How to Get the Most out of Core Blend Pt 2: Do Your Own Warmup

I’ve never started a class at exactly 5:30, 8:30, or 5:30pm. I do this for two big reasons. One, people often show up a couple of minutes late and I don’t want them to miss their warmup. Two, I want to give people time to do their own warmup prior to our class warmup.

This may sound like a cop-out, but there’s a legitimate reason behind this. Every person that I’ve trained has their own issues and areas they need to address. There is no way I could make a warmup so thorough that it addressed every possible area that someone could need to warmup. When we have a few minutes at the beginning of class, it’s a great time for YOU to warm up the specific areas that bother you.

For example, my ankles are really tight, so before a squat workout it’s an area that I need to give extra attention. In a thorough class warmup, it’s more likely that we would spend most of our time on the hips and knees to get ready to squat. If I was in class, my ankles and shoulders would be two spots that I would give extra attention to before class.

So how do you take advantage of this? Take notice of your body and where you have trouble and ask the trainers. We’ll hand out custom warmups for you to do and movements that we think will address your issues. It might be a specific stretch, a movement, or a myofascial release technique that we think will improve your performance.

These guys look ready.

Finally, whether you’re in group classes or doing one on one work, get here a couple of minutes early. We always do a general warmup, followed by a specific warmup. The general warmup is just something that gets your heart rate up, followed by the specific warmup which is the area where the movements are supposed to prime you for your exercises that day. If you get here a few minutes early and hop on the bike or treadmill you can start your session with the specific warmup, rather than the general warmup! This is convenient for you, your hour of training is spent with things that you get more value from and more convenient for your trainer. Believe me, none of us want to watch you pedal on a bike, but we’d rather watch you do that than get injured because you were cold during your workout.

Confirmation Bias in Exercise “News”

When explaining the concepts of optimism and pessimism to a child, the typical example is of a glass that is partially filled with water. The optimist is said to see it as half full, the pessimist as half empty. As a way to define these two terms, I guess that’s fine, but I think the more interesting concept is that two people can look at the same situation and choose to see what they had already chosen to see.

This is common in life. I won’t bore you with examples, but if you successfully operated a web browser with enough skill to lead you here, then I’m sure you can think of a few examples of confirmation bias in others. Bonus points if you can think of a few examples where you too were guilty of it.

A photo from Dana Linn Bailey’s IG account, showing her time in the hospital.

I bring this up today, because someone sent me an instagram post with their commentary on it. After reading the comments (both from my peer and from the dreaded comment section), I saw a lot of people using this post as proof of what they already thought long before that post happened.

Dana Linn Bailey is a highly accomplished bodybuilder and powerlifter. She is very lean and very strong and by any reasonable standard is an elite athlete. DLB recently did her first CrossFit workout and afterwards developed a serious condition called Rhabdomyolysis. Essentially, so much muscle was broken down by the workout she performed (High rep GHD sit-ups for time) that her kidneys couldn’t process it all. It’s a very dangerous situation and I’m glad someone with her following was able to increase awareness of the possibility of this happening.

The comments had the predictable reactions. There was a large group that already hated CrossFit using this as an example of how dangerous it is. “The instructors are unqualified”. “CrossFit is a bad workout”. There was another side as well. The group that loves CrossFit took home a different message. “Powerlifting and Bodybuilding don’t build true fitness”. “She’s at the top of these other sports but was humbled by a simple workout”. “Here’s proof that CrossFit is harder than any other fitness sport out there”.

Surprise, surprise in this essay about people choosing to see what they want to see, I think both sides are wrong.

CrossFit requires a two day certification. They offer additional certifications but one can be a CrossFit trainer after two days of work and learning. I think this is not enough time learning. However, I don’t feel like ANY certification exists that qualifies you to be a trainer. I have met many trainers that have a ton of letters behind their name (additional certifications) that I wouldn’t let coach a single person in my gym. Teaching a BootCamp in a local park requires no certification, so at least there is SOME requirement of learning and hands on coaching through CrossFit.

To say that CrossFit is a bad workout or a dangerous workout is disingenuous as well. CrossFit is too broad or a training system to be defined like that. There are absolutely some people teaching CrossFit that are doing a terrible job in my opinion. They’re picking workouts randomly, they’re pushing every workout too hard, they’re not thinking about a logical progression for their trainees. But for every example you can find of this, there are wonderfully qualified instructors that are NOT doing that. I’ve found many gyms online and trainers in person that progress their workouts in a logical fashion. Many use a system of conjugate training with cyclical focus where they train all modalities at once but put a higher emphasis on certain areas at certain times. If you’d like to criticize CrossFit trainers (or any other one domain of trainers) then I would gladly take you into any box gym in America and show you a trainer with a certification you do like that’s doing something dumb.

