Wednesday, December 30, 2009

11 Tricks to Avoid Holiday Party Sabotage

I just read this article online... here's my paraphrased version of it:

1. Drink LOTS of Water:
Not only will it keep you hydrated, but drinking a few glasses of water pre-party will also help you feel full, therefore, the likelihood of taking a second or third helping might be out of the question!

2. Pick ONE:
Scan the dessert tray or table during the social function. Take time to think which dessert you would want more than any other and choose that dessert.

I know, it's easier said than done, but having a treat to look forward to at the end of the evening instead of gobbling up everything in sight will offer a sense of greater fulfillment!

3. Eat NORMALLY throughout the day:
It may seem logical to "bank" calories throughout the day. But, in reality, skipping breakfast, lunch, and/or normal snacks will only set you up for disaster. You'll end up feeling unfulfilled and even hungry by the time you hit the big event, thus, overindulging on things that you might not normally eat!

So, before saving up your calories, think twice. Again, pick a few favorite items and stick to one portion each - you will feel much better in the long run.

4. Wear a favorite outfit:
...Or pants, or shirt, or little black dress. You get the idea! Think about it. How hard did you have to work to fit into your size 4 pants?

Wearing a clothing item that makes you feel good about the way that you look might make you think twice before reaching for a monster size slice of chocolate cheesecake!

5. Chew Gum:
OK, it might sound silly, but popping a piece (or two!) of exceptionally minty chewing gum in your mouth might be just what you need to avoid eating that second helping.

Try a piece of Extra Polar Ice. The mint flavor is so potent that even your favorite pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing won't taste good after chewing it!

6. Get a workout in:
Exercise makes you feel good, right? So, why not make it your goal to have an awesome workout the morning of, or day of your social event? Setting a goal and sticking to it will grant you a sense of accomplishment throughout the day.

It's mind over matter at times, folks, and attending a party in a good frame of mind will help you stick to your overall goals and not lose sight of the big picture. What better way to do that than with a great lift, run, or spin class?

7. Veggies, Veggies, Veggies:
Once you're at the party, scope out the location of the veggie tray. Filling up on snacks such as raw vegetables will help you feel full, thus allowing you to eat less during the party.

Beware, though; even eating a little bit of creamy ranch dip can add up to a lot of calories in the end! Spoon a small amount of dip onto your plate and once it's gone, that's it!

Wine, beer, vodka, and oh yes, the dreaded eggnog! Some of us do enjoy the occasional splurge here and there, but remember; there are healthier alternatives to your favorite party beverages.

A few helpful hints are: Add a bit of club soda to a half glass of wine, stick to diet or calorie free mixers for rum and vodka, drink light beer instead of dark, and always enjoy in moderation. Limit yourself to one or two.

Another little trick that I find helpful is reminding yourself how many miles you would have to run/bike to burn off all of those extra alcohol calories.

Steer clear of eggnog unless you really (and I mean really) have to have it! With that being said, in the case that you do indulge in a bit of this festive treat, keep it to a small glass and sip slowly.

9. Strategic Placement:
Yes! Standing out of arm's reach of the buffet or dessert table could be the ticket! Engage yourself in conversation with friends or colleagues, or join in on party games and I'm sure that in no time you'll forget that piece of grandma's pumpkin roll you've been eyeballing since you entered the party.

Don't lose sight that the main reason for a celebration is to socialize and catch up with family and friends!

10. Ignore Comments:
Don't let a negative influence drag you down. We've all heard it: "Oh my gosh, lighten up...I can't believe you won't have just one cookie!" You've worked hard to look and feel the way that you do. Don't let the comments and criticisms of others influence your goals.

AND... 11. Keep it in prospective:
If you totally fall off the wagon, pick up right where you left off. When you wake up the following morning tell yourself: "Today is a new day, I'm going to start over right where I left off," and do just that. No excuses. Just do it!

That's it, now go enjoy the rest of your holidays... SEE YOU IN 2010!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fitness Boot Camp and Fundraiser

Christmas One Day Fitness Boot Camp and MS Fundraiser

You ready to jump start your New Year’s Resolutions? Why wait until January 1, 2010 when you can get a head start and hit the ground not running, but sprinting into 2010? For one day only, come join your friends and family for an all lady boot camp coached by Tulsa’s premiere fitness coach and personal trainer (as well as one of McAlester’s own and former Buffalo).

