Thursday, December 23, 2010

Goal Setting

Health and fitness can be an exciting journey, if you do proper goal setting that is. You don't have to look too hard around the gym to see some folks with no plan in place. Bouncing around the equipment like you're a pinball can be fun sometimes, but when you want specific results you need to do some specific things.

If you want something you never had, you'll need to do some things you've never done before. So...

1. Decide what you want, make sure it's reasonable, and make sure you truly believe you deserve it.

2. Map out a plan. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Can't remember who said that, but it's awesome and true.

3. Drop "all or nothing" thinking. Grow up. Be responsible, and be consistent.

4. Measure and weigh yourself weekly (at least.) Tracking your progress, or lack thereof, will keep you on your plan.

5. Be grateful for every thing and every second of the wonder that is your life. Gratitude is one of the strongest forces in the universe. Bitchy and whiny doesn't produce anything worthwhile.

The only thing really seperating any of us from our goals is time. So be patient.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hay House Holiday Sale

Every year Hay House seems to outdo last year's holiday sale. Check it out, if you're interested in stocking up on books, dvds, gift sets, and inspiring card decks. I recommend the You Can Heal Your Life box set.

Monday, October 25, 2010


If the world looks upside down you might just have your head up your a$$.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Comfort Foods

You are stronger than any of your so called comfort foods. I just want you to know that. If your comfort food is calling you out, and you don't feel like it's going to benefit you to indulge, just go quiet and listen to what your body is saying. Are you mistaking hunger for thirst? Their signals can seem similar. Are you cutting calories too low? Are you getting enough protein? Are you getting enough sleep? Hormones send funny messages when you mess with their fuel. Sometimes giving into temptation a little bit can be beneficial, others times not. Just be clear that food is nothing more than fuel, and you are stronger than any of it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Size Matters?

I'm a true believer in the idea that building a stronger, better body is a damned righteous endeavor. Maybe not the most noble pursuit ever, but still admirable; and at least a smart thing to do. What I find pitiful, however, are the guys who never seem to be satisfied with their gains. Pick up a copy of one the supplement catalogs- I mean magazines like Iron Man, Flex, Men's Health... It's a sad state of affairs. You'd think the secret to happiness and health is to workout for four hours every day, and fill your body full of all the latest chemical laden supplements.

Even these "natural" bodybuilders have jumped on the bandwagon. As long as its not on the list of banned substances for competitions, they're more than happy to flex next to a photoshopped giant bottle of powder. But whatever, everybodys got to make a living somehow.

Bigger might not be better, just a thought. I'll still watch the Mr. Olympia, cheer for the winner, and pray for him when he has his hip replacement surgery in fifteen years.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tips from Jackie Warner

Back to the Drawing Board

It's an interesting time of year. It's not quite fall, but doesn't really seem like summer anymore. I have no clue where my bathing suit is right now. Some mornings the motivation to work out isn't blazing quite as brightly as it did a few weeks ago. It's a good time to make assessments, take measurements, and adjust your goals. We have about 3 months until the holidays. Plenty of time to sculpt a new body that you'll feel better in and feel better about.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Change Is an Inside Job

Don't know if I can come up with a cheesier blog title than that, but I'll work at it. Change, does however, come from within. I suppose change from without happens. There are many on the planet that life is just sort of "happening to." I heard someone say that 90% of the population is having a "near-life experience." I think the change that doesn't come from within, is the kind that doesn't last. The guy who puts on 10 pounds of muscle for the summer, and atrophies before the leaves change color in the fall. The gal who drops five dress sizes, and then finds them again, eventually. Until the change happens within, it isn't real; or at least not real enough.

When my waistline measured 49 inches, I said I'd be happy when it was 39. I got there, still wasn't happy. I got it down to 32 inches for awhile, and I still was not happy. Can you be healthy and not happy? I guess anythings possible, but why make it that complicated. I think life was meant to be fun. If it wasn't, at least, it can be. You are the creative force in your life, you are in control of your destiny. Many things will happen that seem to be out of your control, but you sail on through by taking responsibility for your reactions. I'm a big believer in living an active life, because I've seen what happens to the bodies and minds of those who lead reactive lives.

