Boot Camp in San Jose Shows You How to Get More Results in Less Time!

It seems everybody is crazy busy these days.  It’s no wonder that many people say the one reason they don’t exercise is because they don’t have time.

We’re helping people crush that  “I have no time” excuse at our fitness boot camps in San Jose, Los Gatos and Campbell.  We’re showing people how to maximize every minute in their workouts and get MORE results in LESS time than “traditional” workouts at the gym. Many people still hang on to the notion that you need to do hours of cardio workouts every week on top of hours of weight lifting at the gym in order lose weight and be fit. Nope.  Recent research proves otherwise.

Recent studies have found that “metabolic” training, or combining strength and cardiovascular exercises together in a circuit format, are very effective for fat loss.  Studies have also found that interval training (combining periods of high intensity exercise with segments of lower intensity exercise), is very effective for fat loss and muscle preservation.

The cool thing about these types of workouts is that they’re typically SHORTER workouts than the traditional gym workout during which a person does a cardio workout for 30-60 minutes followed by a strength training workout for another 30-45 minutes.  I’m “Crazy Busy” just like everyone else in Silicon Valley.  If I can work out and get the results I want in LESS time, I’m all for it!

What does a “metabolic” workout look like?  Well, the sky is the limit, but here are a couple of examples from some of our recent workouts:

At our boot camp in Downtown San Jose we created of circuit of jump  squats, push ups, hopping through an agility ladder, standing rows and alternating lunges.  We did the exercises at each station for 50 seconds, took a rest for 10 seconds, and the moved on to the next station.  We did this circuit for three rounds.This workout developed upper and lower body strength, lower body power and cardiovascular fitness–in a FRACTION of the time of a typical workout at the gym.

Next week at our evening boot camp in Los Gatos, we’ll put our campers through an obstacle course during which they’ll lunge, jump, push things, pull things, and step up on things while they move around the park we use.  It’s a full body workout that combines strength work, cardiovascular conditioning and includes functional movements (squatting, stepping, pulling, pushing) that we do as humans in every day life.  This type of a workout burns massive calories, boosts our metabolism for hours after the workout and helps us perform and move better on a daily basis.

Aside from the physical benefits that interval training affords us, creating the variety that we do in all our boot camps in the Bay Area keeps the FUN in fitness.

Now, if you like running on a treadmill for an hour, or doing a little “aerobic magazine reading” on the elliptical, well that’s fine.  But if you’re trying to boost your metabolism, shed some body fat, and maximize every moment of your workout, give metabolic training a try!

Want to experience a non-gym workout?  Try a lifeSport Fitness boot camp in San Jose, Los Gatos or Campbell today!

Not sure if boot camp is for you?  To request  a FREE one-week trial, please log on to:

Committed to your fitness success,


Campbell Boot Camp: The Most Effective Fat Loss Exercises

What’s The Most Effective Exercise Method?

It depends!  I don’t say this to be sarcastic.  It really does depend on what your goal is.  Some people want to lose weight.  Others want to “tone up” and feel stronger.  Some people want big, defined muscles. While others want to run faster, or jump higher. Technically speaking,  these goals dictate different training programs.

At lifeSport Fitness, my experience over the years has taught me that the majority of people we work with want fat loss, although they may not say it this way.  They tell us they want to lose weight, lose inches and/or develop muscles that are firmer and less jiggly. We also hear a lot about wanting to decrease “belly fat”.   This all points to “fat loss”.  We try to avoid the term “weight loss”, as it doesn’t really tell the whole story.

In a well-designed fat loss program, inches will be lost, and muscle mass will be maintained or improved, thereby giving people the feeling that their muscles are firmer and more toned. In some, but not all cases, scale weight will be lost as well (this depends on whether an individual has a lot of excess body fat).

With fat loss/muscle strengthening in mind, then, what is the most effective exercise method to achieve these results?   Lucky for the participants in our boot camps in San Jose and Campbell, they’re doing the right stuff for fat loss in every camp workout.  I’ll outline below what studies have found with regard to effective programs so that you’ll have ideas on how to design your own workouts during the week.