Are you ready?

Come join fitness coach Michael Watkins, Founder of M2 Training and Wellness LLC for a 60 minute, high intensity, challenging, and above all, FUN Ladies Boot Camp on Saturday December 26th at 10:00 am at Buffalo Indoor Athletic Facility located on 1309 North 6th Street by the Stadium. in McAlester. Watkins, now of Tulsa, is the owner of Fitness Together, Tulsa’s exclusive, private personal training studio and has helped 100’s of local residents set and attain their overall fitness and weight loss goals time and time again. Furthermore, Watkins helped introduce Tulsa to Adventure Boot Camp for Women and now he’s bringing these workouts back home to McAlester for one day only.

Watkins’ personal training clients typically pay up to $60 per session to train with him and his staff, but come join this one day boot camp for an unbelievably low $20!!! But wait there’s more… all proceeds from this one day boot camp will benefit the Oklahoma chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, a disease that has affected Watkins and his family personally.

What can you expect from this workout? Well, A LOT… To start, each boot camp style workout uses the minimum equipment. In fact, all you have to bring is yourself, a towel, some water, and a smile… Watkins will supply any and all other equipment needed for the workout. Don’t be fooled though, this workout is as intense as you make it. You can expect all forms of training from strength training, cardiovascular work, plyometrics, core and flexibility training as well as fun team building exercises. Basically, nothing is out of bounds!

But as always, there’s a catch… this camp is limited to the first 40 campers who sign up before December 23rd. We will take as many donations to the MS Society from campers and non campers alike, in fact the more the merrier but there’s a $20 minimum to participate in the workout. To sign up, please email Watkins at before December 23rd to guarantee you’re one of the 40 campers getting a great holiday workout! Don’t delay, email today.

For more information, Michael Watkins can be reached at 918-392-0540 or via email at Be sure to visit Watkins personal training website at for unlimited fitness tips and inspirational client success stories.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Tao of Martin Rooney: 12 Principles for Getting th Body You Want

I just finished reading the following article/interview where strength coach Martin Rooney lists his 12 Principles needed in any type of fitness program. From the article you can assume the Rooney typically trains male clients and athletes. However, after reading this interview a couple of times I firmly believe that all these principles should be applied to any fitness program in general. Happy reading.

" 'Most people major in the minor .'

It's the third time I've been on the phone with Martin Rooney but the first time I've heard him curse. He's just so freakin' polite that you don't expect it, like hearing your Grandma say '.'

I like it.

But really, it's hard not to like Rooney. He's so passionate about training I have a feeling he's either doing walking lunges around the room or about to drop to the floor to bang out some push-ups while on the phone. I listen for heavy breathing. Nothing.

'Over the last twenty years, I've been on a hunt,' he tells me. 'While others were looking for the magic bullet, I was reading, writing, presenting at seminars, and slowly coming to the conclusion that exercises and all the other stuff guys obsess about don't mean much. It's the principles that matter. Your program could be a million degrees different than mine, but if you follow twelve principles it'll work.'

This catches my attention. I like lists.

'If you look at the fitness industry, it's turning into this train wreck of good or bad, right or wrong. Everyone has to choose a side. I mean, people are arguing about squats and sit-ups and's getting ridiculous. What I wanted to do was come up with principles of training that just couldn't be refuted and are absolutely essential for short and long-term success in the weight room.'

So what, I ask him, are these twelve principles and why aren't most guys following them?

The phone is silent while he thinks.

'I guess they just really like to argue. But I'm not concerned with that. Any athlete who wants to get nasty I say, look, you want to get strong, jacked, and ripped? You gotta follow these principles.'

Rooney's 12 Principles

1. Continuity

'If you're not going to stay consistent and put in the hours, weeks, months, or years, I don't care what you know,' says Rooney.

According to him, we're all looking for the path of least resistance, trying to find short cuts when none exist. 'I'm about the path of most resistance,' he says. 'We're supposed to make it hard and keep adding new stimuli. That's the whole reason why we train, to adapt and move forward. Also, you can't forget the BIG rule.'

The what rule?

'Butt in Gym,' he says. 'If your butt isn't in the gym I don't want to hear about how you're not getting results. And continuity isn't that complicated. Hell, if you did a couple hundred pushups, 100 squats, 100 chin-ups, 50 deadlifts, and 50 bench presses every week for five years and ate pretty well you'd be in pretty good shape.'

