Want Fat Loss Fast? Try HIIT Workouts

Increase fat loss with interval trainingIt seems everyone is looking for an easy fat loss strategy these days.  Although it isn’t easy to perform, I highly recommend High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for exceptional fat loss results.

Interval training is an exercise strategy alternating periods of hard exercise effort with lower intensity recovery periods. Unlike your traditional cardio workouts in the gym that might have you on a treadmill or elliptical trainer for 45 plus minutes, interval training workouts are much shorter (usually 5-20 minutes).  These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and conditioning, improved glucose metabolism, and accelerated use of stored fat for fuel in the hours after the HIIT workout is over.

Don’t expect this short workout to be a walk in the park, though! It is very intense if done right.  This is one of the reasons a HIIT session is shorter than a traditional cardio workout.

It’s important to do a proper warm up before engaging in high intensity exercise.  If you are new to exercise, I recommend that you have at least 10 minutes of warm up time, and then approach the higher intensity intervals in a step-wise manner, adding on additional cycles of exercise as you become more fit.

For example, you might do 30 seconds of higher intensity exercise followed by 90 seconds of lower intensity exercise, and repeat this cycle only 3-5 times.  As you become more fit, you can increase the number of cycles you do, and also decrease your recovery time a bit.

There really is no ideal time for work/recovery cycles.  With interval training, you can mix it up!  One day you might do intervals of 40 seconds hard work/20 seconds recovery.  Another day you might do a 20/10 split.  The key to effective interval training is to work HARD on the high intensity segments  (about a 9 on a scale of 1-10 once you’ve built up a good conditioning base).

With regard to what types of exercises you can do in a HIIT workout–the sky is the limit!  Combining sprinting with slower running (or walking) is a simple way to do HIIT.  You can also use a variety of cardio machines at your gym, or utilize any number of calisthenic-type exercises right in your own back yard.

For an idea on how to put together a HIIT workout, please check out a video I did for my customers.  It’s a sample HIIT program you can do in your own backyard.

As San Jose personal trainer for many years, I’ve recommended HIIT as a means to better fat loss results for hundreds of my clients.  Although it’s really hard while you’re doing it—-you’re exercising for a fraction of the time of a typical gym goer.  I call that good exercise math ……..MORE results……..LESS time .:-D.


Committed to your success,





REST: An important component for strength gains and weight loss

Stretching can be part of a de-load programAs we approach one of our planned hiatus weeks at our San Jose and Campbell boot camp locations, I thought it might be a good idea to address something many folks don’t even consider in their strength training or fat loss programs: REST.  Yes.  That’s right.  REST.

In order to continue to make gains in strength, endurance and even fat loss—-you need to schedule some planned rest time.  All that change you’re trying to create through exercise– bigger muscles, leaner muscles, or a smaller waistline  —creates stress on and in your body.  Working hard and challenging your body to get better is a good thing, but on occasion you need to back off on the challenges you give your body.

In the fitness industry, we often refer to these planned periods of reduced training volume or intensity as “de-load” phases. The term de-loading is often associated with the finely tuned, periodized training protocols that high level athletes do. I think this concept also has a place in our boot camp programs because of the intense nature of the workouts we do.

As many of you know, I am an advocate of doing some sort of exercise 5-6 days a week. But I am NOT an advocate of high intensity training 5 days a week (which is why no single lifeSport Fitness boot camp location operates more than 3 times a week).  My opinion is that the stuff we do at boot camp — high intensity interval training, plyometric moves and sprint work — is too rigorous to do 5 days a week, week in and week out.  I advocate for  longer , lower intensity workouts on off days for campers who are with us 3 times a week.

But I digress–back to the story of why rest is important…………

If we go hard day in and day out and we never take a rest, two things can happen:  1)  Injury, or 2) Lack of progress.  Neither of these things is a good thing for someone who is exercising for results, right?

So, what does a rest period look like?

Not necessarily this:

Rest is an important component in an exercise program


A rest week from 3-day a week boot camp workouts might simply mean changing the intensity and the patterns of stress on our body.  For instance taking a Pilates or Yoga class, going for a hike, or swimming.  All of these suggestions are lower intensity forms of movement that don’t have a heavy duty strength component to them.  Therefore, you exercise at a lower heart rate for a longer time, and you move your body through different patterns of movement than you do at boot camp.  Easy peasy.

Although high level athletes often take a de-load week every 4-5 weeks, I think for our purposes a de-load week every 8-12 weeks is a good idea.  With only 5 de-load weeks a year,  we don’t take quite that many weeks off in our program.  However, I figure that most campers miss a week of camp here and there due to vacations and business travel (or hitting the snooze button too many times!), so you’re most likely de-loading yourself from time to time.

