Sunday, April 15, 2012

Get Beach Fit With Us

Tone: Push-Ups
To help get your body bikini-ready do plenty "Push-ups”! You can hit six muscles at once: biceps, triceps, deltoids, pecs, abs, and glutes. Engage your upper back, shoulders, and arms to lift your body weight off the floor, then slowly lower it back down.  Start with a bent-knee push-up, then straighten both legs and work your way up to lifting one leg. Do 3 sets of your max reps! If you have a medical condition, get a doctor's OK before starting a new exercise program.

Shape: Squats
For a firm butt and strong thighs. Squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.  Try not to extend your knees past your toes. If you’re doing the squats right, you should be sitting back with your butt out and back straight. Come back up to a standing position while squeezing your glutes.  KEEP YOUR ABS tight throughout the whole exercise (that’s right, squats will even work your abs). Aim for 3 sets of 20 repetitions. For more stability, extend arms straight rather than behind your head.

Carve: V-ups / Pike Crunch
V-ups are a great way to work the abdominals. The most beneficial way to do a V-up correctly, lay flat on the floor with hands extended above your head, then swing yourself up to the V position and slowly lower yourself all the way back down towards the floor. Try 3 sets of 15-20 reps every other day and you will be well on your way to a flatter stomach, and maybe even six pack abs for a super fit, lean body.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

2 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups matzo meal
1/2 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 large apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C and grease a 9x13 inch glass baking dish.

Combine eggs, oil and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer. Stir in matzo meal, potato starch and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, toss apples with brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg.

Layer half of the dough into the prepared 9x13 inch dish. Pour most of the apples into the dish, remaining a few slices for top layer, then pat remaining dough over the apples. Layer on top the remaining apple slices. Sprinkle with some white sugar and a couple dashes of cinnamon.

Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

10 Things You NEED to Know When Choosing A Gym...Save Yourself a Boatload of Time AND Money!

By Nick Nilsson

In the market for a new gym? Get the insider information on exactly what to look for to get the
best results and the best deal for your money. Learn what's important,
what's not, and how to find the gym that's right for YOU.

Choosing a gym to train at is one of THE most critical decisions you have to make with regards to your training. Picking the wrong one can lead to frustration and poor results, while picking the RIGHT one can give you tremendous motivation and practically guarantee your success!

So to help you make that decision, I've got a list of factors...some may be pretty straightforward, but some may be really be eye-openers!

1. Location, Location, Location

This is an easy one. If the gym isn't convenient to where you live or work, it makes it that much harder to motivate yourself to go...unless you're already so highly motivated that something like that won't stop you.

If the location is not good then that evil factor "time" will rear its ugly head. Lack of time is the #1 reason people don't train or stop training. Pick a gym that's easy to get to and you'll help yourself tremendously.

That being said, if you find a decent gym to train at some of the time (e.g. weekdays, near work) and have a great gym you can to on the weekend, even if it's further, it'll be worth extra effort (of course, that's where having the money to pay for 2 gym memberships comes into play).

2. Timing is Everything

DO NOT go visit the prospective gym on Saturday morning (which is generally one of the LEAST busy times for gyms) if you're going to train there during the week after work at 5 o'clock.

Visit the gym at the EXACT time you're planning on going to it so you can see how busy it is and to get an idea of the people who train there at that time.

Look closely at the areas of the gym you'll be working in...if the cardio section is packed but the free weight area is empty, then it might not be an issue.

Getting an idea of WHO is training in the gym at the same time may sound snobby but think about it this way...these are the people who you're going to have to deal with (and who are going to have to deal with YOU!) in the gym.

3. Tour the Facility and Take Note of the Equipment

Make sure they have the equipment you want. Any half-decent gym is going to have a free-weight area. The quality and focus of that free-weight area will tell you a LOT about who the gym caters to.

If you like to train heavy but the dumbells only go up to 50 lbs, that will be a good indication that the gym might not be for you (unless you can be satisfied with heavy barbell training!).

4. Try It Out

Go at your preferred time and get a guest pass so you can try the equipment out. Some gyms look like they have a lot of equipment, but it could be all stuff you aren't going to use anyway.

I've also been to gyms that had a nice selection of free weights but when I trained there, I found the handles of the dumbells were contoured, which I find absolutely irritating.

Taking the equipment for a test run can save you a LOT of trouble.

5. Get a List of The Rules

I'm not talking about the obvious ones like dropping weights, swearing, etc. I'm talking about the LIFTING rules that are going to affect how you train.

For example, you'll find some gyms actually don't allow deadlifting (watch out for this if the gym is on the second floor or higher of a building). The deadlift is one of THE most productive exercises you can do and any place that bans it isn't (in my opinion) serious about helping you get results.

If you like to use chalk, find out if that is allowed. Chalk can be messy and many gyms don't allow it. Some gyms will give you the boot if you "vocalize" too loud during your training!

6. If You're Going to Work With a Trainer...

Get qualifications and references. I've been to some excellent gyms with trainers who have almost no idea what they're doing. I've seen clients being taught dangerous exercises (behind the neck Smith machine shoulder press) while the trainer runs off to the bathroom or talks on a cell phone.

