. A prominent "celebrity trainer" insists that women should never lift more than 3 pounds, which is like telling every mother and grandmother to never pick up or hold her children or grandchildren—ever again. How does such unequivocally terrible advice not get you stripped of celebrity-trainer status? Because many people—especially women—are often more terrified of looking manly than they are of living in an unfit, incapable body.

In general, females naturally have less testosterone than men and as a result, their bodies are less responsive to the muscle-building effects of properly executed strength training. It is very difficult for men to build large muscles, and it takes significantly more effort for women to do so.  More on this …

One universal truth of the human body that helps explain many physical phenomena is that our biology is adaptive. Muscle makes your body more capable, and feeling more capable allows you to do more things in everyday life and in your workouts. Bringing a challenge to your physical self makes your body build itself stronger to meet the demand of whatever the next challenge might be. This adaption eventually delivers a feeling of confident movement that is like no other.

But we have to ask for it. And heavier weights are the question.

We have to ask our bodies to build some muscle. With the physical demands of life getting too easy (riding mowers, ultralight cat litter, my Kroger now shops for me and delivers my groceries to my truck, even the TV remote is too much effort, according to Jim Gaffigan etc.), we have two options:

  • Do everyday things the hard way, or
  • Do heavier strength training.

How do you know if it's a "heavy" weight level?  Choose a pair of dumbbells that forces you to do nine reps or less. 

The last point is the critical factor. Lifting a pencil for seven reps isn't going to do any good. When I've had a particularly stubborn client resist increasing resistance, we do the following: I have her perform a set with whatever weight she wants, but the rule is that she cannot stop until she feels like she has to. With most typical weights people choose, they will be in the high teens or even close to 30 reps before this feeling occurs.  I've done this in camp as well – we'll keep doing a dumbbell curl, for example, until EVERYONE gets to muscle failure.  People sometimes think the goal is to be the last one still doing curls … we've gone for over two minutes doing curls, which does no one any good.  Pick a weight where you can't do 10 reps, and now you're lifting heavy. 

The experience of lifting for so many reps drives home the point that the weight can be safely increased without my having to explain away fears of lifting too much. Experiencing how capable you are makes you want to lift more. Sometimes to drive this point home with a client, I will talk to her about something distracting while she is performing an exercise so she loses count and I have her keep going until she feels fatigue. I'm keeping track of the reps and when she is done I tell her how many she did.  "Well done, you just performed 37 reps, which means we're ready to go up in weight!"

Keep in mind that "heavy" is relative to each person's ability, so it doesn't mean that some day we'll all be dragging a jet down the runway with our teeth (sorry hard-core Crossfitters, just not gonna happen!).  Rather, we simply need get comfortable using a little more weight than what we're using now, until we get to the point of failure at nine reps or less (with GOOD form). 

If you're not a believer in heavy lifting yet, here's my deal with you: Try it for the next 4 weeks, and if at the end of the month you don't feel stronger, more capable, and leaner, you can go back to the lighter dumbbells ... Deal?

Your friend in fitness,

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Play versus Exercise ...

For a moment, think about the effort and intensity you put into yesterday's workout.   We started with the shoulder series – three rounds of very intense effort.  Then we had the lower body series – 10 minutes working your legs.  Next, four triceps exercises in a row!  And then we finished with the partner squats/jump squats + pushups/chest press/6" killers. 

Imagine attempting to duplicate today's workout on your own, at home or in a gym.  It can be done, no question.  But would you have sprinted as fast, and worked as hard to get in your squats and jump squats?  With the same level of focus and determination, without having a concern for your partner back at the mat doing pushups, chest presses and six inch killers?  Probably not.  You had that sense of "my partner is counting on me getting back to give her some relief from those pushups!"

I often say, "tomorrow's going to be fun!"  Sure, three versions of triceps kickbacks + up/down planks without rest is hard, and I'm sure you think that I'm not quite right by calling that "fun!"  But it sure beats trying to duplicate today's effort working out by yourself.  At home with that same old playlist, or in the gym next to 1987 Spandex Man grunting and growling with each Barbell Press he musters. 

You work MUCH harder with a partner, as part of a team, or in a group, than going it alone.  And when the workout is over, you know there are several other women that went through it all with you. 

Think about you little ones kids if you have them, or think about when you were a kid ... you didn't have a gym memberships.  They/you play(ed).  All sorts of ways - in sports, in the backyard, the cul-de-sac, all kinds of made up fun games.  Kids don't "exercise" yet they get more exercise than we could ever dream about getting. 

Two weeks ago on vacation I was having dinner at a beachside restaurant, under a canopy, overlooking the ocean.

There were other tables all around me with several families. Kids who had grown bored of grownup talk had abandoned their seats and were playing on the beach.

