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     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2011 issue 3



Exercise Nutrition

I know many of us lead busy lives, and trying to fit in a workout is difficult enough... however, when at all possible, try to feed your body at the appropriate times in order to get the maximum effort from the time that you are putting in.  Here are some tips to help...

Before Exercise

Just as you put fuel in your car before you take it for a drive, you want to put fuel in your body before you exercise.  This preexercise snack or meal will help energize your workout.  Preexercise fuel has four main functions:

  1. It helps prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and its symptoms of light-headedness, needless fatique, blurred vision, and indecisiveness - all of which can interfere with top performance.
  2. It helps settle your stomach, absorb some of the gastric juices, and ward off hunger.
  3. It fuels your muscles, with both carbohydrate that you eat far enough in advance to get stored as glycogen and carbohydrate that you eat within an hour of exercise, which enters the bloodstream and feeds your brain.
  4. It gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your body is well fueled.

Yet many people purposefully exercise on empty because they believe that exercising without having eaten beforehand enhances fat burning.  True, but they assume that by burning more body fat, they will lose more body fat.  False.  To lose body fat, you need to create a calorie deficit by the end of the day.  Whether you burn carbohydrate or fat is of less importance.  The truth is you'll be able to exercise harder and burn more calories if you eat a preexercise snack.  The harder exercise might contribute to the desired calorie deficit.

Many people are also afraid that preexercise food will result in an upset stomach, diarrhea, and sluggish performance.  Of course, eating too much of the wrong kinds of foods can cause intestinal problems, but embarking on an exercise session when you are underfueled certainly results in sluggish performance.  Morning exercisers who work out before breakfast, in particular, need to be sure they have fueled themselves adequately.

During Exercise

Just as what you eat before you exercise greatly affects your energy levels, so does what you eat during and after extensive exercise.  Students who practice after-school sports from 3:30 to 5:30, businesspeople who work out at a health club from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., marathoners who train for one to two hours, and others who exercise for more than 60 minutes need to think about fueling during exercise.  Unfortunately, many of these folks are in such a rush to start their workouts that they fail to bring with them the foods and fluids that will enhance their exercise efforts.

Ideally, during extensive exercise that lasts for more than 60 minutes, you should try to balance your water and energy output with enough fluid to match your sweat losses and enough carbohydrate to provide energy and maintain normal blood sugar level.  You can significantly increase your stamina by consuming about 100 to 250 calories (25 to 60 g) of carbohydrate per hour while performing endurance exercise, after the first hour.

After Exercise

When you deal with the rigors of a tough training schedule, remember that what you eat after a hard workout or competition affects your recovery.  For the serious athlete, foods eaten after exercise require the same careful selection as the meal before exercise.  You should not separate your recovery diet from your daily diet.  By wisely choosing your foods and fluids both right after you finish exercising and throughout the day, you will recover as best as you possibly can for the next workout.

If you are a recreational exerciser who works out three or four times per week, you need not worry about your recovery diet because you have enough time to refuel your muscle glycogen stores before your next workout.  You should be more concerned about your recovery diet if you are a competitive athlete, instructor, or someone who does two or more workouts per day.

Your muscles break down during a hard workout, but you can stop the breakdown mode by eating as soon as tolerable after you exercise.  You'll be taking advantage of the 45-minute postexercise window of opportunity to optimally nourish, repair, and build muscles.  Refueling is beneficial in two ways:

  • Carbohydrate stimulates the release of insulin, a hormone that helps build muscles as well as transports carbohydrate into the muscles to replenish depleted glycogen stores.
  • Carbohydrate combined with a little protein (approximately 10-20 g) creates an even better muscle refueling and building response, and it reduces cortisol, a hormone that breaks down muscle.

Even if you aren't hungry or have a hard time tolerating postexercise food you should still plan on eating.  You don't need to consume a lot of food.  As few as 100 calories can make a big difference.

Whether you can manage a snack, an energy bar, or some other alternative... keep in mind these nutrition basics so that you can keep your energy high and recover faster to maximize your workouts.  Every little bit helps!

Ref:   Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook




Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Side Tri Rise


I like to have a variety in my workout arsenal and this tricep exercise is certainly different than what I'm used to.  First of all, it is more difficult than it looks.  Although you are not lifting the entire weight of your body, the angle of force of this short movement will really give you a good burn in the back of your upper arm.  Say goodbye to that wiggling flab that is flopping around as you say goodbye!


