Monday, December 10, 2012

The Fallacy of Waiting : Why New Year's Resolutions Fail
  by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

Now that Chanukah has begun, Festivus, Christmas, and New Year's can't be too far behind. However, before we can ring in the new year, we must close out the old one--with a bang. Or at least that's the prevailing opinion among many of us.

Some of my clients have already warned me that "all bets are off" the rest of the year, primarily because of the prevalence of holiday parties. An excuse for some to cast aside the strictures of proper diet and exercise, these bacchanalian gatherings do more than simply expand our waistlines. They can “train” us to make excuses for poor dietary choices and for missing training sessions.

They can also teach us to adopt the rallying cry of tortured NY Mets fans everywhere, that of “Wait Until Next Year”.

Courtesy : Fox News
However, as Dr. Keith Ablow (pictured right) points out, New Year’s Resolutions fail miserably, and most are forgotten before the end of January. The major reason for such high failure rates, he says, is that most people neglect one key fact. We are in control of our lives! 

If we gain weight, or are not prepared for an event, such as the Boston Marathon, it is due to OUR choices.

However, according to Dr. Ablow, overcoming hurdles and achieving our goals are not primarily due to determination. He states that we can not be successful in our resolutions until we figure out why we have avoided achieving a goal.

Sometimes the reason is simple, such as having been repeatedly told, “Don’t overreach. Be happy with what you have.”, until we adopt the strategy of taking the path of least resistance.

Or, the reason might be more complex. An example is someone sabotaging their own weight loss goals because they don’t feel worthy of being more fit or attractive. Whatever the reason, we must uncover it in order to be successful.

Resolve to find your personal truth. This journey toward one’s own truth won’t be easy, but it is the most important journey you can take in your life. Because being absent from your own existence short circuits all good intentions. You can’t resolve to do anything, and mean it, if you are not in possession of your self.” (Dr. Keith Ablow)

January 1 will not bring with it a magic potion that wipes away the shortcomings of the previous year, while simultaneously guaranteeing success and fulfillment in the year to come. Rather, it is this difficult journey to personal truth that will determine how successful we will be from this day forward.

For help getting starting on this amazing journey, check out Dr. Ablow’s "The 7: Seven Wonders that Will Change Your Life" or George H. Weinberg’s “Self Creation” today. A new and improved you awaits!

In the words of Dr. Ablow, G-dspeed and good luck!

For more information, please feel free to reach me at

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Battle of the Bulge : How to Enjoy Thanksgiving AND Stay Slim
   by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

Thanksgiving is seen as a time to get together with family and friends, and celebrate with a festive meal. This meal can probably best be described as excessive. The inordinate amounts of turkey, stuffing, and desserts that we intend to, and eventually do consume, often send us into a downward spiral of poor diet choices, culminating with our 'completely falling off the wagon'.

We subsequent rely on the turning of the calendar page and the accompanying New Year's resolutions to shed the excess weight and get back into the swing of living a healthier lifestyle.

Such fallacious thinking can have dire consequences, both physically and psychologically. As our weight creeps up, we feel powerless to stop it, resulting in the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. However, the‘Battle of the Bulge’ requires proactive and sensible strategies that ensure compliance and success.

Here are a few tips from some successful personal trainers:

1. Cheat yourself. Dave Meza, a trainer in California, says that one strategy he uses with his clients is to make “[Thanksgiving] a cheat day.” Meza also advises his clients to “keep caloric intake under 4,000 calories and avoid seconds and alcohol.”
2. Go slow. “Just eat slow,” says Jared Glenn, a former professional boxer. Glenn explains that, “If you eat slowly, you end up eating less, since you feel fuller sooner. By using this strategy, you don’t have to eliminate foods, and can enjoy all of your favorites.”
Courtesy: The Guardian
3. Empty the tank.  Herman Soto, a Tier 3+ trainer at Equinox, advises his clients to work out before their meal. Soto says, “…by depleting energy reserves and simultaneously ramping up your metabolism, you will need to replenish the depleted stores." This is where your Thanksgiving meal, in all its glory, comes into play. You can eat guilt free, knowing you've earned this meal.