My daughter followed suit and quickly kicked off her flip flops and darted into the sand to build structures, jump from sand dune to dune, and play some made up game to protect the universe from alien invasion. 

The kids were wielding imaginary swords, fighting off a horde of imaginary ninjas or perhaps pirates and—thanks to their lightning-fast reflexes and karate chops—seemed to be winning.

After a series of kicks, rolls, jumps and sound effects, my daughter popped triumphantly to her feet, hurtled down another sand dune, and sprinted back to our table for a quick update on her victory over the evil aliens.

For most kids, physical movement is a joy. It's an inherent part of play, and it's just how they get around. It's what they do for fun, to get home from school, or to escape a band of pretend pirates.

They don't move around begrudgingly, because they feel like they have to. They move around because it's fun.

We may not have the luxury of saving the world as ninjas on a beach as the sun sets … but we CAN find ways to make exercise fun and interesting.

And tomorrow we'll talk about why finding the fun in our workouts is so important.

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 |


Monday, August 17, 2015

Why doesn't this just GO AWAY?!?

The number one, all-time worse, ridiculous fitness myth ever …  


Defined, toned arms and legs?  Sure.    

But manly?  It's not gonna happen.

To develop big muscles we need a mega boost of testosterone, levels not available in the female body, possibly some anabolic supplements only available on the black market, and an excessive strength training program that involves several hours per day, no cardio … clearly an approach we don't follow in boot camp.

So here's why we think you should lift heavy: 

1.  First of all, heavy weights aren't great for every exercise.  When we isolate different aspects of the shoulder, for example a front raise and side raise, you definitely won't be able to go heavy... at least not while maintaining good form... and without injuring yourself.  So we aren't saying pick up a set of 15 or 20 lbs and start using them for every exercise.

But think of squats and dead-lifts, chest presses and rows.  Your legs are strong - they carry you around every single day - and they can handle heavier resistance than 5, 8 and even 10 pounds.

2.  If you want to change your body - you have to change what you're currently used to doing.  Think about what you carry around each day and what you do.  A good friend carried her daughter around, even when she weighed 25 – 30 pounds.  If she wants to challenge her body, she's got to lift heavier weight than that.  So when she works out, she's squatting or deadlifting with 25 lbs (sometimes more) in each hand.  And besides helping to increase her leg strength - using heavier dumbbells makes carrying her daughter around MUCH easier.  And, up until 6 months ago, her workout consisted of ONLY the elliptical machine!  

3.  You can SIGNIFICANTLY reshape your body.  In talking with women over the years, that's one of the most important things I hear that you want.  Working with heavy weights changes your shape, proper nutrition changes your size. 

4. You'll build muscle making you a lean, mean fighting machine!  And since building muscle does lots of wonderful things for your body, like burning calories, building bone density, correcting muscle imbalances and helping you fit in smaller clothes and feel FIT, it's the thing to strive for.

But it only happens when you push your body to do more than it's currently used to doing, and lifting a weight that your body finds challenging.

So game on -- if you're not reaching muscle failure on round 3 of our strength training series, let's make a commitment to start lifting heavier weight levels.  Here's a short video demonstration:
Your friend in fitness, 
Brian Calkins

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Do Carbs Make You Fat?

A couple of days ago I was talking with a boot camper who was really confused about carbohydrates.

Frankly, it's easy to see why.

For years the popular diets encouraged us to eliminate carbs or at the least to minimize them.

These diets were essentially telling us that 'carbs make us fat'!


Yes, they certainly can add to our waistline, if we eat too many (but that's true anytime we eat more calories than we burn).

Carbohydrates truly are incredible for you ...

... or they can be terribly bad for you.

An apple is a carbohydrate. Strawberries, blueberries, and every other piece of fruit and vegetable are carbohydrates.

So are soda, cookies, cakes, and pastries.

There is obviously a big difference among those.

Think of your muscles like the engine in your car. And carbohydrates like the gas that fuels your engine.

Your engine requires gas if you want to drive. Likewise, your muscles require carbs if they want to move.

If your car just sat in the garage and was never used, it wouldn't need gas. But the more you drive it, the more gas you need.

The more you move, the more carbohydrates you need. Hence the reason I like to say "earn your carbs." Earn them through physical activity.

And the key is that most of them should come from fruits and veggies -- that's how you get to the levels recommended -- on Friday we issued a challenge for 5 per day, but if you REALLY want to see results, 5 is a minimum and 10/day is ideal (fruits & veggies combined).

Make sense?

And one more thing...bleached, enriched & processed carbs, when you eat them, it's like putting regular unleaded gas into a high performance sports car that requires premium unleaded.

Our bodies truly are high performance machines. Yes, they will run on junk fuel, but you'll need MORE of it (leading to too many calories), and our bodies won't respond well on the bad fuel.  Just like that Porsche won't perform optimally on crappy gasoline.