Intensity matters. Higher intensity exercise has been shown to facilitate better fat loss results than lower intensity or moderate intensity exercise.  This is why we include high intensity activities such as Tabata intervals into some classes, and why we coach our boot campers to work hard on the cardio segments during our cardio/ strength circuit and partner drills.

Functional exercises are superior to isolation exercises.  Strength training exercises utilizing several joints and/or large muscle groups (think push ups, rows, squats, lunges, dead lifts, squat to press, and lunges with medicine balls) have been shown to elicit hormonal shifts that favor fat loss more than single joint exercises such as biceps curls or leg extensions. We still have campers using smaller muscle isolation exercises in our classes on occasion, but we mainly incorporate exercises that utilize multiple joints at once for maximum calorie burn and to help the body function better as a whole.

Interval training is superior to steady intensity training.   Studies show that high intensity interval training trumps lower level, steady intensity endurance training for fat loss.  Interval training creates a kind of turbulence in your body.  It takes more energy to perform, and requires more energy (calories) from your body after the fact.  In the hours after a good, high intensity interval training workout, your body tends to utilize stored fat for fuel.

High intensity circuit training creates a “best of both worlds” situation for strength gain and fat loss. A 2010 study indicated that strength training done in a high intensity circuit format created better strength gains than a low intensity circuit format, and better fat loss gains than traditional endurance training.  Two major health benefits in ONE workout!  Yes !  Performed properly, the cardio/strength circuit we use in our fitness boot camps gives you the benefits of interval training, with the strength benefits of circuit training.

High intensity workouts hit you in the belly.  A 2008 study found that high intensity exercise was more effective for reducing total abdominal fat in women than lower intensity exercise.

In our boot camp programs in San Jose and Campbell,  we formulate the workouts to be a mix of cardiovascular interval training (like Tabata intervals), circuit training (our cardio/strength circuit) and functional training (many of the strength exercises in our circuit).  We think it affords our customers the most effective mix of exercise training for fat loss and muscle gain/maintenance.

Want to experience one of the best workouts in the Bay Area?  You’re invited to a FREE one week trial at one of our boot camps!  Try an early morning workout in Downtown San Jose or Almaden, or an evening workout in Campbell or Los Gatos.  Our camps are co-ed and all fitness levels are welcome.  Log on to: to reserve a spot for a free trial!

What have you got to lose but some unwanted fat???

Committed to your success,


How To Build The Ultimate Circuit Training Workout For Rapid Fat Loss

In the past, the cornerstone of most resistance training workouts has been performing exercises in a straight set format. Essentially, this means you perform a certain number of reps for a certain number of sets of  a given exercise, and then you rest anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes based on your training goals before repeating this set/rep combo again. This is actually a traditional body builder program.  There’s nothing really wrong with it, and most “regular” folks you see at the gym are doing just this type of a program.  If they’ve got 60-90 minutes to get their strength workout and their cardiovascular training in,  and they’re getting the results they want, well then, they should probably keep doing what they’re doing!  However, there is a quicker way to get a great workout in.

A much more effective and time-efficient approach to ordering your exercises is utilizing the alternating set format. Here you’ll perform one exercise, rest for a very short period of time, then perform another non-competing exercise, rest for a short period of time, and so forth. Alternating sets allow you to work different areas of your body when you would otherwise be resting with the straight set format. Plus, by working another area of your body with a non-competing exercise you allow your body to recover from the previous exercise(s). The result is improved training economy and density: more work accomplished in less time, the cornerstone of any sound fat loss program.

There are several ways to perform alternating sets outlined below:

1.)   Supersets: Alternate between two different non-competing exercises (e.g. upper body and lower body such as push-ups and lunges). I really like this format and use it for my personal training customers in San Jose, as well as for many of my own workouts.