Holidays, like Thanksgiving, should be about spending quality time with family and loved ones, not fretting over what you can or can't eat. Use the strategies of these great trainers, and this Thanksgiving can be one of your best--devoid of guilt, and full of good memories and good times.

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!!!

For comments and questions, you can reach me at

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Childhood Obesity : A Growing Problem
   by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

Death. Taxes. Childhood obesity?

Each day we are confronted with the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. The percentage of obese children has tripled over the last 30 years, and it currently stands at an incredible 17% (nearly 1 in 6 children), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Each day, nearly 55 million school-aged children are bombarded with ads showcasing the joys of cheap, fast food. This constant exposure, designed to appeal to children, helps to render them incapable of making healthy food choices.

Instead they opt for the tastier, trendier food options featured in those cool commercials. You could call it the McDonaldization of our children.

Obese children face a myriad of psychological and physical problems. Teasing and name calling lead to lowered self esteem and social withdrawal. This negatively impacts their quality of life.

The physical side effects of obesity are insidious. They literally cut short lives. Obese children have a high rate of remaining obese as adults. In adulthood, they face a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or hypertension (high blood pressure). They are also at a greater risk for getting cancer and diabetes and suffering strokes.
Courtesy: Fit For All 5K

Preventing childhood obesity requires maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is primarily understood to be physically active and to eat healthy. (For more information about eating healthy, check out "Sculpting the Perfect Body : One Bite at a Time")

Events that promote physical activity, such as the Fit For All 5K, are a great way for children to be active and have fun doing it. (Check out the video for the 2012 Fit For All 5K)

For adults, it is a great way to support a worthy cause and set a positive example of healthy living for children.

For more information about the causes of childhood obesity and to find out how you can fight this terrible epidemic, check out the CDC and the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ).

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Navigating The Psychological Effects of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy has torn through much of the Eastern seaboard, leaving massive destruction (such as that seen below right) in its wake and millions of people without electricity and water. The physical aftermath is staggering, yet quantifiable.

Courtesy: The Examiner
However, measuring its psychological effects are nebulous guesstimates at best. One effect is that many people are feeling stir crazy, the need to get out of their homes and do something. Many offices and public gathering places are closed, leaving many to simply wander about the town in search of some activity.

A more productive use of your time is going to workout at your local gym. It can be a great and safe physical and psychological outlet in these times. You can remain active, and relieve nervous energy and stress that you may have accumulated from being stuck inside for many hours.

Here are some simple things that you can do to navigate the post Sandy gym crowd and obviate additional stress:

Courtesy: Well and Good NYC
1. Embrace the crowd. There will be more people going to the gym now, since many don't have to, or can't get to work. By having realistic expectations about the amount of additional people you will encounter, you can decrease your chances of feeling extra stress.

Ayala Sherman, a development associate in New York City, took advantage of the day off to go to Equinox. She expected more people to show up, and in fact "the yoga class was nuts!", noting that the "class was double the normal size".

2. Use the buddy system. Whether you are a newbie, or simply want company, work out with a friend or use a trainer. During these times, many trainers will often give you a complimentary 60 minute or 30 minute session. Inquire at your gym to get further information.

3. Reflect, in the moment. Most of us "lead lives of quiet desperation" and fill each day and every hour with myriad activities that keep us occupied, but free of reflection. These activities can often make us lose sight of more important things in life, such as friends and family.

So when someone grabs the last spot in your yoga class, or the bench or weight that you were heading for, simply shrug it off. Reflect on the relative insignificance of that event, and how much you have to be thankful for.

