Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cardio Basics

What is fitness? 

Is it functionality or aesthetics? Is it strength or speed? Is it low cholesterol or low resting heart rate? 

Well, it is obviously all of those and much more. Wading through the endless books, magazines and journals can be exhausting and many times ideas, theories and disciplines are contradictory. Why? Because fitness is not an absolute science. Fitness takes science and develops it to best suit an individual or team.

So what’s a novice, or for that matter, an experienced athlete to do? Fitness is comprised of, but not limited to, cardiovascular strength, endurance, muscular strength and power, core training, flexibility and range of motion, balance and proprioception, speed and reaction time and body composition. So how do we use cardiovascular activity to our best benefit? Listen to your body, use common sense and incorporate the fundamentals below. 

Cardiovascular Basics: Exercise in your target heart rate realizing that medication, heart condition, athleticism, stress and other conditions may alter your range. Your range can be easily established by a fitness professional. 

Use variety. Utilize at least three different pieces or classes per week to develop your cardiovascular ability. 

Exercise between 3 and 6 times per week. Vary your intensity, duration and frequently often. Adapt your workout to your goals and change as plateaus occur. Utilize intervals, circuits, cross training, supersets, and the like. 

Regularly attend group classes that focus on full body cardiovascular movement, such as Cardio kick boxing, Cardio Core, Indoor cycling, etc. 

Wear appropriate footwear These fundamentals will get you off to a great start. As your body adapts to one form of cardio, switch it to another. Keep the body and the mind off guard. This process will keep you progressing, keep you safe, and most important, keep you in the gym. 

kurriosity, koach,, fitness, health, exercise, marc thompson,koach marc
Marc D. Thompson, owner of VirtuFitTM, is a prominent fitness trainer and personal coach with a background in medicine and exercise physiology. He has pioneered virtual training and teaches via Skype one-on-one and group classes. Approaching fitness holistically, Marc believes the fusion of creativity and practicality is essential in moving each individual toward their fitness goals. Along with over 25 years of experience, he draws from thousands of exercises, fitness disciplines, sports psychology techniques and nutritional principals to empower each individual client

Develop a 6-pack

We all have ‘em---abs. Abdominals, Core, 6-pack, stomach muscles! Whether you can see them or not is another story. And regardless if you have a 4, 6 or 8-pack, being lean, functional and strong in the mid section is a must. Here are sure-fire ways to develop your abs.

Good attitude. Be optimistic and confident about your body. Visualize your 6-pack as the lean strong muscle it will be.

 Proper nutrition. Eat small meals, eat breakfast, and find the foods that optimize your metabolism.

 Endurance Exercise. Do interval training, cross-training, and classes such as indoor cycling, and classes innovated by the author such as cardio core cross-spin, cardio yoga, etc.

 Resistance Exercise. Keep a steady stream of individualized, intense strength workouts for all muscles.

Isometric Exercise. Include core builders such as high and low planks, bridges, as well as disciplines such as yoga and pilates.

Stability Ball. Use exercise balls for crunches, situps, core balancing and core stretching.

Train the entire core. Do not just train abs, utilize exercise for complete core activation of lower back, obliques, transverse abdominus and pelvic floor muscles.

Breath. Learn how to yogic breath to better activate the abs, utilize the diaphragm and allow the body to lengthen the core.

Using these simple yet important tactics will highlight your 6-pack and also improve your function and overall health and wellness.

Marc D. Thompson, owner of VirtuFitTM, is a prominent fitness trainer and personal coach with a background in medicine and exercise physiology. He has pioneered virtual training and teaches via Skype one-on-one and group classes. Approaching fitness holistically, Marc believes the fusion of creativity, analysis, intuition and practicality is essential in moving each individual toward their fitness goals. Along with over 25 years of experience, he draws from thousands of exercises, fitness disciplines, sports psychology techniques and nutritional principals to empower each individual client. 

Marc Thompson 

Marc D Thompson, VirtuFitTM

Virtual Personal Training, Live & OnlineTM

Energize With B-12

Heading to the gym, trying to get more sleep, choosing healthier food, but still you are dragging day in and day out.  Maybe its time you take a closer look and see if you are lacking vitamin B-12?  It seems that as many as 40% of all Americans are not getting enough B-12 in their diet.  Perhaps you are among this group who just don’t have enough for optimal health.  When you don’t have adequate levels of this vitamin you can often exhibit signs of increased fatigue, mood changes and dementia-like qualities, difficulty remembering things and inability to concentrate.  And these are just short term symptoms.  In the long run, these can lead to permanent nerve damage, as shown with tingling or numbing.


