Monday, April 9, 2012

No Longer Here!

Thank You for checking in. I have decided to take my "Frankisms & Observations" to my Facebook Page. Follow me if you need a dose of inspiration, motivation or to read about my tales of respiration & perspiration. Or don't follow me? I won't know, and I won't be offended. Thank you for the several years of scribble that this blog has afforded. With BEST Wishes, Frank Pucher

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Master Plan for Nutrition


First let me say that I have no degree or formal training in nutrition (or grammar for that matter) so be warned! I am not only an un-reliable source of "legitimate" nutrition information," but I lost the 5th grade spelling bee, for failing to capitalize the (I) in indian.

Nutrition is a HOT topic for fitness enthusiasts at any age. Even those 'less than enthused' are interested in learning how to "eat better." Over the years I've learned a couple of things about food, drink and how to put it all together. Here is what I've discovered:

Drink MORE Water - If you fail to adhere to this primary rule, nothing else will matter. Water is the most important nourishment you can put into your body.
Eat MORE Plants - Or at least less food that comes from plants. Vegetables are the most abundant source of nutrients. "Enriched" foods that come in a box, can, or any kind of packaging should be greatly minimized in your diet!

The fewer the ingredients on a package - the better! Why are you eating something that you can't even pronounce?

Lean Proteins are Good - This does not include 'turkey bacon' or similar! Fish, Eggs, Lean Beef, Skinless Poultry, & Legumes provide ESSENTIAL Amino Acids that your body needs to perform & function at optimal levels.
Fruit - Along with Nuts & Healthy Fats, Yogurt & Dairy are all "OK" (Allergies Permitting) but should be a small part of your daily intake.
Grains - I enjoy pizza, pasta, and a good piece of bread as much as anyone, but the nourishment provided is basically a ZERO. Even Oatmeal isn't as HEALTHY as it's made out to be. If you do slow-cook 'Rolled Oats' and sprinkle in a few Walnuts & Raisins from time to time - it's "OK," but I'm not impressed with the nourishment it provides.
Fatty Foods & Snacks - You already know this, but for the few that don't........"AVOID these!"
Alcohol - Red Wine has its benefits, Beer has its fans, and the Hard Stuff has a following. I guess the important thing is to keep it all to no more than 2 servings each night. Unless you work the night-shift? Then I suggest drinking during the day!

In your 20's you can eat & drink anything you want and still look & feel great.

In your 30's you can still eat all you want of certain foods.

In your 40's you can still remember a time when you loved 'Egg Rolls.'

Supplements & Vitamins:

As I mentioned earlier, the best supplement to your current nutrition is to Drink MORE Water. If you fail to do that or the foundation for your nutrition isn't strong (see above) then money spent on Supplements & Vitamins are a waste of money.

If your nutrition is strong there are supplements that you may wish to consider:

Fish Oil containing Omega 3 - Helps to reduce inflammation which is the cause of most pain & disease.
Liquid Vitamin, Mineral, Digestive Enzyme, & Herbal Complex - In liquid form this is more easily absorbed & digestible.
Chondroitin & Glucosamine - Assists in joint health & mobility.

I have a hard enough time counting to "10" so the idea of counting calories has never appealed to me. What I have discovered is that when I nourish my body with MORE Water, Plenty of Vegetables, Lean Protein, and some Fruit & Nuts I have the sustained energy to not only work all day but to train & compete at competitive levels.

My Bottom Line:
Drink MORE Water, eat good food, use supplements wisely and trust me you'll look, feel, & BE your BEST.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Master Plan for Fitness in Your 40's

Let's start with the basics. Most fitness or exercise programs aren't age specific but rather general in suggestion. YES, the body has primary movements that it should be able to perform at any age (Flexion, Extension, Rotation, Level Changing, Pushing & Pulling) but at 40 years of age the body quite simply has different 'needs' than that of a 20 or 30 year old.

At 20 years of age you can pretty much lose an appendage and grow a new one within a season (much like a stone crab.) In your 30's there are few aches & pains that a good night sleep and Advil can't fix. Once you hit 40 however, you start asking the serious questions like "So Doctor, what do you think?"

