How to get lean, and stay lean? A myth or fact?


How to be lean, or not to be lean, THAT is the question. To get lean and stay lean isn't as hard as most people perceive it to be. You don't know what you don't know. Getting lean is rather easy, when you put your mind to it, and you treat your body as the temple it is. When you approach food and exercise from the standpoint of; this is a lifestyle and it's something that is non-negotiable you will put it as your number one priority.  There's an age old adage that goes, "Those who FAIL to PLAN, PLAN to FAIL." A target without a bull eyes aims at nothing. Same goes for "a goal" if you don't have it written down, and can't see it, then you're not serious about where you want to go. (Law of attraction) What you focus on expands. What do I mean by that?

Getting lean, What do I do first?

  1. Create a vision board - have a vision of what your ideal body is. (Find a picture and post it up so you see it daily)
  2. Write down your exercise goals:  have a calendar. (Apply that written or on computer) Plan out what you're going to do on day 1- day 3 and so on. 
  3. Prep your meals:  put them in a calendar. (Know what you're going to eat on days you lift, and days you rest) (Days you lift require more slow digesting carbohydrates that give you sustainable energy) (Days off you can eat a little more simple carbohydrates) (Refer to your nutritionist or contact me to help you with a meal plan)
  4. Track your progress: Tracking your progress will help you know where you're at week in and week out, and how to make adjustments as your body changes from week to week. 
  5. Stay consistent: You have to have a CAN DO/WILL DO attitude about how you approach your fitness. (How you do one thing, is how you do everything) So, practice acting your way into the habit.
  6. Never Give Up: Being human we often get lazy and tired from day to day living. And, you often wonder is what you're doing going to get better are you ever going to see change? (That is all dependent on your mindset). When you get complacent and are starting to see you're more & more lethargic, it simply means your body is lacking something in regard to your required micronutrient intake. Let's take a deeper look...

Prep your meals

When you want to get lean and stay lean, you probably heard it before; "You can't out-train a poor diet!" No matter how much you exercise/lift whatever the case may be. Unless you change what's going on - on the inside you will NEVER win that battle. In my 17 years of training, the most success I've seen from my clients are those who have consciously made a decision to change and alter how, what & when they eat. A made up mind is a powerful thing. So, when you make the personal choice that you want to change the outcome, you have the power to do it. As you read further into the article there will be a breakdown and understanding of why nutrition from the inside out is the most important factor in understanding change. When you want to get lean and stay lean, this is something you can NOT compromise. Just as you plan your goals for life and events, the same goes for your body:

  • Put it in your calendar

  • Plan your meals - When prepping your meals it's important to understand; Macronutrients: protein, carbs, fat & water. (Water is also a macronutrient.) Based on your bodyweight goals you will need to consult with a trainer/nutritionist to help you understand what your body needs to attain your actual goal.
  • Plan your supplements - Micronutrients are also required in order to achieve overall health. (Learn more)

Below please review images

There is a 5 year difference between these two images. 

"Get Lean & Stay Lean"

Leading by example


 Getting lean and sarcopenia! What’s That?


In order to get lean and stay lean, it's important to understand what happens as you get older. One of the greatest long-term threats to our ability to remain healthy and function independently with advancing age is a steady loss of lean muscle mass, a condition known as Sarcopenia. After the age of thirty, most adults lose 2%-5% of their lean muscle mass every decade as a result of the condition! Sarcopenia is increasingly recognized as a serious health problem that affects millions of aging adults and places an ever-greater strain on our health care system. The good news, by adopting a regimen that includes the right diet, proper nutritional supplementation and exercise, it is possible to dramatically improve lean muscle mass at virtually any age. (IDLife)

Getting lean from the Inside Out

An important part to understanding change, and in order to get lean, and stay lean you have to achieve intracellular transformation. (Let the cells go to work)  You need to understand the importance and the role of micronutrients, and how vital they are for you to achieve the lean body, and your overall health. ( Text below) Taken from an article written by John Berardi founder of Precision Nutrition, he lists why our bodies breakdown, and explains further in the article why FOOD is not FUEL. More importantly when you look further into micronutrients and what you need in order to function properly will give you a better understanding of what you need to achieve overall health. A lot of people want to be lean, but don't understand the importance and intake of micronutrients, and why you need supplementation. In order to achieve a lean and healthy look you have to be in the best possible health inside and out

Providing the cells with what they need in order to operate properly and fight off disease 

Providing the cells with what they need in order to operate properly and fight off disease 


Getting lean: Micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals


We need vitamins and minerals in our diet. Without them, our bodies break down.

For example, calcium helps:

  • build bones,
  • clot blood,
  • regulate blood pressure,
  • keep our muscles and heart pumping, and
  • maintain cell communication.

Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 enzyme systems and helps with:

  • protein synthesis,
  • muscle and nerve function,
  • blood sugar control,
  • blood pressure regulation,
  • energy production, and
  • transport of other minerals.

Folate (vitamin B9) helps:

  • convert food into energy,
  • the nervous system (including the brain) function,
  • tissues grow
  • red blood cell production.

We could go on all day here.

The bottom line: None of these nutrients provide fuel. Which means that the food as fuel story totally ignores them.

This may be one reason why vitamin and mineral deficiencies are extremely common. When we only think of food as fuel, it’s easy to forget that we’re eating for other reasons too.