Ray Williams squatting a weight that would crush your favorite CrossFitter. This isn’t a sign that CrossFit is bad.

For those that used it as an opportunity to tout CrossFit’s superiority to other fitness regimes, I’d question that too. Rich Froning is a many time champion CrossFitter. At his peak he was one of the fittest people in the world and while I’m writing this, I’d imagine that he is doing something that mortals can’t dream of doing. That being said, if we asked him to get under a squat that Ray Williams (a champion Powerlifter) can perform routinely, he would get crushed. Literally. This isn’t an indication that CrossFit is a bad program for strength training. It just indicates that people get good at the things they practice and that includes CrossFitters. Although Dana Linn Bailey is very fit for the sports that she practices, she was not ready for the load of her first CrossFit workout.

I think both sides are missing a valuable lesson here. If you are a fitness instructor, you can’t judge someone’s readiness if you haven’t personally seen it. It’s why at Core Blend, regardless of what someone’s claimed workout history is we progress them slowly. On Joe Defranco’s podcast he had the New York Giants Strength Coach on and he made an interesting point about injuries. He asked the question of if the injury was caused by the workout where the injury occurred or if it was caused by the lack of progression towards it. Does two hours in the sun cause a sunburn? Or is it caused by all of the time not spent in the sun building up to it? Tissues can’t handle a load that they haven’t been conditioned to handle. Looking at an athlete like DLB I can COMPLETELY understand why the instructor let her hop in. Any other first time athlete would have been given a modified workout, but LOOKING at her and knowing her resume I’m sure the instructor thought that she would be fine. Knowing how competitive top level athletes are, I’d imagine that she would have WANTED the more difficult workout (I do not know this. I am assuming).

So what’s my takeaway? Real coaching is hard. It’s a lot more than just yelling “keep going”, “ten seconds left”, “you’ve got this” every few seconds. It is sometimes the job of the trainer to push, it is sometimes the job of the trainer to hold back, and it is always to make sure they can vouch for the progression of an athlete. Never make assumptions about the capabilities of someone based on looks or training history. If someone has a problem going through the progressions that you think are safe because they “are ready for it and want to work”, then explain it to them. If they still balk, then let them go train and get hurt somewhere else. This person isn’t interested in a coach, they just want someone to hold a stop watch while they work out. They don’t need you.

How to Get the Most out of Core Blend Pt 1: Ask Questions

In the first draft of this blog post, it was titled “How to be a Great Core Blender”. I decided to ditch that though because it implied that some of you weren’t great members, or that there was something wrong with not taking full advantage of our services. We’re here for you, regardless of how much time you want to spend here. If you never want to learn the role of the lat in stabilizing your spine, that’s fine. You absolutely don’t need to have that information to live a happy life.

However, if you would like to get the most out of your experience as a member, I have a few tips for you. The first one, which probably isn’t a surprise if you read the title, is to ask more questions.

Ask more from your trainers. From little things like “Why are we doing this exercise?” to “How can I get more from my nutrition?”. The trainers we have on staff are PHENOMENAL. They are incredibly knowledgable and have a lot more information they could be throwing at you, they’re just not because most people either aren’t ready for an overload of facts about exercises. There aren’t any bad questions to ask, but I’ll go over a few different types of questions you could ask that would improve your experience and why.

Why are we doing THIS exercise?

This is a wonderful question. Your trainer should be able to answer why an exercise was selected over other exercises, what the goal of it is, where you should feel the exercise, etc. For example, “Coach, why are we doing a Sumo RDL?” should get a response like “We chose the Sumo RDL because we want to improve your posterior chain strength but want to present it with a different challenge than you’re used to facing. The wider stance is going to allow you to feel your hamstrings and glutes engage differently than you’re accustomed to. We’re using a Barbell for the movement because we’re super setting it with a Lateral Raise and a lot of the DB’s are going to be taken up by the shoulder exercise.” An unacceptable answer would be “I don’t know. Just do it.” If you ever get THAT as an answer, then you need to let me know because that person doesn’t deserve to teach you, or to work at Core Blend.

One quasi exception to this rule would be an answer of “I don’t know, but it works so we’re doing it”. That doesn’t sound like a great answer, but let me rephrase it in a way that sounds better. “I don’t know the mechanisms of why it’s so effective, but I’ve personally done it for a while and so have my clients and we’ve really felt like it was effective”. That’s a much nerdier way of saying the same thing and I won’t get mad at our trainers for not being nerds.

Where should I be feeling this exercise?”

This is a wonderful question because it not only helps you to have better technique on an exercise, but it improves your knowledge of why we’re doing a particular exercise. This is hugely beneficial and any of our trainers will be able to answer this exercise.

Do you have any tips to improve on this exercise?”