Put the right fuel into your body, and you feel great, you experience optimal energy, reduced stress, and function at your peak capacity!

So, stock up on fruits, veggies, 100% whole grains, and you'll be ready to take on the world!

Want a simple tip to eating the right carbs?

Strive to put foods in your body that contain 5 ingredients or less.

  • Apple = 1 ingredient.
  • Peach = 1 ingredient.
  • Spinach = 1 ingredient
  • Broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, banana, grapes all have 1 ingredient.
  • Quaker 100% Whole Grain Oatmeal = 1 ingredient. 100% whole grain rolled oats.

On the other hand, if you eat a Krispy Kreme doughnut, you'd get a whooping 61 ingredients, here they are:

1. Enriched white flour contains 2. bleached white flour, 3. Niacin, 4. Reduced Iron, 5. Thiamine Mononitrate, 6. Riboflavin, 7. Folic Acid, 8. Dextrose, 9.Vegetable Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil) 10. Water, 11. Sugar, 12. Soy 13. Flour, 14. Egg Yolks, 15. Vital Wheat Gluten , 16. Yeast, 17. Nonfat Milk, 18. Yeast Nutrients, 19. Calcium Sulfate, 20. Ammonium Sulfate, 21. Dough Conditioners, 22. Calcium Dioxide, 23. Monocalcium Phosphate, 24. Dicalcium Phosphate, 25. Diammonium Phosphate, 26. Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate, 27. Whey, 28. Starch, 29. Ascorbic Acid, 30. Sodium Bicarbonate, 31. Calcium Carbonate 32. Salt, 33. Monoglycerides 34. Diglycerides, 35. Lecithin, 36. Calcium Propionate (Preservative) 37. Cellulose Gum, 38. Malted Barley Flour , 39. Natural Flavors 40. Artificial Flavors , 41. Enzymes, 42. Sodium, 43. Caseinate, 44. Corn Maltodextrin, 45. Corn Syrup Solids and 46. BHT (to Help Protect Flavor). Glaze Contains: 47. Sugar, 48. Water, 49. Corn Starch, 50. Calcium Carbonate, 51. Calcium Sulfate, 52. Agar, 53. Dextrose, 54.Locust Bean Gum, 55. Disodium Phosphate, 56. Sorbitan 57. Monostearate, 58. Mono- and 59. Diglycerides, 60. Artificial Flavor , and 61 Salt.

Five ingredients or less will eliminate the garbage food, help you feel great, and lead to the results you're after MUCH faster!

Brian Calkins

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Now Hiring Boot Camp Instructors

Adventure Boot Camp is looking to add two part-time All-Star Human Beings to our team of All-Star Instructors. 

You don’t need a certification to start (we’ll help you get that).

You don’t need experience (we’ll provide that in your training).

You don’t need to be a crazy, obsessed fitness freakazoid!  No, normal everyday All-Star Human Beings are just fine.    

You just need to be an awesome person who wants to join an awesome team.  We’ll help you with the rest!

Adventure Boot Camp All-Star Instructors all have the following in common.  They …

  • Wake up at 4am excited to make an IMPACT in on the women of Adventure Boot Camp!
  • Deliver their BEST, regardless of what else is going on in their life.
  • Are driven NOT by the paycheck, but rewarded through the difference they make every day in the lives of women they touch!
  • Love helping others, and love to help women become their best!
  • Understand that opportunity to live your passion only comes through work and dedication.
  • They didn’t have experience or certifications when they started either.  

If you feel you’d be a GREAT teammate on an All-Star team, fill out the Adventure Boot Camp Instructor Application online here: and take the next step!

Please share with anyone else you think would make a GREAT addition to our team of All-Stars!  Thank you!

Brian Calkins



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


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Coming up: Density Training

Today I want to introduce a training concept that we'll be using over the next few months – density training.

Now, density DOES NOT mean a training approach that leads to making the muscles, or any part of the body, more "dense" – so let's clear that up right away.

IN it's simplest definition, density training means that we manipulate a couple of training variables over time to increase the amount of work you can do in a given time period … OR … enhance your ability to do the SAME amount of work in a shorter time period

Here are two examples that might make sense:

Let's say 2 years ago you started running on a regular basis.  After several months you worked your way up to a 60 minute "long run".  Your first long run you covered 5 miles.  Overtime, with progressive training, you can now cover 7.5 miles in 60 minutes.   Now you can do MORE work in the SAME amount of time.  That's good!

Using the same scenario, you can ALSO now run 5 miles in 40 minutes, when it used to take you 60 minutes.  This too is a really good thing … you covered the SAME distance (work load) in 50% less time

In addition to improving performance, density training allows us to improve calorie burn during exercise, as well as post exercise.  It allows for significant better muscle definition.  And it's a tremendous fat burning mechanism.

