In the month of June before the start of our new boot camps at Fitness Fusion in Easthampton, I asked our members to come up with 10 problems for our health club in Easthampton that we could find solutions for.  Below are the 10 problems that they came up with and I want to thank everyone for the great participation.  One thing I would like everyone to start thinking about is this phrase..... 24 fitness.  What does this mean?  It means all day every day you should be thinking about how to live a healthy happier lifestyle.  If you are one that is looking for results in our health club, you should be committed to 24 fitness.  If you do something half way, you should expect half the results.  So, going forward let's be honest with ourselves and really ask if we are giving it all we have in the boot camps and our exercise and nutrition outside of the health club.  Is 100% what you want to give?  Some may be fine with just some exercise and enjoying the way they do things currently while others may want decide who you are. Problem #1.  Protein Farts:

Interesting nutrition topic and unfortunately very common.  The first thing I would like to say is to keep these things at home and away from our health club, especially during boot camps.  I am sure you agree. 

Protein farts can be due to multiple things and also it varies person to person.  The first thing is that maybe you may be consuming too much protein.  Trying knocking down the amount and track it to see if it helps.  Secondly, what type of protein are you using?  Is it a high quality protein or a low quality with added junk and sugar?  Sugar can give you gas as well.  Try using a higher quality and see if that does the trick.  Lastly, try eating some whole foods to replace your protein bars or shakes.  Protein, although commonly thought of as a meal replacement should not be used too much.  It is a great supplement but that is just what it is, a supplement.  When engaging in exercise and nutrition for your workouts, you need to have a well balanced healthy diet every day....supplements are just not going to cut it in the long term. 

Problem #2. Post Workout Nutrition:

After your boot camp or a similar workout routine, you should be consuming carbohydrates and proteins in order for you to replace the energy you lost and for your muscles to get proper recovery and to rebuild.  If fat loss is your goal at our health club then your main consumption of carbohydrates for the day should be coming post workout about 1-2 hours later.  This can be a whole foods meal such as your lean meat and veggies.  Directly after your workout you have a "window of opportunity" where your muscles are primed to accept nutrients that can stimulate muscle repair, muscle growth, and muscle strength.  The best option for this, in my opinion is a post workout drink.  Other options like fruits you could choose would include a banana, watermelon or pineapple and sweet potatoes, whole grain bread or rice, and oats can also be alright.  A post workout protein shake is also recommended if you have had a tough strength training workout in order to rebuild those muscle fibers.  I personally like a whey protein that is absorbed quickly.  Mix this with some low fat or almond milk, spinach and berries of choice.  Lastly, when we are discussing fast absorbing carbohydrates found in pre-workout drinks.....these should be used only after an intense workout and not after a walk or light bike ride. Generally speaking, if you are looking to burn energy or lose fat, a recovery drink is not necessary. If you’re prioritizing fat loss, performance and recovery from your workouts are not as important as creating a calorie deficit.  For the men and women trying to gain muscle, post workout recovery is very vital to your success.  So figure out what your goals and remember our mindset, 24 fitness.

Problem #3 Overactive Hip Flexors/Quads:

Hip flexors are a group of muscles that flex the hip and although there are several muscles that contribute the 2 main ones that are talked about most often are the Psoas and Iliacus.  Both attach to the femur but the Psoas also attaches to the lower back.  When tight, the Psoas can pull on your lower back and cause pain or discomfort. Furthermore, a tight hip flexor will also inhibit or prevent activation of your butt which can lead to other injuries as well.  What can you do to loosen the hip flexors?  Foam rolling, stretching, massage and doing some simple exercises is generally a safe and good method to loosen them up.  Here is a video to watch on stretching the hip flexor.  I PICKED THIS VIDEO B/C THE GUY LOOKS LIKE JIM'S DAD(video) FROM THE MOVIE AMERICAN PIE.  It's funny...... Ok, moving on....some other things you can do include simple exercise such as the reverse lunge which is a lunge stepping back with one leg.  The overhead lunge is great too b/c it helps loosen up the fascia which can be an issue in your hip flexors.  Simply lunge while holding a light object like a medicine ball weighing 4-8lbs. overhead.  Finally, a massage is a good way to loosen up the hip flexors, either by a therapist or yourself. 

Problem #4  Can You Get Rid Of Middle Age Pouch?