Precision Nutrition

When you’re missing key vitamins and minerals, your body doesn’t work properly. You feel rotten. And you get sick. And that’s true no matter how much fuel is in the Ferarri. (Ptonthenet, Food is not fuel, Oct 7, 2015) 


Getting lean and understanding your heart rate zone


In a recent survey I discovered that most people don't understand how to get lean to stay lean. Most didn't understand or know their own heart rate training zone. Understanding your heart rate is very important in making sure you can monitor your heart rate to make sure you maximize your time and effort in the gym or elsewhere to achieve the goal you want. The way I explain it to my clients is your low end is at 65% intensity, and your high end is at 85% intensity. You take the two add them, divide by 2 and that will give you your median target zone to make sure you can insure an efficient training zone.  Knowing your training heart rate zone will help you understand how much sugars versus fat you're burning during your workouts. This is essential in your efforts to building the lean body you are wanting to create.

(To keep it very simple, we will use the Karvonen formula: which states: (The Karvonen Formula is a mathematical formula that helps you determine your target heart rate (HR) training zone. The formula uses maximum and resting heart rate with the desired training intensity to get a target heart rate. Target Heart Rate = ((max HR − resting HR) × %Intensity) + resting HR)  ( 


Fat Burning Zone

220 - AGE = BPM X 85% (High Intensity)

To test your resting heart rate, check your pulse first thing in the morning when you wake up. Count the bpm's for one minute. Do that for three days, then take the three add them up and divide by three. That will give you your average resting heart rate, should you decide to go that route.

If you don't know your resting heart rate, we will use  (Average Heart Rate Method): So, we will use me as an example: (Age 36) (BUT I LOOK 21!) Thank you good nutrition! :)

  • Formula = 220 - (age) = bpm x% of intensity = avg bpm
  •  (Low end) 220-36 = 184x0.65 = 119.6
  • (High end) 220-36 = 184x0.85 = 156.4
  • (Median) 119.6 + 156.4 = 276 /2 = 138
  • So, to keep it a simple formula for me to burn more fat, I need to be at 85% or better for a desired amount of time. To keep the heart rate elevated, simply target between 138 - 156.4

(If you are new to exercise or have received exercise restrictions from your doctor, start with a lower heart rate range (about 55% to 65%). If you are an intermediate exerciser, try to stay within the range of 60% to 80%. Very fit individuals can work up to 85%. )

Getting lean & exercise, hitting the weights

haha perfect example of what not to do!

haha perfect example of what not to do!

You can't out-train a malnourished diet. Lifting is a very key component to getting lean and staying lean.  Now as entertaining as 1/2 the things you see in the gym are, you must make sure the exercises you perform are actually conducive to your actual goal. When you focus on increasing soft tissue in your body, the body is more apt to change. Creating soft tissue is essential in achieving the desired look you're going for. Lifting is important to couple with fat burning training so as you burn fat your skin can tighten around the muscle. So, depending on your body type your body may have a slower response to change than normal. Also, taking into account your age, metabolic rate etc. 

When you train and lift you are actually tearing your muscle fibers. So, in order to rebuild and repair, you have to understand the importance of supplementation for decreasing oxidative stress in the cells. 

  • Why is oxidative stress bad?

    Disturbances in the normal redox state of cells can cause toxic effects through the production of peroxides and free radicals that damage all components of the cell, including proteins, lipids, and DNA. ... Thus, oxidative stress can cause disruptions in normal mechanisms of cellular signaling.


  • Exercise can produce an imbalance between ROS and antioxidants, which is referred to as oxidative stress. Dietary antioxidant supplements are marketed to and used by athletes as a means to counteract the oxidative stress of exercise.Jul 15, 2003

    (Oxidative stress, exercise, and antioxidant supplementation)

Recovery is more than just "decreasing DOMS" (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) Recovery is also important for your overall health. Protein helps build and repair your muscle, (so not to get too heavy into what's required for your body type.) To keep it simple: Rule of thumb: Women need 0.4-0.6 per gram per pound of your body weight, and Men need 0.6-0.8 per gram per pound of your body weight.  (This will set the foundation of helping you BUILD lean muscle)

To burn more fat you you want to do aerobic exercise versus anaerobic exercise. You can turn lifting into an aerobic exercise by adding a timed element. So, a great rule of thumb for beginners is 1 minute of work time, and 30 seconds of rest time. If you're intermediate to advanced you'll work at a higher intensity for 45 seconds with a 15 seconds rest period. This isn't a rule for you to follow, but just a guideline. You have to do what works best for you.


Getting lean & Supplementation

To get lean and stay lean, the implementation of supplementation is also of the utmost importance. Staying lean requires a natural boost in your metabolism, preserving and protecting of lean muscle, and decreasing your sugar cravings. This will help you STAY LEAN once you've achieved the look you want A part of the process is maintaining that lean muscle. So, make sure you incorporate lean.

SO, bottom line:  you can't achieve a lean look unless there is also a healthy balance of exercise and proper nutrition. We are all predispose to something or the other via our family history, lifestyle, medical conditions etc. Truth behind it all, (One size does NOT fit all) (In fact it fits no one) we are all unique in our very own way, and we need a certain amount of micronutrients & macronutrients to look and feel our best! When you provide your body with the essentials it needs in order to achieve the lean look, i.e proper exercise and nutritional regimen, you are well on your way.

The challenge for most is being self-disciplined. When you learn how to empower yourself and create success habits that are going to lead you to the body you want to achieve, you will realize the only thing in your way from reaching your goal, is YOU. So, don't let YOU stop you from being the best you know you can be! 