If you are a current lifeSport Fitness camper, next week is your week to move in different patterns, decrease your workout intensity, or work on corrective exercises if you’re nursing a sore shoulder, back or knee.  While you’re at it–do a little foam rolling and book a massage!

If you aren’t a lifeSport Fitness customer and you exercise hard 3-4 times a week, have you had a “de-load” week lately?  Consider taking one.  It just might be the break your body needs to come back stronger and healthier in order to keep training hard again and stay injury free.


Committed to your success,




Image credit:  Sleeping Couple:  www.flickr.com/photos/epsos


Common Boot Camp Misconceptions Part 2

Dog Tags in BootAs 2013 kicks in, I’ll list here in Part 2 the remaining 5 common misconceptions I often hear when people tell me why they don’t think they can participate in a boot camp workout. I carefully plan our boot camp workouts so that they are “do-able” for just about everyone, yet challenging for our veterans. So if you see your excuse below, you might want to give lifeSport Fitness San Jose boot camps another look.  We’ll take good care of you……..I promise ;-).

5. I Have an Old Injury

The best way to prevent re-injuring an area is to build up the surrounding muscles for support. Once the area has healed (e.g., from surgery, a cast, or other medical treatment), you need to use it or lose it. You actually run the risk of re-injuring the area by NOT working out. In my boot camps I know how to modify exercises so they help — not hurt — your road to recovery.

NIAMS (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease) recommends not being a “weekend warrior.” They suggest stretching and building up your exercise level gradually — activities that are typically incorporated into a boot camp workout.

4. I’m Too Heavy

Boot camp workouts are the perfect way to lose weight. Studies have shown that adding consistent exercise to a healthy eating regime has a more dramatic impact on losing inches. This misconception most likely stems from self consciousness or self confidence. Finding the right boot camp, one where the instructor is supportive, is an important factor for your success. You may even find a boot camp that fits your weight loss needs. Plus you may be pleasantly surprised at the level of support you’ll receive from other boot camp participants. There is a definite sense of camaraderie at boot camps;  each camper is working on their own health goals.

3. I Need to Be in Better Shape First

This is the flip side of number 4. Sometimes participants are afraid they can’t keep up with a boot camp workout. The point of working out is improve your overall fitness over time. Our workouts are designed for varying fitness levels. A qualified fitness trainer is able to adapt the workout to meet you at your current level, modifying exercises so they present a reasonable challenge. Yes, you’ll experience soreness as that’s an indication muscles and strength are building. When you exercise consistently, soreness diminishes.

2. I’ll Get Yelled At

Fitness boot camps are not military training. When considering a boot camp workout, interview the instructor beforehand. You’ll get a sense if they are a wanna-be drill sergeant or if they are committed to helping you get a well-rounded and healthy workout. As with any profession, there are different approaches and personalities. Find one that fits your needs.  Keep in mind that a great instructor will encourage and motivate you.

1. I’ll Be Pushed Beyond My Limits

Over the years I’ve heard horror stories about boot campers being pushed to the point of throwing up or serious injury. Again, a fitness boot camp is not military training. You won’t be doing exercises like climbing a rope or scaling a 10-foot wall. At least that’s not we do in our camps. You will be doing a variety of exercises that build stamina and strength to both the upper and lower body. My philosophy is that you don’t have to do embarrassing or overly-grueling workouts to get into shape. Yes, we work you hard, but we honor your current fitness level and use positive motivational techniques to help you improve.


I hope after reading my top ten “myths and misconceptions” about fitness boot camp workouts, you’ve realized that just about anyone can benefit from a well-coached and well planned out boot camp workout.

If you want to get leaner, healthier and stronger in 2013, I encourage you to treat yourself to a one-week FREE trial at a lifeSport Fitness boot camp.

You can request a free trial week at the lifeSport Fitness website here:  Yes! I want a free one-week trial at a boot camp in San Jose!


It would be our pleasure to make 2013 your best year ever!


Happy New Year!!!


Committed to your success,


Common Boot Camp Misconceptions Part 1

Jack La Lanne's Glamour StretcherIn my 25 years of helping individuals get into shape, I hear a lot of misgivings, myths and misconceptions about signing up for a fitness bootcamp.  In David Letterman style, here’s my top ten list:

 10. I’m Too Old

Actually the oldest boot camper I have trained was well into her 70s.  I’ve also had the privilege of training an 94-year old in personal 1:1 sessions. So, the adage of “you’re never too old” is absolutely true when it comes to exercising. According to Health Magazine, experts believe exercise can be the real fountain of youth. Boosting your metabolism and building healthy muscle can help you feel better and be fit at any age. Plus, there are the side effects: strength training to keep bone density and weight loss to reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes. Hey, Jack La Lanne worked out until his death at 96. At lifeSport Fitness, we even have a Fit & Fab Boot Camp designed just for women over 40.