Starting on April 27th, as we move outdoors for ABC, we will be incorporating a FUN hybrid density training approach to continually confuse your muscles, allowing you to make great progress.  We'll be setting up density training as a way for you to establish some mini-goals within each 4-week camp session, helping you stay on track from workout to workout, and stimulating your improvement, week after week.

To get ready, set a BIG, IMPORTANT, COMPELLING goal for the May, June and July camp sessions … where do YOU want to be on August 1st, 2015?

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, March 31, 2015

Motivation on Auto-pilot ...

What do you do to stay on track?

For some, it's almost like auto-pilot.  They show up as consistently as the sun rises. 

For others, we look at the auto-pilot folks perhaps in amazement.  How are they so consistent?  It looks like it's an effortless process. 

For those of us that have more ups and downs than steady consistency, there is hope!  

Having a powerful driver, or something you're going after, or an intense reason to achieve an outcome is all it takes.  Getting married is often a compelling reason to get in top shape. 

Some people are driven by the fear of losing something, or the pain of not doing something.  Those that have experienced a health scare often are driven to never go back to that place again, which is a powerful motivator.

A little less intense is to create something you want, state it as a specific goal or outcome, such as, "I will lose 10 pounds by July" or "I will fit in my college clothes by my reunion" or "I will run 30 seconds per mile faster by August 1st". 

It matters little what the outcome is, ONLY that what you're going after is meaningful to you. 

Then you will write out your goal, keep it with you, and read it several times throughout the day. 

I know that may seem silly but we all need constant reminders of what we're going after.  At first, it takes reading your goal over and over and over, and then that outcome becomes embedded in your mind.  At this point, your mind sorta takes over, and you suddenly discover all kinds of ways to make your outcome real. 

Big ideas/breakthroughs that help you get there come to fruition. 

Momentum kicks in in a significant way. 

Think about anything important that you accomplished, but once thought unattainable, and you'll find this same pattern. 

  1. Establish an important outcome.
  2. Write it down, and read it many times throughout the day until it's embedded in your mind.
  3. Take action on the steps that come to mind to reach your goal. 
  4. Momentum is created, and now all you have to do is keep that positive progress going forward.   

What would be really exciting or compelling for you to accomplish over the next 3 months?

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 |

Friday, March 20, 2015

“Spring Cleaning" Your Body ...

Welcome to the FIRST Day of Spring! 

In honor of the first day of spring, next week's challenge is a little twist on the traditional "Spring Cleaning."

We're going to Spring Clean (detox) our BODIES!

All this means, if you're up for the challenge, is we're going to eliminate eating processed foods, drink a lot of water, and focus on eating "clean" this week. 

By doing this, you'll be eliminating toxins, getting rid of sugar cravings, and "resetting" your body.

There's a lot going on during this challenge, but the benefits are HUGE, so here's what's in store …

Spring Cleaning Rules:

1.  Green Smoothie for Breakfast: This will get your day off to an energizing start! 

Here's a great recipe to try: In a blender, place 4 ice cubes, 6-8 oz. water, 1 huge handful fresh baby spinach, 1 heaping tsp. cacao powder, 1 handful frozen blueberries, 1/2 frozen banana, and 1 scoop of protein powder.  Blend and enjoy!  (You can use this one or any recipe with greens in it!)

2.  Drink at LEAST 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water each day.  Water consumed during your workouts does not count towards your daily total.

Keep it interesting.  Find a fun glass that you like and switch it up by adding sliced cucumber, strawberries, lemon, orange slices or other natural flavors to your water.

3. Have a large salad for lunch.  Load it up with veggies- as much as you want.  Add about 4-6 ounces of protein (chicken, turkey, etc.)  Stay away from the iceberg- as it contains very few nutrients than spinach or a baby greens mix.

For dressing, squeeze a fresh lemon over your salad.  If that won't cut it for you, make a vinaigrette.

Here's a great recipe: 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, ? cup good quality aged balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbs. dried parsley, ½ tsp. sea salt, Freshly ground pepper to taste, 1 Tbs. honey mustard  (organic if possible), 1 garlic clove, passed through a garlic press or minced (optional).  Add all ingredients into a bowl & whisk until thick and creamy.

4.  Dinner:  A palm sized portion of a grilled/baked/steamed protein (like chicken, turkey or fish) and 2 servings of vegetables.

5.  Get 6-8 hours of sleep every night.  Make an effort to go to bed earlier if you're not getting enough sleep.  Rest and recovery is critical for your body to get the most out of your 5-day detox.