Plus you wouldn't have to read any science books.

2. Understanding

It's simple: if you don't understand what you're doing or why you're doing it, it's never going to work.

'When I was training for the Olympics on the US Bobsled Team we had a Russian coach who just beat us into the ground,' says Rooney. 'None of us knew what we were supposed to accomplish, we didn't believe in the training, and we didn't get good results. We just hurt. If we had a better understanding of what was going on, maybe it would have led to better results.'

So take a look at the components of your program. Do you know why you're ramping the weight or what cluster sets are supposed to accomplish? You may want to figure it out to get the most benefit.

Like any self-respecting GI Joe understands, knowledge is power.

3. Recovery

'This must be placed into the program first since it's where actual gains are made,' says Rooney. 'Training six days per week isn't going to do anything for your body but break it down unless you've got recovery built in.'

Rooney's Three Big Recovery Tips:

Examine your sleep and make sure you're getting a minimum of seven hours of quality sleep.

Examine your nutrition (more on that in a bit).

Make sure your "off " days are truly "off." That means no training in any capacity.

'Jogging on the treadmill isn't my idea of rest,' says Rooney. 'Get out of the gym and go eat.'

4. Solid Foundation

If you're a beginner who heads to Rooney's gym don't expect to jump straight into the bands and chains. Hell, don't expect to even touch a weight for a week or two.

'There's an entire continuum of exercise before we get to the sexy stuff,' he says.

'Depending on the guy, we may do bodyweight stuff for a few weeks or even a couple of months before we touch the weights.'

This is to prepare your body for the stress it's about to endure, teach your body to recruit all of its motor units, and increase body awareness.

'That's the classic nature of people, though,' says Rooney. 'We'll skip the basics and get pissed when the sexy stuff doesn't work.'

5. Individualization

A program must address your individual needs.

'What works for you may not work for me,' he says. 'We all love to play the game where we want to jam the square peg in the round hole, don't we?'

The point Rooney's trying to make is you already know what's best for you. You know where you're tight, where you're weak, and what you're eating that's bad for you. Chances are you're just too much of a wuss to do anything about it.

'Your body is an incredible informant, but most of us have lost the ability to learn from it,' says Rooney.

6. Specialization

You've built the foundation, but now you have to specialize. Want to get huge muscles? Want to become a powerlifter? You have to plan what you actually want to achieve.

'A lot of programs violate this,' says Rooney. 'You got the guy who's been doing full-body workouts for years who still wants bigger arms. Yeah, the bench press can be a great exercise, but if you have a barrel chest and arms like a T-Rex it's time for some curls and extensions, man.'

7. Periodization

Next to plyometrics, situps, and squats, periodization is the most dangerous word in training.

'Let's cut through the crap,' says Rooney. 'All periodization means is to have a plan. Preferably one you've thought about for a while and wrote down. I don't care if it's for a day or a week as long as you have one. And really, I never go beyond a week of training because you can't see that far into the future and predict your results. You gotta go with what your body can give you that day.'

8. Variety

According to Rooney, training is like a religion: You were born into your parent's religion, and now it's yours.

'But what if you started to challenge it?' says Rooney. 'Do you know how much inner turmoil and pressure there'd be? It'd be incredibly difficult, right? Well, it's the same thing with training.'

Maybe you had a high school football coach or a mentor who "showed you the ropes." Chances are whatever style of training they had you do is the same style of training you're still doing, even if it's not the best style for you.

'We're adaptive organisms and our training program has to constantly change and evolve for us to progress,' says Rooney.

9. Training Economy

Your program must be created with an effective use of time.

'You either got the guy who doesn't do or the guy who trains straight through for three hours till he's eating his own flesh,' he says. 'We all know what happens with decreased Testosterone and increased coritsol after training for that long.'

Rooney wants you to get in, hit it hard, and get on with your life.

'But it's different for everyone,' he says. 'You only need to spend so much time training to reach your specific goals. For some that may be three hours per week. For others it may be five or six.'

10. Progressive Overload

Your program must have periods of increased demands.

'We were born in a body well suited for variety and growth,' he says. 'It stimulates us. It changes our brains, puts resistance on our bones to get stronger, and enables us to grow bigger muscles.'

