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TheLeanBerets.Com "Avengers of Health!"

Coach RJ Blog

"Health Bite e-Tips"

This section has been replaced by my new Coach RJ Health e-News.  The e-newsletter format is much easier for me to manage and easier for people to share.  Thanks for your interest and support!

Health e-Tip: "Need Energy? Do Intervals & NOT the Can!" (8.11.07)

I've been VERY busy all year experimenting with EPOC and HIIT workouts.  These are high intensity workouts--most of them are "interval" designs.  I've done them for years as an athlete, but I'm using them a lot now with corporate clients and collegiate athletes in their pre-season conditioning.  I'm completing about a four-year project developing a collegiate football conditioning program.  We've had Division I scouts there at practice the last few years watching us, and they said they've never seen anything like what I'm doing.  The very first year the injuries dropped to the lowest point in over 20 years along with the speed, agility, and quickness significantly improving.  They went from an okay community college team to #3 in the Nation last year.  

I'm in the process now of packaging all of it into a workbook.  I also video taped our last workout for a new DVD to go along with the conditioning workbook.  I'm releasing my specialized pre-season conditioning program in 2008 and will begin doing workshops for sport teams and conferences next year.  It's based on my Dynamic Warm-Up (healthy joint function) and body-weight core and strength.  It works for all sports because it's built on principles of human movement and performance--not just football.  I also had two college women working with us this summer--they kicked butt!  MOST importantly, it's a simple design so coaches and athletes can actually follow it while maintaining quality and safety.  Too many programs today are great but way too complicated for most people to follow.  I keep it simple--it works better that way.

Lots of people do warm-ups, core, and body weight exercise...but not like I do it.  I have the results.  Now it's almost time to rock with y'all in 2008!  

For some new handouts on EPOC, HIIT, Sprint-8, and Tabata workouts, see below.  The rest is coming soon, so hold on!  These can also be found in my Handouts section.

In High-Performance!!!

Health e-Tip: "High Fat=Low Energy" (8.9.07)

First let me say that I don't level criticism on American health unless I'm willing to be part of the solution instead of the problem.  The reason I rip on child obesity is because being this fat is simply NOT good for our kids and country, and I've got plenty of help on my website to get kids moving in good health.

It ceases to amaze me how clueless people can be about this problem.  I'm the parent of three children.  If they were obese, I would be scared to death and busting my ass to help them before it was too late.  Where are the parents, and what are they thinking?  Screw the political correctness!  Let's get to the point and quickly.  When you are this fat as a child, more than likely you are doomed to being fat your whole life and creating a whole plethora of health problems because of obesity from diabetes to joint replacement not to mention having a lower quality of life without being able to be physically fit and active.  I wish parents would wake up.  Not dealing with the problem only makes it worse.  If your kids are obese like so many in America, do YOU really want them to suffer their whole lives with health problems?  I mean makes NO logical sense to me to look the other way.  Again, I'm not trying to be a jerk.  I'm doing my best to HELP our children for God's sake!  They are supposed to be the future of our country!  How can they lead with strength when they are fat and feeble?  America's largest corporations are in trouble because of health-care costs--and this is for the older generations that grew up with less junk food and more physical activity!  My God!  What's going to happen when we try to insure the failing health of today's children!  We'll be bankrupt in more ways than one!

Two primary tips for parents of fat kids--limit the junk food and start some physical activity as a family.  Don't take all the junk food away overnight--too many changes too fast.  Just make it better by limiting portion sizes at first.  On activity, it really needs to be a "family" culture change.  Lead the charge parents and adults!  Kick some ass--your own!  Get Fit.  Be Strong.  Do something better than contributing to soaring child obesity and failing health.  What we have done to our kids is absolutely shameful and sickening.  It makes me so sad.  Surely we can do better--let's roll!

Health e-Tip: "Energy Drinks--More Than Just Caffeine?" (7.31.07) 

Just in the last month, I've had two people tell me of two separate incidents where someone had a seizure that was directly related to consumption of energy drinks. Both of these people had to be rushed to the hospital. One was a teen athlete that collapsed in the middle of a game from drinking multiple energy drinks. Just yesterday, a corporate client told me her friend DIED after consuming energy drinks mixed with alcohol to celebrate his birthday.  By the way, teens are now having energy drink competitions where they consume up to 6-8+ energy drinks in one period. My personal stance to the college football players I work with is this--if you want energy then eat well, stay hydrated, and train smart. Energy and health doesn't come in a pill or bottle! In view of the pro sport scandals now with steroids, this is a message that needs to be heard loud and clear with our kids, but this is another topic for later...

  • I've been following the increase in energy drinks and related problems from abusing them for over a year. I've had a number of communications the last week with dietary experts on this issue. I'm going to do more on energy drinks, but for now, I wanted to at least get something out there. Here are some of my thoughts and a great handout by UC Davis that should be helpful.

  • For those that say they are no worse than coffee, my response is this, when was the last time you heard of someone being rushed to the hospital after a Starbuck's overload? We sure drink a lot of coffee at Starbucks, but I don't hear people having seizures there.

  • The science is sketchy on reporting health problems with energy drinks. I don't think it's because they are 100% safe and there isn't anything to report; I think the research is behind the curve with what is actually happening because these products got so popular so fast. The experts I've spoken with and the sources I've examined don't really have much to say. The UC Davis handout is worth looking over. It actually says something specifically about energy drinks where the other sources had pretty generic comments.

  • There are numerous factors involved. The amount of caffeine varies considerably depending upon the drink. The serving sizes also vary with the trend now to go to larger 16 oz. cans. Your hydration level will have some influence on how you respond to the drinks. There are chemicals found in some drinks that are not in others. We probably don't know all there is to know about long-term effects and the multitude of interactions.

  • Drinking an energy drink once in a while is probably not a big deal. On occasion, I have had one too. However, what concerns me is that people are drinking 2-3+ of them a day routinely along with poor eating, poor hydration, being overweight, and working too many hours while being stressed out. No wonder they don't have any energy and need a boost!  Case in point!  Last night I was at a softball game to watch my friend play.  I noticed two morbidly obese teens sitting at the table.  Yeah--you guessed it!  They were drinking a mondo energy drink and eating a candy bar--DAAA!!!  Get a frigggin' clue people!

  • Of course you know my healthy and workout then you'll kick start your heart and metabolism in a healthy way instead of resorting to a can.

  • UC Davis Energy Drink Handout (Recommended by American Dietetic Association)

Consider doing something HEALTHY for your body EVERY single day. I would not say that drinking an energy drink is a healthy way to increase your daily energy level. Eating breakfast is healthy and will give you good energy to start the day. Eating well is healthy and gives you energy. Proper exercise is healthy and gives you energy and zest to meet your daily challenges. Think about it...I'll put more information out as I gather and evaluate the data.

"If man makes it, don't eat it!" --Jack LaLanne

Health e-Tip: "Plantar Fasciitis: How to Fix YOUR OWN Foot!" (7.11.07)

This is something I’ve been working on for about two years.  I’ve been collecting data for over a year.  I’ve been writing for weeks and building web pages for days.  It’s been a long journey…

“More than one person I’ve heard of has said the doctor recommended severing their Achilles’ tendon to “fix” their plantar fasciitis pain.  Surely, there is something more reasonable than whacking one of the strongest tendons in your body! ...

…I took a full two months off running to no avail.  I thought for a while that I might not ever be able to run normally again—or maybe at all.  Was this the end of the road for distance running Coach RJ?  No.  However, it was a long and frustrating journey to figure out how to fix my foot, and once again, the best treatment option was very simple and not invasive…After nearly two years of pain and struggle, and investigative internet research, I finally fixed the worst of my foot pain with a $25 therapy device ordered off the web and NO surgery…and now the rest of ‘my’ story…”

Good luck.  I hope this article and information will help you to walk better and with less foot pain!