2.)   Trisets: Alternate between three different exercises (e.g. push, pull, and lower body such as push-ups, rows, and lunges).

3.)   Circuits: Alternate between four or more different exercises

Though supersets and trisets are excellent alternating set options, I believe circuit training is by the far the best option for time-crunched recreational exercisers who want to boost their metabolism and decrease body fat . That’s one reason why we  incorporate a strength/cardio circuit into about 90% of our monthly bootcamp workouts in San Jose and Los Gatos.  They incinerate calories, as well as develop lean muscle and cardiovascular endurance.

Here’s an example of a 6 station cardio/strength circuit:

Exercise#1- Jump rope

Exercise#2- Dips

Exercise#3- High knee jog in place

Exercise#4- Pull-ups  (if you don’t have a pull up bar, you can do an inverted row at home by putting a broomstick across two chairs)

Exercise#5- Fast lateral shuffle

Exercise#6:  Push ups

Exercise at each station for 1 minute, and take a 10-15 second recovery break between each station.  At the cardio stations (1, 3, and 5) you’ll go “all out” for one minute.  At the strength stations (2,4, and 6), perform sets of 8-12 repetitions of the exercise, and then take a brief rest.  Beginners might get in 2 sets, advanced folks might get in 4 sets during the 60 second time frame (due to less rest time).

Perform this circuit up to four times for an excellent fat burning workout.

The key to creating the optimal hormonal environment for fat loss is to perform each exercise with maximal intensity while separated by brief rest periods in order to accumulate a high volume of total body work in the shortest amount of time possible. Circuit training provides for the best of both worlds and is thus simply unmatched for simultaneously maximizing fat loss and lean muscle gain.

When you’re short on time (and who isn’t these days!), nothing beats a high intensity circuit training workout.

Committed to your success,


The Secret to Blasting Belly Fat

Due to technical difficulty in editing the workout video I created for you last Friday (my computer is bumping up to it’s memory limit), I’ve decided to answer a question I get a lot at my San Jose boot camps, and Jackie gets asked a lot at our Campbell boot camp.  I’ll get you the video later this week when I free up more memory in my computer!

So, the burning question is:  “How do I get rid of my belly fat??

The answer doesn’t lie in hundreds of crunches. You can do crunches till you’re blue in the face–it won’t reduce the fat located in your belly (dang it!).  At best, you’ll get stronger abs.  Crunches aren’t my favorite exercise for strong abs–but we’ll save the “say no to the ‘all crunch’ workout” rant for another day.

The key to seeing your abs is to eat and exercise for fat loss, not necessarily for weight loss. You can severely restrict your calorie intake and you’ll lose weight–but what have you really lost???  Probably some calorie burning muscle!  Your body consists of fat mass and lean body mass (water, muscle, bone, organs, etc.). You want to minimize your fat mass and maximize your lean body mass.  This will raise your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories all day long.  So, crash dieting or eating a very low calorie diet may actually set you back in your quest for lean, flat abs.

Here are my suggestions to drop body fat in order to reveal lean, toned abs:

Eat small meals throughout the day that consist mainly of lean protein, produce and monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, nuts, canola oil and avocado).  Monounsaturated fats have been featured in the “Flat Belly Diet” promoted by Prevention Magazine.  Eaten in moderation, they seem to help with weight loss.

Minimize processed junk food. It’s usually high in calories and this will not lead to successful fat loss.

Go easy on grain based foods (most of us tend to eat too many—yours truly included!).  When you do eat grain based foods, make them whole grain (oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown or wild rice).

Strength train hard. Put down the pink Barbie weights and lift to fatigue!  Research has shown that test subjects who did aggressive strength training lost inches from their midsection.  Your best bet is to focus on burning as many calories during your workouts as possible by engaging your whole body each and every training session. Multi-joint movements like squats, push-ups, and lunges (or better yet, total body exercises like a squat-to-press) burn a lot more calories than single joint movements. I don’t have a problem with single joint exercises (like biceps curls), but I’d like to see most of your exercises in any given workout be multi-joint exercises.   You’ll strengthen all your major muscle groups this way and you’ll burn lots of calories. When you come to boot camp, Jackie and I take care of this for you by giving you lots of multi-joint exercises to do!