If you never add any weight to the bar, lower your rest periods, increase your sets or reps, or change the angle of force (moving from an incline bench press to a decline bench press, for instance), the results will stop coming.

11. Nutrition

We all know the guy who trains for hours per week, but then immediately heads to McDonald's. ''t's like the guy who puts creatine in his Diet Coke,' says Rooney. 'I just don't understand it.'

If you know what to do but you're not doing it, Rooney doesn't care that you know it. 'It's simply a lack of discipline.'

'Food is the most important medicine you can put into your body,' he says. 'Get your lean meats, veggies, fruits, nuts, and water. And when you've got that figured out add in a multi-vitamin, green tea, etc., and focus on peri-workout nutrition.'

12. Safety

Yeah, it's common sense, but if have a program that's ripping off pecs or tearing quads, you may want to re-think your priorities.

'I'm not against any lift,' says Rooney. 'I don't think anyone really has a true understanding of what the body can and can't endure. But I am against power cleans if you're not strong enough to clean two socks off the floor.'

Again, it all comes back to knowing your body, following your goals, and not doing stupid shit you don't understand.


Like Rooney said, we can argue all day about whether squats or sit-ups are bad, or if TBT is better than HIT. But when you get down to the essence of any program, it must include the 12 Principles. Without them, you can pretty much kiss your ideal body goodbye."

So what about you? Do you have any of your own principles to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section!

Train Hard.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday workout

Changed a few things up for this week... kinda a mixture of my newer approach to training mixed in with my old style... and to be honest, it was just what I was looking for...

1. rack pulls (basically the top 1/4 of a deadlift movement): 225 x 20 reps, 315 x 15 reps, 405 x 13 reps, 465 x 9 reps
2a. bent over bb rows: 135 x 25 reps, 185 x 20 reps, 205 x 15 reps, 225 x 12 reps
2b. Incline bench, rear delt flies w/ pinkies up: 4 x 12-15 reps using 15 lb. DB's
3a. BB shrugs: 225 lbs. x 30 sec. x2 sets
3b. DB lateral raises: 2 x 20 reps
4. Shoulder shocker: seated- db front raises, db lateral raises, seated power clean and presses: 2 sets x 10 reps per exercise.

Good burn and pump, now time for a Physique post workout shake- my treat for working so hard!


Dumbbells or Kettlebells... which is better?

To answer this question- I don't think either is "better." Both have there place in any strength training program, however I want to try and explain the major differences between the two. It gets a little technical but read on and let me know what you think.

To start, Kettlebells can be expensive and depending on your location, hard to find. So why go to all the trouble and fork out your hard earned cash for a kettlebell? After all, free weights such as dumbbells are relatively cheap and available virtually everywhere. Can’t you just do traditional kettlebell movements such as swings with a dumbbell anyway?

I have writen about my kettlebells workouts and the question of whether traditional cardio is necessary for fat loss. As a result I’ve been asked questions such as those above recently and while I personally know from experience that there is a huge difference I didn’t have a good explanation for the person beyond just my word for it. In a world where every time I open my mouth someone wants references instead of doing their own independent research I knew such an explanation would not cut it.

So I did a little digging and talked to those far more knowledgeable and experienced in the areas of biomechanics, strength and conditioning training and injury rehabilitation then I will ever be. The answers I found really explain why many people such as top level competitive fighters, firemen, special forces and so forth use kettlebells.

A Quick Lesson in Biomechanics

There are as many as 640 skeletal muscles in the human body that are recruited for locomotion. Of these muscles 63 percent are Stabilizers, Decelerators and Synergists. Otherwise known as balance and stabilizer muscles.

When it comes to traditional weight lifting such as with a dumbbell these balance and stabilizer muscles are not utilized very effectively. Traditional weights work in just one plane of motion and rely on leverage and static fixed positions. While in normal life our bodies move in three planes of motion. They are the Sagittal Plane, the Frontal Plane and the Transverse Plane.

To give you a clear idea of what this all means consider that 90% of all traditional weight lifting such as with dumbbells is a Sagittal Plane movement only or front to back movements like dumbbell or cable rows. Now consider that 70 % of all injuries occur in the Transverse Plane or side to side movement.

When you lift a dumbbell the handle is directly in line with the wrist, which is the first point of axis. In other words there is a direct line of what is called “Applied Force.” This is because the dumbbell is symmetrical as a result of its balanced grip.