Kids vitamins: What should my kid be taking?

Kids vitamins rope

Before, in my recent article we discussed parent's being a good example to your kids. Kids vitamins and nutrition is just as important or even more for proper health and development as your kid grows older. 

A one size fits all approach does NOT work. You can't have the same gender, male or female go into a vitamin shop (GNC, Walgreens, Vitamin Shoppe) to name a few, and tell people to take a multi-vitamin. It doesn't work that way. We're all unique in our ethnic backgrounds, our dietary patterns, lifestyle, as well as medical conditions, and these elements MUST be approached when taking into account your micronutrient intake (vitamins and minerals.) 

Kids vitamins: What is a micronutrient?


[mahy-kroh-noo-tree-uh nt, -nyoo-]

Word Origin

noun Biochemistry.

1. an essential nutrient, as a trace mineral or vitamin, that is required by an organism in minute amounts.

  1. Origin of micronutrient

    First recorded in 1935–40; micro- + nutrient

  2. micronutrient in Medicine




  3. A substance, such as a vitamin or mineral, that is essential in minute amounts for the proper growth and metabolism of a living organism.

"Kids, like adults, are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals due to a number of contributing factors." ( 2018  Now that you know what  a micronutrient is, let's take a look at a list of 24 of the most detrimental vitamins and minerals that your kids should adhere to - to promote THE BEST and healthy growth possible for your kid. 

Kids vitamins: What do these vitamins & minerals do for your body?

  1. Vitamin A - is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly
  2. Vitamin C - also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient found in some foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy.
  3. Vitamin D3 - (ergocalciferol-D2, cholecalciferol-D3, alfacalcidol) is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. ... Vitamin D is used to treat and prevent bone disorders (such as rickets, osteomalacia). Vitamin D is made by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight
  4. Vitamin E -  is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds formed when our bodies convert the food we eat into energy.
  5. Vitamin K1 - also called phylloquinone, is mostly found in plant foods like leafy green vegetables. It makes up about 75–90% of all vitamin K consumed by humans (2).
  6. Thiamin -  an essential nutrient that all tissues of the body need to function properly. Thiamine was the first B vitamin that scientists discovered. ... Like the other B vitamins, thiamine is water-soluble and helps the body turn food into energy.
  7. Riboflavin - Vitamin B2 helps break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It plays a vital role in maintaining the body's energy supply. Riboflavin helps convert carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The human body produces ATP from food, and ATP produces energy as the body requires it.
  8. Niacin -  has a wide range of uses in the body, helping functions in the digestive system, skin and nervous system. Niacin, a name coined  from nicotinic acid vitamin, comes in several forms, including niacinamide (nicotinamide) and inositol hexanicotinate. 
  9. Vitamin B6 - is also needed for proper brain development (in kids) and function (for people of all ages). It helps the bodymake the hormones serotonin (which regulates mood) and norepinephrine (which helps your body cope with stress)
  10. Folate -  is a B-vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. A form of folate, calledfolic acid, is used in dietary supplements and fortified foods. Our bodies need folateto make DNA and other genetic material. Folate is also needed for the body's cells to divide.
  11. Glucosamine - The glucosamine in your body helps keep up the health of your cartilage -- the rubbery tissue that cushions bones at your joints. But as you get older, your levels of this compound begin to drop, which leads to the gradual breakdown of the joint.
  12. Vitamin B12 -  is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. Two steps are required for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food.
  13. Biotin - or vitamin H is part of the complex B vitamins. Along with helping the body metabolize fats and carbohydrates, biotin has been linked to improved hair health and maintaining proper function of the nervous system
  14. Pantothenic Acid - Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, is one of the most important vitamins for human life. It's necessary for making blood cells, and it helps you convert the food you eat into energy. Vitamin B5 is one of eight B vitamins. All B vitamins help you convert the protein, carbohydrates, and fats you eat into energy.
  15. Calcium - is a mineral that is necessary for life. In addition to building bones and keeping them healthy,calcium enables our blood to clot, our muscles to contract, and our heart to beat. About 99% of the calcium in our bodies is in our bones and teeth.
  16. Iodine - is a mineral found in some foods. The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. These hormones control the body's metabolism and many other important functions. The body also needs thyroid hormones for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy
  17. Magnesium -  is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein.
  18. Zinc -  is found in cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA,the genetic material in all cells. Zinc also helps wounds heal and is important for proper senses of taste and smell
  19. Selenium -  is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Selenium is important for reproduction, thyroid gland function, DNA production, and protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals and from infection.
  20. Copper - is an essential nutrient for the body. Together with iron, it enables the body to form red blood cells. It helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function, and it contributes to iron absorption. Sufficient copper in the diet may help prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, too.
  21. Manganese - It aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones and plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
  22. Potassium - is a mineral (electrolyte) in the body. Almost 98% of potassium is found inside the cells. Muscles need potassium to contract. The heart muscle needs potassium to beat properly and regulate blood pressure.
  23. Myo-Inositol - Inositol is a vitamin-like substance. Inositol is commonly used orally for treating a disorder called metabolic syndrome and conditions associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), including failure to ovulate, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high levels of testosterone.
  24. Choline -  is an essential nutrient that is naturally present in some foods and available as a dietary supplement. In addition, choline is needed to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions

Now that you have an idea of the importance of these vitamins and minerals

When picking the right kids vitamins for your kid, make sure to consider the following vitamins and minerals listed above, as well as making sure there aren't any harmful or artificial ingredients in the products. Below is a video of the suggested IDLIFE Kids vitamins (clinically proven to be the best for a healthy growing child.) 