9. I’m Too Young

Creating healthy habits when you’re young is a good thing! Adding a boot camp into your exercise routine can add variety to typical gym workouts. Even young athletes involved in team sports (such as soccer, volleyball or basketball) may not get a full, well-rounded workout.  Boot camp exercises work the legs as well as upper body, so no one area is over-trained.

8. I Can’t Get Up in the Morning

Yes, it’s true most boot camp programs start early in the morning. Once you get into the routine of rising early for a workout, you’ll find it gets easier. Many clients report that they are more alert and energized throughout the day. When they do sleep, it’s more restful… making it easier to get up in the morning. According to SleepFoundation.org experts, you shouldn’t exercise three hours before bedtime. But if you’re really not a morning person no matter what you’ve tried, there are evening boot camps that may be a better match for your schedule.

7. I Can’t Afford It

Many boot camps are actually less expensive than a gym membership. If you add in the personalized training you receive at a boot camp, the savings is even more dramatic. Frequently eating out or ordering a specialty Starbucks coffee can really add up. Where could you trim an expense or two? Investing in your health is always a good idea. It may even lead to more fiscally friendly habits like packing healthy lunches or snacks rather than drive-thru fare.

6. I’ll Get Hurt

The truth is a qualified trainer knows how to modify exercises to tailor to various fitness levels. Working out in a boot camp is a great way to determine where you’re at and how to improve… under the watchful eye of a certified and knowledgeable instructor.

I’ll be back next week with my remaining 5 Common Boot Camp Misconceptions.

If I’ve already overcome your fear about fitness boot camps, and you’re interested in test driving a lifeSport Fitness boot camp, click here to request a free one-week trial!  I want a FREE week at lifeSport Fitness boot camp in San Jose!!!

Corporate Fitness: Setting a Culture of Wellness in the Workplace

Corporate fitness programs aren’t just for big companies with big budgets.

Corporate executive lifting barbell during fitness session

It’s no secret that as a society we’re getting fatter.   This poses an expensive problem for companies who are paying for health care plans for their employees.  Overweight individuals statistically cost their employers more due to more medical visits, more sick days taken and higher usage of prescription drugs when compared to average weight individuals. Creating and encouraging a culture a of wellness through a program of corporate fitness for employees just makes good fiscal sense.

Large companies often have robust health and wellness programs complete with professionally staffed fitness centers, onsite clinics and a host of other offerings that only a large budget can handle.  However, small companies with small budgets can most definitely embrace and encourage wellness at the workplace as well.

Corporate fitness success stories in small companies

There are small companies right here in Silicon Valley that are taking steps to create a healthier workforce and proving that it doesn’t cost a fortune to foster a culture of wellness at the workplace.  It simply takes top level support, a little creativity and some dedication to finding cost effective resources. Last year I met with one of the partners at San Jose accountancy firm  Abbot Stringham Lynch (www.aslcpa.com)  and was really impressed with things they’ve put in place for their employees in order to encourage healthy habits.  Although they’d be considered a small company with just 55 people at the firm, they planned and built an on-site fitness center when they took over the building in which they operate.  On-site showers make it convenient for employees to get cleaned up before heading back to their desks.  In their on-site self service kitchen they’ve got pantries, refrigerators and freezers filled with snacks and food that can be put together to create a meal. This offers employees an easy way to grab a quick piece of fruit in the afternoon, or put together a salad for lunch.  The firm had a surge in births amongst employees, so they created a “mother’s room” where female employees can take few minutes to collect breast milk for their infants.  Although this may not seem to be part of a “health and wellness” plan, I’d say it goes a long way towards employee satisfaction.  Happy, well cared for employees are going to be more productive employees.

Bay area mortgage lender RMR Financial (www.rmrfincancial.com) has given employees pedometers to track their steps, and they’ve purchased access to an online accountability program (www.virginhealthmiles.com) where employees can log exercise activities and get incentive rewards.  Employees can also track their fitness/weight loss progress at a measurement station right in the office.   We recently awarded RMR Financial with our “Healthy Business of the Month” award because they’re a small local company putting an effort into employee wellness.  In order to honor and support their efforts at making employee wellness a priority, we gifted their employees with a free one-month membership to our fitness boot camps in San Jose and Los Gatos.    We look at it as a win-win-win for all concerned:  RMR Financial has another fitness “offering” for their employees (that cost them nothing), the employees get a great workout several times a week to help improve their fitness, and we get to help a few more of our community members get in shape by helping them lose body fat and tone their muscles!