In Foot Fitness!

Health e-Tip: "Keeping It Simple-Fixing Bones & Reducing Pain With Exercise!"

This is something I'm working to expand with national media coverage, but for now, let me give you my bottom-line philosophy of health.  KEEP IT SIMPLE!  We seem to forget the lessons of Jack LaLanne and his result-proven methods of keeping exercise and health simple.  He's living proof at age 93.  Think he's too old?  Think you're tired of hearing about the guy that towed boats and sells juicers?  Think you need to spend a lot of money on so-called clinical "solutions" or bury your lives or your clients with overly complicated exercise routines and expensive gym equipment?  Think again.  These are just two testimonials I received from corporate clients in ONE week about how my SIMPLE and bottom-line approach to health through fitness changed their lives for the better.  Skeptics are everywhere about my methods--LaLanne spent his life proving them wrong too, and now his critics are dead while he continues to workout two hours a day!  I'm getting it on along with my clients--go with us or move out of our way! 

Both of these women spent a limited amount of time with me on proper set up where I was careful about safety, progressions, modifications, and educating them about fixing their own bodies with fitness.  Both took my set ups and ran with them and literally changed their lives and are still making improvements.  One did it with simple body weight exercises, tubing, and dumbbells.  The other did it with just three simple neck mobility exercises that only took 60 seconds!  60 seconds to drop chronic pain out of your neck!  How simple is that!  ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!!!  60 SECONDS vs. more drugs and more pain!  Simple body weight exercises and a few of Julie's diet modifications to turn around osteoporosis! 

Enough of this locked-up "sick care" system that over complicates health management and takes the power of health away from those who need it the most--YOU!!!

Here are the testimonials from Janet and Donna--read for yourself then I dare you to tell me that fitness is not power!
Testimonial #1: Bone Mass Density & Osteoporosis
“You're not going to believe this, but I just got the results of my recent DEXA Scan conducted on May 31 and my left hip went from -2.3 in March 2006 to -1.1 now!!! That means I went from almost having osteoporosis (-2.5) to almost normal (-1.0). Can you believe it!!!  Your fitness programming targeting my weakened hips and the dietary help from Wellcoach colleague Julie Schwartz, RD has made all the difference. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course, the doctor I just went to pooh-poohed my progress because she didn't have the 2006 test results done at a different doctor's office. She told me it was impossible and that I needed to take Fosomax.  I'll have to make sure she gets a copy of the 2006 results for comparison.

I am so excited.  My result goes against all conventional medical wisdom (if you can call it that) in that neither of my doctor's thought an exercise program would work.  Guess we showed them!

Thank you once again for my amazing hip results due to your great coaching!!!  I certainly couldn't have done it without you.  Thank you again!”
--Janet McCrea, California
Coach RJ Comments: Janet still has some bone mass density problems in her spine. We are now adjusting her workouts for more spinal loading. Our first phase was more hip focused. Time needed for the above improvements?  Just 14 months!

Testimonial #2: Surgical Fusion/Cervical Spine Mobility
“I finally got to see my neurosurgeon on Friday. I explained to him my desire to build some upper body strength without hurting my neck, and that you were willing to work with me with medical clearance. He was very encouraging saying exercise will greatly reduce my pain. My x-rays showed I have another collapsed disc below my fusion…he wrote a note giving you permission to work with me.

The neck exercises you showed me have really helped. I haven't missed a day without doing them at least once. What a lifesaver for me!  I was shocked that a few simple movements could actually help me. Now, instead of going straight to bed or grabbing extra pain relievers, I first try the exercises. So far they have always helped. Lance and I went on a strenuous bike ride and half way I was feeling it. I just pulled over did the exercises and went on. My favorite is the head ½ roll because I get an automatic release of pain and tension. I don't care how macho you are, pain is pain and it will definitely ruin your day.”
--Donna Holmes, California
Coach RJ Comments: Donna came to me a couple of months ago. She was losing control of her health, fitness, and weight because of her neck.  She has struggled with her neck for about ten years. Chronic pain has a way of messing up one's life.  In a matter of weeks, she was fixing her neck pain with my SIMPLE neck mobility exercises!  She is now able to begin regular exercise again with her family...her life is on the way up because of  fitness!  The Canadian Arthritis Foundation also uses many of my way of doing mobility exercises because they say my SIMPLE approach to fixing mobility and reducing pain with exercise works better than other things they have tried. 

"Fitness IS Power--Get It On!"  --Ron Jones

Ron Jones Dynamic Warm-Up

Ron Jones Mobility Exercise Library

Health e-Tip: "What are we thinking?!" (6.12.07)

I took our twins to gymnastics last week in Atlanta.  We got there a few minutes early so got to see the other toddler class come out with the parents.  All the parents coming out were obese--many were morbidly obese.  For some odd reason, I've noticed that most of the parents at the gymnastics academy are fat--many morbidly obese.  Even more interesting is that a lot of them push their kids incredibly hard.  I have to ask myself what they would feel like if they did one single workout like their own kids!  You want to teach your kids to love movement and fitness?  Get off your ass and do it yourself!  Set the example by breaking some of your own sweat by doing more than running after a donut!  One obese Dad came out with his kids and got into a verbal confrontation regarding their behaviors.  He started barking, "If you don't behave you won't get any candy and soda!"  Of course, you know me, I was wanting to YELL, "Great!  That way they won't end up looking like you!"  The dude was younger than me by ten years and could barely walk out of the building...what a shame.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out what the hell people are thinking when it comes to feeding their kids the same crap that ruined their own health!  I'm the father of three children.  I can't imagine feeding them food all the time that has been proven to cause MAJOR health problems.  I would like to ask these parents what are they thinking?  It's not that they are all stupid.  Many are educated professional people, yet still feed their kids crap even though the kids are obviously overweight or obese.  It defies all logic and common sense!

Here's another related reflection.  I've been getting reports from kids and some parents about how when a child today tries to make good eating choices for healthy foods that the other kids really make fun of them to the point of taunting them about being healthy.  What bullshit!  What has happened to us when we make fun of people that want to be healthy and productive citizens that don't further bleed the broken, dare I even say it, "health" care system (actually a SICK care system at this point). 

I dare anyone to make fun of me and my kids for being healthy and eating properly...just make sure I'm there when you ridicule my kids for doing THE RIGHT THING.  My three year old daughter told me last week, "Daddy!  Eating fruit makes your poo poo soft!"  How's that for health literacy buckos?  A lot of Americans don't take a crap for 3-5 wonder we're so jacked up!

Make a stand for health instead of disease.  Eat a banana instead of a might like it and even defecate!

Health e-Tip: "Kick Starting My Heart!" (5.27.07)

Ooo, ahh, kickstart my heart
Hope it never stops
And to think, we did all of this...
To rock

Kickstart my heart

Motley Crue

So sorry for the delays on my e-Tips!  Way too long!  I've been very busy with a two-year summary report of my corporate wellness process.  So busy in fact with data entry that I developed some bad chi. One of my corporate clients Megan dropped by my desk last week to see what was up.  I told her I was "grumpy."  I prefer to be out in the field helping people instead of at the corporate office desk.  Megan barked, "Get your chi together!"  After that Florence told me to stop whining.  I had to agree.  How do I most often fix things that are broken in life--with fitness.  When my own chi needs adjustment, I usually opt to Kickstart My Heart with a shredding anti-aging workout.  Who needs artificial Human Growth Hormone?!  You just need to workout with Coach RJ one day during a chi recalibration!  This workout took place Thursday night at 8PM.  By Saturday morning the mental, physical, and spiritual effects had taken place, and I was on fire again...Coach RJ at Redline...doesn't get any better.  Here's the way I recalibrated my chi this week.  Wanna play?  I dialed up the speed metal on my iPod and launched into some Motley Crue, BLS, Pantera, Metallica, et al. and proceeded to build up instead of breakdown.  Check it out:

Dynamic Warm-Up (10 minutes)

Tabata Intervals: (28 minutes of 20/10 intervals with no breaks between rounds!)