6.  Exercise for at least 30 minutes for 5 or more of the next 7 daysUse the Adventure Boot Camp FitDeck, go for a run, or use  use my Twenty Fifteen Challenge for a FAST Fifteen Minute Killer workout!

7.  Other Basics:

  • Caffeine: limit to 1 cup (if you need MORE, opt for green tea).
  • Need a snack: Apple with 1 Tbs. Almond Butter (NOT peanut butter), handful raw nuts, or Fresh veggies with 2 Tbs. homemade guacamole
  • No dairy (or VERY limited)
  • No Wheat products of any kind- breads, pasta, cookies, cakes, etc.
  • Focus on the OUTCOME of what you want.  Focus on feeling good, healthy, and energetic.  Don't focus on foods that will distract you from your goal, better yet, remove those foods from your house!

That's it!  Not so bad, right!?

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 |

Monday, March 16, 2015

Green Every Meal Challenge!

THIS week we offer the Green Every Meal Challenge!

It may be one of your toughest challenges to date!  St. Patrick's day is TUESDAY!

The majority of people around the world will be drinking green beer and eating green-colored everything.

Your Challenge: Instead of drinking the loads of artificial colors and flavors, we're going to celebrate by eating something NATURALLY GREEN at every single meal this week.

Yes, this challenge is for EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL! 

We all know how important it is to eat our greens…and this is the perfect challenge to become aware of how many greens you truly ARE eating each day.

It's the chlorophyll in the plants that turn our food green.  And…this little chlorophyll molecule is pretty amazing. 

When consumed, it will increase blood cell production, improve oxygenation, detoxification, and circulation in your body.  It's also known to help prevent certain types of cancer.

Green vegetables and fruits are loaded with vitamins and minerals that go to work in your body. 

And what's probably MOST important, your energy soars, your skin glows, you satiate faster and eat less, and overtime, you develop a leaner body by eating green food (naturally green food, green food dye in beer and processed food doesn't count here)!

This challenge is going to take a little planning and prep work. 

Some ideas for green foods to add to your plate:

  • Avocado, Artichoke, Asparagus
  • Green Apples, Kiwi, Grapes, Limes
  • Arugula, Spinach, Kale, and other Greens
  • Broccoli, Celery, Cucumber, Zucchini
  • Don't forget herbs like Basil, Parsley, & Thyme!

If you have any other favorite greens, share with other Adventure Boot Campers on the private facebook page here:

Are you up for the Week One Challenge?

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 |

Friday, March 6, 2015

Day are getting longer ...

With all the snow on the ground the past couple of weeks it's hard to believe that we're 2½ weeks away from the beginning of spring. 

The days are getting longer, and soon enough the temperatures will be rising.  Even today we're starting to see that snow melt away as we get into the 50's! 

Within a month or so we'll start to see nature coming alive, energy improving, spirits elevating. 

Next camp session we'll be targeting workouts to prepare you for spring clothing, and we'll put an emphasis on cleaning up your nutrition. 

Between now and then (March 16), start to identify any nutritional habits that may have crept in over the long winter.  Things like:

  • An extra latté in the afternoon to help you get through the day.
  • The extra helping at dinner.
  • An afternoon trip to the vending machine, perhaps from boredom or stress. 
  • Bites, licks and tastes off the kids or husband's plates.

Little things that are small in isolation, but add up over the dreary, cold months of the year. 

A small bite here, two sips there, ultimately turns into a couple hundred calories in a day.  Over a year, a simple extra 100 calories per day equals an extra 10 pounds in a year of energy (calories) that need to be burned, or stored. 

It's easy to fall prey to the few extra calories, we all do it at times, and wintertime usually is the hardest to stay clean for most.  The big meals register on the brain, you feel the big post-meal energy drain, but an extra little chocolate leftover from Valentines usually doesn't get "accounted for". 

This is the perfect time of the year to check in with your diet, and clean up any "winter" habits that may have developed. 

Here are 3 tips to make sure you stay on track.

  1. Get your workout in. Studies show those who work out follow a better diet over the next 24 hours. 
  2. For a week, write down what you eat to increase your awareness. Without question, those who track their food intake see the best results.
  3. Be conscious of the mindless eating, especially if you're trying to get your arms, legs, and midsection toned and ready for spring/summer season. 

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 |

Monday, February 16, 2015

This week's challenge ...

We all know how important stretching is, but most of us don't do it every day.

It's one of those things we don't think about until we start experiencing pain or tightness somewhere in our body. 

But… rather than thinking of stretching just as "injury prevention" or as a "have-to" task, what about thinking of it as a way to improve performance?

Or as a way to reduce stress?

How about to help you feel more energized & refreshed throughout the day?

These are just some of the benefits of mobility & flexibility, and we can take simple steps throughout the day, anytime, anywhere.