By following these three tips, you can avoid extra stress and have an enjoyable gym experience. Keep the hard work up, and the stress down!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Exposing The Holiday Weight Gain Myth
   By Bob Wells, CPT, PES

The rumors of the “holiday weight gain” are greatly exaggerated. This notion has been foisted upon us like that of the existence of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny--entertaining and very profitable to fitness professionals, but false nevertheless.

The five to eight pound weight that many fitness professionals warn against is in reality much less. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average weight gain during the holiday period is about one pound. This minuscule weight gain is hardly the doomsday scenario that many portray.

Despite this new evidence, you should not view it as carte blanche to consume whatever you want during the holidays. While the actual weight gain during this period is quite harmless, it is the after effects that can be quite pernicious.

In addition to reinforcing bad dietary habits, such as skipping meals to eat a much larger, more delicious one later, holiday weight is not usually taken off in the subsequent year. Your one or two pound gain this holiday period becomes five to ten pounds in the next few years.

Dr. Jack A. Yanovski, MD., who is the head of Growth and Obesity at the National Institutes of Health, says that those small weight gains can cause major medical problems. More than half of Americans are overweight, and excess weight sets the stage for heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

The real challenge for the epicureans out there is to balance enjoying the holiday delicacies without the  angst that can come with the battle. Instead of bemoaning your fate, try these tips to make your next holiday a healthy and a delicious one.

  1. Don't skip meals. The idea that you can save calories for the next meal went out with powdered wigs and the horse and buggy. You are simply priming your body to be a fat storing machine, since mealtime can't be predicted and calories must be preserved. Eat small meals every 3-4 hours to maintain normal blood sugar levels and reduce the likelihood of binge eating. (For more info, check out Sculpting the Perfect Body : One Bite at a Time)
  2. Don't stress the dessert. If you're looking forward to that slice of pumpkin pie, enjoy it. Constantly depriving yourself of such culinary delights will make you miserable and actually decrease your willpower. 
  3. Work it out. Whether you take a walk after dinner or sign up for a Turkey Trot, exercising has multiple benefits. Exercise makes you feel better and can be a fun way to keep you cognizant of your fitness goals.
Follow these steps and take a sensible approach to food and drink during the holidays. You will make your next one happy, healthy, and delicious!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Get Chocolate Milk : It Really Does a Body Good!

(A version of this article first appeared on 24 Savvy)

If you watch any sporting event, you will almost certainly come away with the impression that water or Gatorade are the only beverage recovery options for the inspiring, or the aspiring athlete.

Water may be great for fluid replacement, but it certainly can’t replace depleted nutrients or help you regain energy after a grueling workout. This is where your old frenemy carbohydrates--found in sports drinks like Gatorade--can come to the rescue.

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), these recovery periods are key opportunities to influence training outcomes. If carbohydrate needs are neglected after training, you diminish potential gains from your workout. Therefore, if you don’t refuel your carbohydrate stores properly, you have essentially wasted your training session.

However, as Dr. John Hawley showed in an issue of the Journal of Sports Science (2006), man does not recover by carbohydrate alone. “Ingesting protein with carbohydrates immediately after exercise reduces muscle soreness. The ability to sustain high level performance day after day is limited by how well glycogen stores are recovered and muscle tissues are repaired.”

Joel Stager, physiologist and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Indiana University, finds that a great recovery option is one that has a high carbohydrate and protein content.

His latest study was published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. In the study, Stager finds an old kid favorite--chocolate milk--to be an optimal post-exercise recovery aid. His findings have also found traction outside of the lab, with athletes and coaches alike.

“I am a huge fan of chocolate milk after workouts,” says Jerry Shreck, head strength coach at Bucknell University. “I tell my athletes to go to the cafe and slam two glasses after a workout.

Courtesy : Got Chocolate Milk?
“You have about a 45 minute window after a workout when your body will be craving nutrients to combat the hormone imbalances that you created during the workout. At this time, your body will take in those nutrients at a more optimal rate. Therefore, your body can use them to immediately start repairing itself, which aids in quicker recovery. “

Now drink up--to your health and your hot new body.