  • Thruster (#20x8-10 reps, 2 sets)

  • Front "Body Weight" Squat-DEEP! (12-14 reps, 2 sets)

  • Thruster (#20x6-8 reps, 1 set)

  • Front BW Squat (12 reps, 1 set)

  • Plyo Split Lunge Jump (14 jumps, 1 set)

Core & Foundational Strength

  • Russian Twist (4k med ball @ 30 secondsx2 sets)

  • DB Hammer Curl (#35x8 repsx2 sets)

  • DB Bench Press (#50x12 repsx2 sets)

  • T Stability Push Up (20 reps)

  • Total Run Time: 45 minutes!

  • Cost? Priceless.

Nothing like launching into 28 minutes of Tabata Intervals to recalibrate one's chi and attitude!  Hey man...I could have taken some Rx drugs, over consumed an "energy" drink, taken a day off, but once again, I chose hard-core fitness and kicked MY OWN ass!

In Survival of the FITTEST--Be there!

Health e-Tip: "In The News-We Still Don't Get It!" (3.15.07)

Coach RJ's Personal Update!  I'm still going 7 for 7 baby!  I have NOT missed a single day of exercise all this year.  I'm doing at least 30 minutes of something a day.  It's working!  I might as well go the rest of the year!  Not all my workouts are high-intensity so don't require a rest day afterwards.  If you're just walking or doing some easier yoga, etc., you don't need a rest day!  What about a mental break you ask?  I get more mental rejuvenation from taking an easy walk or doing a simple 30-minute yoga routine than taking the day off.  The exercise is more beneficial, so I'm sticking with it!  I'm kicking my own self in my own butt--are you?

I've been inundated the last couple of weeks with the latest health in the news.  It's quite an amazing list of so-called breakthroughs and reports.  Let's run down the latest in America's battlefield of wellness, or rather ILLness.

  • Diabetes & Alzheimer's:   National news broke the report that those with diabetes are 65% more likely to develop Alzheimer's.  You might not know this, but the brain only uses glucose for fuel--basically sugar.  Fat and protein don't cut it in the brain.  The blood sugar is totally out of balance with diabetes--makes sense that it would screw up your brain considering the chemistry.  Here's the kicker though!  Our "solution" for this problem?  Two new drugs that will "delay the onset" of Alzheimer's!  How about PREVENTING the root cause of the 65% increased chance for Alzheimer's by not being so damn fat and getting some exercise!  I'm so frustrated I could scream--but I guess I am NOW!  Perfect wisdom--make more drugs to mask the problem which is based in the crap we eat and our refusal to be physically active...great...I'm impressed--NOT! 

  • Early Puberty for Young Girls:  Girls now are starting their periods at age 8-9 years old!  Reports today said that chubby little girls are warning signs for early puberty and hormonal imbalances that should not be present at such an early age.  Health experts are pleading this week for parents to control their daughter's weight EARLY and well before age 8.  The bottom line is this--if you wait until 8 or 9, you've waited too long and serious damage has been done.  Wanna bet there will be a "new drug" next week to "fix" young girls menstruating before they even understand conception and female anatomy?  That'll be next!  You'll know when it hits by the sounds of my SCREAMING!

  • Insomnia Drug Side Effects:  What a revelation this week!  The millions of Americans taking sleeping drugs have significant side effects!  DA!!!!!!!  When you factor in that most people eat like crap, don't exercise, and basically don't do jack to take care of themselves, no wonder they can't sleep!  The answer is NOT in a stupid pill folks--the answer is in YOU.  Try eating something that doesn't cause your body to fight like hell to process then go for a friggin' walk!  The shear joy that YOU did something good for yourself will surely help you sleep better...zzz...

  • Back Pain:  I've been rolling out my new back pain PREVENTION workshops this week for corporate clients.  Last night, I was trolling around Barnes & Noble looking over all the back pain books.  There are many of them.  I thought about buying one, but then realized it would be just a waste of money.  I can fix most backs in five minutes a couple of times per week.  Who needs a book?!  Interesting data on back pain when you really get into like I have the last few months.  Did you know that about 98% of back pain is NOT fixed by surgery and that 95-98% of all back pain involves soft tissue and NOT the bone or discs.  Most MRIs and X-Rays are inconclusive, yet we spend millions on getting them and going to the doctor then not fixing the root cause of the problem!  Of course, there are countless commercials on TV for back pain killers.  LISTEN TO ME!!!  If you want to kill the pain in your back, get your back fit and strong!  That is the real fix--not the stupid pills that only mask the pain which is your body telling you to get off your butt and fix yourself!  I've developed a back protocol that takes that same majority of people that surgery can't fix and it fixes them usually within 1-2 weeks!  Chronic back pain--GONE!  Hours a day--NOT!  Try 5-10 minutes 2-3 times a week bucko!  How's that for performance!  I'm so sick of hearing about people getting ripped off by our "sick-care system" for back pain and everything else that my own back is hurting now!

I feel like I'm in the fight of my life from the front lines of American corporate wellness.  It's all or nothing for me.  No middle ground.  Are you with me?  If not, get out of my way.  Refuse?  I'll shove you aside myself.  There is work to be done and no time to waste in the "ILLing Fields" of America.  My back is against the wall, and I'm coming out swinging.  I'm sick.  Sick of the system telling us to take a pill and mutilate our bodies under the disguise of so-called health.  Health is not merely the absence of disease folks!  Get a clue!  The answer is in YOU--not the hospital, drugs, with the insurance companies, or with the overweight and out of shape doctor that doesn't know anything about true nutrition and effective exercise.  Start thinking about what we are really hearing on TV and reading about our health in this country.  It's appalling!  It defies logic to me!  One of my fitness author friends wrote last week to tell me he got a report about children selling candy to raise money for juvenile diabetes!  Do you get it now!  If so, be heard!  Speak out!  See you on the front in the heat of the battle--it's a higher calorie burn there!  J

"My lifestyle determines my death style." 

Healthy e-Tip: "Fat, Fitness, & Future" (3.5.07)

 “Child obesity is child abuse!” 
--Ron Jones

2007 has been an incredible year for me professionally—my best in many ways.  It seems like every week there is another breakthrough for my wellness clients.  I was surfing this wave of elation a few weeks ago when I got “the call.”  You know when things are going great, you’d better beware! 

Many people contact me around the world now; I never know what to expect.  Usually it’s a nice contact like a student needing help for a project or something else rewarding—not this one.  I got a call from a father regarding my work in child obesity prevention.  His message was strained—there was a sense of panic in his voice.  When I returned his call, I understood why.  He was the father of two young boys.  His children live with his ex-wife, and he only sees them about one weekend a month.  His 9-year old weighs 156 pounds.  His 7-year old weighs 106 pounds.  The father told me according to the calculations; his 9-year old was 59 pounds overweight and the 7-year old was 45 pounds overweight.  His 9-year old is so fat that he can’t wear regular clothes anymore—only the oversized gym sweats.  He has horrible stretch marks all over his body from the excessive expansion.  The poor kid can hardly move—he is literally in pain to do any activity.  The ex-wife is killing both kids with food!  She refuses to see that her junk-food rewards and endorsement of their sedentary TV behaviors are health problems.  The Dad has basically tried everything but to no avail.  He has pleaded with his ex-wife; she refuses to listen.  He called Child Protective Services in his home state of California.  CPS investigated and reported back to him with what he described as “an attitude” saying there was absolutely nothing wrong with the way the children are being raised and that they are in no health danger.  His call to me was inquiring about legal precedent to take the case into court…there are a lot of ways to get in trouble legally with child abuse, but unfortunately, excessive food is not one of them even though the consequences can be permanent health problems.