Target:  arms (triceps brachii)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Laying down on one side, reach up with your down arm and put your hand on top of your opposite shoulder.  Place the hand of your top arm on the ground near your arm pit.  Straighten your arm to lift your torso off the ground, hinging at the hip.  Repeat for maximum repetitions before switching sides.

The Warrior's Mind

This article is a little on the hard-core, competitive athlete side, but still holds value for those of us that like the tough love, keep pushing, mindset...

The mind is a powerful tool that you must use to your advantage.  Regardless of your objectives, the mind will play a significant role in your success or failure.

There are many mantras that pertain to the power of the mind.  Unfortunately, very few apply the principles necessary to fulfill the true potential of the body and mind.  It is easy to say, "I can do anything that I put my mind to", but much more difficult to bring truth to these words.

It is important to understand the connection between the body and mind.  We cannot neglect the importance of the mind in our pursuit of success.  Some exercise routines will challenge you physically and mentally.  If you are not mentally strong, you will be quick to pass up the routines that could provide you with the most benefits.  You will need the Warrior's mind to push through your routines and achieve optimal physical fitness.  This is the way to travel the road to success.

Success is defined as a favorable or desired outcome.  Obviously, we all have different interpretations of success.  The common link is that we all strive towards success (regardless of our interpretations of the word).  Our lives are filled with expectations of success.   

Let's face it, the world is filled with negativity, and negativity breeds negativity.  As Warriors, we must combat negative surroundings and influences.  We must live with confidence.  We must think and believe in our ability to succeed.  Whether or not you are successful in life will be determined by the decisions you make as an individual. 

The journey towards success is simple, yet often elusive.  It is elusive because our minds have been programmed for failure.  As children, we dream and take risks to achieve these dreams.  As time passes, we are taught to avoid risks, to settle for mediocrity.  Eventually, we become programmed to fail.  We give a half-ass attempt and call it a day.  We have been taught that second place is acceptable as long as we try.  The Warrior believes that second place sucks!  Why settle for anything but the best?

Nothing worth having is easy to acquire.  The Warrior mentality for physical fitness does not involve an overnight miracle or magic pill.  The Warrior's path is one full of pain and mental challenges.  A Warrior chooses exercise routines that are difficult and will test you physically and mentally.

You must understand that we are all capable of great things.  We were made to succeed, even when society is teaching us to fail.  Fortunately, you can change your mindset.  Go after your goals with relentless desire and devotion. 

The Way of the Warrior involves much more than physical fitness.  You must understand the connection between the body and mind.  As your fitness improves, you will gain confidence and motivation.  You will begin to accomplish feats that were previously impossible.  You will approach challenges with confidence and assertiveness.  You will live with newfound energy and passion.

Do not underestimate the power of the mind.  Positive thoughts breed positive results.  Train your mind as well as your body.  Take a few minutes each day to visualize and meditate.  Convince yourself that you will succeed.  Use obstacles as motivation to achieve your goals.  When your goals have been met, set new goals to strive towards new levels of performance.

No matter your aspirations in life, do not accept anything but the best.  Apply this philosophy to your life and you will reach new levels of success.  Train hard, train smart, and never quit!

ref: The Underground Guide to Warrior Fitness - Ross Enamait

It's Go Time!

**March Madness**  No, I'm not talking about basketball.  I'm talking about what a lot of you are getting ready to go through if you didn't start taking control of your diet and fitness for the past few months!  One way or another, you'll be wearing less clothing real soon... how do you feel about that?

I'm not trying to scare you... well, actually I am J  Whatever works, right?  Fear can be a powerful motivator too!  The bottom line is that you can't make changes overnight (without surgery).  If you want to trim down, tone up, and look good, I got one word for you...


Write down your goals TODAY!  Make better choices TODAY!  Commit to an exercise routine TODAY!  Stop whining about it TODAY!  It's easy to make excuses why you can't, but procrastination is for the weak.  Everyone is looking for fast results.  Well the fastest, proven way to get results is to Start TODAY!  The sooner you start, the sooner you will see the benefits of all of your efforts!  Time for a little bit of Madness J

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Exceed Your Potential!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT


"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

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