Currently, the conventional thinking is that a greater emphasis on aerobic/cardiovascular fitness should be emphasized. I completely disagree. As we age, we maintain cardiovascular fitness much more easily while losing muscular strength & power much too readily. I'm not advocating an abandonment of aerobic activities, I'm simply recognizing that we need to have a healthy appreciation for strength & structural integrity. In my opinion 3 days a week of strength training exercises (see below) along with 3 days a week of aerobic/cardiovascular fitness training is optimal for not only physical betterment, but for combating disease, aging, and weight gain.

If you are new to exercise you might think this sounds like a lot. If you are an avid exerciser or an ex-athlete you will likely think it's not enough. What I suggest is that you save judgement until you do it, then your opinion will have much more credibility. Sound fair? Good. Now let's get to work!

Always start with mobility exercises to loosen up your joints and prepare your body for the movements to follow. A greater emphasis should be placed on joint mobility. Especially of the hips & upper back.

Mobility Warm-Up:
- Cat & Camel
- Hip Circles
- T Spine Rotations
- Cobra Stretch

*I'm not a fan of 'reps' to warm-up. The number of 'reps' it takes to feel fluid & loose is always the right amount.

"Movement Prep" is a term that has grown in popularity. What really matters is that the body is prepared to move. How this is best achieved will likely be subject for debate for some time?

Movement Prep:
- Bird Dog x 15 per side
- Side Plank Ups x 10 per side
- Bicycle Maneuver x 20 reps
(repeat 2x)

Strength training should be performed with your feet on the ground whenever possible. On the field, on the road, or in life, we seldom are asked to exert force from the seated position.

Strength Training:
- Squats, Lunges, or Step Ups x 10-15 reps
- Pullups, Cable/Band Row, DB Row x 6-10 reps
- Deadlift, Single Leg Reach, Back Extension x 6-10 reps
- Pushups, Band Press, DB Press x 6-10 reps
- Cable/Band Chops, Twists, Reverse Chops x 6-10 reps
(repeat 2-3x)

"Core Training" is another term that has grown in popularity. This simply is defined as your ability to maintain a neutral spine under stress. The core is less about muscles and more about a relationship to stabilize the body when exerting force.

Core Exercises:
- Prone Plank x 15'' - 60''
- Supine Bridge / Plank x 15'' - 60"
- Standing Core Press using Cable/Band x 10" - 20"
(repeat 2x)

I mentioned this earlier but as we age we maintain our aerobic fitness at the expense of our muscular fitness. We also loose our anaerobic power at a significant rate. This needs to be addressed in our conditioning.

- 20" hard rowing/punching w/ 10" rest x 6-10
- 100 yd sprints w/ full recovery x 6-8
- 8 minutes @ 85%+ Heart Rate (Cycle, Row, Run, ARC/Elliptical)

Recovery is the most underrated aspect of most fitness programs. While many recovery & regeneration methods exist, myofascial release or foam rolling is perhaps the one within the means of most.

Foam Roll the following:
- Posterior including Extensions of the Thoracic Spine
- IT Band
- Quadriceps & Hamstrings
- Feet (using a Tennis or Lacrosse ball)

*Like in the warm-up - I'm not interested in a certain time or number As long as it takes to feel fluid & loose is always the right amount.

Aerobic exercises are fun. Cycling, Running, Dance, or Martial Arts all benefit our Cardiovascular system and give us the joy of play (something we don't get enough of at any age.)

* Limit running time to 20-30 minutes & cycling time to 60-90 minutes. Endurance athletes or those preparing for an event will typically go much longer - more frequently but for 'fitness' goals it's not necessary. Train Smart then Go Live Your Best Life!

Frank Pucher
CEO, Fitness 121 Personal Training
Platinum Level Coach - Todd Durkin Mastermind

Fitness 121
5 Becker Farm Rd. Roseland, NJ 07068
Office: 973.535.1177
Named "Best Exercise Studio" 2010 & 2011 - New Jersey Monthly Magazine.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Assessment Opinion

An Assessment Opinion

Let's start with a blank slate:

Exercise is effective in helping people cope with STRESS. True or False?
- However, do we Assess and Evaluate a clients level of STRESS before beginning a Physical Exercise program?