Come on!  Yes, of course you can get rid of middle age pouch.  That is what I have to say as a personal trainer, right?  Well yes but the answer is still yes.  Middle age pouch is more common as women age b/c of the fact that a decrease in estrogen levels decrease fat distribution resulting in more BELLY.  The answer for this one is simple so why over complicate healthy overall and make sure your workout routines are backed by good nutrition to go with your workouts.  Secondly, get on a strength training and cardiovascular routine regularly.  It is that simple.  Yes it is hard work but anything worth doing takes hard work.  If you want to lose your "middle aged pouch" at Fitness Fusion or any health club for that matter, it takes a 24 fitness mindset along with a kitchen full of healthy foods. 

Problem #5  Fat Burning Supplement...Good OR Bad?

In my opinion.....not is that for an answer?  I simply believe in a good workout routine in order to lose weight.  No yo yo diets or pills.  I also believe that if you are taking away from one thing you are adding another.  What I mean by this is that if you are adjusting your body by taking a fat burning supplement, what are the other side effects?  If you are taking a pre-workout or whey protein, are the benefits worth the added calories?  In a lot of cases, yes but it really depends on the person.  Stick to whole healthy foods( your lean meats, fruits and vegetables), a good exercise plan and consistency and there is your fat burning supplement for YA! opinion is only my opinion so do your research and come up with your own conclusion.  Oh ya...and if your listening to Dr. Oz.....well....ah......don't. Can you tell I am not a fan?

Problem #6  How to mentally prepare for 4 rounds of boot camp

This was the only problem that a member in our health club in Easthampton wrote down with a solution/ kudos to you on that one.  The problem was that they get bored having 4 rounds in a row in a circuit during the boot camps.  The recommendation was to reverse the order of the rounds at some point in camp or add a mix of some exercises in our workout routine such as CORE at the end like we have done in the past.   First off, positive criticism/feedback is a great tool to make the gym better and more fun so thank you for that.  I think every day how to make the boot camps more fun, mix them up and always trying to add new ideas to constantly improve them.  I have also started to implement different ideas and structures to the boot camp and this will get even easier as we grow with more members.  This will allow me to add more instructors, divide up camps, and eventually implement a whole bunch of fun ideas and different types of boot camps for added results and value.  A couple things I can ask of you is to please give me feedback and ideas on how to better our community.  Also, please be patient as the gym grows and always know that my door is open.  Lastly, family and friends is what this community is built on, so let's bring them on board, have a blast, support one another and get in awesome shape together!

Problem #7   I have burning calves during warm up

This sounds like a classic case of the " I am not flexible " guy or gal. Don't worry, your not the only one.  Everyone has something or some muscle group that they can work on. Now this might not be just your calf muscles that are tight but many muscles that are connected......especially the hamstrings.  You really need to focus on stretching ALL the muscles in the legs not just the calves. Many times a problem or pain you are experiencing stems from a different source and you need to find that source.  The main recommendation here is to stretch and foam roll your legs consistently and often and see how that works.  Also, a new pair of shoes may do the trick.  Visit a store that you can have someone take a look at your feet and fit you in the right pair of shoes for exercising.  The answer here is not going to be written in this paragraph but rather with you seeking out some resources and trying different things to resolve the pain you are experiencing.  Nothing is going to get better unless you put your efforts forward, tap available resources, find the problem and fix it.  See someone at the health club about how to make this better so you can feel more comfortable and get more out of your workouts.

Problem #8   Body Fat Reduction

The best plan to reduce body fat can be simplified using 3 sound principles...