Chocolate milk, it really does a body good!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Joy of Fitness
   by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

As I crossed the finish line of the Fit For All 5K, I felt a familiar feeling in my legs.

It was the same feeling that I had after every 400 meter race I have ever run--jelly. I quickly scanned for a place to relieve them--of the nearly 210 pounds packed onto my 5'9" frame.

I am built for the 100 meter sprint or the 40 yard dash, but certainly not a 5,000 meter race, at least according to conventional wisdom. My pseudo running partner, Frank Monteleone, congratulated me as I crossed the finish line, in 26:05, officially. (Frank had long dusted me, finishing nearly five minutes earlier, good enough for a 4th place overall finish.)

Shy of my 25:00 goal, I was nevertheless pleased with my performance. In my first official race, with cold air penetrating my lungs with each breath, it felt as if I were the victim of a robbery gone bad. Coupled with cramps growing more intense, I was also fighting an overwhelming desire to quit.

At about the 2.5 mile point, I seriously contemplated curling up into the fetal position, forgoing a race in which my legs had forsaken me. Had I been wearing more than my black Nike shorts and my "Jews Kick Ass" t-shirt, a bold DNF might have been attached to my name.

Instead, I ran on, encouraged by my fellow runners and an amazing crowd cheering each runner. With the race, I discovered the camaraderie of the distance community. The race was more than just a race.

It was a community gathering, with each participant and spectator encouraging everyone else to dig deep, to finish strong, and experience the joy that comes with accomplishing something you once thought impossible.

It is...the joy of fitness!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dynamic Ways to Start Your Workout

Common sense and science dictate that we can’t just jump into a workout. We need some type of warmup prior to a training session in order to maximize the training benefit, as well as to prevent injury.

Often warmups include running on a treadmill for a few minutes, doing some pushups, or stretching. However, science has shown that stretching fails to prevent injury. (Fields et al. 2007) Further, pre-workout stretching has been shown to inhibit strength. (Fowles et al. 2000)

Coaches like John Campbell of Equinox believe dynamic warmups are a preferable way to prep the body to work out.

“Dynamic warmups better prepare the body by training by taking it through greater range of movement. Exercises like lunges, knee hugs, or inchworms (as seen in the videos below) can elevate core temperature, and improve soft tissue pliability.”

In short, dynamic warmups are a great way to reduce your risk of injury and better prepare you for the workout, maximizing your results.  

Get started now and get results!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Squat Your Way to a Flatter Stomach

(This article first appeared on 24Savvy on September 26, 2012)

Jill Coleman / Courtesy Jill Fit
Take a look at the cover of any health and fitness magazine. You will see perfectly sculpted men and women smiling, usually showcasing their flat, tight abdominals and touting the latest plank or crunch variation as the source of their invidious midsection.

Apart from choosing their parents wisely, these “models” work hard by pressing and lifting heavy weights, especially squats. As shown in Lou Schuler’s “Lift Like Hercules, Look Like Aphrodite”, the fallacious notion that lifting heavy weights will make you bulky has been sufficiently debunked.

Lifting heavy weights is believed to promote greater calorie burn due to the muscle repair that has to take place after these sessions. Lifting heavy will help make you leaner AND stronger. There are many multijoint exercises like pushups, lunges, and pull-ups that can help you get you the leaner, tighter body you desire.

However, squats can provide the best bang for your buck, since they can work nearly half of the 600+ muscles in your body, including those in your core. Michael Granger, a Tier 3+ coach at Equinox says, “ squats uniquely challenge and utilize the muscles of the core.”

“Also, by changing the complexity of the exercise, such as by doing an overhead squat or a suitcase squat (weight in one hand only), you can provide a greater challenge to your core.” However, Granger notes that the OMG abs the models display are the result of more than just exercise.