Every thought you think, creates a chemical reaction in your body. Those chemicals don't just disappear into some nether world, they don't just go away ten minutes after the argument. They don't vanish once your heart slows down after almost being hit by a bus. Those chemical reactions are stored somewhere inside you. Stress kills. We wear our past in our bodies and on our faces. The lines around an older persons eyes and mouth are usually really good indicators to their overall disposition. (But that's a whole other subject.) Controlling your emotions is just as important as controlling the amount and quality of food you eat, and the amount and quality of exercise you give your body. Emotions can have a tremendous effect on any biological process.

So if you're losing excess fat, or building muscle, realize it is an inside job. Noone can make you stronger, it comes from you; from within you. Good health is a gift that cannot be given to you, you must create it for yourself. Positive change begins with positvie thoughts. Positive thinking isn't about never thinking a negative thought. It's about always reaching up for the next better one, instead of reaching down and ending up spiraling into the void. Anger is a natural emotion, not something to be avoided, but it should be released in productive ways. Instead of stewing in it, go for a hardcore run, or push your limits with the weights. Take charge of your life, by taking charge of your health. Always remember that it all comes from within. Or as Dr. Wayne Dyer puts it, "You'll see it, when you believe it."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Healthy Lookin'

Theres a big difference between being healthy and looking healthy. Many of the bodies that are touted as perfect, in the media, aren't necessarily healthy. We live in interesting times. Somebody can be built, ripped, gorgeous and glowing; yet still be falling apart on the inside. I think the trick is to try to see the best in everyone, but don't compare yourself to anyone else. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, whereas your state of health is scientifically measurable. Inspirational role models can be helpful when your burning fat, or building a more muscular physique. But your ultimate goal doesn't have to be "I want to look as good as so and so." Be the best you, you can possibly be. And don't worry too much about it. Worry causes wrinkles. And bloating I think.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Mark Twain said that secret to life is to "make your vocation, your vacation." Like most Connecticut Yankees the guy was brilliant. Doing what you love for a living is a real blessing. And I hardly feel like I need a vacation. My life is like an endless string of Saturday mornings. I get to jump out of bed each morning and train myself and others in the arts of Strength, Power, and Energy.

However, we have a family tradition of traveling, and camping for two weeks every summer. So me, my boys, and my girl will be bonding and having a blast for the next few days. I've posted a countdown clock at the top of this page, just to prove (to Lisa)that I won't be gone forever.

If you're a client of mine, or a potential client don't hesitate to call my cellphone if you need me for any reason. I can't be sure I'll have network coverage, but I'll check my messages every time I venture through civilization.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Traveling at the Speed of Love by Sonia Choquette

I recently read Sonia Choquette's new book Traveling at the Speed of Love. Having attended one of her workshops at the Vegas I Can Do It Conference in '07, I knew the book would be high energy, and hard to put down. Well, I was right about the high energy, it's very entertaining, and filled with great visuals and metaphors that really help bring the ideas to life. However, I found myself having to put the book down for a few days here and there to let some of the lessons really sink in. There are some really profound concepts and tools here.

Her message is beautiful, you can travel at the speed of love, or be held back by fear. Most of us have heard the idea that all emotion can be boiled down to either fear or love. It's a simple concept on the surface, but it's books like this that dig deeper, and can really challenge you, and change you for the better.

(You can order this book directly from the Hay House website by clicking the title above.)

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Fat-Burning, Muscle-Building Miracle Discovered!

This isn't one of those rotten advertisements for new miracle discoveries (usually pills, sometimes a complicated workout routine; always about $29.99 with over $200 worth of free bonuses.) This is...

3 Miracle-Workers to get the body of your dreams!

#1 Stop Bitching.
It's been scientifically proven that bitching, and moaning makes you fat and weak, not to mention a general pain in the ass to be around.