Include interval training as part of your cardio workout.  Interval training has been shown to burn WAY more calories during a workout than “steady state” exercise at a moderate exertion level.  In addition, your metabolism stays elevated for awhile after a hard workout–burning more calories for you again!

Mix up your cardio routine. Notice how you get better at certain cardio workouts over time?  Yep.  You’re getting more efficient.  But that’s not what you want when you work out!  Mix up your routine so that your body doesn’t acclimate.  Stay inefficient!  Keep your body guessing and working hard by changing up your cardio interval routines (hey, we do this for you at boot camp, too!).

Get enough calcium. Some research has shown the people on fat loss programs who get adequate calcium lose more fat than those who don’t consume calcium.

So, there you have it, my suggestions for whittling down your belly fat.

Questions?  Comments?  Please leave them below.

Let’s make our last week of July camp a great one!

Committed to your (fat loss) success,


P.S.  A warm welcome to a few “late entries” to our July camps:

Campbell boot camp:  Welcome, Kelsey!

Almaden boot camp:  Welcome Marnie, Maritza and Lori!

Weight loss plateau-Solution #3

I’ve covered some food issues in my previoius posts on overcoming a weight loss plateau.  Now let’s tackle your weight loss plateau from an exercise perspective.

When you become a regular exerciser, your body does what it’s good at–it adapts.  If you do the same workout routine and the same cardio routine day in and day out, it becomes easier to do, right?  Your body has become more efficient.  


I like to use a car analogy to illustrate this:  A well-tuned car burns less fuel at a particular speed than a car that’s out of whack.  Same with your body. That’s one of the few negative aspects of exercise as it relates to weight loss.  You perhaps huffed and puffed when you ran, say, 3 miles for the first time, and now you’re in better shape and can do it easily.  You’re also probably burning a few less calories now during those three miles than you did when you first started running.  Dang.

But hang on.  I have a solution:  

Mix up your strength and cardio workouts

Stop doing the same old thing all the time!  I think the best way to shake up your workout is to do interval training.  I talk a lot about interval training here at the this blog, so I’m not going to go into detail about it here (seek out previous posts and workouts listed in the archives).

Other ideas to shake up your workout:

-If you’re a treadmill exerciser or an outdoor runner, run hills or put your treadmill on an incline.

-If you are a spinning enthusiast, get off the bike and go for a run.

-If you’re a swimmer, get out of the pool and pick a land-based cardio workout.

-If you’re a Zumba groupie, try a step class.

-Re-vamp your strength workout by changing the exercises you do or the angle at which you do them.

-Change other parameters of your strength workout each month:  Sets, repetitions, rest periods or the weight you lift.

Keep your body guessing and adapting—don’t get complacent with your workouts.


If you shake up your routine, you’re sure to shake up your plateau!


Committed to your success,



High intensity exercise burns serious calories!

I’ve got a quick, but intense homework assignment for participants in my evening Los Gatos boot camp and my early morning Almaden boot camp.  Make sure you warm up (take a 5 minute walk) before starting this workout!

The 60-25 workout
Jumping jacks- 60 seconds
Walking lunges- 25 out , 25 back
Spiderman push ups- 60 seconds (or to failure)
Ab crunches- 25 reps
Squats (squat jumps for advanced campers)- 60 seconds
High knee run- 25 reps (count “1” each time right leg comes up)
REST:  60 seconds
Repeat this sequence 2 times—or 3 times if you’re feeling beastly!
Participants in my “Fit and Fabulous” Willow Glen camp:  Please do “workout B” on your handout this weekend, plus TWO cardio interval workouts before class on Tuesday.
Have an amazing weekend!
Committed to your success,