The takeaway

As your kid grows older & mature you want to make sure they have the proper structure embedded in their DNA not only from a physical and mental standpoint, but from a lifestyle standpoint as well. You owe it to your kids to make sure they are given the right opportunity to succeed in life at any and everything you encourage them to do, and the most important factor in that process is making sure in the womb of pregnancy they are getting the nutritional value that they need as they continue to grow and flourish. We were all newborns at one point, so the question now is... Do you want your kids to model after you?  The choice is yours!

kids vitamins
Kids vitamins

People do as you do, not as you say. So, your kids will play into the same principle. If you're the type of parent that exercises daily, and eats nutritiously - CONTINUE to be a good example! If you're the type of parent that needs to change your ways and teach health to your kids, feel free to drop me an email, and we can talk about changing your direction for a better tomorrow.

The Best Personal Trainer Advice: Parent's, be good examples to your kids

Once I decided to become a personal trainer and become the best there is in NYC, I knew after a while my message would be very simple.

"Parents, make sure you're a good example for your kids." 

Reality for most: It's hard sometimes when life throws us curve balls, and we stray away from what we know is not common practice to our daily routine, or anything that we feel isn't conducive toward our future albeit, monetarily, lifestyle etc. It is now more common practice that Health & Fitness are becoming a way of life, as it should. The baby boomers are suffering more from free radicals and chronic illnesses then ever seen before, but if it's something we've learned from the past, it has taught us to start paying more attention what goes inside your body & to move more.

Now, I personally don't have children, but I am a son. I know now that to break the chain of bad habits, starts with me. So, if I'm not a good example to and for myself how can I be a good example to anyone else, much less be a trainer? HYPOCRISY! (you can laugh) The fact of the matter is, we need to learn and implement great behavioral changes in our daily lives, not only from fitness, but how we manage our habits and routines.

Kids could use a personal trainer as well

People do what you do, not as you say.

Kids could use a personal trainer too

Great Example

That very same saying goes for your kids. Kids will eat what you eat, and sleep when you sleep, and drink what you drink. There has to be a systematic approach to parenting in regard to making sure your children learn good habits. Sure, chocolate and candy and staying up late is apart of parenting. I know, I used to be a kid! Mama did teach us to make sure we got at least eight hours of sleep.

The best advice I learned from my mother was to dream big, and never stop dreaming. That has stayed with me, but as I got older I had to learn the most important thing aside from dreaming is to keep GREAT HEALTH! It is your wealth. So, if you're the type of parent that has a hard time trying to implement change for yourself, and you're struggling to even start with changing bad habits: don't think, just DO! Easier said than done, but there is no such thing as "motivation." 

Parent, personal trainer to her child 


John Maxwell says that, "motivation is a trap, action leads to motivation, that motivation therefore leads to inspiration!" So, you have to inspire your kids to be and do more than you! That is what I personally learned. We are always growing and ever evolving, so make sure you start to implement change that is good and healthy. The type of parent's that already implement and know this change are the ones that:

  • Teach them about good nutrition
  • Cook healthy meals for them
  • Bring their children to the gym
  • Show them exercises
  • Let their kids see the parents exercise

(The list goes on) Those are a few things that good parenting from a healthy standpoint understand. As a personal trainer I am also now studying under Dr. John Berardi and Precision Nutrition. I aim to be a one stop shop for my clientele. So, when you're shopping around for a trainer, and you come across my site, lets connect! My philosophy is very simple. Treat others how you want to be treated, the rest is history! Let me help you! 


Personal Trainer advice: One Size doesn't fit all


Personal trainer advice

A healthy diet together with a training plan adapted to your level are fundamental pillars, if
taken seriously, will give you your desired results in the fastest possible time; results that you can see and feel much more confident about yourself. It's like a tailor-made suit, which takes into account your weight, height, age, gender, physical activity, eating habits and health status.

People tend to generalize the needs of exercise and nutrition, but it is important to understand that everyone is different. This is due to a series of very important factors that are not only specific to each of us, but also conditioned by our heritage and even by environmental factors.


They are the factors that we carry in the genes. Among them may be for example the size of the organs, the composition of muscle fibers and many others. Therefore, those who have greater advantage in this area will respond better and see faster results.


The amount of load in training is limited by the maturity of the organism, therefore the level of maturity can greatly influence training results.


This can positively or negatively influence physical performance over training. Each person has different nutritional needs and there is no common diet that works well for everyone. At this point we should know that this depends only on each one of us. Only we are responsible for the food we ingest, therefore it is pertinent to pay attention to our food, in order to gain maximum results.



The mind plays a very important role in physical training. Most people are usually lackadaisical about their training due to their inability to find the right success habits, but those who focus and set their minds towards achieving their desired results tend to see better and faster results than others.

Environmental influences

Our environment directly affects our physical performance. To give an example, cold or heat can condition our response to exercise. Also pollution, altitude, humidity and other factors can condition our results. In addition other factors such as stress can also affect our training. No matter how hard you train, without an adapted diet and vice versa, you will experience difficulty in reaching your body goals. Both issues have to be complemented and therefore you need proper scheduling and proper planning to help you face this challenge that will give a complete turn to your life and physical appearance.

