Tag Archives: nutrition

Fitness Tips for Fat Loss

Common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight through exercise

Earlier in my career path I owned health clubs. I sold memberships, trained clients, hired and fired trainers and in 12 years of managing club affairs I learned a lot about the needs and desires of fitness enthusiasts. I could rant for hours about the goofy things I had witnessed members do in a health club, however, my focus for this article relates to the moronic things I see trainers have their clients do and get paid for. Before I build my list of useless exercises, I think it’s important that I shed light on the typical requests of the average new client in order of importance:

1. Weight loss (most people join health clubs to lose weight)
2. Tone-not build (the second leading request is to tone muscle without building them larger)
3. Improve health (coming of age and tired of feeling sickly and lethargic)
4. Supplemental to sports training (cross training, this one is pretty new)
5. Meet people (likes group exercise, classes, Yoga, Zumba Spinning etc)

A trainer is hired to help clients achieve their goals. Look at the first few lines of any trainers’ bio on their personal website and they will tell you: “I will help you archive your goals”. Flash forward to the initial interview of trainer/client: Client shares their desires (see 1-4 on my list), trainer divulges the fee for hire, a deal is struck and then… is when the *^%x hits the fan I my book!
The broad stroke
9 out of 10 trainers will begin by suggesting; “get on a (pick one) cardio machine and warm up for 15 minutes.” After which, they will begin segregating body parts and working each major muscle group in some fashion of sequential order. For example: Back-Biceps, Legs-Triceps, Shoulders-Abs… I think you get the idea. What’s worse is most health clubs are designed with specific departments of body part machines in plug and play fashion so as to make it easy for the novice to find the appropriate machine to work the appropriate muscles. The trainer you are now paying will serve as your guide. He or she will plug the pin into the weight stacks, count your repetitions for you out loud and tell you how great you are doing, because he or she is very considerate and over patronizing.

Let’s return to the #1 goal- To Lose Weight. The best way to lose weight is to keep your heart rate up for a reasonable amount of time. What is reasonable? How much weight do you need to lose and how much time can you dedicate and how much can you endure? More is better. Too much too early is unsustainable. Heart rate is directly tied to the amount of calories you burn and from which energy source. If your heart rate is too high, the exercise will be short lived. You burn more calories relative to time spent but high intensity exercise does a terrible job of burring fat. If the exercise is low intensity, you’ll be able to spend more time but the caloric expenditure will be low even though the majority of the calories burned will come from fat. (This is awesome if you have all day to exercise).

The solution: Wear a heart rate monitor during exercise; have a VO2 max test conducted to identify specifically what heart rates will produce greatest benefits for you. If you can’t afford a VO2 max test or don’t have access to this technology, subtract your age from 180 and based on your initial state of fitness, add or subtract 5-10 beats per minute. If you start out pretty healthy, add 5, if you are out of shape, subtract 5 beats per minute (reserve the 10 bpm shift for extreme cases +/-).

Avoid exercises that isolate small muscle groups
Here is a short list:

• No bicep curls
• Triceps extensions
• Calve raises
• Laterals for the deltoids and…
• Ready… crunches or sit ups.

Most people that visit a gym will spend between an hour and ninety minutes max on their exercise routine. Do the math: 15 minute warm-up on cardio machine, 3X10 reps on body parts. Working biceps and triceps average 1 minute per set X 6 sets with an average of 30 seconds to 1 minute rest between sets. We have now wasted up to 12 minutes on an area of the body that will not improve in appearance until the layer of fat is burned away. Because the muscles are so small (relative to larger muscle groups, hips and thighs) you will only burn a fraction of the calories that you should have relative to your goal (lose weight-tone not build). You have now exhausted 50% of your dedicated time exercising on worthless exercise. What people should come to grips with is that to lose weight you have to make every minute count, espically if you only plan to exercise for an hour.

Focus on Compound Exercises
A compound exercise involves more than one joint: For example, the hip and knee, shoulder and elbow. When bot joints are involved the exercise becomes functional and integrates far more muscle mass than does isolated exercises as mentioned above. You will burn easily 4 times as many calories per effort and will improve functional motor skills which are a huge bonus and arguably even more important than the number of calories you’ll spend during exercise.

You may be thinking that by participating in an aerobics class sounds like the answer?
To some degree you are right. You would burn more calories this way but in my experience, most aerobic classes are not aerobic at all. They tend to be anaerobic, especially if you are out of shape. This will result in calories expended almost exclusively from sugar (You won’t be burning fat over the long term).



Lifting weights while exercising overloads muscle, when a muscle is overloaded, it becomes stronger, denser and increases your metabolism. Having said that, the key to weight lifting effectively is a matter of progression, begin with lighter weight and work up to loads you can manage with good form for an average of 10 repetitions. Initially, many exercises are more effective with body weight alone. For example: if you can’t do 10 push-ups with good form, doing a bench press is not an effective substitute. A push-up is a functional exercise; it involves more than one joint and encourages core integration and stability. A bench press does not. A body weight squat that takes you through a full range of motion should precede a squat with external load (weights) that you cannot successfully move through a full range of motion.