How does Vitamin B-12 work in the first place? Vitamin B-12 is responsible for the DNA that makes new cells, forming healthy red blood cells, and helping to convert the food we consume into the energy that powers our metabolism.

B-12 is easily found naturally in a variety of foods including seafood, poultry, beef, pork and dairy products. It is also found in foods that have been fortified, such as breakfast cereals.  And many others opt to use supplements, including sublingual formulas to meet their bodies needs.  Diets rich in meats, fish or milk can often supply the B-12 one needs to avoid insufficiencies in the diet.  However, those who follow a vegetarian diet often fall into that category of those who are more likely to fall in that percent of those falling short. Vegetarians might want to consider nutritional yeasts that can be sprinkled on foods to help any short comings.  For those who truly want to be sure to meet their needs for this energizing vitamin they might add a supplement, offered in lozenges, pills, melt-aways and even shots, to be certain to get enough. 

Those at greatest risks for a deficiency are those with gastrointestinal issues.  IBS, Chrohn’s, celiac or other gastrointestinal conditions might have an adverse affect on the absorption of B-12.  With bouts of diarrhea and irregular bowels, one may not absorb enough from the food, or in fact not produce enough intrinsic factor needed for absorption of B-12 in the small intestine.  Stomach surgeries will have a similar negative effect on its absorption.  Those on certain medications may also be at a disadvantage, as there may be an effect on stomach acids, which are related to B-12 absorption.  Additionally a great number of people over the age of 50, will have less stomach acid, which will not allow the body to properly unlock the vitamin from the food.  So supplementation for those over 50 is often recommended, where B-12 is in a free form and easily usable.

Don’t overlook the power of this vitamin.  It may not seem obvious at first, but if you are experiencing unexpected fatigue, feel a bit forgetful and seem more moodier than usual, it just may be your running low on B-12.  With so many easy remedies in your diet and on the market, don’t let this take over.  Take charge, power up and get your B-12!

Marlo Mittler, MS RD

Dietician/Nutritionist Koach

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oyster Shooters done lite

With cocktails or as an appetizer, this is a crowd pleaser.

When sourcing oysters for this dish, work with your local fishmonger to make certain you are getting oysters that have been out of the water no longer than 3 to 4 days and select only those that are tightly closed. Tap on the shell and if it sounds hollow, they are no good. The oysters should feel heavy in the hand. If fresh oysters in the shells are unavailable, you can substitute a pint of shucked oysters instead.

Oyster Shooters
Serves 12

2 medium (3/4-pound) ripe red tomatoes, cut into quarters

3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup roasted, peeled, seeded and diced poblano peppers

1/4 cup peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes

2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

24 freshly shucked oysters and their liquor

11/2 cups tequila, well chilled

Place twelve 2-ounce shot glasses in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or until well chilled.

Place the tomato quarters into a food mill set over a clean bowl. Process until all the liquid is extracted from the tomatoes and discard the solids. Strain the tomato liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. You should have about 3/4-cup fresh tomato juice.

Combine the tomato juice and the next 8 ingredients (horseradish through pepper). Chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes before serving. Arrange 1 tablespoon of the mixture in each prepared shot glass and top each with one oyster and 1 tablespoon of the tequila. Repeat the layers one more time. Serve immediately.

3 KEY Steps to Help Stay Motivated

3 KEY Steps to Help Stay Motivated by Shannon Dipierro

One of the most important things for your health and fitness lifestyle is obviously MOTIVATION!

We have to wake up every day motivating ourselves to get out of bed and start the day.   Even when we’re extra tired and just don’t feel like it, we do it anyway!  I mean, could you imagine if none of us got up when we were supposed to everyday to go to work, or to take the kids to school, or show up for a scheduled appointment?  Well, these “responsibilities” as we call them are examples of things in life that we regularly motivate ourselves to do.   If not, we would lose our jobs, risk the school calling child services, and prove ourselves to be untrustworthy to whomever was counting on us to be there.  This all sounds so terrible and unthinkable because we are “self-motivated” to do these things every day, or else!

Ask yourself this question:  “Do you have the same level of motivation when it comes to picking and choosing who you are surrounding yourself with, what kinds of foods you are eating, how often you are working out?”  This is where you have to be really honest with yourself, sit back and think for a minute.

So many of us are super busy using up all of our own motivation to just “get through the day” that we have nothing left for a lot of the things that we truly need to live a happy and healthy life!  It just takes a few minor alterations in how you channel your mental energy to make changes if you are feeling a lack of regular motivation (we all do at times).