Best Personal Trainer NYC - Here's your solution

As a renowned personal trainer with years of experience, spanning almost two decades, I am top-of-the-line, the best personal trainer NYC. I dedicate my time and energy to guiding you through a systematic process of adequate physical training and proper nutrition, while working on your outer body and helping you achieve optimum results in no time. I offer a variety of efficient training plans which includes activities like battle ropes, H.I.I.T, kettlebell training, kickboxing, TRX suspension, VIPR training, sport spec training, and lots more.

Side Note

Kettlebell and TRX training, especially, are two physical activities that everyone should look forward to, as they are well suited to give you the perfect start on your journey to optimum physical fitness and total well being. Do not wait any longer, it's time to take charge of a healthy life that allows you to show off yourself with greater confidence, while looking physically much more attractive, thanks to my personalized training and diet plans.




Determination - I decided to be the best personal trainer in NYC

After one complete year, I made the choice to become the best personal trainer in NYC.

[dih-tur-muh-ney-shuh n]

ExamplesWord Origin

See more synonyms on


  1. the act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling a purpose.
  2. ascertainment, as after observation or investigation:determination of a ship's latitude.
  3. the information ascertained; solution.

On March 09, 2017- a day I will never forget. my mother Eleanor Edna Woods passed away. It was very sudden and unexpected. I needed to grieve and needed to heal. The grief never stops, and lives inside you. As a trainer, I was never faced with depression until this unfortunate event. I lost sight of who I was, and I felt as though I lost my world. I too then saw that I was able to relate to most people who suffer from depression. I put on weight, negated my financial responsibilities, and just stopped moving. As I reflect... it gave me perspective as a personal trainer in NYC and I then realized I still and always will have a choice to move pass opposition, adversity and anything that stands in the way of my ultimate goal.  

I was fortunate enough to learn about personal development early on and started implementing that very core element and have been purposely growing ever since. It has kept me grounded and left a foundation of understanding I am where I am now because I put me there. Nothing can stand in my way. The same goes for you. You can do what you set your mind too, but as Will Smith says; "99.9% of people LACK self discipline." We can all relate. But, once you choose to channel your vision, and believe in yourself as the ultimate clutch, nothing, but nothing can stop you! So, be determined to do what it is you see yourself doing. No - one, but yourself says you can't do it. 

I am now in the process of transformation to prove to myself that I can get back to where I want to be. So, join me on this quest! 

Want to know more about proper nutrition

Want to join me on the IDEXPERIENCE? <---Click here (Join today!)

Until we meet again, this has been a short thought from JM


Exercise enthusiasts in aquatic exercise and other modes of exercise regularly seek to improve their strength, stamina, muscle power and body composition through consistent exercise and proper nutrition. It has shown that proper nutritional intake and a regular exercise regimen will bolster the body in achieving optimal physiological function (Volek et al., 2006). The science behind nutrient timing suggests that knowing what to eat and when to eat is a critical key to successfully achieving these health, fitness and performance goals. This article will synthesize the current understanding of how nutrient timing helps to repair tissue damage, restore physiological function, replenish glycogen stores, and promote muscle growth.

What Is Nutrient Timing?
Nutrient timing is the application of knowing when to eat and what to eat before, during and after exercise.It is designed to help athletes, recreational competitors, and exercise enthusiasts achieve their most advantageous exercise performance and recovery. There are three distinct phases in the nutrient timing system that are based on muscle, its nutritional requirements, and its recovery demands for best strength and endurance results. But first, a basic review of the hormones of exercise is warranted.

The Hormonal Responses To Exercise
Within the body are numerous catabolic (breaking down) and anabolic (building up) hormones that are stimulated by exercise.Catabolic hormones aid in the disassembly of nutrients for energy production or cells needs. The main catabolic hormones of exercise are epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol and glucagon. Anabolic hormones support muscle hypertrophy (growth), tissue repair, inflammation control, and facilitate the regulation of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. The anabolic hormones of interest during exercise are insulin, testosterone, IGF-I and growth hormone. 

The Catabolic Hormones
During aerobic exercise, levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine are elevated to prepare (or mobilize) the cells for the breakdown of glycogen (converting it to glucose for fuel) in the liver and muscle. These hormones also increase the heart rate, blood pressure, heart contractility, blood redistribution to muscle, and respiration rate to meet the physiological needs of the continuous dynamic exercise.

Cortisol is largely responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrate and fat for energy during exercise. It is a very important catabolic hormone that is activated when low blood glucose levels are present, such as during exhaustive exercise. If the body is low in glucose and glycogen, cortisol will send amino acids to the liver to make new glucose, referred to as gluconeogeneses. Thus, in exercise, when carbohydrate sources are dwindling, cortisol takes the building blocks of proteins (amino acids) and uses them for new glucose synthesis. Glucagon stimulates fat breakdown and also helps to raise blood glucose levels by increasing the release of glucose and the rate of gluconeogeneses (Ivy & Portman, 2004).

The Anabolic Hormones
One widely known anabolic hormone is insulin. Insulin sensitivity is increased during aerobic and resistance exercise, which literally means there is an enhanced glucose uptake for muscle contraction. It also accelerates the transport of amino acids into muscle and stimulates protein synthesis in muscles (Levenhagen et al., 2001). However, during sustained aerobic exercise insulin levels in the blood decrease slightly because epinephrine and norepinephrine inhibit the release of insulin from the pancreas.