Despite all my “Fitness is Power” aphorisms, I was absolutely powerless to help this distraught father trying to save the health of his children.  It was the lowest day of my career.  In over a decade of High-Performance Health all across the United States and beyond, I have never been so damned depressed about what I could NOT do to help someone trying to be healthy.  I could not help the father or his obese children.  As far as I know, the American legal system has not caught up with the severity of the obesity problem.  A few weeks later England made international news with a child obesity story that entered its legal system regarding 8-year old Connor McCreaddie weighing 218 pounds!  The mother got a trampoline and made a couple of diet changes and kept the kid—now it’s “old” news.  It seems like there is a weekly story about child obesity in the major media, yet parents are still killing their fat kids with more unhealthy food.  What is it going to take to wake up parents?!  Biomechanics knows NO political correctness!  Physiology knows NO political correctness!  If you force your kid into fatness, they are wearing out their joints and organs prematurely.  It is not good for them to be so fat—get a clue!

We made our stand today--NO DONUTS on Donuts for Dad Day!
If you love Daddy, why kill him with junk food?!
(My kids didn't even ask for the stupid donuts because donuts are not part of their culture!)

I refuse to shut up!  I complained to the preschool of our 3-year old twins last month after they provided a “healthy” snack of donuts one day!  I wrote the director a letter and told her to stop feeding my children toxic food when they were supposed to be having a healthy snack.  Two weeks later I got a notice from their teachers for “Donuts for Dad Day.”  Can you imagine?  Child health advocate Ron Jones getting a donut party notice!  I went to the party with twins in hand along with our own healthy snacks of bananas and yogurt!  My wife “warned” them I was attending, so they at least had some grapes and orange juice which I appreciated.  Some say I’m a zealot—unreasonable—no fun.  I disagree.  What is unreasonable to me is a bunch of fat American kids waddling around predicted to not outlive their parents—I’m not kidding!  The obesity issue is crippling our country.  (Obesity Surgery Triples Among U.S. Teens-MSNBC.Com)

Just last night on CBS 60 Minutes, the U.S. Controller General warned that America is headed for bankruptcy because of our health care problems.  Still think I’m a health zealot?  Get a clue!  19 out of 21 major civilizations that failed in history can be traced back to failing over a health/fitness issue—America is next! 

In the meantime, I’m turning as many warriors as I can towards health and wellness, and will continue the good fight.  I’m not shutting up—I’m going to get louder because our children are worth the effort.  I’m mad as hell and refuse to take that donut!  I refuse to believe that Pizza Hut and McDonald’s have community service in mind when they infiltrate our schools with their “reader reward” programs.  If you think this is a great deal to promote reading—you’re stupid.  It’s all about brand marketing for junk food.  The consequences?  Poor health, child obesity, and a "sick-care" system instead of a health-care system! 

Throw out the donuts and grab some fruit and a workout before it’s too late—and take your kids with you!

 "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
    --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Healthy e-Tip: (Making Time for Exercise)  I love watching the Super Bowl. I always think about the sport psychology involved and what kind of cutting-edge training all the guys are doing to prepare. I like it so much, I watch it all day! It's the only time of the year that I literally sit in front of the TV for the whole day. I also like to make a point on Super Bowl Sunday to "make time" for exercise. I flew home to Atlanta late Saturday and wasn't even home until 9:30 on Sunday morning. I was too jet lagged to hit the gym or run or ride my bike, so I brought up a light pair of 25 pound dumbbells (DBs) and decided to do some exercising during commercials a couple of hours before the game. I don't expect everyone to do this--but I'm making a point. It's not that hard to fit in a workout. I still watched the cool new commercials--just with my dumbbells or between push ups!

In a couple of hours during "commercials only," I performed the following:

1. T-Stability Push Ups (100 push ups)

2. Hammer Bicep Curls with #25 DBs (80 reps)

3. Arnold Shoulder Presses with #25 DBs (80 reps)

4. Bicycle Crunches (190=one to each side counted as "1" full rep)

5. Superman Pointers (180 reps)

6. Crocodile Breathing (20 breaths)

I usually did a set of about 10 reps for two different exercises on most commercials. It was NOT THAT HARD, but in a couple of hours I made time for 650 repetitions--and all BEFORE the game ever started! When the game started, I moved on to my pizza!

So 42 days and counting--I have yet to miss a workout this year. Do I recommend this for everyone? No. However, a lot of my workouts are not tear-down workouts. Many are just gentle maintenance workouts which don't require any days off--plus I'm tired of my own excuses! Get tired of your own and join me--then enjoy the pizza you worked for before the next game! Jack LaLanne will be proud!

"The essence of decay is inactivity." --Jack LaLanne

Health e-Tip: "Getting It Done...20 Years on the fitness freeway with RJ"

 It's funny how time marches on.  I realized in December 2006 that on New Years 2007, I've been exercising regularly for 20 full years!  After missing too many workouts last year because I "was too busy" like everyone else, I decided it was a great time to rededicate myself (kick my own butt!) to the best thing I ever did which was to start working out.  It's not like I was completely out of shape last year--just not hitting my usual peak performance.  You would think that exercising a little less would have helped my fatigue last year--it did not. 

 In view of my self assessment, my personal goal this January was to exercise every single day with NO days off--NONE!  My measurement goals were 30 consecutive days of exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.  I keep it simple--very bottom line.  I didn't really care what my heart rate was or how many days of cardio or how many sets and reps of strength I was getting.  All I cared about was doing something each day for 30 minutes without any more lame excuses!  My January was a combination of running, indoor cycling, elliptical trainer, mountain biking, yoga, strength workouts in the gym, and some body weight strength workouts at the park.  I probably averaged about 45 minutes per workout at the end of the month exceeding my 30 minute minimum.  When I put in a 14+ hour day, it didn't matter.  I still did my workout.  Two nights I ran in the cold wind on the bike path with a head lamp.  I didn't want to do it!  I forced myself to do it!  Interestingly, I felt better in January with no days off exercise than I did last year working out 3-5 days per week!  Maybe I should just keep going like Jack LaLanne--he hasn't taken one day off from exercise for over 50 years and he can kick all our butts at age 93!  If everyone exercised daily, we'd have more energy, get more done, and think more 20 years and counting for me.  I'm going to stick with it because it works!

 As I finished my last workout in January at the gym, I found myself staring at the flat bench and Olympic bar.  How ironic.  20 years ago I started my strength conditioning with just the bar alone--no plates and no collars.  I was too weak to lift any additional weight beyond the 45 pound bar.  Deeper body was in so much pain by age 27 I couldn't sleep at night.  I had nuclear bone scans on my legs to determine why I was having all the chronic leg pain, but the doctors couldn't figure it out, no stress fractures or cancer, so I figured it out myself!  I needed a swift kick in the butt, needed to start exercising whether I was tired or not, and needed to put something down my throat that was healthy instead of eating junk all the time.  And guess what happened?  I HEALED MYSELF!

