Sunday, December 30, 2012

Start Smart to Finish Strong

It breaks my heart to see overweight, out of shape people trying to run, or hurting themselves doing P90xInsanity or anything else their body isn't ready for. There is a beautiful, not so subtle energy of the new year, that you can tap into and use to your advantage. But, I'd advise being smart about it. Too much too soon will result in injury and failure to achieve goals. In 2006 I lost over 75 lbs in 4 months. I started with changing my mindset. I did very little exercise. Sounds counterproductive for a personal trainer to say such a thing, but that's the truth. I eventually began doing Tai Chi/Qigong, and a lot of walking, but the first month I didn't do anything but work on changing my beliefs about my body image and creating a more productive nutrition plan. Diets do work, but they're not sustainable for long, so I suggest creating a new way of eating, and making your relationship with food one where you're in control, not your hormones. A good way to start is to limit your sugar intake to less than 6-9 grams per meal. That's not that extreme, and will help break your sugar addiction, and if you're reading this there's a good chance you most certainly are a sugar addict. It's just more likely than not, nowadays.
Another reason to fix mindset and nutrition first, is the way your body will begin to clean itself or detox. If you're severely obese, you need to work with your doctor. Years of stored toxins are going to be released from your system when you start eating clean, healthy food. That's why when people diet they feel sick before they feel healthy. Take it slow, and do it smart by educating yourself, and speaking to your doctor. Don't believe sh*t you read on the internet, even question what I'm saying, because nobody knows you better than you. It's your life, your choice, you can do this. Start smart if you want to go the distance. You can create a new healthier body, but you have to take it slow. It's a moment by moment trip. You can't lose 50 right now, but if you pay attention and follow a good plan, you can healthily lose a few pounds each week. In the beginning it's mostly going to be water weight. The numbers should drop to 2-4 pounds a week after the first few weeks. Don't be discouraged. Make a game of it. Join, or create a competition. Find a way to make it fun, and you've greatly improved your odds. Most important of all believe in yourself. Especially when you fall. Dust yourself off, and get back on track quick as you can. You deserve to be healthy and happy in a fit, strong body.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Integrative Wellness Rules by Dr. Jim Nicolai, my review.

Sometimes books written by Dr.'s (Phil and Oz come to mind) can be a bit bossy, and tedious. Not the case with Dr. Jim Nicolai's book Integrative Wellness Rules. He speaks in a way that's easy to understand. Refrains from getting too preachy, and he entertains without belaboring his point, and wearing out his welcome with the reader. The book is divided up by subject, with each subject containing several rules, or theories. Each section of the book gets right to the point without wasting any time. It's a great collection of, not just, Dr. Nicolai's knowledge, but also, many leaders in the health industry who have inspired him. Leaders like Anthony Robbins, Bill Phillips, and Dr. Andrew Weil are cited and given the respect they deserve. Dr. Nicolai describes health as our destination, and wellness is the road map to get there. That is really what this book is, a road map. It's a reference manual, you are going to want to keep on hand while planning, or fine tuning your fitness journey. Whether you're just beginning that trip, or you're an old pro, Integrative Wellness Rules will be of value to you. It's very easy to get caught up in one aspect of wellness, at the expense of others. The ideas, and rules taught in this book can help you keep the whole map in perspective. It's become popular nowadays for fitness professionals to talk about, not just nutrition and exercise, but a lifestyle change. Dr. Jim Nicolai can show you exactly what to do to create that lifestyle. I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

German Volume Training, a.k.a "10 For 10"