Another important anabolic hormone is testosterone. Testosterone is a powerful hormone for protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy. The amount of testosterone within the body increases with exercise (Ivy & Portman, 2004). Growth hormone is an anabolic hormone that promotes bone and cartilage growth. It is also responsible for stimulating IGF-I, a hormone responsible for the development of muscle cells from myoblasts (immature muscle cells) into myotubes (growing muscles cells) and then into mature muscle fibers. High levels of IGF-I are needed in order to promote muscle hypertrophy. Growth hormone also increases protein synthesis (Volek, 2004). 

The Three Nutrient Timing Phases
The nutrient timing system is split into three distinct phases: 

  1. Energy Phase (just before and during workout)
  2. Anabolic Phase (post 45 minutes of workout)
  3. Growth Phase (remainder of the day)

The Energy Phase
Muscle glycogen is the primary fuel (followed by fat) used by the body during exercise. Low muscle glycogen stores result in muscle fatigue and the body's inability to complete high intensity exercise (Levenhagen et al., 2001). The depletion of muscle glycogen is also a major contributing factor in acute muscle weakness and reduced force production (Haff et al., 2000). Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise decrease glycogen stores, so the need for carbohydrates is high for all types of exercise during this energy phase.
Several hormonal and physiological responses occur during the energy phase. Cortisol levels are increasing, insulin levels are slightly decreasing, and muscle glycogen levels are becoming depleted, making the energy phase catabolic (Ivy & Portman, 2004). Therefore, the goals with the energy phase are to increase nutrient (primarily carbohydrate and some protein) delivery to muscles, spare glycogen and protein loss, limit immune system suppression, minimize muscle damage and prepare nutritionally for a faster recovery (Ivy & Portman, 2004). 
Prior to aerobic exercise, protein intake with carbohydrate supplementation has been shown to stimulate protein synthesis post-exercise (Volek et al., 2006). The combined intake of carbohydrate and protein (pre-exercise) also aids in the rate of muscle recovery after exercise (Ivy & Portman, 2004).
Carbohydrate supplementation prior to resistance training can increase the body's capacity to perform more sets, repetitions and prolong a resistance training workout (Haff et al., 2000). It will help to maintain blood glucose levels, sustain immune function, and aid in the suppressing of cortisol (Ivy & Portman, 2004). 

The Anabolic Phase: The 45-Minute Optimal Window
The anabolic phase is a critical phase occurring within 45 minutes post-exercise. It is during this time that muscle cells are particularly sensitive to insulin, making it necessary to ingest the proper nutrients in order to make gains in muscle endurance and strength. If the proper nutrients are ingested 2 - 4 hours post-exercise they will not have the same effect. It is also during this time in which the anabolic hormones begin working to repair the muscle and decrease its inflammation.
Immediate ingestion of carbohydrate is important because insulin sensitivity causes the muscle cell membranes to be more permeable to glucose within 45 minutes post-exercise. This results in faster rates of glycogen storage and provides the body with enough glucose to initiate the recovery process (Burke et al., 2003). Muscle glycogen stores are replenished the fastest within the first hour after exercise. Consuming carbohydrate within an hour after exercise also helps to increase protein synthesis (Gibala, 2000). 

The Growth Phase
The growth phase consists of the 18 - 20 hours post-exercise when muscle repair, growth and strength occur. According to authors Ivy and Portman, the goals of this phase are to maintain insulin sensitivity in order to continue to replenish glycogen stores and to maintain the anabolic state. Consuming a protein and carbohydrate meal within 1 - 3 hours after resistance training has a positive stimulating effect on protein synthesis (Volek, 2004).
Carbohydrate meals with moderate to high glycemic indexes are more favorable to enhance post-exercise fueling. Higher levels of glycogen storage (post-exercise) are found in individuals who have eaten high glycemic foods when compared to those that have eaten low glycemic foods (Burke et al., 2003). 

Nutrient Timing Supplement Guidelines: Putting it Together for Yourself and Your Clients
Aquatic instructors expend a lot of energy in teaching and motivating students during multi-level fitness classes. Clearly, nutrient timing may be a direction the aquatic profession may choose to pursue to determine if it provides more energy and faster recovery from a challenging teaching load. As well, some students and clients may seek similar results. From the existing research, here are some recommended guidelines of nutrient timing.

Energy Phase
During the energy phase a drink consisting of high-glycemic carbohydrate and protein should be consumed. This drink should contain a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein and should include approximately 6 grams of protein and 24 grams of carbohydrate. Additional drink composition substances should include leucine (for protein synthesis), Vitamin C and E (because they reduce free-radical levels-which are a contributing cause to muscle damage), and sodium, potassium and magnesium (which are important electrolytes lost in sweat).

Anabolic Phase
During the anabolic phase a supplement made up of high-glycemic carbohydrate and protein should be consumed. This should be a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein and should contain approximately 15 g of protein and 45 grams of carbohydrate. Other important drink substances include leucine (for protein synthesis), glutamine (for immune system function), and antioxidant Vitamins C and E.