 …Back to the last week's workout...As I stared at the bar reflecting about my fitness journey, it became obvious that I needed to do one more set before the end of the night...just me and the bar--no weights and no collars because that is how I started this journey 20 years ago.  Even after a hard workout, the bar felt like a small closet pole as I ripped through my repetitions...10...20...the magic number of 27...why not 47 reps?!  One for each year of my life!  With each rep it was a fitness flash into my past tracking each year of the journey with each bar movement.  At rep 47--a startling realization.  I'm stronger, faster, and have more endurance than I did 20 years ago at age 27!

Stop telling me about how you don't have time to exercise and about how you're too old and how it's not worth your time!  Let me tell you the truth if you're not exercising--you're going to pay the price for not exercising whether you like it or not.  START telling yourself that you can make five minutes a day available for your own body and health!  Get it done before another 20 years of my workouts go by while you rust away!

Reflection Point:  How many of you would like to drive the same car for a full 80 years?  How long would it last if you didn't service the car because you were too busy and too stressed out to get the oil changed, joint fittings lubricated, and filters changed?  5, 10, 15 years--or less?!  That's what a lot of people do to their bodies.  They demand an 80 year warranty without doing any preventative maintenance.  Guess what?  WARRANTY VOIDED.  No lemon law to fall back on here--just your own refusal to do the right thing.

Everyone is too busy.  Make time for exercise anyway.  Get it done.  Take care of your “body vehicle” then get on the fitness freeway with the overdrive of High-Performance Health!

 "Anyone can die.  You have to work at living."  --Jack LaLanne

Healthy e-Tip: (Just One Hour!)

January in the Gym:  I've been spending some time with corporate clients this January getting them started on safe and appropriate exercise for their level of fitness and mental readiness. I'm amazed at how bad many of the gym trainers are with clients who are paying them good money to get hurt! I wish I could spend one hour with everyone in the country that wanted to start exercising and teach them some basics on biomechanics and safe progressions!

Here's one example from last week--I'm doing my dynamic warm-up waiting for my client, and a trainer shows up behind me with his client. The client starts complaining about how sore he had been lately to which the trainer replies, "Yeah...since you met me!" The trainer throws him (about 35 years old, overweight, not very fit) onto a stability ball and barks at him to do abdominal crunches for three full minutes. I don't even do them for three full minutes! I can't help but watch as his client does limited range of motion abdominal crunches with his hands behind his neck. The guy was so over his level of ability that he couldn't do a full range of motion and had to "yank" on his neck every time he came up. One of the greatest benefits to stability ball crunches is to get the back "extension" as you lower your torso. This guy was going so fast and so recklessly that he ruined most of the benefits to the exercise--and also was in danger of hurting is neck. To make matters worse, the trainer kept kicking his feet together narrowing his base of support which was the exact "opposite" of what the client needed! I always make sure people starting use a wide base of support to better stabilize themselves on the ball so they don't fall off. You want to challenge people in a safe manner so they don't get hurt and quit. But wait--it gets worse! After two minutes, the trainer has the guy lift one leg completely off the ground while doing the crunches--and guess what? The client fell completely off the ball! The trainer throws him back on the ball laughing and the poor guy somehow completes the last minute.

See the Stability Ball Chop-My Favorite ABS Exercise on the ball!

My point is this--any trainer can go hard and hurt people. There seems to be this mentality for trainers to show a client everything they know the very first session. I can drop you in five minutes--so what's the point? There isn't one as a wellness coach wanting the most amount of people healthy and fit. My recommendation is to find someone that can help you with exercise that will assess where YOU are both physically and mentally then assist you with an appropriate and SAFE exercise program. There is nothing wrong with modifying for safety and to help people get their confidence as they begin--it's smart!

More on Beverage Calories:

Oh! Remember last week's message about empty calories in beverages? I did some math on the "medium" Frappuccino from last week. Considering that many people get the same kind of coffee each day of the work week, that one coffee per day will give you 112,800 calories per year. Not a big deal? You might want to see below. Factoring that most average adults in reasonable shape can only burn about 600 calories per hour in a "hard" workout, this is what it will take to burn off the Frappuccino!

Coffee Calories:
(one "medium" Frappuccino blended-whip per work day)
470x5=2350 calories (one week)
2350x4=9400 calories (one month)
9400x12=112,800 calories (one year)

Exercising Off Calories!
*(average calories per hour burned in "hard" adult workout with good fitness level ability)
112,800÷600=188 hours (exercise required to burn off a year's worth of Frappuccino)
188÷12=15.7 hours (exercise per month)
15.7÷4=3.9 hours (exercise per week)
3.9÷5=.8 hours (exercise per work day)

Think of it this way--it will take you as long to burn off the coffee as it takes you to drink it! *AND--most Americans are not in good enough shape to burn 600 calories per hour and many have the "large" coffee and not the medium! Reality? Many are drinking more calories per day and doing absolutely no exercise to get them off; hence, I must leave you with a quote today which will apply to most of the general population...

"A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!" --Jack LaLanne

Enjoy the Frappuccino...see you in the gym! :o)

Healthy e-Tip: (Empty Calorie Drinks) Small things over a period of time add up in Wellness. This morning I stopped for a juice drink on the way to work. I had a choice. Either choose a 100+ calorie healthy drink or choose a 100+ calorie "empty" drink. What's the difference if they are both a little over 100 calories you might has great nutritional value and the other has calories that are "empty" of any health benefits. If I'm going to drink calories in the morning for part of my breakfast, I want them to be healthy! Additionally, I got a cup of coffee for the road. There are actually some health benefits to drinking a little coffee in terms of increasing your metabolic fat burning--"BUTT" beware! A little coffee education can go a long way to either slimming your booty or super sizing it big time!

For around 15-16 ounces, these are good examples.

Naked Brand "Antioxidant" 100% Juice Smoothie (15.2 oz)

  • Calories=120
  • Fat=0
  • Cholesterol=0
  • Vitamins: A=100%, C=210%, E=300%
  • Includes: Raspberries (3), Blackberries (2), Apples (2), Strawberry (1), & Banana (1/2)

Coke Classic (16 oz)

  • Calories=194!
  • Fat=0
  • Cholesterol=0
  • Vitamins: Forget about them Bucko!
  • Includes: Lots of artificial chemicals that are not good for your organs, teeth, and health

Plain Coffee: Brewed from grounds with tap water (16 oz.)

  • Calories=2
  • Fat Grams=0.05
  • Cholesterol=0

Starbuck's Frappuccino Blended-whip (16 oz.)

  • Calories=470!
  • Fat Calories=140
  • Fat Grams=16
  • Cholesterol=65 mg

The choice is clear--choose health! People have been making fun of me for 20 years, but last time I looked, there was not a whole lot "behind me" compared to most other Americans! I'll stick with my process because it has worked well for over two decades to keep my weight balanced and my health and fitness at the top of my performance to join me? :o)

What are YOU doing today to help your body perform with optimal health? Most Americans are doing nothing. Sorry--junk food and sodas don't qualify as performance food. If you break your body, where will you live?! Think about it--then do something positive to help yourself TODAY!

Healthy e-Tip: (Chili Peppers-Nature's Red Hot Superfood!)  The chemical capsaicin in chili peppers not only makes them hot--but also very healthy.  Chilies are also high in antioxidant carotenes and flavonoids and contain twice the Vitamin C found in citrus.  Here's a condensed list of health benefits found in chilies.  For details, explore links below.

  • Improves digestion by stimulating stomach secretions.  Think peppers give you ulcers?  A myth!  They actually "help" your stomach.

  • Contains vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, and potassium.