“Genetics and diet also play a large role in getting the body of your dreams.” For more information about eating right, check out “Sculpting the Perfect Body: One Bite at a Time”

Now, let’s get squatting!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Need for Speed : How to Run you Fastest Marathon Ever
   by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

Each year, more than half a million Americans complete a marathon, making it one of the most difficult yet most popular races in existence. In November 50,000 people will run the NYC marathon and etch their names in the annals of history. It is quite an accomplishment to simply finish the grueling 26.2 miles.

However, unless you are Kenyan or Ethiopian, your chances of finishing a marathon in the top 10 are virtually nonexistent.

Ayele Abshero / Courtesy IAAF
Most people attribute the East Africans' success, such as 2012's top marathoner Ayele Abshero (2:04:23), to a superior gene pool. However, Dr. Joe Vigil says that their extraordinary success is owed to more than just their DNA. Vigil comments that "It is common for Ethiopian and Kenyan children to have to run 10 miles each day to get to school."

This early introduction to distance running at speed is believed to allow for the full speed and aerobic development that lays the groundwork for running excellence later in life. It is similar to the language development window in young children. Perhaps if children in the United States weren't so sedentary, the trend of the dearth of excellent American marathoners and the plethora of overweight children would be reversed.

Still, it takes more than hard work to determine success. My high school coach Roger Featherston would say, "It's not about just working harder, you have to work smarter." Examine any Kenyan or Ethiopian training program and you will notice a stark difference when compared to the average American one.

East Africans incorporate more speed work into their program, often running at the lactate threshold. NASM defines the lactate threshold, also known as the anaerobic threshold, as the level of exercise intensity at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the bloodstream. This happens when it is produced faster than it can be metabolized, or removed.

The primary benefits of training at the lactate threshold are twofold. One is due to the principle of SAID, the specific adaptation to imposed demand. By training at high speeds during practice sessions, you will better be able to run them during races. The East Africans understand this and make it a crucial part of their training.

The other benefit is that the more that you train at the lactate threshold, the more efficient that you become at that level. In addition to being able to more efficiently metabolize lactate, your body can use the lactate as an alternative source of fuel. The extra gas in the tank will allow you to hit the wall later or not at all.

 An example of a lactate threshold, or new interval training, workout comes from Peter Thompson. In his New Interval Training, he offers workout options that can help develop greater race speed. One workout calls for you to run 12 x 400 meters at 5000K pace with a 100 meter roll on recovery. For example, someone who runs a 5K in 21:00, each 400-meter ‘sprint’ should be in 90seconds.

The roll on 100 meter run would be in 20-25 seconds for a more seasoned runner and slightly less for a beginner. The roll on allows for the accumulated lactate to dissipate while still training at a high level.

However, Mindy Solkin of the Running Center in New York advises caution when introducing the speed element, especially to beginning runners. “Speed, introduced improperly in a training program, can lead to greater rates of injury. This can compromise one’s ability to participate in the upcoming race, as well as races in the future.”

It is true that speed must be introduced properly and progressively, according to individual abilities, and goals. Such caution will lead to fewer overuse injuries and less biomechanical inefficiency.

For more ways on how to implement speed work into your program and become a faster runner email me. Whether you are running a 5K or a marathon, speed work can help you reach your potential.

Make your next race your fastest one!

Bob Wells is a USA Track and Field certified running coach and can be reached at

Sunday, September 9, 2012

On Your Mark, Get Set, Lift?

How to Run Faster without Running    
    by Bob Wells, PES

In August, when I signed up for the Komen NYC Race for the Cure, I had a list of three things that I wanted to accomplish with today's race:

1. Run my first 5k. 
2. Raise money for charity.  
3. Train for the race without actually running. Yes. Really. I’m serious. Keep reading!

It’s the last one that raised eyebrows with my friends, clients, and other coaches. After the race, many people confided that they had secretly doubted my ability to finish. They imagined that I would be doubled over along the course somewhere, cramping, crying out for my mother. Instead, I finished strong, sprinting at the end to finish with a respectable 30:00. 