Step 1:

If you are not surrounding yourself with confident, goal oriented, hard-working, complimentary, honest people then start to change that.  The more you are interacting with other’s who are constantly making excuses or are always trying to one-up you and minimize anything positive in your life, the more they are stealing your motivation.   Bringing you down so they can feel more empowered is what unhappy people do, and they do this out of envy and insecurity.  Unfortunately, they are the only ones who will ever be able to help themselves.  In the meantime, engage less with them and realize it’s easier to have many “fake” friends than “real” friends.   It’s important to build a loyalty with the people who take a true personal joy in your joys so when you find a friend like that, feed off of each other’s motivation and support.

Step 2:

Just say NO if you don’t feel like going out to dinner or having drinks because you had plans with friends or family to do so.  Ask them if they’d like to come to your home to get together while you cook for everyone.  That way, you can focus on eating healthier without breaking a social/family commitment.  Be honest and tell them you are trying to eat healthier and would love them to share in trying a new recipe with you.  You are now the motivator!  If you put another option out there for people, a lot of the time you’ll be surprised.  Finding ways like this is great to help yourself get back on track with making better food choices.

Step 3:

Ok if you already workout and feel like it’s not as often as it used to be or you want to do it more, than make a “workout to-do list.”  Think about your daily schedule and actually write in your workout time and place.  You can even write some specific exercises you want to focus on for that exact day.  Make the lettering BIG and PRETTY or THICK, maybe using a marker with whatever you can think of to decorate that appointment with yourself (it’s visually more appealing and creates a mental attraction).  Make it the night or day before each next day.   Planning in advance is a great way of helping yourself build inner-motivation to stick with the goals you’ve set.

These three steps are a great start to help significantly increase your level of motivation and help you along in the process, especially when you’re in a little bit of a slump.  Most people go through cycles of it, but turning it up a notch and incorporating these steps really do help!

Shannon DiPierro, President & Co-Founder of Lighthouse Point Fitness Inc.

Migraine Headaches Be Gone…

Ever get one of those pounding headaches where you feel like you can’t even lift your head off the pillow? Or you want to escape the light of day and go into a dark room to make it go away?  For millions of people migraines can be debilitating and consistently problematic.  In fact reports show that at least 25% of women and 8% of men are migraine sufferers at some point in their life.  While the course of treatment for avoiding or lessening the headaches might vary in terms of medication, much attention has been tuned into diet.  Although it can vary from person to person, there are some foods that have been found to help suppress the headaches, providing relief.   

Caffeine has been found to actually help a migraine if taken at the right time: at the onset of the headache pain.  In fact caffeine has a narrowing effect on the blood vessels and when a migraine sets in the vessels widen.  The use of a caffeinated beverage at this pivotal time will conversely narrow the vessels and decrease the pain and pressure.  

 So grabbing a cup of coffee or a caffeinated soda might do the trick, but avoid the use of artificial sweeteners as they this can trigger the headache.   Magnesium is needed for normal blood flow.  If there are lower levels this can trigger headache pain, and for many women this occurs during the time of her menstrual cycle.  

Be sure to eat green leafy vegetables that are high in magnesium, along with garlic or oatmeal. Even take a supplement if you are prone to migraines.   Ginger has been shown to relieve the pain during the attack.  So keep this on hand if you are migraine sufferer to make the pain go way in no time at all. For this you can use ginger tea or powdered ginger, if using powdered it is one-half to one teaspoon.   Calcium rich foods that are devoid of dairy can also be helpful for avoiding migraines.  

What this means is to choose foods high in calcium, either from a chewable supplement or opting for leafy greens like kale, broccoli or spinach, or almonds.  But limit the dairy foods, as they can do the opposite and trigger a headache.    

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats reduce inflammation and tend to help relieve headache pain. You can opt for olive oil, flaxseed, salmon or walnuts to get the fatty acids you need to help reduce migraine pain.   Why not give one of these a try the next time you have a migraine.  

Nothing to lose except for maybe your headache pain.

You can read more interesting articles, posts, blogs and videos at:

Monday, January 28, 2013



Coming from the world of power lifting and bodybuilding as my chosen sports, it’s odd to me that people could derive pleasure out of running. Especially long distance running, not to mention marathons. And judging by the looks on many people’s faces I see running along the beach here in South Florida I suspect most don’t. I believe the reason for this is that most people who choose running as an activity are not doing so as efficiently as possible and therefore feeling as though it’s something they have do as a means to an end.  In other words, many runners are doing it to lose weight or build up there cardiovascular system without realizing that running is a skill and that in order to run efficiently and effectively you must have synchronization of the 3 B’s.