A kettlebell on the other hand is highly unstable and unbalanced because its design is asymmetrical. There is no direct line of applied force. The moment you pick up a kettlebell it triggers instability, which engages all 38-core muscles. When used correctly Kettlebells also engage all four major body systems - Nervous, Cardiovascular, Muscular and Skeletal.

Working correctly with a kettlebell is the simultaneous equivalent of a jogging or sprinting heart rate (cardiovascular), fast ballistic multi-tasking movement (nervous system), fast ballistic movement (muscular), and extreme deceleration forces (skeletal) all at once! Apparently this is called Metabolic Conditioning.

Why the Confusion Between Kettlebells and Dumbells
In the professional opinion of one person who I was reading the confusion on the subject of kettlebells vs. dumbbells comes from a lack of proper instruction regarding how to practice with kettlebells. As a direct result many people make the critical mistake of attempting to use kettlebells as if they were traditional weights.

Traditional weight lifting is what is single-plane static. This refers to how your body is in a fixed position while moving weight towards and away from you in a linear manner through a direct line of applied force. All the while attempting not to use any momentum and targeting an isolated muscle or muscle group.

What’s more traditional weight lifting builds muscles differently. Generally speaking the goal of bodybuilding is muscle hypertrophy meaning an increase in muscle size. Unfortunately most people associate size with strength. What most people do not know is that 50-70-percent of hypertrophy size is from fluid called Sarcoplasm. Sarcoplasmic Volume accounts for 50-70 percent of muscle gain/size incurred through traditional weight lifting. It is a fluid and not muscle fiber, which means it contributes very little to direct strength.

Kettlebell training is the antithesis of traditional weight lifting. Working with kettlebells is to use all three planes of motion simultaneously. The Transverse Plane is heavily targeted. You will remember that this is where 70 percent of all injuries occur. Kettlebell training is based upon generating momentum and then perpetuating, redirecting and decelerating that momentum.

Almost every kettlebell exercise engages literally hundreds of muscles at once. Most expert level kettlebell lifters have profound functional strength without bulky size. This is because the very nature of kettlebell training triggers greater Myofibril density. Myofibrils are contractile organisms within the muscle that are directly related to strength

So kettlebells produce muscle that is incredibly dense and strong without bulky size. Even if you were to attempt basic kettlebell movements such as a kettlebell swing with a dumbbell it still does not even come close. However you may attempt to hold the dumbbell there is still a direct line of applied force and the dumbbell itself is still balanced in design.

The Bottom Line
A kettlebell lifter can do whatever a traditional weightlifter can do. On the other hand the traditional weightlifter cannot do what a Kettlebell user can do. In addition the Kettlebell user has real world strength that applies to real world situations, everyday tasks and obstacles.

In closing... I don't want to come off as so high on Kettlebells and not give the Dumbbells there due respect. In fact, my personal program is based more upon dumbbell usage than its counterpart. But nevertheless, both training tools have many beneficial uses and should be incorporated properly into a training program as stated earlier.

Happy lifting- whatever tools you choose to use!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Be a go - GIVER???

Hello FT Family!

In my last email, I told you just how thankful I am for all the blessings the good Lord has shown me this past year… and now I want to help give a little back… but as always- I need your help!

As you may know the Salvation Army conducts a toy drive every year at this time benefiting thousands of families who are struggling just to keep a roof over their heads much less being able to afford the extras at this time of year. Furthermore, according to the SA, there has been an increase to roughly 5,000 Tulsa area families registered and seeking some assistance in giving their children a Christmas they deserve. With this in mind, FT will have available a Toy Drive Donation Box at the FT Riverside location until December 15th for all of our FT friends and family to drop off toys for our local area kids who may not have anything to open on Christmas otherwise.

I’ve always been a firm believer in the ideal that you always get more when you give more, so I’m challenging all of us to take a minute to help out some of our Tulsa neighbors this Christmas who may not be as fortunate as we are.

Furthermore, I will use 1% of every renewal or purchased package this month to donate and/or match the gifts to the Salvation Army to help ensure our neighbors have a Holly, Jolly Christmas!

Happy Holidays,


PS. The FT Riverside location is at 97th and Riverside next to Trek Bikes and Tulsa Runner! Come on by and drop off your donations or just to check out our personal training studio and available packages!