03 - breatheBreathe.


Now deeper.

Now even deeper.

Take your time, don’t rush, and repeat once more. Great! Repeat it 5 more times.

How do you feel with a bit more oxygen going around?

Calmer? Relaxed?

If the answer is yes, great. That is precisely what we are looking for. If the answer is no, then my friend, you are in trouble.

Look around and you will see tense people, their diaphragms squished due to poor posture, tons of people breathing into the top of their chest and not down into their bellies (caused by various factors).

I see it so often. In fact, 9 times out of 10, right in the first personal training session, I ask my client to perform exercises, so they will be more mindful of their breath.

If you breathe properly you recruit your abdominals properly, therefore you are more stable and strong right away. More oxygen gets into your lungs and less effort is expended to get oxygen in and carbon dioxide out, making you a happier person without taking any magic pill.

There are many ways to help you do this: take a yoga or Pilates class, go for a walk, meditate, or just pay attention to your breathing pattern.

Look at little kids and see how they breathe: belly in and belly out. The chest only moves when in distress, because chest breathing is accessory, and is linked to life or death situations. Therefore if you breath only into your upper chest, unconsciously you are telling your brain that extreme stress is happening and your defense systems are activated, producing adrenaline and cortisol non-stop. And the last thing that you need is more unnecessary stress.

When you just breathe into your chest, only one third of your lung capacity is being used; only the top third is being engaged.  The diaphragm, the muscle that is designed specially to do this work, activates the other 2/3’s.

Now let’s repeat: breathe in = belly out, breathe out = belly in. Leave your chest alone and avoid moving it.  Guaranteed you will feel more relaxed, more grounded and ready to face the world!

It’s All In Your Head

04 - confusionThere’s a simple analogy that I often give when teaching my spinning classes: The Brain is the general and the Muscle is the soldier – if the general doesn’t give the right order the soldier doesn’t do the right thing.

Weight management is pretty much the same thing: if you don’t stick in your head precisely what you want to do, you will get nowhere.

Some days are easier than others: you are well rested, your body responds optimally, your stamina is great and everything goes better than expected.

Normally that is the exception, not the rule. Most of the time your legs feel heavy and/or you didn’t sleep well and/or you can’t concentrate and/or you skipped a meal and/or… the list goes on.

It happens that there are a lot of variables over which you have no control, but there is one variable that only you can control: YOUR ATTITUDE!

It is totally dependent on you whether you have positive or negative attitude. Attitude is a way of looking at situations in life.It is up to you to see the exercise as a chore or a step closer to your goal.It is up to you to make the best that you can with whatever you have. It is up to you to have a winner or loser attitude.

You attitude is not dependent on your genetics, income, gender or the weather.

I know it sounds simplistic, but it actually is very simple, as simple as driving: you keep your attention where you want to be, not where you were or where you don’t want to be.

Attitude can go both ways: you look at your blubber and the more you think about it harder it is to get rid of OR you look at the dumbbells and you get it into your head that you will finish your set and before even starting you are a step closer to finishing it already.

Karch Kiraly was the first athlete in history to win gold medals in two different sports:volleyball in 1984 and 1988 and beach volleyball in 1996. In volleyball he is the equivalent of Pele or Gretzky or Jordan, and when asked how he accomplished so much, his answer was simple: “You win a game playing one point at the time.”

That is precisely the same approach that you have to have when trying to improve your body composition: have a clear goal and stick in your head what you have to do in order to get it.

Before every work out remind your self why you are doing what you are doing, whenever you plan your meals think about what you want from them: taste, quality and nutrition.

Keep your goal in mind and that will push you forward and you will get what you want faster.

You probably won’t win every point, you probably won’t win every set, but you will do whatever takes to win the game!

5 Things to do to achieve Nirvana

05 - enlightened-buddhaToday I promise I will be nice.  As nice as I can be.

No smart ass wannabe comments, no anecdotes making fun of anyone, no sarcasm or bitchiness.

As far as I can tell, we all are trying to live our lives with less stress, more energy and quite simply, more happiness.

We live our lives in our bodies, and as long as these bodies are better treated, the easier it will be to achieve Nirvana.

Hmmm…well…OK, let’s move on to the list!

1) SLEEP:  You should be getting about 8 hours of deep sleep a night.

Make a concerted effort to go to bed by 10 pm.  Sleep in a pitch black, cool environment with no electronics. If that is not possible: wake up earlier instead of going to bed later and unplug any electronics.

2) DRINK WATER: 1 litre (4 cups) for each 50 lbs of body weight.
If you’re like 90% of the people I know, you are chronically dehydrated. That causes pain, stiffness and constipation. Don’t freak out, just wake up and start your day with a big glass of water. Have a water bottle near you during the day and keep drinking and drinking, until you drink all the water that your body needs.

3) EAT LESS JUNK:  If it comes from a box, it is suspicious.  The more processed it is, the worse it is for you.  The longer the shelf life, the more poisonous it is.  Sugar, table salt and white flour are all well known as “White Death”.  Lactose and gluten are highly allergenic. And a lot of people are intolerant to them and don’t know it.   If your diet is perfect 90% of the time you will be leaner, stronger, healthier and happier.

4) BREATHE:  Slow down, go for a walk, relax, listen to calming music. Anything that will help you to recover.  If you keep pushing hard all the time, you end up breaking. We already live busy lives full of commitments. There are a lot of things that our bodies and minds are subjected to on a daily basis: packed tight schedules, bills to pay, traffic, other people’s attitude. Think about energy as a bank account you can’t keep withdrawing all the time – at some point you have to make a deposit, otherwise the consequences will be disastrous. So, breathe!

5) MOVE:  The human body wasn’t designed to sit for hours and hours non-stop.  Walk, take a step class, lift weights, do karate, dance around the living room. Whatever you like doing is a good beginning as long as you move.  It’s better than sitting in front of a computer reading my gibberish ;)!


5 simple steps. Try them, live with them, and while you may not achieve Nirvana, you will be well on your way to a calmer, healthier and happier you.

The Thirst For Success

sample-picWe all want to:

1. feel better

2. look better, and

3. be richer!

Well, I can’t really help you with number 3, but if you are really into the first 2 there is something quite simple that everyone can do: drink water.

It has 0 calories, it’s used in pretty much in every function of  your body, and it makes up 70% of your tissues.

Do you feel pain? Drink water.
Do you feel lethargic? Drink water.
Do you feel cranky? Drink water.
Do you feel bloated? Drink water.

You may not solve all of these problems as they each can have more than one cause, but I assure you that if you are drinking enough H2O, you are better physically than most people that I know, as chronic dehydration is rampant.

So how much is enough?

1 litre (or 4 cups) for each 50 lbs of body weight.

Normally people complain about 2 things when I tell them that they should be drinking more:

1. I am not thirsty! Translation: I am so dehydrated that my brain has shut down that thirst response in order to keep working properly.

2. I pee all the time! Maybe you just didn’t urinate at all before, or maybe you are drinking too much at once, as the body can absorb only a certain amount at the time.

The trick is quite simple.  Let’s say that you are 150lbs. You should be drinking 3 litres of H2O a day.  But you don’t feel thirsty!


wake up and start drinking it right away

1 cup every hour = 250 ml/h
3 litres = 3.000 ml

3.000/250 = 12

it will take you 12h to drink all the water that you need

if you start peeing clear more than once every 30 min you stop drinking

It may take a few weeks for your body to get used to being properly hydrated. And the results are worth it!

This may not make you richer, but for sure your skin, hair, muscles and joints will thank you big time!