  • Lowers triglycerides

  • Have laxative effects

  • Triggers release of endorphins--nature's pain killer chemical.  Did you know that endorphins are 400 times "stronger" than morphine?  No wonder people feel better after a workout!

  • Unclogs stuffy noses by irritating mucous membranes

  • May reduce high blood pressure

  • May protect against some forms of cancer

  • Increases metabolic rate and helps with fat burning.  Don't think so?  Try chomping on a real hot pepper and sweating a while.  Sweating is a MAJOR way to burn calories!

  • Relieves and prevents headaches

  • This low-fat, low-calorie, nutritional food is a great way to spice up your meals--really good for diabetic diets that can be somewhat bland at times.  Using peppers and other spices is a healthy way to get a lot of flavor into your meals without all the unhealthy sugar, fat, and processed chemicals.

  • Superfood #7: Hot Peppers (Oprah.Com)

  • Spice Up Your Meal With Spicy Foods (Cooking-and-Food.Com)

Healthy e-Tip: (Chili Pepper Heat Ratings) Have you ever wondered why chili peppers are so hot?  It’s because of a chemical called “capsaicin.” This chemical is concentrated in the veins of the fruit and NOT the seeds like most people think. Peppers are rated according to heat by the “Scoville Scale” which was invented by Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacist, in 1912.  The pepper heat scale ranges from 100-500 (Bell Peppers) to 100,000-350,000 (Habanero; Scotch Bonnet Peppers). Pepper heat is affected by the local weather conditions where the peppers are grown.  The hottest, baddest, most macho pepper is the Mexican Habanero which measures 350,000 units of heat—Mucho Caliente! Wanna bite a Habanero?  Get a fire hose quick! Tabasco Pepper Sauce measures about 30,000-50,000 on the Scoville Scale.  Peppers also have numerous health benefits…stay tuned for next week’s pepper update on how peppers can heat up your wellness!

Healthy e-Tip: (Healthy Gifts for Kids) Got kids in your life? Gift the best gift of all this year--the gift of HEALTH! Click to see healthy book recommendations for young children that emphasize life-long activity.

Health e-Tip: (Back Extension) Got back pain? If so, you might not be "extending" your spine enough. Most people are in chronic "flexion" bending over a desk, driving, sitting, etc. Click to see a simple and gentle back exercise called the "Press Up" to reduce pain and increase spinal mobility through spinal extension.

Healthy e-Tip: (Knee ACL Injury Prevention) Do you weeble, wobble, then fall down? Have you had ACL knee problems? Is your knee really the "root cause" of the problem? Maybe not. Emerging research has indicated that in many ACL failures, the problem was not the knee itself but the lack of hip stability higher up in the chain of movement.  Poor hip stabilizer strength allows the knee to shift out of position.  The knee is a "hinge" joint that does not do well with "lateral" bending.  With weak hips, knees get too much lateral movement.  Amazingly, by isolating the hip stabilizers and strengthening them, I've been able to significantly reduce the amount of lateral ACL stress in knees and keep people away from excessive lateral force to their ACLs along with improving sport and movement performance.  Click to see how a $2.95 ankle band can possibly fix your knee and potentially save you a costly ACL knee surgery!  Many times the BEST solution is the SIMPLE solution!  Another good example that Wellness Works!

Health e-Tip: (School Lunches!)  Here's some "food for thought", but don't eat it! Child obesity is an epidemic. Government is spending millions on obesity studies. Have "you" asked what your child's school serves for lunch and activities? I just received an e-mail from an upset parent--the elementary school lunch menu today is "Chili Cheese Biscuits & Hot Dogs."   Make sure your kids don't eat it!  Why are we spending millions on obesity research while we feed our kids cheese biscuits and hot dogs?!  It defies logic!  My corporate clients have also been asking these questions.  Many of the managers now offer "healthy choices" for meeting snacks which have included fruit, lower-fat bagels, yogurt, veggies, water, and 100% juice drinks.  Wellness is good for business and good for your families!  Consider getting involved in your child's school menu selections--giving your child the gift of health is the best gift of all.

Healthy e-Tip: ("Focusing" on Safety-Using Sport Psychology For Industrial Safety) In the science of performance psychology, "attention focus" is the most important mental intervention. A major technique to block distractions that can distract your concentration is called "filtering."  Many times accidents are caused by someone or something distracting you from the immediate task at hand.  Learning to "be focused" on your job task and pre-work planning can keep you alive and safe!  Thinking about what you'll have for dinner that night is not important while doing your job.  What is important is your job task and the variables in your environment that are safety concerns!  Stay Safe By Staying Focused!

Sport/Performance Psychology Summary of Attention Focus & Filtering from my CSUN Thesis Project on Mental Skills Training for Athletes:

  • Selective Attention & Filtering: Selective attention refers to selecting certain information for processing while filtering out or ignoring non-relevant information.  For example, what does an athlete need to pay attention to as they perform? Does a baseball batter need to listen to the catcher talk trash or do they need to filter out the catcher’s comments?  The comments are not important. What is important is watching the pitch. The batter needs to filter out the comments along with any other performance-robbing distractions.

  • Think of the cat stalking a bird.  This is a perfect example of selective attention!  The cat is very focused on the bird while at some remote level still being aware enough of the environment to notice another animal stalking it like the dog next door. The cat “filters out” everything possible except what is relevant to catching the bird and staying alive itself (dog or other predators). The cat moves in a flow state with control—it has heightened arousal optimal for the task but is also appropriately relaxed…don’t think so?  You try sitting in one position for over an hour staring at a bird!  This is referred to in sport psychology as “relaxed intensity.” 

  • To book a Mental Skills Training Workshop for your school's sport program or your corporation's safety meeting, contact Ron Jones.

Health e-Tip: (Portion Sizes)  Research indicates that the more food you have in front of your face, the more food you eat! When bowls, plates, and serving spoons are bigger--so are the portions! Click to read one of the latest portion study summaries.

Health e-Tip:  (Big Meal Dangers)  Planning on big meals for the holidays and football season?  You might want to think twice because a meal high in calories may quadruple the risk of a heart attack in those at risk to coronary heart disease.  Researchers theorize that the large meals may temporarily elevate blood pressure, which could break loose some atherosclerotic plaque in the artery.  This free-floating plaque in the bloodstream could lead to a blood clot in a coronary artery.  Enjoy your meals, but eating in moderation is good heart health as well as weight control!  (Source: , Exercise Physiologist, University of New Mexico)

Health e-Tip: (Take the Stairs!)  Taking the stairs instead of the elevator burns approximately 1 calorie for every 5 steps.  Given the fact that the average flight of stairs contains 15 steps, individuals who choose to use their feet instead of an elevator to go up and down three flights of stairs once daily (every day of the week) can lose more than 8 pounds during the course of a year (all other factors being equal).  Take the stairs to your desk on the 2nd or 3rd floor.  If your desk is on the 1st floor, use the restroom on the 2nd or 3rd floor.  If you don't have stairs at work, take the stairs whenever possible at the mall or airport!  It's not that hard, and the benefits are worth it!  (Source: American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Journal)

Health e-Tip: (Circulatory System) Our amazing bodies! Did you know that the human heart pumps the equivalent of 5,000-6,000 quarts of blood each day! What have "you" done to help your heart today? Eating fruits, veggies, exercise, and drinking plenty of water all helps promote healthy and happy hearts!  (Source:

Health e-Tip: (Child Obesity) "Honey We're Killing The Kids!" Prevalence of overweight children has nearly tripled in the past two decades, and we have a national epidemic of obesity! L The Learning Channel has a dramatic new parent and family education program called "Honey We're Killing The Kids!"  This program is a startling wake-up call for parents of obese children to change the family culture towards wellness before it's too late.  The show has been getting major press and great reviews.  Their website has helpful tools for parents on nutrition, kid fitness, family activity guides, etc.  The best gift you can ever give your children is the gift of a healthy life! I have a great one-page handout for parents on how to create "Fit for Life" Kids--please read and use!  You can also use the on-line calculator to determine your child's BMI (body fatness).  Child BMI must be determined differently than adult BMI, so this takes a special equation and calculator which is listed below. Because there are so many fat children today, fatness looks "normal" is accepted socially; however, you might be very surprised to learn your child's BMI and how they fit into the normal vs. overweight categories. 