#2 Put some heart into it.
Work out like you're actually trying to improve your body, not just get through a workout. You get what you give, but you have to give it first. Visualize your body improving with every repition of every exercise.

#3 Nourish Your Body
Big secret- you are what you eat. Whatever calories your body doesn't burn for fuel it stores as fat. I've heard it said that you cannot out-train a bad diet. Nutrition is a tricky subject. It's confusing because so many experts are making money on the overdispensing of information. This is what I suggest, put your heart into your nutritional plan and your workouts; then if you're not seeing the results you want go back to point #1.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Experience Your Good Now the new book by Louise L. Hay

This is an incredible book. The CD companion is great too. I discovered Louise's ideas a few years ago. I was skeptical at first. Everything she said sounded too simple to really have a lasting, life-changing effect. But as she's pointed out a few times, the simple things in life are usually the most profound. Learning to work with affirmations is something that should be taught in schools. I think that'd be a quantum leap in the right direction. Too many kids suffer from low self-esteem, then grow up to be adults masking their pain in many different ways, most of them unhealthy. If you have esteem issues, even a little bit, this book can expose you to some truly wonderful techniques.

I used to be very suspicious of "positive thinkers." I thought anyone who described themselves as an optimist was either incapable of dealing with reality, or they were just fooling themselves. In Experience Your Good Now using affirmations to improve your life is presented in a way that makes a great deal of sense. It isn't airy-fairy, pie in the sky stuff. It's a practical approach to dealing with where you are now and getting to where you want to be in all aspects of your life. Working with affirmations is to really take the bull by the horns and accept responsiblity for your life and the direction you're taking it in.

One thing in particular jumped out at me; the part where she talks about how every complaint you make is just an affirmation for more of what you don't want. That hit me like a ton of bricks. She then goes on to talk about how cursing is another negative affirmation that magnetically attracts more of what you don't want. That one hit me like two tons of bricks. Needless to say, I've got some things to work on, and I've learned some new tools to use.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pill and Powder Pushers

There is no supplement in existence that can stimulate muscle growth, or strength gains. Supplements MIGHT enhance results, but resistance training is the only thing that builds muscle. I've heard of doctors that refer to supplements as "very expensive urine." I wouldn't go so far as to say that all supplements are scams. I have had the best results of my life without using any, however. I don't have a lot of faith in the pill and powder pushing corporations.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

6 Week Summer 6 Pack 6 Point Plan of Attack

*Limit Sugar Intake
*Count Calories, And Make Your Calories Count
*Engage in 30-60 Minutes of low intensity cardio every day
*Engage in Weight Training 1 at most 2 days a week
*Practice a mental/physical discipline daily for at least 15 minutes
*Practice Visualizing the acheivement of your goal

This is my personal summer diet plan, I don't mind putting on a few extra pounds durning the winter, but come spring I want to look and feel awesome. I'll post before and after pictures in six weeks. For me, dieting contains 3 important areas nutrition, exercise, and mindset. Each of these areas are equally important, and each is covered in two of the points in the plan of attack.

*Limit Sugar Intake:
Jose Cruz author of the Belly Fat Solution recommends getting less than 15 grams of sugar daily. That eliminates milk and fruit unless you carefully portion it out. Low sugar doesn't mean low carb, or low fat. Just think of sugar as the tiny little shards of glass your cells see them as. From a dieter's perspective the biggest reason to avoid sugar is how it spikes your insulin, and leads to an increased appetite. I'm always amazed at how when I limit sugar that nagging type of hunger disappears. You don't need to look far to find reasons to avoid sugar; try googling "78 reasons to avoid sugar."