Growth Phase
There are two segments of the growth phase. The first is a rapid segment of muscle repair and growth that lasts for up to 4 hours. The second segment is the remainder of the day where proper nutrition guidelines are being met (complex carbohydrates, less saturated fats--substituting with more monounsatureated and polyunsaturated fats, and healthy protein sources such as chicken, seafood, eggs, nuts, lean beef and beans).
During the rapid growth phase a drink filled with high-glycemic carbohydrates and protein may be consumed. In this phase the ratio of carbohydrates to protein should be 1:5 with 4 grams of carbohydrate to 20 grams of protein. Jenna Bell-Wilson also encourages some protein/carbohydrate snacks during this phase such as:
a) Energy bar and sports drink
b) 2 slices whole-grain toast with 2 tbs peanut butter
c) 1 cup cooked oatmeal with 1/4 cup raisins
d) 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and 1 glass orange juice
e) 1/2 cup of nuts and an apple
The 'Word' on Nutrient Timing
It is not the purpose of this article to 'endorse' any nutrient products currently available on the market. However, the information and discussion in this article better prepares the aquatic fitness professional to guide and educate students about the metabolic and nutrient needs of exercising muscles. 
In the areas of nutrition and exercise physiology, nutrient timing is 'buzzing' with scientific interest. Ingestion of appropriate amounts of carbohydrate and protein at the right times will enhance glycogen synthesis, replenish glycogen stores, decrease muscle inflammation, increase protein synthesis, maintain continued muscle cell insulin sensitivity, enhance muscle development, encourage faster muscle recovery and boost energy levels…that says it all.

Bell-Wilson, J.A. (2005). The Buzz About Nutrient Timing. IDEA Fitness Journal, 41-45.

Burke, L.M., Kiens, B., & Ivy, J.L. (2004). Carbohydrates and fat for training and recovery. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22, 15-30.

Gibala, M.J. (2000). Nutritional supplementation and resistance exercise: what is the evidence for enhanced skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 25(6), 524-535.

Haff, G.G., Kock, A.J., Potteiger, J.A., Kuphal, K.E., Magee, L.M., Green, S.B., & Jakicic, J.J. (2000). International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 10, 326-339.

Ivy, J. & Portman, R. (2004). Nutrient timing: The future of sports nutrition. California: Basic Health Publications, Inc. 

Levenhagen, D.K., Gresham, J.D., Carlson, M.G., Maron, D.J., Borel, M.J., & Flakoll, P.J. (2001). Postexercise nutrient intake timing in humans is critical to recovery of leg glucose and protein homeostasis. American Journal Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, 280, 982-993. 

Volek, J.S. (2004). Influence of Nutrition on Response to Resistance Training. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(4), 689-696.

Volek, J.S., Forsythe C.C., & Kraemer, W.J. (2006). Nutritional aspects of women strength athletes. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 40, 742-748

Personal Trainer NYC: Play selfish with your health part 1

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Personal Trainer NYC: How much protein, really?


It’s an age-old debate: how much protein should we be eating in a single meal?

For years, popular magazine (and internet) folklore suggested that anything over 20-30g in a meal was a “waste.” That number was arbitrary. No science ever supported the idea that there was a useful within-meal limit for protein intake.

However, a few years back, two particular studies were designed to answer this very question. Well, sort of.

What Does the Research Say?

The first study showed that when college-aged weight-trainers drink 0g, 5g, 10g, 20g, or 40g of protein after a weight training session, muscle protein synthesis is stimulated maximally at the 20g dose. Interestingly, there were no further increases in muscle protein synthesis at the 40g dose.

The second study showed that when young and elderly volunteers were given 30 or 90g of dietary protein in a single meal, the 30g dose maximally stimulated muscle protein synthesis. Again, there were no further increases in muscle protein synthesis at the 90g dose.

Case Closed? Or Is It?

Oddly, since the publication of those two studies, most fitness pros have closed the book on this topic of per meal protein needs. Articles have been written, minds have been made up. Indeed, some authors have even suggested that we’re ignorant wastrels if we dare eat more than 20-30g of protein in a single sitting.

But wait just a second. What did those two studies actually show?

They showed that at 20-30g in a single meal, protein synthesis is maximally stimulated. Which raises an important question: Is muscle protein synthesis the only reason we eat protein? Actually, no.

Protein Synthesis and Breakdown

In a more recent review, Dr. Robert Wolfe, one of the top protein researchers in the world, argues that, while the muscle protein synthesis information above is interesting, it’s essentially useless when planning lunch.

You see, 20-30g of protein at a single meal does max out protein synthesis. The studies are clear on that one. However, what this information misses is that protein anabolism is a function of protein synthesis and breakdown. And, according to the research, protein breakdown is slowed with ever-increasing amounts of protein in a single meal. In other words, “there doesn’t appear to be a practical upper limit to the anabolic response to protein in a single meal.” (Quoted from Dr. Wolfe).

So, if you eat a big protein meal, that extra protein isn't "wasted." Instead, it creates a scalable anabolic response in proportion to the intake. It does this by suppressing protein breakdown. By extension, whether you eat small protein meals spread throughout the day, or you eat just a few big protein meals a day, assuming intake is the same, you may benefit from the same anabolic response.

And yes, this claim is backed up by research too.

Check out this study for more. In it, when 80% of the daily protein intake was eaten in a single meal – as much as 100g of protein eaten at once - it was more anabolic than spreading the same amount of protein throughout the day. In essence, large, infrequent protein meals were more anabolic in this study vs. small, frequent protein meals. Of course, as with all research, the data are mixed. Some studies show this effect. Others do not. However, the take-home message is the same: if you actually look at the full body of research, it becomes clear that there’s not really a practical upper limit of protein intake for optimizing muscle protein. So much for the 20-30g myth.

Remember, Muscle Isn’t Everything

Beyond this very narrow view of protein intake (muscle protein synthesis vs. breakdown), there’s a much more important question at stake: why else do we eat protein?