I’ll answer this right now. YES. Your class instructors know a ton about the big movements, especially the compound movements. Now it’s entirely possible that after a few tips, you’ve exhausted the advice they’re going to have on a bicep curl, but you could talk to Cason or Morgan for an hour about deadlift technique if you so desired. Your high school math teacher is likely capable of teaching college level Calculus to you. They’re not though, they’re just teaching HS Algebra because that’s what you’re ready for. If that doesn’t apply to you, and you want some more advanced cues, just ask for them. I teach the deadlift in 3 steps to beginners. I teach it in 5 steps to advanced people, With the super advanced I’ll teach it in a TON of steps. We’ll cover grip, breathing, lat engagement, head position, stance, foot pressure, sequence of muscle firing, dead stop vs touch and go for their goals, straps, overloading techniques for sticking points, weak point training, etc.. Our members just learning how to deadlift and working towards their first body weight deadlift don’t need all of that.

Do you have a modification for me? This exercise bothers me.”

Yes. They do. If you let them know exactly how it’s bothering you, they can pick a better exercise for you and your goals. The reason we hire expert trainers is so that they can make these modifications. This is the primary reason they’re there. Otherwise I’d just film an hour long class and play it all day long for whoever wanted to come in. The reason we have spent (I don’t want to calculate it) money on equipment is so that they have the tools to modify. Dumbbells, sleds, kettle bells, 18 types of specialty barbells, machines, belt squats, bands, TRX Straps, etc. all exist so that we can modify away from the movement that bothers you. That’s a huge part of what separates Core Blend from other places.

Do you have any tips on sleep, nutrition, stuff to do on my off days, etc.?”

Of course they do! You might get an answer like, that’s outside of my scope and I’d recommend you ask someone else, but they will also give you the best possible answer. Another way to phrase it to help keep them out of trouble is “well what do you do?”.

I hope these are helpful and that they empower YOU to start getting more out of your gym experience. Our trainers love answering these questions because it’s an awesome opportunity for them to show how knowledgable they are. Give Morgan a chance to talk to you about rowing technique and let her show why she’s the American Record Holder in two different events on that machine. Ask Cason about how to Deadlift so that he can use some of the tips that got him to deadlifting over 600 pounds. Let our trainers demonstrate what makes Core Blend different.

CUT Class Program

The program we’re starting on Monday March 25 is 10 weeks long and is focused on muscle hypertrophy and hitting a new 8 rep max in the big 3. We’ll have a very wide variety of movements, but they’ll all be driven towards being better at the big 3. Morgan, Cason and Corey designed the program.

Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing a program, but this does put a smile on my face.

Weeks 1 and 2 will be sets of 12. Weeks 3 and 4 will be sets of 10. Weeks 5 and 6 will be sets of 8. Week 7 will be a deload week. Weeks 8 and 9 will be sets of 6. Week 10 will be a test week. 
To help focus over the 10 weeks, a goal for that big test would be useful. You could either think of a 1RM you’d like to hit and work from there, or think of your best 8RM and try to beat that. Neither of them is wrong. If you’re someone that excels at reps, then thinking about a 1RM and working backwards wouldn’t be as useful. If you have an 8RM but it’s not recent, then that wouldn’t be that useful either. 
To calculate your 8RM off a projected/goal 1RM just multiply your goal 1RM by .8. So if you want to end this program with the potential to bench 300 you’d multiply 300 by .8 and have an end goal of hitting 240 for 8 reps.
An alternate way to work would be to know that you can hit 225 for 8 currently and want to drive that number up to 235 over the next 10 weeks. 
Due to the wide variety of exercises we’ll be using over the next 10 weeks, we’ll use both an RPE and an estimated percentage of 1RM for you to use. If it’s a squat based variation, you’d base it off of your best squat. If it’s a DL variation you’d base it off of your best DL. If we say 60% for your Wide Grip Bench with a 3 second eccentric, I do not expect you to know what your 1RM is for a 3 second eccentric on a Wide Grip Bench. 
These recommendations will vary a good bit, so for most exercises, think of them as an RPE 8. If you are doing an exercise that focuses on one of your weak points, you’ll probably need less weight than the estimated percent, if it’s a strong point more. The weight should be challenging, but you shouldn’t be missing reps. Further, the accessory work matters in this program, so you don’t want to be so exhausted by our main exercise that you don’t complete the rest of the work.
The workouts will repeat for 2 week cycles, with the second week having an opportunity to do an AMRAP set on the last set of the main lift. Fridays will still be the most challenging cardio day.
To add more variety, the days of the week are on a rotating cycle, so if Mondays are a bad day for you or Fridays are often missed, you’ll be missing a variety of things, not the same thing every week.

I am excited to run through this program with all of you. I’m really excited about an opportunity to expose some weaknesses and improve on them. If you have any questions about the program, let me know at and don’t forget it’s never too late for YOU to join a gym that does programs instead of random workouts pulled out of thin air.