This is the time of year I like to "go heavy." Baby, it's cold outside, according to the song the radio keeps playing incessantly. So I warm up a little without ending up dripping in sweat the way I would if I were lifting this way in the humid summer months. Also, rather than fight all the holiday food cravings, I take in some extra calories knowing I'll be putting them to good use in my workouts. My current favorite routine is a classic known as German Volume Training, or "10 for 10." It first became popular in the 1970's, it may be even older. German Olympic weight lifters used it to pack on strength and muscle mass in record time. We're talking pounds of muscle in a month. It had a resurgence in popularity about 10 years ago, when legendary coach and trainer Charles Poliquin wrote about it. German Volume Training is simple, but not easy. Because the focus is on building lots of muscle quickly, you want to stick to your compound moves. Often called multi-joint moves, and interestingly, I'm noticing the female oriented exercise magazines are now referring to them as "metabolic moves." Compound moves are your BIG LIFTS; bench press, deadlift, squat... The lifts that build lean, fat-burning muscle tissue, and help everyone read all the words on your t-shirt. So here's the routine: You'll need to know your 1 Rep max (the heaviest you can lift on a particular exercise once.) Take 60% of your 1 Rep Max, and lift it 10 times for 10 sets, resting 90 seconds between sets.
Sounds easy, I know, and the first 3 or 4 sets kind of are, but fatigue sets in quick. There's an interesting neurological adaptation thing that happens around set 8 and 9. I'm not sure why that is, but for some reason those sets tend to be a little easier. If you can safely go past 10 reps (i.e. you have a spotter or trainer with you) I say go for it, but more than likely the 100 reps spread over 10 sets will be sufficient to stimulate new muscle growth. I don't have great bodybuilding genetics, I'm a bit of a hardgainer, but I'm a former fat guy so if I don't train, excess calories go straight to my waist. I don't take any supplements other than a multi-vitamin and fish oil, but I can build up nicely on this program. I like the German Volume approach, because after you get your big move for the day out of the way, you can throw in some sets for arms, shoulders, or whatever to fill out your workout, if you want. Probably don't even need to. Momentary muscle failure is all that's required to stimulate growth. You don't have to keep turning the light switch on, as the old saying goes. It would be an interesting experiment to see if you could seriously grow on just doing one exercise a workout. The Mike Mentzer fan in me, would love to see the results of a few weeks spent doing 3 HVT workouts a week, split between chest, legs, and back. Maybe I'll try it in 2013. If you have any questions about anything, or any advice for me, feel free to comment, or email me at, or on facebook at Andy Nieradko Personal Training.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Just a Thought

Focusing your energies on huge issues that are way outside your control or influence will take a big toll on your health. You can push the river all day, but you'll just wear yourself out in the end.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

21 Days to Master Affirmations ebook Louise Hay's teachings are so simple, and yet so easy to overlook that when you suddenly "get it", they can really knock you for a loop. This is a great presentation of her empowering ideas. By making a step each day, for 3 weeks, you can really travel some distance and improve your life. Many people scoff at the idea of affirmations. However, most would admit to having a self-talk, or an internal dialog running in their heads that can turn painful and unproductive pretty easily. We can create powerful lives, when we step up and take control of, really, the only thing we ever can control, our own thoughts. I think Louise is one of the most important teachers we've ever had.
Running, power-lifting, bodybuilding... whatever kind of training you're into, affirmations can take you to higher, and higher places. You have to dream it, before you achieve it, and you also have to believe it. A couple years ago, I noticed that Louise's affirmation and mirror work, coincides nicely with Arnold Schwarzenegger's affirmation and mirror work, as written about in his classic Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding. If you're interested in getting a copy of that massive tome, I'd suggest ebay, and also try to get the most current edition.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


There's an old joke about a U2 concert. The lights go dim, and Bono starts to clap his hands, once a second. After the audience is sufficiently confused, he steps up to the mic, still clapping, slowly, and seriously, he states, "Every time I clap my hands another starving African child dies." An angry man in the front row jumps up and shouts, "Somebody grab that sick, heartless son of a bitch, and make him stop clapping his hands!" He he. I love that joke. I bring it up to illustrate a point about perception, and how we don't heal any problem whatsoever by continuing to focus on it.
Talking about an issue, preaching, marching, drumming up support for a cure, does it ultimately hasten the arrival of a solution or a healing? Or does it just add to the energy of the problem, make it bigger, and more real, while the solution is pushed further away? It's just a thought. I'm not finger pointing. Several years ago I struggled with giving up smoking and drinking. I went to a few AA meetings, but as helpful as talking about the problem was, after awhile it just seemed to be keeping it alive. Energy is never destroyed, but it can take on a new form. I guess what I'm trying to say is, please, stop buying U2 cd's and concert tickets. (Kidding, of course.) Go kick some ass today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stuart Wilde

Stuart Wilde has been one of my favorite authors for awhile now. He's been described as an urban mystic, and a fringe dweller. His audio program The Journey Beyond Enlightenment is probably the most powerful thing I've ever studied. He's absolutely brilliant. He speaks his truth with great courage, even though it is sometimes tough to swallow, and his sense of humor makes it impossible not to fall in love with the guy. I consider myself very fortunate to have seen him at, what I think was, his last Hay House I Can Do It Conference in Las Vegas in 2007. It was one of the most interesting, magical experiences of my life. His website has been very active lately. He wrote a fantastic book recently called Plum Red: Taoist Tales of Old China. I have to admit, some of his ideas and visions scare the crap out of me. But the way I see it, if your spirituality doesn't thrill you and challenge you at a deep level, it's pointless. It's like going into the weight room, and lifting the same little dumbbells, and doing the same easy exercises every day. Yesterday I received one of Mr. Wilde's Warrior's Prayer Card. It's a beautifully written prayer, with an interesting energy emanating from it. If you're interested in purchasing one here's the link: