Archive for September, 2009

How Do You Pick Charities To Give To???

September 27, 2009

With the recent economic times the unfortunate victims can be charities. Just when many charities such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries are hearing a greater call for their services, their donations are also falling.

So when you are able to give, how do you decide who to give your time and money too?

A few years ago I was asked to help organize an event for a local cause. After getting very excited about the prospects of being able to make an effect, I had to back away. My schedule was very busy. Whenever I looked for support from the organization it seemed like a task to even make contact. So I had to back out. I felt very badly about this as I sat across from the person who had requested my services and told her that I was just too busy, to give her my all.

Recently I have been asked to do something similar. The situation is different. For one thing I am in constant contact with the people who run the foundation. So I feel that the support is a phone call away, also I have been assured that 100% of the donations go right to the cause.

Most other charities that you hear about in the media spend up to 40% of their donations on administration costs. I understand that organizations such as Susan G. Komen  For The Cure become so big that they need full time staffs. But I personally feel better when I know that I am causing a direct effect.

So this is a bit of the processing I go through when I decide whether or not I should support certain causes. Is the organization approachable? Can I speak to a representative? Do I know a representative? Where is the money going to? Who decides who gets what?  Who are the people who get my money at the end of the trail? And what are they doing with it?

So with this in mind please help me support The Marilyn B. Gula Mountains Of Hope Foundation. They give 100% of their donations to advanced breast cancer research. If you’re in Phoenix you should be pleased to know that their dollars stay right here in town and aid the local research efforts.

Their website is

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Gym Etiquette – Part 1 (because I’m sure that the rant will not end here)

September 24, 2009

What happens to people when they enter the gym? I know I’m about to generalize here, but really just because the gym is not your home doesn’t mean you should treat it as if it is a dumping ground.

For the most part gym members are fairly attentive to their behavior. But on the other hand there are those who just can’t seem to clean up after themselves, put their weights away or throw their trash in the trash cans.

I can’t tell you how many times I have walked up to a piece of equipment in order to get it ready for my client to use and find it covered with the last person’s sweat. Does it really take that much of an effort to wipe down a bench or cardio machine that you have just used? How do you feel when you approach a machine and find it in this state?

I’ve been working in gyms for many years now. I haven’t been in one gym that doesn’t have a designated area for each piece of equipment. Yet at any given time it seems that I still have to go to great lengths to find the right Swiss ball, correct dumbbell or have to look behind some other piece of equipment or find a mat.

Many times I start my day early enough that I open up the gym that I work out of. I walked in yesterday and by the time I walked from one end to the other I must have picked up 8 water bottles that had been left behind (yes not thrown out). Occasionally clothes are left behind (and yes, not in the locker room), iPods, and other personal effects. What would your mother say!?!?!?!

And by the way if you are a trainer reading this, then you have as much responsibility to keeping the gym clean as your clients!

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Eating Healthy At The Airport

September 20, 2009

This weekend I’m traveling to Asheville, NC. I work with quite a few people who travel extensively. Their common complaint is how hard it is to maintain a healthful diet while on the road.

When I arrived at the airport and made my way through security it was time to find something to eat. My flight is going to be 4 hours and I lacked the preparation to bring any food with me from home.

Along the concourse were the normal fast food stores, Cinnabon, Burger King, California Pizza Kitchen and Starbucks. What is a traveler to do? I was realizing what I had been hearing all along. Where is that needle in the haystack? Where can I find nutrition in a sea of junk?

Now I know as well as anyone that I’m not going to find much at most of these places that is not fat-laden. And I am a caffeine junkie. So I steered towards Starbucks.

I have sworn myself away from Starbucks over a year ago. It is too involved to discuss my reasons for this now. Just know that normally I will go out of my way to avoid walking into these establishments, unless they are the only alternative that I have.

Much to my pleasure and surprise along with the butter filled muffins that Starbucks offered were also bananas, fruit cups and vegetable trays. (By the way I checked, Cinnabon was not offering any of these).

I chose the vegetable tray and banana. The only thing I found alarming on their nutrition label was the sodium content. And this was included only if you used the dressing. No problem, I rarely dip.

So although you do have to search a little and have an understanding of how to read nutrition labels, these day’s travelers can find what they need without gaining 5 pounds by just entering the airport.

Now, I’ve got a little time left before my plane leaves, and that smell from Cinnabon is awfully alluring. Gotta Go!!!

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I Am Not A Mouse!!!

September 17, 2009

The other day I was told by a client about a recent article released by the BBC that spoke about the effects of eating late at night.

This study was conducted at Northwestern University in Illinois. At first I was very intrigued by this. A HA! A study that shows what we trainers have been telling our clients for quite sometime, not to eat before going to bed!

And the information they gave, in fact showed that mice did gain weight when they were fed during a time that they normally would have been sleeping. This was compared to a group of mice that were fed the same amount during their normal waking hours.

What really struck me was that once again we were being compared to mice. How does this happen? At the end of the article they stated “At this stage, the results could still be interpreted as controversial when applied to humans”. Really?!?!

Couldn’t they have found a group of humans to have done this with? I understand when doing studies that you don’t want to subject humans to, that animals are used. But I have to believe that there would have been a willing group of students at this university that they could have used.