Whey Protein

Protein has many amazingly beneficial biological effects in the body. Protein is made up of many various essential and nonessential amino acids, which are the building blocks of all things. You can think of amino acids as little beads linked together on a necklace, which makes up protein. These little guys are responsible for the growth and repair of all tissues, specifically muscle, tendons, cartilage, neurotransmitters, bones, blood, hair, skin, and nails. Not only is protein responsible for the above duties in the body, they also help with hormone production and making enzymes in the body. These guys have serious responsibilities and most people do not get enough protein through their day to day lives. There are a lot of various proteins available for consumption, however not all of them are made equally.

There are two main types of amino acids in the body, Essential Amino acids and Non-Essential Amino Acids. Essential amino acids we cannot produce in our body, therefore we have to acquire them from food sources. Non-Essential amino acids are the opposite, even though they are still very important our bodies can produce them on its own.

When you are looking for the best sources to get protein, generally speaking animal sources are best. Why? Because they all are complete proteins. Complete proteins contain all of the 9 essential amino acids that our body cannot produce by itself. There are many benefits of plant-based proteins, however they are generally incomplete proteins, meaning most do not contain all of the 9 essential amino acids like animal sources. Grass fed, pasture raised, free range and sustainable animal sourced proteins are always best.

What is Whey protein?

Whey Protein is dairy based and is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, which is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. Milk contains 2 types of proteins, Casein which makes up 80% of the protein content, and Whey which makes up 20%. Casein is a slow digesting type of protein, where whey is fast digesting. After being separated during cheese production, Whey then goes through several processing steps to become what we see as the popular powdered whey protein found in supplements.

Benefits of Whey Protein?

Whey Protein is loaded with all 9 of the essential amino acids required in the body. Of these 9 essential amino acids they are also really high in BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids, specifically L-leucine, L-valine, L-isoleucine). Leucine has been shown to be the most anabolic (growth-promoting) amino acid in the body. (1) Whey protein is also very high in cysteine which helps boost the cellular anti-oxidant Glutathione. (2)

Whey protein has been shown to be very effective to assisting in muscle growth around workout times, before, during or after training. (3,4,5,6)

Whey protein can assist with weight loss. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and can control the regulation of the hormone Ghrelin. Ghrelin is dubbed as the “hunger” hormone, which promotes the feeling of being hungry. Keeping up your protein intake can help manage feelings of hunger. One study has shown that eating at least 25% of your daily calories from protein can cut your cravings up to 60% and may reduce late night snacking. (7)

If your goal is to lose weight, whey protein can help with your weight loss as well as preserve muscle. (8,9)

Besides the benefits of leaning up, building muscle mass and helping with strength increases, whey Protein can also assist lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and reducing symptoms and stress and depression. (10,11,12,13)

Different Types of Whey Protein:

Whey Concentrate: Generally, less than 80% of the protein supplement is protein. Contains more lactose, fat, and lower amounts of protein per volume. If you have a dairy sensitivity, you may notice symptoms more with this kind of Whey.

Whey Isolate: Over 80% of the supplement is generally protein. Contains less Lactose, sugar, and fats than concentrate and contains higher levels of protein. Easier and faster to digest than concentrate. Less dairy sensitivities than concentrate.

Hydrolysate Whey, or Hydrolyzed Whey isolate: Similar to Isolate, broken down into smaller fragments to allow even faster digestion. Higher protein per volume, lower fats, lower lactose than isolates and concentrates. More expensive to process and manufacture. Also has a much great affect on triggering insulin over Whey isolate and Whey concentrate.

How much protein should we eat?

  • Active lifestyle: 1.6g of protein/1Kg Bodyweight. If you weigh 75kg (165lbs) multiply 1.6 x 75 =120g
  • Weight loss: 1.8-2.2g/Kg Bodyweight. Adding more protein while improving body composition not only helps build more muscle but also prevents as much muscle loss.
  • Athletic performance: 2.2-2.5g/Kg bodyweight.

Review of CoreBlend Performance Nutrition’s Elevate Whey Protein:

  • Elevate Whey is a 100% whey isolate. There are no blends of concentrate, caseins, and other various types of protein. We kept it this way to cut back on the amount of Lactose (sugar found in dairy) to help prevent as much sensitivity to the product as well promote fast digestion and fast absorption.
  • We added two digestive enzymes to the mix, Lactase and Papain. Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down Lactose. It splits the lactose and helps convert lactose into glucose and galactose (2 other types of sugars). This helps with digestion, absorption, and sensitivity. Papain is a proteolytic enzyme that comes from papaya. Papain specifically breaks down amino acids into smaller strings of proteins which makes absorption easier and faster.
  • 1 serving of Elevate contains 25 grams of high quality protein, 1.5g of fat, and only 2g of sugar coming in at 130 calories. It also has a great amino acid profile and contains 5g of BCAA’s, which we touched on up above.
  • Since Elevate is a 100% isolate, the mixability is great. If you add 1 scoop of Elevate to 8-12 ounces of water it does not clump and mixes great.
  • We may be a bit biased on flavor, but so far we have gotten great feedback from our customers on taste. We hope that you will be the next one to give it a try!