You see, there are other benefits to eating protein beyond muscle building. There’s satiety, the thermogenic effects, the impact on the immune system, and more (see below). Plus, there are probably a few benefits science can’t measure yet. I say the last part because there’s so much experiential evidence suggesting that when you’re training hard and you up your protein intake, you do better. So maybe we just haven’t looked in the right places to notice the real benefits.

Other Protein Benefits

We shouldn’t look at the world through a straw (i.e. see one protein study on one isolated topic and make broad generalizations). So, to help us remember that, let’s review a list of benefits we get from eating extra protein.

Increased thermic effect of feeding – While all macronutrients require metabolic processing for digestion, absorption, and storage or oxidation, the thermic effect of protein is roughly double that of carbohydrates and fat. Therefore, eating protein is actually thermogenic and can lead to a higher metabolic rate. This means greater fat loss when dieting and less fat gain during overfeeding/muscle building.

Increased glucagon – Protein consumption increases plasma concentrations of the hormone glucagon. Glucagon is responsible for antagonizing the effects of insulin in adipose tissue, leading to greater fat mobilization. In addition, glucagon also decreases the amounts and activities of the enzymes responsible for making and storing fat in adipose and liver cells. Again, this leads to greater fat loss during dieting and less fat gain during overfeeding.

Metabolic pathway adjustment –When a higher protein (20-50% of intake) is followed, a host of metabolic adjustments occur. These include: a down-regulation of glycolysis, a reduction in fatty acid synthesis enzymes, and an increase in gluconeogenesis - a carbohydrate “draining” effect where carbons necessary for ridding the body of amino nitrogen is drawn from glucose.

Increased IGF-1 – Protein and amino-acid supplementation has been shown to increase the IGF-1 response to both exercise and feeding. Since IGF-1 is an anabolic hormone that’s related to muscle growth, another advantage associated with consuming more protein is more muscle growth when overfeeding and/or muscle sparing when dieting.

Reduction in cardiovascular risk – Several studies have shown that increasing the percentage of protein in the diet (from 11% to 23%) while decreasing the percentage of carbohydrate (from 63% to 48%) lowers LDL cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations with concomitant increases in HDL cholesterol concentrations.

Improved weight loss profile – Research by Layman and colleagues has demonstrated that reducing the carbohydrate ratio from 3.5 – 1 to 1.4 – 1 increases body fat loss, spares muscle mass, reduces triglyceride concentrations, improves satiety, and improves blood glucose management

Increased protein turnover — All tissues of the body, including muscle, go through a regular program of turnover. Since the balance between protein breakdown and protein synthesis governs muscle protein turnover, you need to increase your protein turnover rates in order to best improve your muscle quality. A high protein diet does just this. By increasing both protein synthesis and protein breakdown, a high protein diet helps you get rid of the old muscle more quickly and build up new, more functional muscle to take its place.

Increased nitrogen status — A positive nitrogen status means that more protein is entering the body than is leaving the body. High protein diets cause a strong positive protein status and when this increased protein availability is coupled with an exercise program that increases the body’s anabolic efficiency, the growth process may be accelerated.

Increased provision of auxiliary nutrients — Although the benefits mentioned above have related specifically to protein and amino acids, it’s important to recognize that we don’t just eat protein and amino acids — we eat food. Therefore, high protein diets often provide auxiliary nutrients that could enhance performance and/or muscle growth. These nutrients include creatine, branched chain amino acids, conjugated linoleic acids, and/or additional nutrients that are important but remain to be discovered. And don’t forget the vitamins and minerals we get from protein rich foods.

(And lest anyone think I’m a shill for the protein powder industry, this last point clearly illustrates the need to get most of your protein from food, rather than supplements.)

Looking over this list of benefits, it’s hard to ignore the fact that we don’t just eat protein for its muscle synthetic effect. We eat protein for a bunch of other reasons too. Since a higher protein diet can lead to a better health profile, an increased metabolism, improved body composition, and an improved training response, why would anyone ever try to limit their protein intake to the bare minimum?

Take-home Message

It seems to me that whether someone’s on a hypoenergetic diet (low calorie) or a hyperenergetic diet (high calorie), the one macronutrient they would want to be sure to “overeat” (relatively speaking) would be protein.

But that’s not what people do, is it?

Instead, they look for the bare minimum of protein (whether it’s 20-30g/meal or 0.8g/kg/day), and then overeat carbohydrates and fats instead. That could prove to be a performance – and body composition – mistake.

So here’s my recommendation for men and women interested in losing fat, gaining lean muscle, and improving their health and performance:

Women – Eat 1 palm-sized portion of lean, complete protein (about 20-30g) with each meal, every few hours. If you eat less frequently, eat a bit more protein with each meal. If you eat more frequently, eat a bit less protein with each meal.

Men – Eat 2 palm-sized portions of lean, complete protein (about 40-60g) with each meal, every few hours. If you eat less frequently, eat a bit more protein with each meal. If you eat more frequently, eat a bit less protein with each meal.

This pattern of intake will make sure you’re getting enough protein to reap all the benefits that this amazing macronutrient has to offer.

Dr. John Berardi is the co-founder of Precision Nutrition and the co-creator of the Precision Nutrition Certification program. For more from Dr. Berardi, check out this free 5-day course exclusively for fitness professionals “The Essentials of Exercise and Fitness Nutrition”.

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