Exercise can help people alleviate symptoms of DEPRESSION. True or False?
- Can someone please describe the Evaluation & Assessment you administer do measure or determine the client's degree of DEPRESSION?

Exercise works to improve someone's SELF-ESTEEM but we don't question or probe "How much do you not like yourself?"

We skip all these tests and train our clients. Yet, they get better in these areas. Why are we brainwashed that the Physical Aspects are any different?

The FMS is in my opinion NOT a good indicator of what exercises a client can, can not, or should be doing. No more than the COMBINE is accurate in determining a NFL prospects of a successful career. It's simply a TEST. (Again, just my opinion).

The other issue I have with FMS is that it's designed by a Physical Therapist for Physical Therapists. Somehow, (in an effort to be more like a Physical Therapist) Personal Trainers thought "I can do this too!" Enter 'Corrective Exercise'.

What is that? Corrective Exercise? If my client can't walk and I advise them to hold on to the treadmill while the belt is moving, can this be considered Corrective Exercise?
Is picking a 2lbs Med Ball off the floor Corrective?
What if the ball weighs 70lbs? Still Corrective?
When does it cease to be Corrective and now simply become EXERCISE?

All EXERCISE is Corrective if Program Design is Reasonable. Not ABSOLUTE, but Reasonable.

I propose the following changes. Corrective Exercise = Exercise.
Functional Training = Training.
Dynamic Warm-Up = Warm-Up.
Not as Sexy (I know) but still it works, and Results are what matter!

OK, I'm done. Time to get my own workout in.

After my Myofacial Release Work & Dynamic Warmup - I'll engage in a Metabolic Circuit including Functional Movements performed with Undulating Periodization. Of course I'll conclude with some Tabata Intervals before finishing with Active Isolated Stretching.


I could just go Train?

**Bonus Rant**
- I'm not saying to just hand a Set of Dumbbells to a client and have them start pushing and pulling. What I'm instead proposing is that PERSONAL Trainers actually PERSONALIZE the evaluation to the PERSON. If we use a template to evaluate; we only find what we are already looking for. Spend time with a client in an office (talking) or on a floor (sweating) and you'll learn so much more than any 'screen' can tell you!

Frank Pucher
Fitness 121 Personal Training
Named New Jersey's "Best Exercise Studio" by NJ Monthly Magazine.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Shakeology Story

My Shakeology Story:

No one would look at me and say "he's out of shape" or "overweight." But at 41 years of age, athletic for most of my life, I know the difference between being in peak form and being less than my best.

Just one month prior to the 2011 Ford Ironman in Lake Placid I found myself about 8lbs heavier than expected and not feeling like I was ready for a 140.6 mile competition. True, I was unable to run due to a painful foot injury but still I was cycling or swimming almost every day along with some occasional strength work. Even more mysterious was that I was eating the same as I always have - no more, no less. But as I looked down at the scale, I could now feel & see that something had changed.

Friends of mine have spoken to me about Shakeology for almost a year now. Admittedly, I hadn't paid much attention as I've never thought about weight-loss, I've always had great energy and I eat a well balanced diet. To me, Shakeology was a crutch needed by people who lacked the discipline to eat right & exercise. Yet despite my eating & exercise routines I was not feeling great, slightly overweight and the clock on Ironman was ticking.....

I went to my friends site to order some Shakeology, I wanted to try it for breakfast on my light training days. I ordered the Chocolate because I've never heard of a "Greenberry." Anyway, I took 1 cup of cold water, 1 packet of Shakeology, 2 ice cubes and threw them all together in my magic bullet for about 30 seconds. I didn't like the taste - I loved it! Felt pretty good that whole day too! Maybe I was buying into the hype of the packaging? "Healthiest Meal of the Day." Who know's? It tasted good, I still had my coffee and I enjoyed a slow and less painful run that afternoon. The next morning I decided to have the shake again, and once again I felt pretty good. What I noticed on the morning of Day 3 was that I woke up and was looking forward to my shake! This happened again and again with each 5am wake-up. Shakeology became my morning ritual and I was looking forward to it.