Thank you for taking the time to read!



Is Keto Right For You?

It is very common for fad diets to come and go. Some can be effective if implemented properly while others can be a complete waste of time. For the diet topic of the week we will examine the Ketogenic diet and see if it is right for you.

With the rising popularity of the Ketogenic diet, and especially being a nutrition coach, one of the questions I have been asked countless times over the years is “What are your thoughts about Keto?”.

First before we get to that answer I think that understanding the background of the Ketogenic diet is really important. Even though the Ketogenic diet has recently gained explosive popularity, it has actually been around for nearly 100 years. In 1921, Rolland Woodyatt ran trials on the Ketogenic diet to help regulate epilepsy in children. Keto became popular in the 1920s and 1930s for therapeutic uses until it was later abandoned due to an increase of drugs to help regulate symptoms. The ketogenic diet has also been studied to help with other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, Autism, headaches, Parkinson’s, and sleep disorders.

What exactly is the Ketogenic Diet?

The Ketogenic Diet Consists of a macro nutrient profile of high fat (75% of daily calories), moderate protein (20%), and extremely low carbohydrates (5%) in which most of them should be from green and/or cruciferous vegetables with high fiber and low sugar contents. Essentially, what the Ketogenic diet will do, if adhered to consistently, is it forces the body to burn fat as its main fuel source in the body.

How does this occur?

When we eat a carbohydrate source, our body breaks down carbs into glucose, AKA sugar. Even though the brains main fuel source is glucose, our bodies can effectively operate with extremely low carbohydrates in the diet. In the body we store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. Approximately 75% of our glycogen is stored in our muscle tissue, and about 25% in the liver. When you implement a Ketogenic diet, our body will slowly burn through those glycogen stores. Once we run out of glycogen, similar to the gas in a fuel tank, the liver then turns to stored fat and will convert fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies which we then use as our main fuel source. When the body gets into ketosis from low levels of carbohydrates present in the body, our body then will then circulate fatty acids and ketones in the blood. This will provide energy for muscles and other various tissues of the body to operate as needed.

What are the Pros of the ketogenic diet?

  • Supports weight loss. When your body enters ketosis, it goes into fat-burning mode, which supports weight loss. Cutting carbs also causes your body to retain less water, which can lead to weight loss [2, 4, 6, 7, 9,18].
  • Suppresses appetite/enhances satiety. One of the best things about the keto diet is that you won’t feel hungry. Say goodbye to hunger pangs. The high amount of fats in the keto diet minimizes carb cravings, provides steady energy for hours, and suppresses appetite [2, 6,18].
  • Lowers cholesterol. Studies show the keto diet can improve “good” cholesterol (HDL) and lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Eating fat increases blood levels of HDL. The higher your levels of HDL, the lower your risk of heart disease. But that’s not all. Eating low-carb can also change your LDL cholesterol, altering it from “bad” to “benign” cholesterol. It does this by turning LDL particles from small (high risk of heart disease) to large (low risk of heart disease) while also decreasing the number of LDL particles in the bloodstream [2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11,18].
  • Reduces risk for heart disease. Reducing carb intake can lower blood triglycerides, which are fat molecules in the blood. High levels of blood triglycerides can put you at higher risk for heart disease [3, 4, 6, 7, 9,18].
  • Reduces insulin levels and insulin resistance. Studies show the keto diet can reduce blood sugar and insulin fluctuations due to reduced carbohydrate consumption. Better insulin control can also help improve the associated metabolic disorders and symptoms linked to high insulin and blood sugar [2, 4, 9,18].
  • Lowers blood pressure. Research shows eating a low-carb diet can have positive impacts on blood pressure. Hypertension is a risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure [4, 6, 7, 9,18].
  • Improves cognitive function. The keto diet has been used for decades to treat epilepsy in children. And it is currently being studied for its potential beneficial impacts on other neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s [1, 12,18].
  • Enhances mood, mental focus, and sleep. After a few days of cutting carbs, many keto dieters report feeling more alert, being in better moods, and needing less sleep [12, 13,18].
  • Boosts energy levels. The sluggishness and lethargy you feel after a heavy carb-filled meal is due to the insulin spike and reactive sharp drop in blood sugars. Eating a high-fat diet provides steady energy and helps you avoid crashes that are associated with eating a high-carb diet. Additionally, since ketones are the brain’s preferred source of energy, a ketogenic diet leaves you feeling more alert and mentally energized without having to supply a steady stream of caloric intake [13,18].