The big toe, the butt and the belly! Yes, you read that properly! When the big toe, the butt and the belly are getting along during the run the whole body is in synch and the run becomes much more efficient and effective. Now what in the world do these 3 structures have to do with running? Well allow me to explain: The big toe is important during the mid stance (when one foot is on the ground) and as the ground, mass of our body and momentum moves over that foot in to flight phase. During this time our hip extends (hopefully), our knee starts extending, our ankle starts dorsiflexing (toes toward shins), our heal starts inverting, our subtalor joint starts going through inversion and our mid tarsel joint locks up positioning our foot for good propulsion off the big toe. And when the big toe propels well, it turns on the butt (and all the associated hip muscles) which in turn turns on the belly (and all the associated trunk muscles). Fortunately for us this all happens through grace, gravity and the ground. However, when this chain reaction is not happening problems are caused throughout the body and the running experience leads to a progressive breaking down of the body, exactly opposite of why we do it in the first place.

One interesting thing about running is the impact the body goes through (called the loading phase in functional terms) as the body in flight turns into a body on the ground with one leg. It has been said that the forces that go through the body during the landing phase are equal to at least 10 times your bodyweight. And all the motions we described earlier have to happen in a slit second before the body goes through the exploding phase, a transfer to the other side and back to the loading phase on the opposite side. It’s no wonder those people I see running don’t look very happy! There’s a lot going on.

guy running

Exercises specific to running preparation

The goal of any sport specific training program is to ultimately make the sport easier to do. In other words, your exercise program should complement, not confuse, the nervous system patterns being challenged during the sport activity. A running preparation program is no exception. We already spoke about the 3 B’s we need to “turn on” during our training. The following is some sample exercises to help us do just that. The videos that accompany this article will describe each of these.

Phase One – Flexibility/Mobility

Tri Stretch Calf Mobility

Long stride Toed in 3 dimensional Hip flexor stretches

Walking Tri Plane Mobility Stretch

Phase Two – Strengthening

Clubbell Long Stride Core Strength Exercise Series

Phase Three – Dynamic Strength and Balance


Leg and Arm Drivers in all 3 planes

Resisted Hip drives

More of Koach John McDermott can be found here

Energy Foods by Koach Marlo Mittler

With 2013 underway there is a lot to be done! This not only requires time management and a organized game plan, but enough energy to keep you going.  That’s right, by fueling your body with the right foods, you will be able to meet the tight deadlines and gear up for a productive year ahead.

 Take a look at some of the foods that act like fuel for your body!  Great for everyone from kids to adult! We know how long some of those days can be so take a look below:

 energy foodRaw Nuts This healthy snack is high in magnesium, a mineral known to help convert sugar into energy.  When you snack on these raw nuts you will keep you energized for longer periods of time, avoiding the sugar crash.  The best nuts for your body are cashews, almonds and hazelnuts.

Lean Meats Choose from lean chicken, turkey or beef as a great source of protein.  These foods contain tyrosine, which is an amino acid that assists in brain activity and can also enhance your mood. These foods are also known as a good source of B12, which also help to energize and can even fight insomnia and depression.
Eggs – These are yet another protein food that also enhances energy levels.  This is due to being a great source of minerals like zinc, phosphorous and chromium.  Not only are these a great breakfast item but would be a perfect accompaniment to a salad or as a snack.

Dark Chocolate – A few squares of dark chocolate can increase energy and mood. This affect is a result of both caffeine and theobromine. Yes, finally a sweet treat that is actually good for you!

Leafy Greens – These vegetables all contain a large amount of folate, which has been linked to decreasing depression. In fact these greens help to boost your energy and your mind.  So keep these front and center in your salad or at your dinner table.

Fruits – Choosing fruits, mainly bananas, apricots and kiwi, are a great way to naturally boost your energy.  These are high in potassium which maintains normal nerve and muscle function, as well as fructose for ready to use sugars and antioxidants.

Oats – Old fashioned oats not only make a warm and satisfying breakfast, but with their complex carbohydrates and b vitamins, they are a rich source of energy.  So serve up a batch to get your day started or a great pick me up at work!

Salmon – This fish boosts loads of protein, as well as energy boosting B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. No wonder this food not only satisfies taste, but energizes you for a long time. Feed your body well with this delicious food.

So start this year ahead off great with foods that will help you to optimize your energy!