If there’s a notion out there in SiliconValley that only the larger companies have or can afford fitness and wellness programming, these two cases studies show this isn’t true.  Whether a company has a huge budget, a small budget, or even NO budget, wellness at the workplace can be fostered.

Health care costs are going to keep spiraling higher.  The best cost containment method Silicon Valley Companies can employ is to help their employees move more and eat better.



How to Stay Fit While Traveling in San Jose

Guadalupe River Park and Gardens in San JoseBusiness and vacation travel can wreak havoc on one’s efforts to lose weight and stay in shape.  Luckily for those traveling to San Jose, there are many venues and opportunities to stay fit while there.

Located in Northern California, San Jose has mild climates that are conducive to outdoor workouts almost year round.  San Jose and surrounding cities (Campbell, Saratoga and Los Gatos) have a large network of paved bike paths and dirt walking trails that offer miles of beautiful scenery for walkers, runners and cyclists.

One of my favorite hiking trails starts in Downtown Los Gatos at Main Street and takes you up to the top of Lexington Dam for beautiful views of the valley.  Another collection of hiking/biking trails worth considering are the trails of Almaden Quicksilver Park. Quicksilver Park offers miles of trails with beautiful scenery.

Business travelers who may not have the option of venturing far from their hotel will find many downtown San Jose hotels,  such as the Fairmont Hotel,  offer well-equipped gyms for patrons.   Business travelers in Downtown San Jose who find themselves at a hotel without a gym can purchase a day pass at the San Jose Athletic Club on 3rd street. The local YMCA on The Alameda and the Southwest YMCA on Santa Teresa Boulevard offer non-local members passes to work out while traveling in San Jose.

Also available to travelers in Downtown San Jose are the paths of  Guadalupe River Park and Gardens.  These paths run through Downtown San Jose and offer several miles of paved, flat paths for walking or running.

For the adventurous types who like a challenging workout, I suggest walking the 224 steps at Communications Hill in South San Jose.  This creates a great interval training workout by challenging you on the way up, and giving you a much needed rest on the way down.

Rain or shine, if you want to stay fit while traveling in San Jose, we’ve got many options for you!

Save $1,000 on a Fitness Vacation in Colorado!

Fun and Fitness on a Fitness Adventures USA vacationEver thought about a vacation where you came home fit, energized and rejuvenated instead of bloated, slow and sluggish?

Check out the Rocky Mountain Fitness Adventure happening May 23 – May 28 in Estes Park, Colorado (hold on to your seat, because in a moment, I’ll tell you how I hooked you up with a sweet deal).

Fitness Adventures USA’s Colorado Adventure trip takes your normal routine and whisks it away to eyepopping locations like Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, and the Colorado River. Any piece of equipment used in the activities is provided. And while you may be biking mountains, you won’t be moving them; Fitness Adventure USA’s expert guides will accommodate all ages and fitness levels.

The vacation includes vacation home lodging, food, excursions, guided tours, fitness classes, yoga and boot camp, equipment rental, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting. In fact, one of my clients, Jazmin M, just got back from the Wine Country Fitness Adventure here in California, and she had an absolute blast!

Now, since I’m friends with Scott Colby who puts these fitness adventures together (in fact Scott and I hung out for 3 days in Kentucky all last weekend), he let me make a sweet offer to you.

On top of the Early Bird Discount, which saves you 700 bucks, he threw in a special Discount Coupon just for me to give to you.

When you go here: http://www.fitnessadventuresusa.com/rocky-mountain-colorado/ and click the button to sign up, use this Coupon Code FAUSA20 to save another 300 bucks. That’s 1000 bucks off the price in all. Now this is only for the May trip, so make sure you sign up for that one. It’s Scott’s special “Last Minute Deal.” Make sure you sign up by April 23rd though, because that’s when Scott’s Early Bird Special AND Coupon Code go poof! And the deal disappears.

You can read some testimonials on Scott’s trips here:


Here is a video montage of Scott’s Colorado trip last year:


In the video below, you’ll see participants in his California Adventure talk about their experiences:

If you’re looking for a fun and fitness-filled vacation with planned-for-you activities, here’s your chance to grab a great deal on one!  It might just be the experience of a lifetime for you.


Committed to your success,




Take a Vacation with the Abs Expert!