However, heading into the race, I had my own doubts and knew that I would face a few hurdles, including issues with distance, pacing, and breathing.
  1. Distance- As a former sprinter and running back, I had never run more than a mile in my life. And then, it was only twice. Ever. Yes, really. I didn’t even know what 5K felt like.
  2. Pacing- As I mentioned earlier, I am a former sprinter. I had no idea how to pace a race such as a 5K. As a sprinter, you essentially run as hard as you can for the duration of the race. This need to pace was going to be a brave new world, and I was going to need help.
  3. Breathing- As a sprinter, I was always taught to breathe forcefully. Sprinting is primarily anaerobic, so any need to replenish limited oxygen supply is superfluous. 

When I started my training program, I calculated that I would need the aerobic capacity and the strength to be able to run for 30 minutes. Lower body strength (600lb squat, 505 deadlift) was definitely not an issue, but building up my cardiovascular capabilities was going to be a challenge. Especially doing the whole not running thing. 

I substituted the bike to build up my endurance to be able to last the 3.1 miles. Twice a week I did “long runs”, 20-40 minutes on the bike. The other two days I did speed work, usually intervals, to maintain my strength and power. Three days a week, I lifted, opting for full body routines. (Email me for the workouts.) 

Courtesty : Monteleone Partners
The pacing was a little easier to manage. I simply asked a couple of my running clients to pace me. The biggest challenge was navigating the gridlock at the beginning of the race. Thanks again to Frank and Kathleen (on right, pre-race) for pacing me. I apologize for slowing you guys down. 

In hindsight, the breathing fiasco makes for some hilarity. Despite knowing proper breathing mechanics, I predictably reverted to my prior breathing habits. Also quite predictably, I was cramping 400 meters in. 

Quitting was not an option, and I was stubbornly prepared to run with a cramp for some 2.5 miles. Then I remembered what legendary running coach Dr. Joe Vigil said at the Running Summit two weeks ago about breathing. 

Dr. Vigil said that more often than not, you can breathe your way out of a cramp by focusing on your breaths. Inhalation should be deep, slow, and steady. Exhalation should also be slow and controlled. 

By doing so, you can moderate your heart rate, helping you to relax and calm down. According to NASM, deep rhythmic breathing can also replenish the limited oxygen supply, which is connected to anxiety and muscular tension. The technique worked for me, and my cramp soon disappeared.

Now that I have this race under my belt, I am excited for the next one (October 7, Fit For All 5K) I am going to tweak my training to increase my speed (goal is sub 25:00) Still, I am going to keep the running out of it. 

WHY no running, you ask?

Excellent question, and the answer is primarily contrariness. Traditional thought is that you have to run to be effective at running and to improve your times. To be a world class runner, perhaps this axiom holds true. 

However, most people can drastically improve their times by increasing strength and removing any biomechanical ineffiencies that might arise by implementing a well thought out training program. Such a program addresses the energy system and muscular needs of the sport / event to be performed. 

You can call me crazy for this training philosophy, but I believe in the science behind this theory. And in 2013, you’ll have to call me something else.

A sub 18 minute 5K runner!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Four Ways to Make Your Race Day Awesome
  by Bob Wells, PES

Like many of the hundreds of thousands of people running road races this year, your nerves may be getting the best of you. Whether you are looking to win the race or simply trying to gauge your ability, there are a few things that you can do to ensure optimal performance.

1. Stay the course. As race day approaches, tinkering with your diet, shoes, or routine is the last thing that you want do do. Last minute changes can be stressful and can often lead to poor performances. Maintain the routine that you are accustomed to. It got you this far.

2. Review the course. (For the Komen NYC Race for the Cure Map, click here.) Even if you don't expect to be among the leaders, having a clear mental picture of the course can help you break it down into smaller and less intimidating stages. That includes knowing where the mile markers or the midway point.

