Category Archives: Body Tech

My Favorite Things, Part I – Octane Elliptical Trainer

I have spent many hours in gyms throughout my years. For the last 3.5 years, they have been in my own studio. During that time I have found some equipment that I really like and some that I don’t so much. I am going to talk about one of my favorite pieces today and do my next few posts on some  of my other favorite (I can’t live without) pieces.

Today’s favorite is my Octane Elliptical. The following are a few reasons why:

  1. Converging handle bars – the natural range of motion for the arms this provides is priceless. I don’t feel as if my arms are way outside my body and I can put my hands in several places to get different parts of my upper body a good workout.
  2. Rear entry – If you don’t know what I am talking about, think about all the ellipticals as the gym. Think of the ones you have to step into, or trip over trying to get where you want to go. With the Octane you don’t have to step over anything like that. I find that it is easier for my older clients as well.
  3. Angle of the foot pedals – this is a big one for me. I always had the problem of my feet falling asleep. The angle of the foot pedals decreases this problem. If my clients do start to feel the tingling, I have them move their feet toward the back of the pedal and this helps.
  4. The programs! – Anyone can jump on an elliptical and hit quick start, but the Octane provides many different programs. A few of my favorite are the 10k and the 30/30. The 10k counts down from the 6.2 miles changing levels every 10th of a mile. The 30/30 can be an intense interval workout that I will use either for a killer warm up or interval during mid workout.
  5. Xmode and Glute Kicker– If you want some variety and to challenge the lower body, these modes put you in different positions (squatting, backwards, slow, etc) to give your body a new challenge, not to mention an excellent calorie burn
  6. Arm Blaster – The elliptical does not just have to be about your legs and cardio. The Octane provides some great upper body strength training when in this mode. It will up the tension and has you do 10 rotations with the upper body to get the strength up top and also revs the heart rate.

I also use my Octane in my training sessions as part of a cardio interval. With this, I will have my clients start in the upward position and then every 15 seconds I will have them squat and then return to standing after 15 seconds. I up the intensity to get the calorie burn up and we do this for 1-2 minutes. TRY IT! You might just be surprised how hard it is and how good of a workout you can get. We know the importance of cardio and I like to try to get the most out of my time. Adding resistance will do just that.

Bottom line – I love my Octane!

Max Results in Min Time

Tired of spending hours in the gym for what you feel are less than optimal

If you are able to maximize your body, you will be able to maximize your time. What am I talking about? I am talking about when you know how to use your body to its fullest potential, you will be able to work out less and see more benefits.

For instance, the position in which we stand when we are doing resistance training can help you maximize your body. Here’s how you should stand.

  1. Feet – hip’s width apart
  2. Legs – slight bend in the knees
  3. Hips – tilt your pelvis to the back like you are going to sit in a chair
  4. Shoulders – rolled back to open up the spine
  5. Chest – sticking out

This is the position you should be in for any standing exercise. Our posture is everything! When you do whatever exercise you are doing, such as a bicep curl, maintain this body position and only move the joint of your elbow.

Pace – to increase your muscle tone (not mass), your tempo should be at two seconds at the upward phase and 4 on the downward phase. This negative contraction will help to tone those muscles. You should aim for 8-12 repetitions and 3 sets.

If you are in correct anatomical position, your core is working, your legs are working and you are getting the maximum benefits for the particular muscle that you are training.

This kind of training gives you MAXIMIMUM BENEFITS IN MINIMUM TIME!

Did You Know?

  1. Each year the number of Americans to suffer from a heart
    attack during or after exercise is 75,000.
  2. The primary reason people give for not beginning an exercise program is lack of time.
  3. According to the 1996 US Surgeon General’s report on physical
    activity and health and ACSM’s  exercise lite guidelines,  the general
    population is urged to accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate
    intensity physical activity over the course of most days.
  4. Maintaining physical fitness is possible even when training volume is decreased by half.
  5. In a standard exercise program, the percentage of participants likely to drop out after the first six months 50% or more.
  6. It is estimated that 25% of the American population is engaged in recommended levels of physical activity.