Scott Colby is known as "The Abs Expert" on the webOne of my fitness colleagues, Scott Colby ( known worldwide as The Abs Expert), is coming to California! He’s hosting one of his Fitness Adventures in the Wine Country. Wow! This is an amazing opportunity! Scott is a well -educated, warm and caring fitness professional. After spending a week with him, you’ll be motivated, informed and energized to take your fitness to a whole new level!

How would you like to take a break from your frenzied work week and spend few days with a fitness expert hiking, biking, horseback riding and wine tasting???

All your meals will be cooked for you from fresh, local ingredients.

All your activities will be planned for you (and yes, I understand there is some spa time in the adventure as well).

Scott’s California Adventure will take place March 28th through April 2nd, 2011.

This would be a fabulous getaway with a few friends!

Here are some highlights of Scott’s California Fitness Adventure:

• Cycling through the valleys of world-famous vineyards

• Wine tasting!! Hundreds of wineries line your cycling route

• Seriously good food inspired by local vintages and fresh California ingredients

• Daily morning boot camps on the beach with Scott

• Pampering at an award-winning spa

This adventure is open to men and women of all fitness levels, however spots are being snatched up quickly, so you’ll need to book soon.

Committed to your fitness success,


P.S. Not only will Scott Colby be hosting a California Adventure, but he’s got Adventure trips in Colorado and Vermont as well! Click here to learn about all his 2011 Fitness Adventures: www.FitnessAdventuresUSA.com

Come to my FREE boot camp workout in San Jose!

Let’s celebrate Spring and support the American Cancer Society!  You’re cordially invited to……….


Saturday, May 1st, 2010, 8 am

Oster School —  1855 Lencar Way, San Jose 95124

I’ve been asked to take part in the festivities at the Cambrian Relay for Life on Saturday, May 1st.  In case you’re not familiar with “Relay for Life”, it’s a 24-hour event in which teams take turns walking around a track throughout the night.  It’s a way to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer, as well as to honor those who are survivors–and of course, raise money to help fund research for a cure.

Throughout the 24-hour event there are various activities going on—-so, I guess you could say I’m one of the activities!  I’ll be doing a “Wake up your Workout” warm up and mini boot camp at 8 am.  I’ll try to rouse the ones who got to take a cat nap in their sleeping bags during the night, I suppose!

I’m donating my time and some $$ to to event in honor of three former clients of mine who are breast cancer survivors:

Yvonne M. ,  Sunny C., and Diana A.

and two very wonderful ladies who lost their battle with breast cancer

Barbara Podgorny and Nancy Stoney

So, what does this have to do with YOU?

There are a few ways you can participate in the Cambrian Relay for Life:

Organize a team to walk the event

Log on here for more info:


Donate to a team

One of my boot campers, Tina L., has registered a team for the event.  You can support her team by making a donation here:

Support Team Walk-a-Muck

Come out to the event

Enjoy my mini-boot camp at 8 am, and cruise by the various team tents/campsites. Many teams will be running mini-fundraisers by selling items at their  campsites.

After I put everyone through a workout, I’ll be doing a drawing at Team Walk-a-Muck’s campsite.  Come by their tent and register to win a certificate for 2 FREE weeks at a lifeSport boot camp in San Jose or Campbell.

Committed to your fitness success,


A Fat Blasting Workout for San Jose and Los Gatos boot campers!

This is a special blog post for customers in my fitness boot camps in San Jose and Los Gatos (as well as my private training clients). I’m always trying to encourage you to get a good workout in over the weekend.  So,  I decided to not only create a “no equipment needed” workout for you, but to also give you a little bribe to get it done!

You’ll have to watch the video to learn what the “prize” is for getting your workout in.

As usual, my furry sidekick, Noah, makes a cameo appearance (several, actually) in the video.  It’s amazing how he always manages to get right in line with the camera when it’s rolling.  In fact, this time, I think he’s trying to show you some version of our “core rotation” exercise we often do with exercise bands.  Maybe we could call it a “canine core rotation”?

So, if you’re game to get a quick, cardio interval workout in over the weekend, I’ve created one for you.  You don’t need to think about what to do.  I’ve thought it out for you.

Below the video, you’ll find a written version of the  workout in the event you want to print it out for reference.

Here’s the workout in case you want a written version:

Jumping jacks  (45-90 seconds)

Push ups (15 repetitions)

Jump rope (45-90 seconds)

Back extensions (15 repetitions)

Jump squats  (45-90 seconds)

Dips  (45-90 seconds)

Please watch the video for instructions on how to increase or decrease the intensity of each exercise.

I’m looking forward to your comments :-).

Committed to your success,