What are the Cons of Keto?

  • Requires an adaptation process. Getting keto adapted can take one to two weeks and the transition can be uncomfortable for some people. The “Keto Flu” is commonly used to describe flu-like symptoms associated with the transition process: headaches, fatigue, nausea, etc. Due to restricted carb intake, your body is not retaining as much water so loss of electrolytes is common. This can easily be rectified with taking mineral supplements or exogenous ketones, such as the beta hydroxybutyrate mineral salts [16,18].
  • May cause irregularity. Dramatically increasing your fat intake while drastically cutting your carb intake may cause gastrointestinal issues, ranging from constipation to diarrhea. This is something that should resolve itself when your body gets fat-adapted [5]. There is also the potential for nausea, particularly when switching from a low-fat diet to the ketogenic diet. It can take a while for the gall bladder, pancreas, and liver to adapt to digesting high amounts of fat [17,18].
  • Bans or puts restrictive limits on certain food groups. Some people simply don’t like banning entire food groups, and the keto diet requires you to give up all forms of sugar (no more candy, ice cream, and donuts), and popular carbs such as bread, rice, and pasta (no more pizza and burgers). Keto also limits most fruits due to the fructose content, as well as starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn. The good news is that as your body becomes keto-adapted, your sugar cravings will dramatically fall or disappear altogether.
  • May cause high cholesterol for those who are genetically predisposed. While most people will see their cholesterol fall along with their weight, there are some that may see the opposite due to the meat-heavy nature of the diet. This is typically a genetic predisposition and means the keto diet is not right for everyone [11,18].
  • Makes social gatherings harder. Dining out at restaurants will require more planning and research due to hidden carbs on restaurant menus. Attending birthday parties, weddings, and other social events will require more self-discipline. If you want to drink alcohol, you’ll have to limit yourself to one or two low-carb drinks. This means dry wines (the dryer the better!) and unflavored clear liquors, such as vodka, gin, and tequila. There are a surprisingly number of keto-friendly alcoholic beverages that won’t knock you out of ketosis. For dessert, dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) is okay in moderate amounts. Stick to keto-friendly chocolates that are naturally sweetened with zero-calorie sweeteners such as stevia and erythritol. You can have sugar-free candies on occasion, just be aware that the sugar alcohols may cause digestive discomfort if you have too much. [18]

What does a ketogenic diet look like?

Since the ketogenic diet is very high in fat and very low in carbs, you will not be permitted to be eating grains, processed carbohydrates, sweeteners, most alcohols, etc. Here is a list of foods that are Keto-Friendly:

  1. Seafood
  2. Low carb vegetables
  3. Cheese
  4. Avocado
  5. Meat/poultry
  6. Eggs
  7. Coconut oil
  8. Full fat Greek yogurt/cottage cheese
  9. Olive oil
  10. Nuts and seeds
  11. Berries
  12. Butter and cream
  13. Shirataki noodles
  14. Olives
  15. Unsweetened coffee and teas  

My thoughts:

The ketogenic diet has been researched well enough to show many positive benefits of using the diet. The Ketogenic diet if administered properly and consistently will deliver weight loss results without question. However, even with there being numerous health benefits of going Keto, the biggest issue with the diet from my observation is it is very difficult to stick to consistently and long term. It takes a decent amount of time to get into ketosis to begin with, and if you have one meal with too many carbs and sugar you will be immediately kicked out of ketosis, which is one of the main points of the diet to begin with. There are many things that are really positive about this diet though. One of the biggest things is it completely restricts processed foods, refined sugars, and low-quality foods which is really important. Most people eat too much of these foods to begin with and by cutting them out your energy will improve, you will most likely lose body fat, your fitness and performance will increase, and your body will surely thank you. Generally speaking when dieting, you will certainly have to make changes. Making too many changes initially however more often than not leads to failure. From experience, finding a diet that fits more within your lifestyle as well as a diet that you can adhere to long term is where the real results come. If Keto is it, excellent. If not, there are also many other variations of dieting you can implement and be very successful. At the end of the day, if you eat in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight.

Lastly, for individuals who are focusing on athletic performance, strength, etc. I highly recommend NOT following a ketogenic diet. Glycogen is the muscles main fuel source, when we lift weights, run, and workout we burn through glycogen. When we restrict carbs, we will not be able to refill the “fuel tank” so to speak. Without adequate levels of glycogen in the body, performance and endurance can drop dramatically which is the opposite of what you need as an athlete. Carbohydrates can also trigger the release of insulin, a powerful hormone secreted by our pancreas. Insulin is a double-edged sword as it can be very beneficial and also very negative. The benefit of Insulin for athletic performance are that it acts as a shuttling hormone, or a taxi for nutrients. As an athlete trying to recover from training and building new muscle mass utilizing this hormone can be incredibly beneficial. If you trigger insulin after training from higher levels of carbohydrates, insulin helps drive amino acids (broken down proteins) into muscle tissues to help with growth and also drives glucose (sugar) into replenishing glycogen stores that were used. This not only helps with building new tissues, but also replenishes glycogen to prepare you for your next training session.