Your challenge this week is to get in a minimum of seven minutes DAILY of mobility/flexibility work for the next 7 days (starting today!)

When can you get this done?

  • watching TV
  • while on a conference call
  • when you wake up in the morning
  • right before bed
  • while you're sitting at your desk!
  • I love this hamstring stretch in a doorway, not only is an outstanding stretch, you can text, check email, talk on the phone and read a book or magazine all while lengthening the back of your leg! 
  • Same idea for your hip flexors, this kneeing hip flexor stretch allows you to watch the weather on TV, or use your phone to correspond to email or update your calendar!

We have 96 increments of 15 minutes in a 24-hour day.   Use half of one of those for this challenge and you will see an improvement in your performance, stress levels, and feel less pain during the day.

Who's in for the 7-minute mobility and flexibility challenge for the NEXT 7 days?! 

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 |

Monday, February 9, 2015

Share the Love!

Welcome back to Adventure Boot Camp, we're super excited for a fabulous 4-week session!

Last month we worked on your 2015 Theme – creating a word that encapsulates what you want this year to be all about. 

We reconnected, or perhaps strengthened a dream that is super meaningful to you, and we set out our Big 5 or Bucket List for the year!

All these exercises are important because they give us meaning, a focus and direction, energy and enthusiasm.  Keep these things in front of you daily, use these as guideposts of inspiration to plan your day, week and the next 4-weeks. 

What results, or outcomes, or a new daily habit do you want to create THIS camp session?  Perhaps you set a goal for a weekly number of Ideal Eating Days, or increasing the frequency or intensity of your weekly workouts?  What do you want to get out of the next four weeks?

It's Valentines Week, and yes I can be a little cheesy at times, but I believe that everyone needs to feel the love this week.    

So I want to challenge you THIS week to "Share the Love" by offering some sort of act of kindness to someone in your life.   

Your Challenge this week is to "Share the Love" with a fellow Camper!

Some ideas:

1. If you are inspired by or notice someone working really hard in camp, or notice amazing progress from a fellow camper, tell her!  Or tell us about her in the new Adventure Boot Camp PRIVATE group here! (More on the new FB Private group page later).   

2. If you are the person being recognized, it's now your turn to do the same for somebody else (not the person who recognized you, but of course, you can gush on her too)… i.e. sharing it forward.  Share the Love with someone else within 24 hours. 

3. You can share in person at camp, or via email/text, or in social media … if using Facebook, make sure you tag her so that all her friends get to revel in the compliment too!

Let's make someone feel a little extra special this week! :)

Are you IN for this challenge?! 

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 |

Friday, January 30, 2015

2015 Bucket List Challenge!

Last year we had several fun challenges – The Muffin Top Meltdown, The Holiday Fitness Challenge, Planksgiving, The Pushup Challenge, etc.

Welcome to our FIRST Challenge of 2015!  This one should ideally be done NEXT week, and won't involve a dumbbell, elevated heart rate, or lacing up your running shoes. 

One of the most important things we can remember is to "live life with PURPOSE" … or direction, or with a compelling reason, going for something important to you. 

As we wrap up the first month of a new year, 97% of people, perhaps even more, have lost the luster they felt the first week of the year. 

Starting January we had a clean slate.  Ending January it may feel like a dirty slate, or a cluttered slate, or maybe just a little dusty.

It doesn't matter if it's January or July, or December 12th, we have an incredible opportunity to create and redirect our lives in the direction we want to go.

But we need to know where we want to go.

You may already have a "Life Long Bucket List" or a BIG 5 for your life (which is very cool if you do!). 

Next week, your challenge is to come up with a 2015 Bucket List, or your BIG 5.  If you've already created your 2015 BIG 5, well done!  Then your challenge next week is to pick one of the five and do something that matters, something that takes you a step or two closer to realizing that. 

A Bucket List or BIG 5 doesn't have to be big- but it absolutely SHOULD inspire the heck out of you!   

It could be as simple as reading a book you've wanted to read, to finally planning and taking that trip of a lifetime.    

This is your chance to change things up a little bit this year… and live 2015 with purposeful DIRECTION … to recapture that skip in your step, to feel like a kid again, to get out of bed fired up with a ton of energy and excitement. 

And I can't WAIT to see what's on your Bucket List. 

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 |

Monday, January 26, 2015

Super Bowl Week!

I often think of the fourth week of Adventure Boot Camp as our championship week.  It's the week where everything comes together.  We've built a great foundation in the first three weeks, then the final week we go all out, working our muscles to capacity, maxing out our cardiovascular training, and raising the game with nutrition.  We have a fantastic championship week in store!