Seems to me like a waste of time and money. Northwestern, next time you want to do this study, why not go down to the local 24 hour donut shop and talk to the kids who are getting a quick bite in between cramming for finals.

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Traveling To Unknown Parts

September 13, 2009

Next weekend I’m going to be in Asheville NC. I’ve never been there, but I have seen the town and area written up in many magazines. In fact it has been listed by Outside magazine as one of their “Best Outside Towns”. And Backpacker magazine just listed it as a “Best City To Raise An Outdoor Kid”.

Asheville is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is just hours from the Great Smokies and the Pisgah National Forest with 950 miles of trails, waterfalls and backcountry camping. My time is limited. I’m only going to be there for a day and a half.

So what do you do when you’re unfamiliar with an area but want to get the most from your trip? The internet can be an amazing tool for such a task.

When booking air fare and hotel I recommend This website gathers prices from the major travel “discount” sites. These include quotes from Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline and So you can comparison shop.

As far as outside activities I go to Outside magazine’s site, They keep an archive of their past articles and I can find plenty of information from where to get a good breakfast to who I should rent a mountain bike from. I really like Backpacker’s You plug in the city you’re going to and they present you with a topographical map of the area and show you where to find hikes of various levels of difficulty. They also include descriptions of the hike. All of his can be downloaded to your 3G iPhone, GPS phone or computer. You can also e-mail the information to yourself or your friends.

If you’re feeling exotic and traveling outside of the country a great site to visit is This site includes trips to Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest. Heck, a guy can dream can’t he?

So what do you do to prepare for a trip? Do you plan every detail out? Or do you throw caution to the wind and rely on instinct when you arrive at your destination?

In a future post I’ll let you know how our trip went. But always remember for more Health & Fitness information visit our ongoing blog at

Plastic Bottles – Safe or Not???

September 10, 2009

Please answer me this. Is any corner that I turn safe anymore? If we listen and believe to what our media tells us, danger lurks around every bend.

In the last several years a lot of attention has been brought to the alleged dangers of drinking water from certain plastic containers when exposed to heat. Supposedly they leach BPA (bisphenol-A) into the water and this has caused a lot of concern. BPA is a substance commonly used to harden plastic, it can also mimic estrogen when digested.

And although the FDA has not finished reviewing their findings and scientists are in disagreement as to the dangers of BPA, many stores have pulled these bottles from their shelves. In fact, in May Minnesota became the first state to approve the ban of the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups made with BPA. Connecticut followed soon after.

But we do have a savior in all of this. Maybe?….Thank the heavens for Sigg bottles!!!???

Sigg Switzerland brought to the market a bottle they claimed to be safe. They saw a need and they filled it. Suddenly these bottles are showing up everywhere. The eco/health/style conscious jumped on this product in mass. These bottles sold for $20 and were going to take away all of our troubles…….We thought.

It has just been announced that bottles made by the company before August 2008 had trace amounts of BPA in their liners. Not only that but Sigg officials were aware of this since June 2006 but did not announce this until last month.

Now I could go on and on about misinformation in the media. But instead I think I’ll just go out to my truck and pop open a bottle of my warm Arrowhead water.

For more Health & Fitness information please visit our ongoing blog at

Small Races vs Large Races

September 6, 2009

Today I had the opportunity to run in the Annual Jerome Hill Climb. There might have been 150 runners in attendance. The weather was on the cool side and although the sun was a bit bright, it was a great climate for a race.

I’ve been entering races now for 26 years. I’ve been in races of all sizes. From large ones that have 30,000 participants to others who barely pull together 100. In fact I was in one, in New Jersey where I think that maybe there was 20 of us that lined up at the starting line.

Point being, I really enjoy the smaller runs. The allure that the bigger runs have with their media hype will certainly pique my curiosity in the future. But today when the starter stood in front and yelled GO! And nobody had to worry about nudging anyone out of the way when we started. Or the fact that I could run, right from the start instead of walking for 15 minutes before everyone had a chance to spread out and then run.

Well today reminded me of why I love entering into races, especially the local sponsored, locally organized ones. The races that at the end you’re not inundated with advertisements, your surrounded by people who just want to run, who give you an acknowledging nod or smile, because you are part of a community.

Next time you’re planning to do an event, please consider the ones your local organizers are putting on. Maybe this year instead of doing the Rock n Roll Marathon you look into the Lost Dutchman Marathon. I’ll bet you’ll run just as hard.


September 3, 2009

Are you like most people with a busy schedule who inhales their food rather than chews it correctly and actually gets a chance to enjoy it? Chewing doesn’t only allow us to enjoy our culinary delights but it really does aid in our nutrition intake.


Here are a few examples of why proper chewing is good for you:

  • Chewing well grinds food into small bits, allowing it to be more easily swallowed. When you swallow food without chewing enough it can actually tear and scrape your throat
  • Well chewed bits of food are more easily coated with digestive juices once in the stomach
  • Which in turn, then allows the nutrients from the chewed food to be more quickly released.

Dr Gillian McKeith, the internationally acclaimed holistic nutritionist, suggests in a recent article that the following could all be signs of inadequate chewing:

burping, farting, bloating, indigestion, irritable bowel, stomach aches, heartburn, cramping.

And after all don’t we already have enough people walking around like this.

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