My recommendation for a successful hour of exercise to lose weight and tone muscle

Begin without any external devices for the first 6 weeks. Perform a circuit of exercise that cause you to keep your heart rate to an 180-age while exercising with recovery times between exercise as needed that causes you to come down to no lower than 120 bpm. If you are 40 years old, in fair shape, 180-40= 140 + 5= 145 bpm (you will be surprised how hard this is in the beginning).

Air Squat

Air Squat

Example: Jog/run 200 yrds, do 30 seconds worth of burpee’s (look it up) 30 seconds worth of push-ups, plank for 30 seconds, recover to 120 of max and repeat. Each of these collective sets, including recovery will take 4-5 minutes. After the second round, you will want to walk a bit, this is very taxing. Go ahead and walk until you feel able to proceed. Keep this up for an hour, do it every other day and follow a sensible plan, doing this will get you to your goal much faster than your old trainer. Oh yeah, I forgot. Fire the trainer, use the money to buy a high quality heart rate monitor.

This approach is surprisingly simple in structure, does not require a membership to a gym yet is highly effective.
To really accelerate the process, make a point to jog or walk for an additional 30 minutes every late afternoon, preferably before the dinner meal. This added bump in metabolism will pay huge dividends. It m

ay not seem like much but it’s the consistency that matters. Turning the switch up on your metabolism right about the time that things began to slow down.

This is the theme for the exercise sessions I take my small group through 3 days each week. Of course there is more variety, some overload and a few extra tools but the concept is the same. I don’t count reps, I don’t commonly complement new hair-do’s but I get things done. That’s what they pay me for.
Written by Richard Diaz, founder of diaz human performance.

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Diet Cults Exposed

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Diet CultsIf you are on a diet, any diet, you need to listen to this show. Best Selling Author Matt Fitzgerald has a lot to say about “One true way to eat” for maximum heath diets. Nutrition is plagued with fallacy and we’re going to expose some of these myths.

Fitzgerald advocates an agnostic, rational approach to eating, based on one’s own habits and lifestyle. Many professional athletes already practice this agnostic approach, and now we too can ditch the brainwashing of these diet cults for good.

Check out this episode!

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A Review of Racing Weight Cook Book

Matt-GeorgieJoin Richard Diaz and Vanessa Runs as they chat with nutrition experts Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear co-authors of the “Racing Weight Cookbooklearn to prepare delicious meals that help you lose weight and keep you lean while you train for your next race.

Every endurance athlete or marathon runner knows that in order to get faster they must drop body fat.  Performance gains generally occur first through proper nutrition. Matt Fitzgerald’s best-selling weight loss program for athletes “Racing Weight” incorporates a simple Diet Quality Score system that guides athletes to eat the best foods in the right amounts throughout the day. The Racing Weight Cookbook breaks recipes into three skill levels for inexperienced cooks, the recipe literate, and athlete foodies.

Check out this episode!

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Eric Heiden 5 time gold medalist 08/30 by The Natural Running Network Live | Sports Podcasts

eric-1-400x300Eric Heiden 5 time gold medalist 08/30 by The Natural Running Network Live | Sports Podcasts.

Eric Heiden, 5 time gold medalist in speed skating, pro cyclist and now physician for BMC pro cycling team.  No other athlete has broken as many records in a sport as Eric. He swept every event in speed skating in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid.

Now Dr. Eric Heiden serves as team physician in a sport he is very intimate with, professional cycling. He is also founder of the UC Davis Sports Performance Center. It is very rare to have a physician with such a unique view of athletic performance both as a world champion and a medical professional. Listen as our host Richard Diaz interviews ones of the greatest American athletes of our time.


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Lesley Paterson “The Scottish Rocket 09/06 by The Natural Running Network Live | Sports Podcasts

LesLesley Paterson “The Scottish Rocket 09/06 by The Natural Running Network Live | Sports Podcasts.

Lesley Paterson “The Scottish Rocket” Xterra World Champion, don’t be fooled by her fun loving nature, she is a ferocious competitor. Listen as Richard Diaz chats with her as she prepares for the 2013 Xterra World Championships in Kapalua Maui on Oct. 27.

On 23 October 2011, Paterson won the Xterra World Championship in Kapalua, Maui, despite suffering a flat tire on the bike stage, and falling on the run stage. She recorded a run time of 43:54, almost 10 minutes faster than Lance Armstrong, whose presence had led to increased publicity for the race. Paterson repeated as champion in 2012, winning by almost four minutes over Bárbara Riveros.

Paterson coaches triathletes using the name Braveheart Coaching, she describes her coaching work as “the hardest and yet one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in triathlon.  She is working on a project to produce a reality TV series in which she trains underprivileged kids to race their first triathlon.



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Heart Rate Training Part II 07/31 by The Natural Running Network Live | Sports Podcasts

Heartrate2Heart Rate Training Part II 07/31 by The Natural Running Network Live | Sports Podcasts.

This is our second installment of “Heart Rate Training” for runners. This episode covers the first steps in establishing your program, how to determine heart rate to build marathon endurance and motor skills. This piece of the puzzle you won’t want to miss!