Is Keto right for you? You decide. Thanks for reading.

Fix This in Your Athlete Daughter for Knee Health

People often ask when kids should start lifting weights and that’s a complicated answer that has a lot of variables in it. When should my child start exercising is a really easy question to answer though. The answer is now. There is a misconception that exercising always means lifting weights. Although weights can be a VERY useful tool, the real goal is refining movement and there’s no time where that isn’t useful.

For girls, this is especially true, since they are much more likely to get injured in their lifetime due to poor movement mechanics. It’s not because women are less coordinated or play riskier sports, it’s due to the way their knees connect to their hips.

Due to this Q Angle (see dotted line in the above diagram) being greater in women than in men, they are already prone to having their knees cave in. Women generally have wider hips, as you can see this affects how the knees connect to the hips. This leads to issues with jumping and squatting, but is especially dangerous when they land or decelerate.

This is why the incidence of non-contact ACL injuries is so much greater in women than in men. Without proper practice, it is unlikely to change naturally, so something needs to be done.

  1. Mindful Movement. Have your daughter focus on keeping the knees out while doing squatting, jumping and landing movements. Teaching them the proper position slowly will help it apply to moving faster. These are the basics. These are slow and easily controlled. Start here.
  2. Challenge the Movement. Once you see that she can keep her knees spread on a squat, challenge it with additional weight. A goblet squat is a great option here. Another option is to challenge with bands that are forcing the knees to cave in. This will provide an easy cue to push out and will also strengthen the muscles of the hips that need keep the knees from caving in. This is a suitable progression and mastery here should be seen before it can be reliably put to the test in athletic situations.
  3. Force Absorption. The greatest force your athletic daughter will be forced to deal with isn’t the additional weight of the goblet squat or band tension, it is the force when they are dealing with a quick deceleration. Athletes spend a lot of time practicing running and jumping, but very little time is usually spent on stopping and landing. Work with your daughter on absorbing these forces well on sprints that have a defined stop point with proper deceleration and use box jumps, depth jumps and broad jumps to make sure that as your daughter lands she is landing with her knees in line or outside of her feet.
  4. Or just sign up for our kids class. It’s every day after school at 4 and we’ll work on these things.

Work on these things with your daughter. Help her to stay healthy and happy and strong and injury free. Feel free to email with any questions.

Questions About Kids Training

We get questions all of the time about our Youth Athletic Development class. I’m going to take this blog to answer some of the questions I get asked most often. I’m calling it an FAQ on YAD.

Working on Leg Strength

When is the class?
The class is Monday through Friday at 4pm.

How long is the class?
The class is one hour.

Is my child old enough for the class?
Sure. It’s really less about age and more about attention span. If they have the attention span to do an hour long class then they are old enough to participate. The class is about meeting kids where they are developmentally, so there’s no level that is too basic.

Sled Pushes are an Easy Way to Train the Legs for the younger ones

Will this help my child get faster?
Absolutely. The class is based around improving athleticism and speed is a big part of that. It’s not the only goal of the class, but in my opinion, doing only speed work would be a disservice. Often the reason for their lack of quickness is their weakness, poor motor control, poor fitness, or poor mobility. As such we need to take a holistic approach and try to improve all of the qualities that affect athleticism.

Explosive Work

I think my child should do more speed ladders. You don’t use them enough in your program.
That’s not a question. Here’s a YouTube video about how I don’t like the speed ladder.

What are your qualifications to work with children?
I have an undergrad degree in Physical Health Education and am certified to teach PE in the state of Georgia.

I was probably saying something really important

I don’t want my child lifting weights. I don’t think they’re ready.
Your child won’t lift weights until we feel like it’s appropriate. We challenge different movement patterns and sometimes weight is a way to do it. We also challenge them through additional reps, slow tempo, faster tempo or while focusing on other movements. Based on the research available, there is no reason to worry about a child lifting weights under the supervision of specialists. It does not stunt growth. It does not damage growth plates and often it is easier than bodyweight movements. The forces put on a child during controlled weight lifting (such as found at Core Blend) are much lower than those found in sprinting, jumping, landing, gymnastics movements and sports, so we have no fears in this area. We only want to challenge a child with weights when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

My child is old enough to lift weights. Why isn’t he?
We don’t feel like your child’s movement pattern is refined enough to add additional weight yet. We are confident that with additional time and work they will be ready and they will make better progress long term because we were conservative.