A trainer should be more than a rep counter or a cheerleader. A good trainer will GUIDE you and TEACH you. In fact, a very good trainer's goal should be to work themselves right out of a job, teaching you so well that you don't even need them anymore!

And even if you don't plan on using a trainer, having a bad one hanging around giving you "pointers" can be incredibly annoying. It's great if they know what they're doing, but it often seems that the ones with the least competence are the ones most vocal about offering advice and criticizing your "bad" form!

7. Cleanliness and Atmosphere

Both of these factors operate on a sliding scale and how much they weigh in with your decision will vary according to all the other factors.

For example, if the place is very clean but the gym equipment isn't the greatest, a spotless place to train may be more important to you. On the flip side, the atmosphere may not be good and it might not be an enjoyable place to train at.

And then you might find a gym that's not particularly clean at all (like a basic warehouse gym) but is frequented by people totally dedicated to training and who constantly encourage and welcome new people in. The atmosphere might totally make up for any lack of polish.

It all comes down to what's most important to you.

8. Membership Dues

This can be a tricky one as some gyms have monthly dues where you're not locked into anything long-term while some gyms have a multi-year plan that you then "finance" by paying monthly on the balance.

It's CRITICAL you know exactly what you're getting into before you sign anything. Be prepared to walk out of the sales office if they don't take the time to explain everything to you, including your options if you move out of the area.

The last time I checked on this, it was the LAW that they have to let you out of the contract if you move more than 25 miles away from that gym or the nearest franchise of that gym. This is normally stated in the terms of your contract but be VERY sure you know your options about cancelling. Some gyms will be nice enough about it but some will dig in their heels.

Make absolutely sure you know if you're on a straight-up monthly plan that you can cancel anytime or if you're on a balloon-payment plan that you're simply making payments on until you pay the whole balance off.

There are also memberships that limit the days you're able to train. For example, Bally's used to have a membership that was only $19.95 a month but you were only allowed to train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Sales people are there to SELL and generally won't hesitate to put pressure on you. If you want to avoid this, the smaller more "mom and pop" gyms will generally be a better bet.

9. Supplement Sales

While there is nothing at all wrong with supplements in general, they're NOT 100% necessary in order for you to get results. You can tell a lot about a gym by how hard they push them when you walk in the door. Supplements can be very profitable and I HIGHLY encourage you to shop around online before buying anything in a gym (or even in a health food store like GNC). You can generally get things way cheaper online.

Click here to check out supplements from my partners at Prograde Nutrition...

Click here to check out "big brand" supplements from FitRx...

10. The Power Racks

This might be a personal preference, but one of the first things I look for in a gym is the power rack situation. I use the power rack so much that any gym lacking at least one decent rack will not get my vote.

If a gym has more than one good rack, that says a lot about the quality of the free weight area of the facility. One of the best gyms I've trained at was the gym where I went to school - The University of Lethbridge.

They had THREE racks, two Olympic lifting platforms (with bumper plates), dumbells up to 120 lbs, three flat bench stations, a bunch of adjustable benches that weren't bolted to the floor so you could actually move them around, and plenty of open space. They had a decent selection of basic machines, which were of secondary importance, which is as it should be.

#11 - The FINAL Factor

And yes, I realize this is #11 on a list of 10 :)

In certain situations, this final factor trumps ALL the other factors.

And that factor is...availability.

In smaller towns, you may have only ONE gym in the whole town, in which case all the other factors I mentioned go out the window. It's then up to you to decide if you're willing to work with the positives and negatives of that one gym or if you want to train at home.

On the plus side, in a smaller gym, you'll potentially have the opportunity to get to know the owner or manager and your suggestions might actually be listened to!


Take as many of these factors into account in your choice gyms as you can. The more you know about the potential place you're going to train, the better off you'll be when it comes to getting the results you want!

Now get off the couch - "Get Fit With Us"

1000 Rep Muscle Challenge

Day 1 
Chest, Biceps, Calves

Day 2
Hips, Quad, Abs

Day 3
Shoulders Abs, Obliques

Day 4
Back Triceps, Calves

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Balsamic Glazed Salmon Fillets


4 (5 ounce) salmon fillets
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Coat a small saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium heat, cook and stir garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Mix in white wine, honey, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for about 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Arrange salmon fillets on foil-lined baking sheet. Brush fillets with balsamic glaze, and sprinkle with oregano.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 14 minutes or until flesh flakes easily with a fork. Drizzle remaining glaze with spoon over fillet and season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to transfer fillets to serving platter, leaving the skin behind on the foil.

Marinated Luscious Mushrooms


1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 pound small fresh button mushrooms


In a medium saucepan, mix red wine vinegar, olive oil, onion, salt, parsley, dry mustard, brown sugar and garlic. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Stir in mushrooms. Simmer 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve as appetizer or a side dish to compliment any beef or pasta dish.
If you want to store for later, transfer to sterile containers and chill in the refrigerator until serving. These will keep for days.