What is BMI?

It seems as if a lot of people I know got a new toy for Christmas, the Wii. With that,  a lot of them go the Wii Fit game. So for those of you who have this game, you know that  you create your Wii person, get your Wii age and your BMI.

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. This is a standard by which we our measured in terms of height vs weight.

What you need to know:

  • The healthy range for BMI is 18.5 -24.9
  • If your BMI is over 30, you are considered obese
  • This scale does not take into fact the amount of lean muscle mass a person has
  • This is a standard by which we are measured

While this is not the end all be all of standards of measurements, it is a standard nonetheless and one which we should take seriously. It is estimated that over 10 % of healthcare costs are due to obesity. There are states where employers are charging increased health care premiums for an elevated BMI.

So the bottom line is this – if your BMI is over 30, you are considered obese by standards of the BMI. The good news is, you have the ability to change you! Start with small goals. Count your calories, add exercise – these all add up!

What stage are you in?

We all go through different stages in our lives whether it has to do with work, family or health. Today, I’m going to talk a little  about the psychology behind how we decide to take action.

  1. Pre-contemplation – this stage is where we are starting to build our confidence and see the importance in making a change.
  2. contemplation – In this stage we get off the fence we decide change must be made.
  3. Preparation – the preparation stage has to do with goal setting. Once we have decided we want and need to change, we make our plan!
  4. Action – the action stage is where we take our goals and run with them. We have carefully thought about, planned and made a contingency plan on how to attain these goals and we are doing it!
  5. Maintenance – in this stage, we have taken our goals, accomplished them and now continue to live the lifestyle we wanted.

These stages, as I stated previously, can be applied to your personal, professional or healthy life. What stage are you in and what are you going to do about it.

If you are looking for more information on this subject, check out James Prochaska – he talks of 6 stages, but I excluded the Termination stage as I believe  that if we need to change something, it should be for life!

It’s not Rocket Science

rocketDid you ever wish there was a magic pill or potion that you could take to lose weight and look great? Have you tried a pill to help you lose weight? Have you tried a new exercise program to lose weight? We all have done it. Well guess what, it’s not rocket science. The following are a few tips to help!

1. 3500 calories = 1 pound if you want to lose weight, you must create a deficit of 500 calories a day to lose a pound a week

2. 2 fold – this can be done by decreasing your daily caloric intake and increasing your daily exercise

3. LOG YOUR FOOD! If you want to know how many calories a day you need to intake, you need to start with knowing how many you currently are intaking. You can do this by logging your food on various websites such as ,, or – once you know how many you normally take in a day, you will know how many you should have to create a deficit.

4. Exercise!! You must move that body more to burn more calories – need I say more?!?!

5.  Consistency –  You must create a routine of eating well and an excercise routine that you can maintain. It takes about 3 weeks to create a habit.  Stick with it!

6. Set  Goals – once you know what you are trying to achieve and why you are trying to achieve it, Make It Happen!

It’s not rocket science. Create a deficit and make it happen!

Athletic or Athlete

chicmarathonWhat is an athlete? Who gets to make that call? Over the weekend, I ran my 5th marathon in Chicago. I must say, there were people that looked the “elite athlete” part and those that looked the “you’re seriously going to run a marathon” part. The difference between the two, at least in my mind, is only the time they finished. Some of us were born to run (I would not say that is me). The rest of us were born to set goals and reach them.

I saw Batman, Elvis, a banana, a man in pink crocs. I saw guy that had “DUDE” on the front of his shirt, so everyone yelled “WAY TO GO DUDE” (loved that one!). I saw young to old. I saw small and I saw big. But, you know what, they were all athletes. They all trained (at least we hope they did) and we all ran 26.2 miles. Some of us had a specific time in mind. For all of us, it was important to finish. I ran for a charity and for the boys with MD that will never be able to run. Others ran for a bad bet made, or to raise money for a different charity. The bottom line, WE ALL RAN. We are all ATHLETES.  We are all WINNERS.

Moral of the story, you don’t have to be ATHLETIC TO BE AN ATHLETE!