Courtesy: Dartmouth Athletics
3. Run your race. Don't fall prey to the speedsters who go out in a blaze of glory. If you go out too fast, you might find yourself struggling to finish. Joe Vigil said that sometimes he would have his teams push an incredibly fast pace to start a race. This would put pressure on their opponents to run a faster pace than they wanted at the beginning and take away their finishing power. Conserve your energy and finish strong.

Courtesy: CBS / Los Angeles
4. Have fun and enjoy the race. Your training is complete, and the race is the celebration of that training. Take the time to meet other participants and have fun.

For those running in Sunday's Komen NYC Race for the Cure, good luck! If you would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Man with a Ban: How One Mayor is Ambitiously Fighting Obesity
   by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

Our landscape is dotted with decisions, that although wildly unpopular at the time turned out to be great in retrospect. For example, Will Smith turned down a chance to attend M.I.T to focus on his music, becoming a millionaire before his 19th birthday.

In 1997, C.E.O Gil Amelio was fired, paving the way for Steve Jobs to return to Apple. Not surprisingly, Jobs was unceremoniously booed at a speech he gave in Boston's Park Plaza Castle as Apple’s newly minted chief executive.

However, by 2011, boos were replaced by praise for a man who had brought Apple’s annual sales well north of $100 billion, and introduced such revolutionary products as the I-pod, I-Phone, and I-Pad.

Courtesy: Oral Health Matters
Other unpopular decisions may not net their makers fame and fortune. They can, however, change society for the better. For example, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, right, recently proposed a soda ban. He did so with an aim toward curbing drastically rising obesity rates and their deleterious effects.

Not surprisingly, many New Yorkers and industry people criticized the proposal, blasting Bloomberg for taking away “their right to choose”. The beverage industry has repeatedly clashed with the city’s health department, claiming that it has unfairly singled out soda.

“The New York City health department’s unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top,” the industry spokesman, Stefan Friedman, said. “It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front.”

But according to the journal Pediatrics, the soda ban does work. The New York Times reports that the study “…found a strong association between healthier weight and tough state laws regulating food in vending machines, snack bars and other venues...”

Courtesy : CNN
Since junk food and sugary drinks have little nutritional value and are calorically dense, leading to obesity and a host of medical problems. It makes sense that removal of them from your diet would result in healthier weights for you and your loved ones.

Clearly, Mayor Bloomberg is onto something with his soda ban proposal. Still, people argue about protecting their right to choose what they want to eat and drink and serve to their unsuspecting children. They argue that they should be allowed to choose foods that not only make them fatter, but also pose tremendous health risks that affect us all. According to them, choice should reign supreme.

However, when deprived of these “choices”, people’s weights are at healthier levels. Sugary drinks and junk food have very little nutritional value and are calorically dense, therefore it makes sense that removal of them from your diet would result in healthier weight.

Healthy weight reduces rates of diabetes and heart disease. This increases longevity AND improves the  quality of life, for you and your loved ones.

Who can argue that this isn’t a good thing?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Join Us in the Race for the Cure

Dear Friends:

I'm writing now to ask for a small favor. Not for me, but for the millions of women diagnosed with breast cancer. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That means it is likely you know someone who has been diagnosed – perhaps you or your spouse, a relative, coworker, neighbor or friend – someone in your life’s circle who has heard the words, “You have breast cancer.”

A diagnosis of breast cancer affects more than just the patient. When someone we love is diagnosed, we all are affected.  Families work doubly hard to keep homes running smoothly while their loved one goes through treatment. Businesses struggle, not only to support their coworker, but also to fill the gaps in productivity.  Breast cancer doesn’t care – so we have to care!

A big part of being human is to care about the state of our world, and to take steps to make it a better place. We are charged with the task of doing tikkun olam, or repairing the world. I am proud to share in humanity’s responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world.

So, on September 9, 2012, I will join thousands of others playing a part in the annual Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure. Please make a donation on my behalf, and consider joining my team to run with me. You will be supporting local breast cancer screening, treatment, education and outreach along with national peer-reviewed research programs that will lead us to the cure.