I’m worried that we won’t make it right at 4. Will my child be penalized for running late?
No of course not. They’ll miss out on one exercise and have an abbreviated warmup, but they’ll get a great workout in.

Hill Sprints Improve Acceleration for the athletes, and skin tone for the trainer

Do we have to sign up for specific days?
No. We need to know how many days a week your child will show up for pricing purposes, but they can show up whichever days are convenient.

Do we have to sign a contract?
No. We don’t have contracts.

Do we get a discount for additional family members joining the class?
Yes. We have a family discount that applies to classes or personal training.

We’re going to miss a few days, will we lose out on those sessions?
No. We will roll them over for you.

My Experience with Reese’s Massage

Now that Hoffa Massage Therapy is up and running I’ve been able to use Reese as a massage therapist regularly for the last six months. I’ve used him for my clients, for my wife and for myself and I think there are 5 reasons that Reese gives the absolute best massage. 

  1. Reese is strong. For some reason I was scared of this part. I don’t know what I was picturing, it’s not like Reese accidentally rips the door off of hinges when he goes to open them, but for some reason I was worried he’d accidentally push too hard and break something. Instead, because he has the strength of 10 men, he just does all of the massage work effortlessly and tirelessly. Where other therapists would need to really lean in, use an elbow, or worse of all just give up on stubborn knots, Reese just kneads his way through them.
  2. Reese is knowledgeable. Reese really knows his stuff when it comes to massage. It was frustrating when he couldn’t go out to dinner for about 8 months while he was studying for massage school, but now his devotion to his study has really paid off for me. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about the human body and is constantly studying to continue making himself better.
  3. Reese is well versed. Reese was a professional athlete for well over a decade and has received every sort of recovery treatment you can. This shows when Reese stretches a muscle while he massages, it shows when he brings in special tools for stubborn areas and it shows when he refers people out for a different style of treatment. Reese is my go to authority when I need to know how to treat some small issue.
  4. Reese actually works out. Reese knows about exercise and what sorts of movements I do, so in addition to knowing where I’m likely to be tight, he knows when I need to do more or less of a certain exercise. This knowledge has been invaluable not only with my own training but when I send him my one on one clients for a touch up.
  5. Reese is stubborn. You don’t get to be a world champion without having some patience and willingness to work. When my shoulders were tight and I couldn’t figure out why, Reese was on the case. He didn’t stop poking and prodding until he actually solved the issue. It meant that he went past our hour spending time continuing talking to me, but it was worth it to him just to figure out the real cause.
  6. BONUS REASON One of my biggest pet peeves from therapists is they always ask what I want to work on then they do an extra thirty seconds on that area before going into the same massage they always do. With Reese, he was willing to spend the entire time on the areas that actually bothered me. I thought the knots in my back were just a permanent part of life until I had enough time with Reese for him to fix them.
Strong, Healing Hands

Recovery and Restoration

The road to improved performance and health is best illustrated by how you take care of your body. Not only with how you approach nutrition and your training regimen, but also in how you rest and recover. This should be an integral part to your strategy. 

Rest and recovery allow the body (joints to tissue) proper time to recoup from the workout so that your body is able to perform optimally the next time it is challenged whether in the gym, competition or life.  Research shows that most individuals spend very little time or attention on helping the body effectively recover. Your body needs your assistance in returning the vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, etc) to normal levels, and your tissue (muscles/fascia) to a pre-workout state.  Just because you think it does not mean the body gets any benefit. 

Effective recovery starts with the cool down process after your workout and should include components that will not only stretch muscles/fascia, but will also help you down regulate the nervous system. Down regulation helps your muscles relax, brings your vitals back to normal and improves your overall stress level. 

When muscles and fascia are properly stretched not only does it feel great, but also there is improved hydration and circulation at the cellular level. This is where the recovery really starts and where you can optimize the process.  This is why professional athletes spend an enormous amount of attention in how they approach recovery. Stretching and caring for the fascia and joints is an integral part to their performance.

One type of manual therapy that most pros now use is Fascial Stretch TherapyTM, which helps their fascia remain healthy, and speeds up their recovery. 

Benefits to FSTTM Stretching:

Improve Range of Motion and Mobility  

Improved Performance –  (healthy fascia handles force transmission; better mobility)

Increase Rate of Recovery (better hydration/circulation at cellular level, improves rate of recovery)

Decrease Risk of Injury 

Improve Joint Health (decompresses joints)

Improve Circulation (blood flow improved throughout tissue/body)

Improved Hydration (better circulation delivers fluids)

Decrease Stress (physical and emotional state)

Improve Sleep (more relaxed state; sleep more deeply)

So if the pro athletes find stretching and tissue care important so should we.  Instead of waiting until your feel bad or injured, get in front of it and stretch, relax and recover. It might be the missing piece to the puzzle on reaching your fitness or health goals.