Speaking of championship, here are some intriguing Super Bowl Facts for the game on Sunday:

  • One 30-second commercial aired during the Super Bowl costs at least $2,800,000
  • Of the top 10 most watched American TV programs of all time, nine of them are Super Bowls
  • 8 million pounds of guacamole are consumed during the Super Bowl!
  • Nearly 15,000 tons chips are consumed (yes, that's TONS of chips)
  • Super Bowl is officially the biggest eating "holiday" of the year, recently surpassing Thanksgiving in some research
  • The Super Bowl is measured in Roman numerals because a football season runs over two calendar years
  • Its estimated that $50 million is spent on Super Bowl Sunday food alone
  • The average American eats approximately 1500 calories during the Super Bowl game.  That's not counting calories before the game. When you consider that most women who are striving to lose or maintain weight, 1500 calories is generally a good number to strive for throughout an entire day (+ or -).
  • Over 700,000 footballs are produced annually for official NFL use and 72 of them are used for the Super Bowl.  Hopefully all 72 will be inflated to NFL standards for this game.  :)
  • Last year's Super Bowl between Seattle and Denver set a record for the most-watched television event in U.S. history.
  • The NFL has a policy against holding Super Bowl games in stadiums that have a climate of less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, unless it is an enclosed stadium.  The NFL awarded the new MetLife Stadium in New Jersey an exception to the policy for last year's Super Bowl. 

If you're hosting a Super Bowl party, or attending one with snack in hand, head over to the Adventure Boot Camp Facebook page for some healthier, yet very tasty, options that your family, friends, guests or host will love:

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 |

Friday, January 16, 2015

How do you keep your DREAMS alive?

Dreams, goals, your bucket list, whatever you want to call those things that inspire you, are an essential part of life.

They give you something to be excited about.  Something to strive for, and perhaps help you stay focused by making quality choices. 

As I mentioned yesterday, dreams can go dormant. 

So how do you keep them alive, and your outcomes or Big 5 energized?

Well, if one of your BIG 5 is a dream vacation, you could revisit the website/brohures and read about your upcoming experience, view the photos of where you're going, and plan out what you'll do when you get there.   You could put a deposit down. 

If your child has a dream to go to Harvard, then you'd go spend some time on the campus, talking to students and faculty to get excited about going to school there. 

If you want to start your own business, go talk to a seasoned small business owner and pick her brain on what it takes to make that leap, what challenges to avoid, and how to prepare for ownership. 

If you want to play the drums, or start a new hobby, do some research in that area.  Get the juices flowing!

If you want to master your health and fitness, find someone that not only lost weight and looks great, but who consistently does the things she needs to stay in outstanding shape.  Buy her a coffee and ask her about her beliefs around health and fitness, how she stays motivated, what she does when she has a bad day, etc.   Surround yourself with those that place a high value on health and fitness.

For me, I had to put a stake in the ground by setting a date.  I registered for a marathon 11 months out from now.  I created my target.  I took a step. 

And it keep me enthusiastic, to keep my goal energized, I'm remembering all those benefits I mentioned yesterday.  I'm reading the book, 26.2 Miles to Boston.  I've got my target time posted all over, and a picture of the coveted Boston Marathon jacket on my phone and computer. 

You see, dreams can be illusive. To make them real, you've got to believe and you've got to stay focused.  Dreams are demanding.  They require extraordinary energy.  But, lofty or pragmatic, they inspire us.  They allow us to express our deepest desires and to find the self we forever have been seeking!

Make a list of actions you can take to keep your biggest dream alive, energized, and well!

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, January 14, 2015

26 Miles to Boston ...

Those around me have heard me talk the past 5, 6 years about my dream of running the Boston Marathon.  Some might even be tired of me talking about it.  :)

At my age, I have to run 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 25 minutes in order to be eligible to run the Boston Marathon.   That's a 7 minute and 49 second per mile pace. 

And it's a big stretch for me. 

I finished my only marathon 10 minutes slower, at 3 hours and 35 minutes (8:12 pace).   I used every single ounce of energy to get that finishing time and I couldn't have run any faster, not even one second.   That was five years ago, and it gets harder the older I get.  My joints can't take as much running.   Critical hormones that help recovery between intense training runs reduce as we age.  Heart and lung capacity diminishes.   Etc, etc.

But I'm committed to achieving this dream. 

I don't care about being the fastest runner.  Although I love it big time, I'm not obsessed with running like a lot of runners.  I love the challenge of a tough goal and striving for something difficult.  I enjoy stretching outside my comfort zone.  I've put Boston on the shelf several times, discounted it on occasion, and justified that it's not that important to me. 

All that may be true.  And I may never achieve a fast enough time to qualify, but I'm gonna go for it.  I'm Recapturing this dream. 

I'd rather fall short of qualifying, but have an inspirational quest.  At the end of the day, it really is about the journey (and not the destination).  There are so many other things we get when we're courageous enough to take that path. 