*Count Calories, And Make Your Calories Count
It isn't the funnest thing in the world to write down your calories daily, but its a great way to keep on track. I like to keep it simple, and average about 10-12 calories per pound of bodyweight when I'm dieting. It's important to eat a balanced diet, and keep a balanced mindset about it. Fat is burned by the body very slowly. It's like daily taking a sheet off a roll of paper towels, you might not notice any change from day to day, but after a month or so you can see a huge difference. When dieting, leaning out, or cutting fat, it is important to be as precise as possible. Bodyfat is an effect, work on the cause. Measure, weigh, and track you foot intake meticulously and you'll gain greater control over your results.

*Engage in 30-60 Minutes of low to medium intensity cardio every day
The key word is every day. It takes a daily calorie deficit of 500 cal. to burn one pound of fat in a week; 1000 cal. a day to burn two pounds a week. The leaner you get the tougher it becomes to create a deficit through diet alone. Pick a type of cardio you enjoy, or can at least make enjoyable, and not something thats going to burn you out. Doing cardio on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning is best.

*Engage in weight training 1 at most 2 times a week
It's important to build lean muscle, but while dieting I think it's vital to focus on maintaining what you've got. Always avoid overtraining, but be particularly careful when dieting.

*Practice a mental/physical discipline daily for at least 15 minutes
Yoga, tai chi, martial arts, or sports; find something you like that requires the full concentration of the mind and body. Praciticing a discipline makes you more present in the moment and aware. It's easy to be distracted nowadays. We are alive in this moment, you have no power over the past, and the only power you have over the future is in this moment..

*Practice Visualizing the acheivement of your goal
Goal setting is vital. Without a target your efforts could land you anywhere. Figure out exactly how you want your body to look and daily remind yourself as to why you're eating a little less, and doing cardio a little more. It's important to make peace with where you are, so you can get to where you want to be. You can't get rid of excess fat by complaining about it, that'll just keep it around, or ready to come back quickly. Focus on your goal until you have it, it may take longer than expected, or even shorter than expected. As Wayne Dyer says," You'll see it when you believe it."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hay House

I've just posted a link to Hay House, the most inspiring publishing company on the planet. If you're not familiar with the works of Louise L. Hay, and other Hay House authors like Wayne Dyer, and others, you should do yourself the favor.

You may be wondering what self-help, new age, or conciousness theory has to do with weight training. I would say everything. All strength comes from within. Bodybuilding is not just a physical activity. We create our bodies with our thoughts, words, feelings, and emotions. You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay will teach you more about healthy living than any other book I know of. I've found it fun to combine her ideas on mirrorwork with those suggested by Arnold in his Bodybuilding Encyclopedia.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Healthy Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding has gotten a bad rep over the years. Some think of drug taking muscle-monsters whenever they hear the word. Bodybuilding, however, is a healthy hobby, and a lifestyle that delivers huge returns. I think it's important to seek a balance. It doesn't have to be about bicep peaks, and washboard abs, competition, or corporate sponsorships. You can lift, because you love life, and want to stick around the party as long as possible in a healthy body. Like yoga, it has more to do with feeling than appearance.

Growth is the ultimate goal. Pumping the 'ol iron can help you grow physically, spiritually, and emotionally, just be safe. Bodybuilding is a great tool for enhancing one's life, but it can also consume it. Weighttraining can become an addiction and turn a good thing bad. I knew a guy once who was seriously overtraining and eventually left the gym in an ambulance. Consequently, he couldn't use his right arm for about eight months. Don't be like that guy.

I see bodybuilding entering a new age. An age where mystique will be replaced by simple, effective strategies. Watching the champions of old grow older is partly responsible. Role models like Frank Zane are proving that bodybuilding, proper mindset, and nutrition are an effective fountain of youth. Growing older is a gift, and growing is what it's all about right?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Make "Someday" Today

Quit putting it off, for crying out loud. You know it's the right thing to do. Just do it. Well, I'll diet next week. I'll start working out as soon as the weather is nice. Why is it so easy to procrastinate when it comes to health and fitness? It's obvious that statistics don't motivate people. Study after study shows that by taking responsibility for your diet, and your conditioning (exercise), you can improve the quality and length of your life. Diseases that will knock you down, and interrupt not just your life, but your loved ones' can be avoided with just a little bit of effort. We've all heard the reasons why we should eat right and get healthy. All of us would choose life over death if given the choice. The good (or bad) news is, we make that choice daily with our actions.