My goal is to raise $5000 this year. Please help me reach that goal with your financial support. Whether you donate $5 or $500, each gift from you, your family, and friends is greatly appreciated and helps in the fight to eradicate breast cancer.

There are two convenient options to help you contribute. Online donations are simple through Komen Greater NYC’s secure website.  Please go to my fundraising page and make a tax-deductible donation online at -- click on “Donate.”

Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure
P.O. Box 9223, GPO
New York, NY 10087-9223

Please make your check payable to: Komen Greater NYC/Race and add my name in the memo so that I will be credited for your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support.


Bob Wells

Monday, August 6, 2012

One-on-One with Catherine Piot
   by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

Today we’re spending some time with Catherine Piot, devoted family woman, celebrity trainer, gymnastics coach, nutritionist, and author of the “Transforming Your Body after 40”. You wear a lot of hats and you certainly have a lot on your plate. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise. 

Thank you. I am excited about the opportunity to share with your readers.

Courtesy : Catherine Piot
You are the owner and founder of the Catherine Piot institute. What is it that you do?

At the Catherine Piot institute, we provide athletic coaching, private fitness training, boot camps, weight training, group fitness classes, weight loss programs and nutrition education. We are a one stop shop for all of your fitness needs.

Now, that it’s summer, so many people are more concerned with how they look and how they are going to lose weight. Some experts say it’s best to do cardio, others advocate for traditional weight training. What’s your take on the best way to loss weight?

I am a big believer of circuit training. It is one of my top recommendations for a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off. It’s also a great way to tone and firm your body at the same time.

Can you briefly describe what circuit training is?

Circuit training involves doing several selected exercises with no rest in between. You only get a quick break when you finish the routine. You can repeat 2-3 times before moving on to the next circuit.

So, what’s the difference circuit training, cardio training, and weight training?

Circuit training can be seen as a combination of both traditional weight training and cardio training. You can include the same kinds of exercises that you typically do with free weights or barbells, but with a lighter weight than you would normally use. For example, if you normally do dumbbell squats with 50 pounds, you use 25 pounds for circuits. 

You can also include cardio movements like rope jumping, jumps and sprints that make your workout much more intense. You can usually finish a workout in 45 minutes or less. 

Your circuits can be as long as you want, but since this is an intense workout, 2-4 exercises will be enough. You can repeat each circuit 3-5 times before moving on to the next circuit. Alternatively, you can do one circuit 5-6 times.

That sounds pretty intense!

It is, and that's the beauty of circuit training. Its high intensity, which includes short, intensive aerobic kinds of exercises, is very effective for fat loss. In other words, you burn fat faster than with any other workout. 

Okay, take us through a circuit training workout that you or your clients would do.

OK, grab a pair of dumbbells and a jump rope. It's time to rock and roll! For our first circuit, we're going to do push-ups, high knees, shoulder presses, and jump rope. 

Each exercise is to be done for 30 seconds, completing as many repetitions as possible. If you are really struggling, then cut the time for each exercise down to 20 seconds. Once you have completed the entire circuit, take a brief break (90s - 2mins), and then repeat the circuit two more times.

For the second circuit, we're going to do dumbbell squats, jumping jacks, alternating reverse lunges, and jump squats.

Complete the second circuit the same way as the first.

Catherine Piot post-circuit / Courtesy Catherine Piot Institute

If I do circuit training, does that mean that I can I skip all other cardio?

By no means am I suggesting that you eliminate more traditional forms of cardio / fat loss exercises like treadmills, stair masters, or elliptical machines. However, circuit training offers more bang for your buck, especially when you have a limited amount of time to workout. 

Let's get started now and transform your body!

Ms. Piot has over 20 years experience working in the field of sports, and is the founder and owner of the Catherine Piot Institute. She has helped people, from athletes to lawyers, achieve their fitness and weight loss goals. For more information, or to contact her, go to