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Hard Wired for Fitness

sports nutrition

Understanding “The Functional Day”

Dr Robert Portman demolishes the myths of dieting and shows how to activate the body’s natural biological rhythms to help you get into the best shape of your life! Learn how to unleash your powerful energy and why is the key to successful weight loss. Yes, we are hardwired for fitness, it is built into our DNA and now we have the science to guide us back to the fitness we were born with. This is a fascinating look at the evolutionary way to lose weight, have more energy and improve body composition-Naturally.

Follow this link to listen to the show now!


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Introducing the All New Q&A show

Q and AAs our podcast show evolves we learn from our audience.  It’s important that we provide the content that you want to hear.  Our interviews have been great, to be honest, more entertaining for me to have a chance to speak with some of the most notable authorities in the sports science world along with the greatest athletes of our day. However, we find that many of our listeners really appreciate the education we offer as we answer questions to the challenges you the audience wonder about while training and . In so, we have decided to add another show mid-week, dedicated to Q&A.  Call in live, ask and you shall receive the answers to your burning questions. Or you can simply chat us up and we’ll field your questions without your having to deal with stage fright!

The Tuesday morning show will air at 9:00 am PST and be a short format. Down and dirty, straight talk for 30 minutes, just enough to take care of business and get you back onto your busy day. We hope you’ll join us!

To learn more, you might wish to visit our site: www.diazhumanperformance.com or tune into our weekly podcast: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-natural-running-network-live

Here you’ll have a chance to listen as we discuss many of the concerns listed above and even call in to chat with us live during our broadcast.

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The TEAM LAS&F Project Agenda

This project stems from countless years of research and training of athletes. The goal is to showcase a highly effective system of training for runners that was developed in our lab and supported by the work with hundreds of runners over the past 15 years. We want to show the world what can be achieved by following our training concepts.

I believe that given the opportunity to have greater control over an athlete’s training under very specific training protocols based on an individual’s talents and unique metabolic structure that we can generate astounding improvements in running ability and race times. I know this to be true because I have seen it in case after case where an athlete was diligent in following our advice following our lab assessments.

This team concept as I see it, provides a win-win situation for both the selected team members and for our sports performance business. We at dhp elite training are very excited about the opportunity as are the candidates that are now under review. Once the May/June Issue of LA Sports & Fitness Magazine is released this week, we anticipate another huge wave of applicants who wish to earn a spot on our team. Within the first week of June we will select 10 women and 10 men all vying for the opportunity to become sponsored team members. The end goal is to compete in the Agoura 10 miler slated for October.  Between June and October we will devote a tremendous amount of energy into these team members preparing them for what may possibly be the performance of a lifetime. We selected this race because of the competitive nature of the distance, short enough to be fast, long enough to be a test of endurance.  I feel that 10 miles is a perfect mix for our experiment.

We are putting all of our cards on the table and we are all in! The journey will begin with a comprehensive study of each team member in our lab, from resting metabolic assessments to establish appropriate meal planning, body composition measurements and video gait analysis, concluded by VO2 max testing.

After an in-depth orientation we will set about collecting field assessments for comparative analysis to be drawn periodically during training. Each team member will be fitted to a new pair of Altra “zero drop” Running Shoes, Icebreaker GT 100% merino wool running apparel, a pair of Sunglasses from XX2i Optics offered from Rudy Project, a hydration system from Amphipod along with a well-stocked supply of energy replacement/hydration and recovery products from Accelerade and Endurox. We valued the financial commitment to each team member to be in excess of $3,000 in training and products.

This is the type of opportunity that most adult recreational runners will never experience. We feel that the hardest part for us is going to be the actual selection of team member. It is very important to us that the team dynamic is harmonious and the team members are able to feed off each other in the spirit of camaraderie and competition. We will draw from various ages and abilities. I feel that the burden of the final decision should fall to collective agreement among our coaches rather than from one individual. It’s going to be tough; we already have more candidates than opening for the team and the announcement is not even official yet! Of those who have submitted their bio’s, we are seeing some very high quality individuals, some who are highly experienced, some who have set some blazing race times and some who simply want it very badly and I am torn as to which of these attributes are of most importance.

My stake in this is to see the outcome of our efforts; compliance is the critical element in all of this. We know the process will work; we have no reservations in respect to our approach to training. Yet, when it is all said and done, in order to see the fruits of our labor, we require application. We need each of our team members to provide 100% and dedicate themselves to our process and not to be sidelined by other interests or concepts. Because, compliance to us is of utmost importance we have decided to award $500.00 to the most progressive team member, $300.00 to 2nd place and $200 to 3rd place at the conclusion of the race.

For those of you that are just learning about this project and are interested in applying for a slot on our team, you must visit www.naturalrunningcoach.net/team.html to register. After reviewing the details, and agreeing to terms, you will find an e-mail address to submit your plea. I highly recommend that you do not hesitate. Don’t send us in depth questions about qualifications, etc. If you think you have the right stuff, step up, is you are undecided, step off! Good luck to all of you. As for the spectators of this reality project, stay tuned to LAS&F magazine over the coming months to follow our team’s progress.

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