I think the reason procrastination comes so naturally has more to do with "how" than "why." You can blame the fitness industry, celebrities showing off their perfect bodies in the media, fashion mags, athletes, fitness gurus, or success coaches. "How" is where the confusion lies. I prefer simple solutions, so let's toss out confusion and develop a crystal clear vision.

Step One: Set a goal

Many people on the path of life have no clue where they're going. If you're driving around with no destination you could end up anywhere, maybe somewhere you really do not want to be. Figure out how healthy you want to be. How strong. How flexible. How lean. How muscular. How much energy do you want? Imagine it, and find some pictures of the type of body you want to live in. Focused intention works miracles. For me the first step was believing I could change, then through trial and error I figured out how.

Step Two: Continually Improve Your Diet

Start planning your meals in advance. Create a no-fail environment by keeping junkfood at the very least out of sight, preferably out of the house. Every time you eat something, ask yourself ahead of time, "Is this getting me closer to my goal, or farther away?" The reason diets don't work, is they're overcomplicated, and they're hard to stick to. Figure out easy recipes, and simple meal plans to get you to your goal. By making gradual improvements you will change yourself even on a cellular level, and your nutritional knowledge will expand as well.

Step Three: Exercise

Strive for balance. When I was fat, I used to get fed up (no pun intended) and start doing sit-ups every day until I threw my back out. Or I'd go out and run until my knees and ankles would swell up and I didn't even feel like walking. I recommend hiring a personal trainer. The best one I know is me, Andy Nieradko 860-944-1997; but I only service the Hartford, CT area. Find a trainer whos not going to overcharge you, and overtrain you. I get annoyed at some of these "experts" I see abusing someone who is paying them their hard earned money. There is a lot more to getting healthy than "no pain, no gain." Look for someone who wants you to succeed even more than you do. Training can be a fun, exciting experience believe it or not. Finding the right trainer can be tough, but it's worth it. Don't be one of those schmucks that goes to the gym 7 days a week and never makes any progress. Find a pro to help motivate, educate, and keep you safe and on target with your goals.

Thats just my opinion, on how to quit putting off the healthy life that you absolutely deserve. "Some day" is never going to arrive. You have to seize it, why not make it today? Once you take the first step, you very well might find out that the journey is mostly downhill; and the rewards far outweigh the costs.

Fat Clothes

This is an idea I got from Dr. Phil. By the way, WFSB Hartford, I'll never forgive you for replacing the Doc with that local Better Connecticut show(unless you have me on as a guest. Then Maybe.)

Dr. Phil says to either throw out or donate your old "fat clothes." Once you can't fit into them, get rid of them. That way if you pack on a few extra pounds, you won't slip into something more comfortable. You'll either have to lose the weight, or go shopping. Another accountability trick I like to use when losing bodyfat is to buy clothes you can't fit into yet. I didn't invent it, I think it was created by a woman in a yogurt commercial. It's fun though. I have a pair of Rocky shorts, the black and gold ones from the last movie, that I'm going to fit into by the time summer gets here.

Another fun thing to do after you've lost a lot of weight is to go hunting through the closet and find something you thought you'd never fit into again. I'll never forget when I found my old Army jacket, put it on and zipped it up all the way. It felt like I'd grown younger.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Using the 3 Phase Theory of Hypertrophy to Avoid Overtraining

Overtraining is the biggest mistake you can make in bodybuilding. I'm not the first to say it, but I didn't always believe it. I love training. I tried to convince myself that by going to the gym 7 days a week I was getting more ripped. I wasn't, I was in denial about the waistline in the mirror, and the diminishing returns on my gym visits. Your gains will suffer if you work out before you're healed from your last workout. After a few years of hurting myself, I'm finally getting it, what some of the older guys have preached. I'm talking about the fact that muscle gains are a 3 phase operation.