Toss the teeny weights, please

Okay, it’s time to rant.  I just got back from the gym. I almost told a complete stranger she was wasting her time, but I bit my tongue and moved to a different area of the weight room so I wouldn’t have to watch her work out.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that there is more than one approach to strength training.  But what I saw wasn’t an approach I’d advocate unless you’re in rehab after surgery or an injury.  What I saw was a woman, probably in her early 50’s, doing several different exercises for her upper body with little pink 3 pound weights.  EVERY exercise……….the same little 3 pound weights.  She did her program fluidly, and might I say, effortlessly. Kinda like the weight wasn’t really hard to lift at all.  Hmmmmmmmmm.
First let me state I’m not worried about the color of her weights.  Hey, I like pink. I’m worried about the miniscule resistance she was using, not to mention that she used the same weights for a chest exercise and a triceps exercise.  I’m also bothered that the routine looked effortless for her (which is why I doubt she was rehabbing a joint or muscle group). 
One major tenet in strength training is that we must overload the muscle in order for it to adapt and become stronger.  Simply put:  If your muscle isn’t getting pooped out towards the end of your last set, you need to increase the weight you’re using.   Larger muscle groups (like the chest) will usually require more weight to become fatigued than a smaller muscle group (like the triceps).
This isn’t to say that every workout has to be a “beat me, whip me” workout.  But, if you  don’t progressively overload the muscle, it will cease to adapt.  Although a very light weight might be appropriate for a person working on joint stability or injury rehab, it’s not appropriate for muscle development if it doesn’t fatigue the muscle.  Unless we give a muscle a little more than it can currently  handle, it has no reason to adapt and become stronger.
I have a sneaking suspicion that if I had struck up a conversation with this woman at the gym and asked her why she was using the little pink weights, she might have said something about not wanting to become “too muscular”, or that women in her age bracket shouldn’t lift weights that are heavy.  I say hogwash to both of those reasons.  Women in general don’t have enough testosterone in their body to become muscle bound, and I believe women over 50 should absolutely lift weights to ward off osteoporosis and a slowing metabolism.  I truly believe that strength training for women over 50 is the hidden secret to a more youthful appearance and more graceful aging.
Gosh, I’m so riled up, I almost feel like I should go back to the gym to see if that lady is still there!
In any case, the lesson for today is for all my female readers:
Use your time in the gym well:  Lift weights that fatigue your muscles.  Use heavier weights for larger muscle groups.  Wear pink, but don’t lift it if it’s tiny!
Yours in health,

Becky FINALLY has a blog!

Greetings, and welcome to my blog!

I’ve been a fitness pro for a LONG time (since way before Al Gore invented the internet), but I’m a little slow on this technology stuff.  With urging from fellow fitness friends (thanks TIC, and especially BJ Gaddour) I’m hoisting myself of board the technology train.
I’ll be posting here several times a week with ideas, tips (and probably an occasional rant) about weight loss, fitness, my boot camp workouts, nutrition and a host of other stuff all relating to fitness and creating a “fitness lifestyle”.  In my mind, fitness isn’t about a single workout–it’s about lifestyle:  what you eat, the choices you make, the workouts you do, and how you treat and nurture your mind and body.  The whole kit and kaboodle (is kaboodle really a word??).
Here at this blog, I’ll share with you things you can do to live healthier, eat better, work out smarter, and just look and feel your best.  You’re here on this planet, you might as well rock it for all it’s worth and have a good ride, right?  Can’t live life to it’s fullest if you’re sluggish, overweight and out of shape.
Feel free to post questions and  comments here.  I’d like to know what your fitness questions are so that I can make this blog as informative as possible.  If I can’t help, maybe I know someone who can!  I communicate with a lot of cutting edge fitness pros around the country, so we should be able to collaborate to help you get what you need to  feel better, look better and have more energy.
Live well,
This post is dedicated to the memory of my uncle, Alfred R. Williamson:  4/12/23-5/23/08