  • Honey We're Killing The Kids! (The Learning Channel Family Education Program)

  • Fit for Life Kids: Begin Lifetime Health Today! (Parent Handout)

  • Child Body Mass Index-BMI Calculator (On-Line Tool)

  • What is BMI? (General Info & Adult BMI Scale Handout)

  • Child Obesity Help & Support (Important Stats & Weblinks)

  • Background:  Aera Wellcoach Ron Jones has worked at a national level on Child Obesity Prevention and has been featured on Fox News live with Neil Cavuto's Real World business show discussing the costs of child obesity on American corporations.  Ron also designed the "Fit for Life" Program for  Kaiser-Permanente, Bakersfield City School District, and Boys & Girls Club.  Fit for Life was a successful after-school obesity prevention program based on physical fitness activity rather than competitive sports. Ron is a fully-credentialed teacher in Health Science, Physical Education, and English--take advantage of Ron's help to improve your own family's wellness at home!

Health e-Tip: (Fit Facts) American Council on Exercise (ACE) has posted a great "Top Ten Fit Facts" with 1-page handouts on such topics as flexibility, warm ups, choosing exercise shoes, worksite back health, understanding supplements, proper hydration, and more. Click here to see full list.

Health e-Tip: (Phone Hygiene) Got phone funk?! Latest studies indicate that our cell phones are carrying some nasty bacteria. When's the last time you cleaned your phone?  Probably never!  L Just think about all the sneezing, coughing, and spitting you do on your phone and what you carry on your hands when you grab your phone then put it on your lips--Yikes!  Consider wiping off your phone with an anti-bacterial wipe at least once a week.  Use a dry clean cloth to remove any chemical residue after the moist cleaning to prevent any skin irritations.

Health e-Tip: (Ankle & Hand Weights)  To weight or not to weight? Should you run with extra weights around your ankles or carry hand weights while walking or running? Are extra weights even safe?  There are numerous issues surrounding ankle and hand weights that most people don't realize--let's look at some of them:

  • Observation: I was on the bike path last week and saw an overweight man running with ankle weights.  He was struggling to run because of his "body weight" yet was adding even more weight to his exertion level with the ankle weights.  On my way back, he had stopped running and could barely walk.  In reality, just running with his body weight alone was probably too hard.  By adding ankle weights, he completely overloaded his capacity to maintain a run pace and put his knees in danger of injury with the extra load--NOT good!

  • Magnifying Compensations:  Many people struggle to "run clean" without compensations and biomechanical deviations.  I'm a big "body weight first" person which means learn how to exercise with your body weight first before getting carried away with adding extra weights, resistance, and speed.  If you want to tear yourself in half, just strap on some ankle weights to magnify your stride, foot, knee, and hip problems--not good!  Hand weights can have a similar effect.  If a person runs with poor posture and is slumping forward (like most do), adding more upper body weight can magnify their poor upper body mechanics and eventually even cause lower body problems with stride biomechanics.  If you need upper body strength, do it before or after your cardio run and walk workouts--but not during with hand weights.

  • Ankle Weights & Knee Strain:  I stopped recommending ankle-weight running years ago.  The ankle weights put too much load on the knee joints.  Knees are not designed to "lift heavy weight" off the ground below them.  They are designed to help propel the body weight "above them" when standing, walking, or running.  (For similar reasons, I don't recommend knee flexion/extension machines anymore.)  Also, considering the fact that most Americans are overweight anyway, the knees are already getting worn out too fast and under additional strain--OUCH!  L

  • Stride Efficiency:  Having your lower leg loaded COMPLETELY changes your natural running stride and alters the efficiency of your lower body biomechanics!  What eventually happens is that people end up almost dragging their feet along the trail because their legs get so tired and heavy.  You can actually injure your knees from running with ankle weights plus you end up running like a burned out T-Rex instead of a gazelle!  For most people I've observed, the last thing they need is "added" weight during running or power walking.  They would be better off just maintaining a quality heart rate for a longer period of time with body weight alone.  For people that truly need extra loading for sport or occupation, the new recommendation is a weight "vest" that distributes the extra weight around the whole torso and lower body instead of just loading the knees alone.  If you are a forest fighter, soldier needing to carry a 100 pound pack in the mountains of Afghanistan, or training for a high-altitude attempt on Mt. Everest, then you "might" need extra weight loading with your training.  If you don't fit into the above categories, you're probably better off to stick with body weight.

  • Bottom Line!  If you want to run or walk, then just do them without added weights.  If you need more upper body strength, fit a strength workout in before or after your cardio session.  If must fit everything into one session, try taking a break half way out and adding body weight push ups and pull ups before you run or walk home.  Above all, run and walk clean to prevent injury and increase enjoyment of your exercise sessions!  See you on the trail...and leave the sandbags at home!

Health e-Tip: (Eating Out)  Eating out can be a challenge if you need to lose weight! Which is the low-fat choice: Bearnaise, parmigiana, roasted, or flaky? To learn more helpful tips on eating out to keep fat and calories under control from the American Council on Exercise, see "Best Choices When Eating Out" article

Health e-Tip: (Spinal Injuries & Football)  Pre-season high school football is upon us—an exciting time of the year for your sons’ athletic career.  To keep your son healthy and playing at his absolute best, think about the following recommendations and precautions.

According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, over half of high school sport injuries occur during practice with football having the highest injury rates.  Football also has the highest rates for head/neck/spine injuries.  Having experience with high school and collegiate football conditioning, I can tell you the following based on my personal observations:

  • Football players have terribly weak core muscles in their trunks and very poor joint function.

  • Many football players by the time they reach college have a legacy of chronic injury and poor rehab that have severely decreased their abilities to move efficiently.  Why?  Most high schools don’t have a full-time “certified” athletic trainer or a full-time strength and conditioning “specialist” that are nationally certified to ensure quality control.

  • Football coaches know football—but not strength conditioning and high-performance fitness conditioning.  If you want to see how to “NOT” perform strength conditioning and weight lifting—go to a local high school.  High school gyms are famous for inefficient if not unsafe to outright dangerous lifting practices with football being the worst.

Head/Neck/Spine Injuries: There are two basic spine injury categories—the head/neck and trunk (or midsection).  Head/neck injuries can be prevented with heads up tackling (no spearing) and neck strengthening exercises.  I’ll address the trunk injury category.  Trunk is the body’s “core” which includes not only back muscles but also front abdominals and side obliques.  “Core training” trains ALL the muscles around the trunk.  Core muscles help to stabilize the spinal column to increase efficiency of movement and prevent back injuries.  Core is the body’s “Pillar of Strength.”  The most important series of exercises to prevent back injuries are called “bridges.”  Spinal bridging exercises are performed in different positions while the body is held in a “plank” (straight line) with the spine locked in neutral.  Bridging builds DEEP endurance and stability for the spinal column.  Bridge positions are held for about 30 seconds each with strict attention to neutral spine, alignment, posture, and technique.  If your son is not bridging to prevent spinal injury and increase efficient movement—he should be—NOW!  Not later after the injury but “before” to at least minimize the risk for injury.  Core bridging photos and directions can be accessed off my website's Core Exercise Section.  Just look for the bridges (face up, face down, sides) at the top of the page list.  Bridge now to move better and pain free later! 