About 1 week into this new ritual I walked over to my scale and noticed that 2lbs had disappeared. The only meal that changed was breakfast and the only additional expenditure was 2 days of running for 30 minutes. The following week found me another 2lbs down and my energy level returning. By the 3rd week I was able to run pain-free and was down another 2lbs! The week before Ironman I began to taper and reduce my cycling, swimming and already paltry running but I continued with Shakeology for breakfast each day. As much I was excited to be back into my "racing weight" I was more excited by the energy that by body was possessing. I felt strong, looked lean and was confident in my ability to finish the event better than 09' despite some training injuries.

Race day arrived and I used Shakeology for breakfast with a banana, I opted to add the banana for some more carbs & potassium. Many hours later I was running to the finish line, feeling good I finished with an Ironman PR by almost 30 minutes. What role did Shakeology have in my race? Probably not much. But I'm absolutely convinced of the role it played in getting me to the starting line Leaner, Healthier & Full of Energy!

I'm even more convinced of the role it will play going forward - at 41 years of age I'm committed to living my best life possible and Shakeology is a tool to make that happen. I never thought I would sell a product, but the undeniable fact is that I feel amazing and am looking forward to kicking some ass for many years to come!

What are you putting in your body?

Frank Pucher
Personal Trainer/Top Masters Athlete/Evangelist of Happy & Healthy Living.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Simple Wellness Plan

For many, the need to begin a proper exercise program is something that can be put off until tomorrow. Eventually, tomorrow comes for everyone. That day is usually brought about by news of a medical issue which requires a series of lifestyle changes. One of the best lifestyle changes you can make is to invest in a wellness program complete with proper exercise and appropriate nutrition.

This program of wellness needn't be intimidating or complicated. It can be as simple as moving your body through basic movement patterns (flexion, extension, pushing, pulling, rotation) 3x weekly and a healthy dose of aerobic exercise. Running 1 hour a day is NOT a "healthy dose" of aerobic exercise. If you wish to train for a marathon that's fine, but a "healthy dose" of aerobic exercise is 15-25 minutes of sustained activity 4x weekly.
*Before beginning any physical exercise program you should speak with your physician and begin with a certified fitness professional to ensure your safety and progress.

A program of appropriate nutrition needn't be complicated either (despite what the book shelves will have you believe). Your nutrition should be based on 6 simple principles in this order:
1) More Water
2) Mostly Vegetables
3) Lean Proteins
4) Some Fruit
5) Healthy Fats
6) Less Grains
*It's just that simple. It makes a fool proof shopping list too!

Successful people make plans where others make excuses!

You have now got a winning plan for wellness. What will you make of it?

Frank Pucher
Fitness 121 Personal Training
Roseland, NJ

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Keep Moving Forward

Rocky may have made the quote famous but on my run today I found myself thinking of it's applications.

I've been battling an ankle issue for several months. Progress has been slow because quite frankly I've been doing nothing about it. With Ironman (Lake Placid) just over 70 days away I figured I need to get active in my recovery. I've been stretching, icing, mobilizing, and rolling (with a lacrosse ball) to speed the process. Guess what? It's been working! While enjoying my nearly pain- free run today I got to thinking "If I keep doing what's working, I'll keep moving forward." It was at that moment I realised that the applications go far beyond just Running & Triathlon, but to LIFE itself.

"Your Solutions are Never Behind You. Keep Moving Forward."

"Solutions Don't Catch-Up to You, You Must Catch-Up with Them. Keep Moving Forward."

"If Your Dreams are Greater than Your Memories - Keep Moving Forward."

"Success is easy once your headed in the right direction. Keep Moving Forward."

"The longer it is to the finish line - the greater the payoff. Keep Moving Forward."

"It's not where you come from but where you're going that makes matters. Keep Moving Forward."

Frank Pucher