1.  Proper Nutrition 2.  Cardiovascular Training 3.  Weight Training Program

Nutrition is the most important thing in reducing your body fat and remember to keep the 24 fitness mindset all the time.   If you do not stick to a healthy well-rounded diet then reducing body fat can be a difficult thing to do.  Have you ever heard the expression.. " Abs are made in the kitchen?" Where do you think that came from?  The best thing you can do to reduce weight is lower carbs and stick to your lean meats and vegetables along with some natural fruits.  I am not saying this is the only way but generally speaking you would be on the right track if you started here.  There are so many ways to eat healthy and not everyone is the same.  If you are really serious about your nutrition plan for your workouts, come see me at the gym or visit a nutritionist that can get you on the right track. Also, become a member on and learn about the foods you are putting in your mouth and what they represent in terms of calories and your macronutrients.....fats, carbs, and proteins.  Start looking at food labels and get familiar with what is good and bad.  A good rule of thumb is to stay away from anything processed or in a box. Some other good pointers to take in on nutrition to reduce body fat is reducing starchy carbs such as pasta, rice or baked potatoe, decreasing sugar intake, eat breakfast to rebuild your body from "starvation mode" it was in all night, eat 5-6 meals each day, avoid drastic calorie reductions, increase vegetable and lean meat consumption, and eating healthy fats.  A solid cardiovascular and weight training program are also both extremely important in reducing body fat.  Some people believe that they can obtain their goals by just implementing a cardio routine at their health club.  The fact is that you can get in great shape and drop pounds by doing cardio but you NEED a good weight training program to turn that fat into lean muscle.  This is also going to help you speed up your metabolism and burn more calories resulting in body fat reduction.  We offer this through both our boot camps and strength training classes we have at the gym.  Furthermore, in order to get over those dreaded plateaus you always here people talk about, you would definitely benefit from a personal trainer with some expertise on this matter.  Even those who are familiar with weight training can usually benefit from the use of a different approach and someone who has tested different styles of training.  To keep it simple for now though, just begin a simple weight training program and start there.

Problem #9  Pre-Workout Nutrition

Two things one should think about when they are deciding what to eat before a workout are how much time they have and what type of workout routine they will be doing.  If you are doing a workout for more than an hour such as a long run than you should prepare to refuel your body with some carbohydrates such as gatorade or even a power bar of some sort. For a majority of the time and for most typical workouts lasting an hour or less, a source of protein and carbohydrate is a good choice.   If you have hours of time ( 3-5) before a workout, a decent size meal with your healthy foods is just fine as long as you know your body tolerates it well.  Usually combining a healthy fat with this meal of healthy carbs and proteins is a good idea. If you are short on time you definitely need to limit the amount of food you put into your body, especially if you know it will upset your stomach while working out but also because it can hold up getting the proper nutrients to your body for energy. Fruit is generally a good choice for this or even a source of protein that is light.  A small whey protein shake, banana or some small hand full of fruit should do the trick.  If you are ready to workout and have no time to eat, a simple gatorade should work to keep energy levels up.  If you are trying to lose weight, eating normally 1-2 hours before a workout is probably the best idea to avoid adding any calories into your day.  Again, everyone is different and you really need to know how your body reacts to different foods and workouts.  There is a lot of talk regarding workout "crashes" b/c of not eating enough food for your energy during workouts.  The bottom line is that if you are eating healthy and having 5-6 meals each day like you should then a small snack or drink before a workout should be more than enough to power you through.  

Problem #10 How Do I Resist Alcohol & Junk Food?....

This problem is one that many people struggle with.  There are many ways to conquer this but the most important one starts with you.  Time to get on the 24 fitness mindset because your going to need it for this one.  You must be willing to fight and resist these temptations as they are all around you each and every day.  The first thing you can do is limit the amount of alcohol or junk food in the house.  This will at least limit you access and keep you more focused.  Ultimately, by not having access to these foods or alcoholic beverages, you have eliminated it, right?  Hopefully, but for some it is much more difficult than that.  Some other approaches that you may want to try is not skipping meals.  Many people think that skipping meals can save calories which in theory is true. What they do not know is that by skipping meals often you are putting your body in "starvation mode" which decreases your metabolism and in turn will hold onto fat and burn lean muscle instead...that does not sound good, does it?  If you are worried about added calories, make sure you are working out each day and not skipping those little snacks throughout the day.....just make sure they are healthy ones.  Eating smaller portions is another approach that you can try.  Try eating a smaller portion and waiting 10-15 minutes and you may see that you are actually full and don't need those added calories.  Furthermore, eat whole foods and not processed junk that is not going to give you the nutrients your body needs along with leaving your body feeling satisfied and full.  Don't turn to food in times of stress, find ways to cope with it.  Don't eat late at night.  Once dinner is over, go and brush your teeth before watching some TV to avoid eating a late night snack.  Lastly, if you know you have an event planned that will involve food or alcoholic beverages, plan to exercise a little extra that day or eat a little less.  Limit yourself at the party to what you believe is reasonable.  Anything worth doing is hard and comes along with some discipline.  Make your decision to do better, commit, and make it happen. 

I want everyone to know that my door is always open.  If you are struggling with any exercise in our boot camps or with some nutrition habits, let's get together and figure it out.  I pride myself on building our health club as a place for people to be themselves, feel comfortable, get support, and above all....have fun and get in shape.  See you at the boot camps in our health club and thanks for being such a great member of our fun, awesome community in Easthampton.