Category Archives for "Other"


SummerMany, many moons ago, when I started my career in fitness, summer would come and I would be desperate.

My personal training appointments would diminish, my class attendance would decrease and I would start thinking that something was wrong with me, that my classes were not as good as I thought and so on.

After a while I grew up, I guess, and realized that I am not that important. The attendance in classes and decrease in appointments were just facts of life. Summer starts, people are tired of being inside, they go on vacations, and they are more active during the weekends. Their schedules and priorities simply change.

If you are like many of my clients, your schedule changes during the summer and you want to enjoy the warm weather, without losing the progress that you have worked so hard to achieve. Well, here are some thoughts on health and well being.

Being born and raised in Brazil has its advantages when the subject is hot weather. In my 20’s I spent many summers going to the beach every weekend and playing beach volleyball. One of the first things that I learned is that sun exposure is best early in the morning or at the end of the afternoon.

Who taught me that?

Beach locals, people born and raised by the beach, who where used to seeing a lot of bad sun burns and other nightmare summer stories every year.

After a few weeks going to the same beach, and getting familiar with the locals they invited me to come back, and play beach volleyball with them the next day.

Since I didn’t know better, I asked: “Is 2 pm good for you?”

Their answer: “No, that’s for tourists! You go to the beach before 10 am or after 4pm, otherwise the sun is too intense, the sand will burn your feet and you will get too tired after playing only 2 games”.

They where spot on. I followed their advice and have never had any major problem with sun exposure.

So what other lessons did I learn then that I still follow now?

– Sunscreen. Use it, lots of it and reapply. I prefer sunscreen specific for sports, because you can perspire and get wet and they still are effective. As a rule of thumb I tend to reapply sunscreen every 2h and the whiter you are, more protection you need (higher the SPF should be).

– Hydrate and then hydrate more! During my beach volleyball days I used to get a 2 litre bottle of water and freeze it overnight. Next day I had a bottle of ice that I would bring with me, let it slowly melt under the shade and have cold water to drink in between games. Later on, I would drink fresh coconut water on my way home and then a pitcher of filtered water. Yes, it seems to be a lot of liquid but I was perspiring most of it away. Do the same: if you are active outside during summer, hydrate before, during and after.

– Barbecue. At the end of summer, one week after the tourists had left, we would get together, locals and adopted ones like me, and throw a party. Since I never liked beer and the food was pretty much leafy greens and chunks of barbecued meat, my experience was quite healthy. If you love to barbecue keep it simple. Leave the barbecue sauces alone (they are full of sugar and bad fats), have some high quality meat, eat some fat, just don’t overeat it, make sure that you start your meal with a big plate of green leafy veggies and don’t add 5lbs of nuts and cheese to your salad or use some creamy dressing on it. As for desert: this is the best time of the year to eat local fruit!

Here we go: a few things that you can do to take advantage of your summer. Have fun, and look, feel and perform better.

5 simple things to look like a goddess

Venus-de-MiloThis is a cheesy title, but I got your attention, therefore it works…

Yes, there are many things that can make you look better, but in a nutshell there are few things that are truly effective and the rest is just icing on the cake.

1 – Stand up straight. So simple and so effective! Do you want to look good? Work against gravity. Do this little test: stand sideways and close to a mirror. Now arch your back, relax your abs and let the shoulders drop forward naturally. Keep this posture and turn your head to look in the mirror. You will see your breasts sagging and your belly pushed out. Now, look to the horizon stand up and tall, chest and shoulders wide and look again: the belly goes in and the boobs go up. That is how you should always look as you walk trough your day.

2 – Eat. Eat only real food: nothing processed, no sugars, no GMO, high quality organic vegetables, grass fed beef, wild fish etc, etc, etc. The quality of your digestion improves, you absorb more nutrients, you feel better, and your skin and hair are properly nourished.

3 – Drink. Drink a lot, drink a lot of water. Not all that canned and bottled stuff that makes you fat or fries your brain, no soda, juices, energy drinks or magical concoctions. Drink 1 litre (4 cups) for each 50lbs of body weight. I know that it seems a lot but if you have a glass every hour you will end up drinking 3 litres in 12 hours without making your bladder explode.

4 – Lift heavy stuff. That will make your body tighten, help with posture, improve hormonal profile, make you feel good and the list goes on.

5 – Sleep. 8 hours a night of deep sleep is what we were made for. A few people can live with less and that is the exception, not the rule. Most people are causing havoc in their adrenal glands for lack of recovery; destroying their physiques by pushing too hard for too long and not de-stressing enough. Don’t watch TV in bed, turn off all the lights, and turn your bedroom in a cave: pitch black, slightly cold, silent. Buy the best mattress that you can afford, as well the best blankets and bed linens. Do that, and take the years off your appearance!

How to become a star!

07 - baby_rock_starIn my business, everybody has their star clients and their miracle cases. I have them too, but most of the time I’m dealing with the Average Joe or Jane—people that don’t have movie-star looks, lifestyles or bank accounts!

One of my favourite Average Jane success stories is the one about my client who lost 30 pounds and got a hard body after her second child was born.

Jane gave birth to her baby boy and took her maternity leave. Three months after the delivery, her doctor gave her the green light to start exercising again.

Every morning—after eating a real breakfast, feeding her child and arranging child care for her kids—she would go to the gym. Twice a week, she would train with me, lifting weights. Twice a week, she would take a spinning class. One or two days a week, it would be a dance, Pilates, or yoga class, or something else that Jane found fun.

Month in, month out, that’s precisely what she did.

In the beginning, she struggled. I talked with her about having a positive attitude, and told her that with patience, she could achieve everything she wished for. It was only a matter of consistency and time.

Jane wasn’t one of those people with blessed genes who can live on ice cream and pasta and still have a great figure. She knew that, and she worked hard to get the body she wanted, by working out and by planning and cooking meals.

Her nutrition plan was quite simple: no sweets or alcohol on weekdays, minimal starch, tons of vegetables, some protein, a few healthy fats and at least three meals a day—no matter what.

The pounds went down and the butt went up!

After three months, we picked up our pace, and Jane started lifting weights three times a week. Every work out was as hard as she could handle—but there were no more complaints or whining about food. Jane kept smiling and drinking tons of water.

Three more months, and she reached her goal: to look better than before her pregnancy! How?

  • Jane had a target. She bought a pair of jeans one size smaller than the ones she was wearing before her pregnancy, and she decided that she would fit into them.
  • She hired a professional (me!) and took his advice.
  • She wasn’t scared of trying new things either in terms of exercise or food.
  • She understood that if she didn’t lift weights she would look like a pile of flaccid skin in those jeans.
  • She didn’t count calories, but she kept her diet was consistent, with nutritious, varied foods.
  • She drank water throughout out the day—lots of it!

Jane became a star client—not for me, but for herself. Not due to my effort, but due to her own.

You might not have the time or the resources that Jane did, but if you follow her lead by being consistent, devising a plan, and following simple, self-imposed rules…BINGO! Results will show up at your door. And you will shine more than ever!


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.