- The workout, where micro trauma is affected on the muscle. The muscle is injured so it will grow stronger and bigger, usually in that order.

-The muscle grows after it heals from the workout.

-This is where we, as bodybuilders, want to get to. Too often in the past, as soon as a muscle group stopped hurting I'd go to the gym and tear it up again. It's tough, when you've fallen in love with training to wait and give yourself time to grow. It's worth it, though.

If you're taking steroids it's a totally different ballgame, and I don't pass judgement on anyone who is. I've heard a lot of natural bodybuilders accuse the juicers of taking the easy way out. Increasing your body's recovery time with drugs so you can workout longer, harder, heavier, and more often doesn't sound like the easy way out to me.

So the big question for those of us doing it without steroids is, "How do I know when I'm done growing?" I'm still looking for a simple answer. So far the only thing I've found is to listen to your body, watch the mirror, and keep a workout journal. Mike Mentzer used to say, "You don't know if your workout was a success until the next time you do that workout." So if the reps and poundages are consistently increasing in your workout journal, you are golden. It's perserverance, patience, and vigilance that will create the body of your dreams. The saying "no pain, no gain" had its run. I like to think bodybuilders are getting smarter, and realizing that what we do to our bodies today is creating our future. Overtraining is a surefire way to end up eventually needing a hip replacement, new knees, and shoulders.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Powerful Affirmation from The Master Key System

I'm a big believer in affirmations, but that's only because they work. Like Louise Hay says, "Some people say affirmations don't work, which IS an affirmation." Our thoughts create our reality. I believe our bodies are a direct reflection of our thoughts. Thats not to say you can skip the factors of training and nutrition. Those factors begin with the empowering thoughts that make them manifest in the real world.

I'm currently reading The Master Key System, which was written by Charles Haanel, I believe, in the 1920's. In it he describes the most powerful affirmation there is. I suggest making eye contact with yourself in the mirror. Say it a few times, and see how it makes you feel. Say it in your head, not in a quiet, wimpy voice, but loudly. You'll start to believe it. By repeating it constantly, day and night, you can drive it into your subconcious mind. Then you will live it. Here it is...

I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Recipe: Protein Pancakes

Lots of protein pancake recipes around, my favorite is from Bill Phillip's book Eating For Life. Only difference is, I like to use whole eggs. Sometimes when you're eating clean it's easy to forget about Essential Fatty Acids. The word Essential is a clue. Fat is not the enemy. But if you need to demonize a food substance, I suggest sugar. Nancy Appleton who wrote Lick the Sugar Habit has a new book out called Suicide By Sugar. I haven't read it yet, but look forward to it.

Protein Pancakes

1/2 cup oatmeal
Splenda or other healthy sweetener to taste, I tend toward 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
2 whole eggs or 1/2 cup eggwhites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cook them in a pan or on a griddle like regular pancakes. Flip 'em when the bubbles start popping, or "the eyes start opening."

cooking and prep time about 10 minutes
390 calories w/ whole eggs
360 calories w/ eggwhites

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

cottage cheese and yogurt

This is my favorite quickie recipe. I usually use 1cup of lowfat yogurt mixed with 3/4 cup lowfat cottage cheese,( if I'm cutting calories I use less.)

I like to use vanilla yogurt, and mix fresh bluberries or any other fruit. Flavored yogurt is awesome too. If you're trying to fall out of love with icecream, this might be a good substitute.

Jackie Warner's 3 reasons you're fat

Jackie Warner's first book This is Why You're Fat (and How to Get Thin Forever) is due to be released in April. I cannot wait to read it. I love the way she tells it like it is.

1. Your body chemistry is out of whack
2. You are a sugar addict
3. The organs that rule your metabolism are toxic

I'm sure there are other reasons, or are they excuses.