If I end up running another 3:35 marathon (or 3:26, or 4:15), I STILL get the benefit of being in excellent shape.   I get the benefit of going after something – putting myself out there, even if I come up short.  I get the advantage of being focused.  I'll have more ideal eating days than not.   I will generate more energy in my body.   And create more feel-good brain chemicals.  Through the process of training I'll deliver more oxygen and nutrients to all the cells of my body, naturally cleansing toxins.   I'll be doing more of something I love.   I'll feel good about my health.  All these will happen on the journey towards Boston, regardless of the outcome. 

Think about one of YOUR BIG 5 outcomes for 2015.   What are all the benefits you will realize during YOUR journey, all the good that will come as you put in the effort required to strive for that outcome?  More often than not these "other" benefits significantly outweigh what we initial thought was the intended outcome. 

Fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, or ninety percent of something that inspires us is WAY better than 100% of nothing.  

How do you want to put yourself out there THIS year?

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, January 13, 2015

Your Big 5 ...

Our first week of ABC is officially in the 2015 books, and what a GREAT one we had!

I've talked with many campers over the past 24 hours, hearing about your experiences foam rolling. 

It's not necessarily as fun or "sexy" as down and backs, pushups, or running a half marathon, and it doesn't typically give you the same buzz you're feeling after today's 15 minute fitness challenge.  But rolling will allow you to stay in the game, eliminate pain, and help you function/perform at your best.

This weekend spend some time on Saturday and Sunday with your roller.  The more you do, the sooner those "painful" rolls transform into enjoyable rolls.

Also, consider the following to help you hone in on creating a new year in which you're proud:

1. Review your BIG 5 for the upcoming year. What are the 5 "big" things you are going to accomplish this year?  Work, family, personal, vacation, with the kids, education, growth.  Write them out and go after them!

2. Make sure your THEME for 2015 resonates deeply with you and elevates your spirit.  What is YOUR one word that emotionally charges you up for 2015?   Action?  Transformation?  Mastery?  Contribution?   Growth?  Stability?  Happiness?  Energy?  Passion?  Relax?  What is your year going to be all about and what ONE WORD defines the year you want to create?  All that matters is YOUR word means something to you!

3. Make a commitment to be in camp for all days you're registered next week. 

Have a GREAT weekend … we can't wait to see you Monday!

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 |

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Perfect Day of Eating ...

My 2015 theme is all about Recapture

Recapturing some of the things I've allowed to slip a bit.

Nothing major, but some areas where my standard has dropped a little here, a little there.

For example, I continue to run several days per week.  But in 2014 my long runs dropped from an average of 2 hours and 20 minutes down to 1 hour and 45 minutes. 

It's all relative.  Most people would say the difference is insignificant - it's still an hour and 45 minutes of running!  And big picture I totally agree. 

For me though, it's a noticeable drop off.  It has meaning to me – I'm not in the running shape I prefer.  Again, I don't feel like I'm a slacker, but simply not at the level I want.

And I haven't run a competitive race since 2013, two years in May. 

I am recapturing my long runs, my running pace, and my running intensity (more intervals, track work, and hill repeats).

And I'll get back down to my running weight.  Right now I'm 5-8 pounds heavier than my ideal running weight.  Recapture! 

The added 30 – 60 minutes of training each week will allow me to recapture my running weight, ideal running pace, and a half marathon in 4-5 months. 

But, nutrition will be the determining factor in getting to my goal weight.  It's far too easy to out eat our exercise … it happens to all of us.  Train hard, get hungry, eat more calories than we just burned working out.   It's very, very common.  Here's a short clip on how easy it is out eat your exercise

So to help me stay on track with my nutrition, I created my personal "Perfect Day of Eating" memo that I've posted at home and in my office.

I do NOT expect to have a "perfect" day all the time.  But posting my perfect day of eating keeps my ideal day of nutrition in the forefront of my mind, and gives me a much greater chance of having great nutrition days.

So now it's just a game to me …. How many perfect, or close to perfect days can I ring up in 2015?

Here's my perfect eating day:

To make this work longterm I need to be very flexible with my mindset.  There are tons of variables that will create "perfect eating day" variations.  Long run days I'll need more complex grain-based carbs and starchy carbs to replenish 2+ hours of running, for example.  When I travel my environment won't be as controlled as when I'm in Cincinnati.  There will be food-centered gatherings with friends and family.  I'll be at a restaurant that I may not have chosen.  I'm mentally and emotionally prepared to handle these things.  I'm going to truly do the best I can to rack up as many perfect, or close to perfect days as possible.  And as long as I truly do my best, I refuse to feel badly when situations beyond my control alter my perfect eating.

What does YOUR ideal nutrition day look like?

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 |