  • Many of  my corporate and private clients have "fixed themselves" with the bridging exercises I've shown them and thus have removed their own chronic back pain--join them!

  • *Ron Jones is a fitness & Core conditioning consultant for BC Collegiate Football & Pepperdine University X-Country & Track.  BC Football has experienced its lowest injury rates in over 20 years thanks to Ron's new core & fitness program designs!

Health e-Tip: (Rotator Cuff Injuries & Back Strength) Row your way into back and shoulder health! "Rowing" exercises help pull shoulder blades back into place. Weak "forward" shoulders lead to rotator cuff injuries because the shoulder is out of balance and cannot work efficiently. Are your shoulders too far forward and out of balance?  The center of your shoulders should be in alignment with your spinal midline.  If your shoulders are out in front of your spine then you probably need more back strength along with some stretching in the front.  Stretch what is tight (front shoulders) and strengthen what is weak (back of shoulders and mid back)  Back rows with tubing, dumbbells, or cable machines are examples of good fundamental back strength exercises.  Row now to avoid pain later!  Click here to see a sample Tubing Back Row.

Healthy e-Tip: (Fruit=Hydration!)  Eat your water! A great way to help hydration in hot weather is to eat plenty of fresh fruit. Many fruits are not only loaded with water--but also contain many wonderful vitamins, minerals, and fiber, so eat up and cool down!

Health e-Tip: (Safe Sweating) Trying to "sweat" off the pounds? Don't do it with an exercise sweat suit! Forcing excessive sweat with a rubber suit will NOT cause permanent fat weight loss--only temporary water loss and possible heat emergency!  I'm amazed at how many people still do this--I just saw a guy last week running in this hot weather with a sweat suit!  You have four ways to transfer heat out of your body so you don't overheat--conduction, convection, radiation, and evaporation.  Evaporation accounts for 80% of total heat loss during exercise; therefore, you have to let your sweat evaporate to regulate your core temperature.  What happens if you don't dissipate the increased heat of exercise in summer weather like this week?  You can have heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or even die!  Click here to read full article by American College of Sports Medicine Fit Society Summer 2006 Newsletter. *(See Page 8 "Salt & Athletes: Shake it or Leave it?")

Health e-Tip: (Dumbbells) Dumbbells are smart! Strength training with dumbbells instead of machines and bars can increase shoulder stability more efficiently. Using free weights requires more technique and instruction, but dumbbells can still be quite safe if you know how to use them.  Be smart and get fit--use dumbbells!

Health e-Tip: (Core Training)  Your “core” is the trunk area of your body from waist to chest, front, sides, and back—all the way around.  Training your core gives you more stability and strength around your spinal column.  Having a solid core means you have a “pillar of strength” built around one of the most important areas of your body—your spinal column which encloses critical nerves for bodily function.  Train your “core” first after a brief warm up instead of throwing it in at the end of your workouts when you are tired.  You should also do more than just the “ABS” in the front.  Core is all the way around so also work the sides (obliques) and back (rotators and extensors) for optimal health and back injury prevention.  Click here to view quality core exercises.

Health e-Tip: (Back Pain)  Chronic back pain has been linked to weak back extensor muscles according to research. Most people are "flexed" too much (folded forward) but rarely extend the spine up straight. The Stability Ball Chop is a great exercise to increase back strength-See link for directions

Health e-Tip: (5-A-Day Fruits & Veggies) Eat "5-A-Day" (servings) of fruits and veggies for optimal health! A fruit serving=1 cup fruit or 100% fruit juice or 1/2 cup dried fruit. A veggie serving=1 cup raw or cooked veggies or veggie juice--or 2 cups of raw leafy greens. Be Healthy. Eat 5-A-Day!

Health e-Tip: (Keep Kids Hydrated—Defeat The Heat!)  Summer is here—finally!  Our kids are in the pool, families are off to the lake, and kids are outside playing hard—in the heat.  Keeping kids hydrated with plenty of fluids (sodas don’t count!) is critical not only to sport performance—but also for health to eliminate serious heat exhaustion, heat stroke—or even death.  Some latest research shows that about 2/3s of kids are significantly dehydrated before sport practice and that during a typical 4-6 hour practice session those kids NEVER regain normal hydration even though fluids were available.  The key—drink before, during, and after events and practices!  Hydration is very critical with children for a number of reasons.  Children produce more heat per pound than adults.  Even though kids have more heat to get rid of per pound, they don’t have the capacity to sweat as much making it more difficult to rid themselves of heat and excessive core temperature.  Kids have a real cooling disadvantage which is even more reason to make absolutely sure they stay hydrated during summer activities.  Kids also do not have the behavioral or psychological drive like adults to stop and drink—adults must make sure they STOP and drink on schedule.  Surprisingly, even though kids have a decreased capacity to sweat, children can still lose up to a quart of sweat in a two hour period on a hot day putting them in serious danger if they don’t replace these fluid volumes!

There are tricks to getting kids to drink.  One is offering a “flavored” sport drink like Gatorade because it tastes better—plus it also provides important electrolytes lost in sweat to maintain a proper fluid balance.  Now true—sport drinks are “high calorie” which is NOT good for overweight and obese children; however, if it comes between your kid dehydrating and getting sick or getting some extra calories, I’d recommend going for the sports drink.  Cool temperature fluids also taste better on hot days which will encourage more drinking and help to reduce inner core temperatures.

For extreme “summer” temperatures and moderate to severe humidity, the recommendation is 5-10 minutes of rest and fluid break per 25-30 minutes of activity.  Below is a table by the National Association of Athletic Trainers and American Academy of Pediatrics to help with guidelines for drinking volumes:


Kids <90 Pounds

Kids >90 Pounds

1 hour before activity

3-6 ounces

6-12 ounces

During activity (every 25-30 minutes)

3-5 ounces

6-9 ounces

After activity to replace sweat loss

Up to 8 ounces of fluid per ½ pound lost

Up to 12 ounces per ½ pound lost

Kids and dehydration is nothing to play around with this summer.  A heat stroke will permanently damage the thermoregulatory system of your child.  Defeat the heat this summer—be smart and hydrate properly and on schedule

Health e-Tip: (Fish)  Eat fish twice per week. Fish contain healthy oils that are good for your heart. Some fish need to be restricted because of contamination like shark, swordfish, & bass. Other warnings exist for children and pregnant women. Click here to learn more Fish Facts!

Health e-Tip: (Weight Loss)  Less than 5% of people that lose weight keep it off because fad dieting never works for long-term weight loss. Use "Balance, Variety, & Moderation" when eating to facilitate permanent weight loss and improved wellness FOR LIFE.

Health e-Tip:  (Beverage Calories)  Did you know that 20% of Americans' daily calorie intake comes from beverages alone? Drinking more water will reduce these calories. Drinking plenty water is also one of the top recommendations for permanent weight loss.  Regarding children, child obesity, and fruit juice, The American Academy of Pediatrics has the following recommendation about juice:

* Children under 6 years old, should not drink more than 4-6 ounces of juice per day.
* Older children, 7-18 years old, can drink 8 to 12 ounces of 100% juice each day.
* Juice should not be introduced until your infant is about 6 months old.
* Never put juice in a bottle, try to offer it in a cup only.
* Use of only 100% fruit juice.
* No unpasteurized juices should be given to children of any age.

For more info, click link:

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(Updated 10.16.07)

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