Get SMART with Goal Setting!

So, you have a goal, something to work for? If you do, thats awesome! If not, find something to achieve, even something small. We have all been there. We decide we want something and say “I want that” or “I want to do that”. You all know what I am talking about. Its akin to January 1st and a resolution.

But its different this time. Isn’t it? And it WILL be! It doesn’t matter whether its to lose 20 pounds of fat, walk or run a 5k or marathon, or even step on a stage in a tiny thong or bikini and strut your stuff. What matters most in this goal, is setting a plan. And being SMART about it. SMART goal setting is a great, simple way to both analyze your goal, and make sure you have a proper plan in place to hit that goal. Let me explain a little bit about how this works.

While no one part is greater than the whole, lets break it down for you! I will use running a 5k as an example, but keep in mind that it can, and does translate well to ANY goal you want to accomplish!


S – Specific - Run a 5k. Not just as simple as that. What I always recommend to my clients is to pick an event. It doesn’t matter if its your first 5k or your 100th 5k, it just matters that you have picked your event. Now sign up for it! Once you have paid your entry fee, you are now locked in. Now we can break the rest of your SMART goal setting down for you.

M – Measurable - Well we know 5 kilometers is measurable. Now what we need to do is set up your training plan so you can cross the finish line with confidence! What you do is you break down your training time into segments. So if your event is in 3 months, break it down into smaller chunks. A goal for each month, or week makes the whole event manageable and enjoyable!

A – Achievable - Always pick a goal that is attainable for you and your abilities. Lets say its your first 5k event. Likely, your goal isn’t to win it, but to do the whole thing, and not feel dead at the end! Walk, Jog or Run, it doesn’t matter how you get there, only that you are bettering yourself!

R – Realistic - Don’t shoot for the stars right away. If you want to compete in an Iron-Man event, but never done a 5k before, start with the 5k, progress to a 10k. Advance to short duathlons (run-bike-run) and then short triathlons (or even relay versions). Crawl, walk, jog, run….you get the idea!

T – Timely - Sticking with the 5k theme, if you have never done a 5k and you want to run it, don’t pick a 5k that’s in 2 weeks. Give yourself some time to train for it.


With proper goal setting, proper training plans fall into place. As such, you will significantly reduce your risk of injury, stay healthier, and be more able to enjoy the process. The goal is the reward for your plan, your work and your consistent determination to accomplish your goal. And remember, we at Strong Point Fitness are here to help you! Real people getting REAL results! To your health!



The Low Down on Core Training – Keep it Simple

     “How do I get more defined abs?” Certainly one of the most asked questions in the world of fitness. What it takes to see definition in the midsection takes real consistency from multiple facets of life. There are a few ways to break down your core. You have strength, definition, and functionality. Getting defined abs is a multifaceted subject. But all factors need to be considered and put into play to be really effective at getting the abs you either have not had in years, or even ever!

     If attaining a lean, defined midsection is your goal, keep in mind that just doing thousands of crunches wont get the job done. It doesn’t seem worth it to do all that work and see little to no improvement now does it? Now keep in mind, I am not necessarily talking about weight loss but I am talking about fat loss to be precise. Losing the fat is key to not just seeing your midsection, but adding years of vitality to your life.

     The first place to start with fat loss comes from getting your body-fat tested. The WORST way to measure it is any scale or handheld device that runs on electrical current. Its accuracy is tied directly to how hydrated you, or are not. If a trainer wants to measure that way, walk away and request a refund. What is much better is caliper testing. Some tests have as little as 3 pinches, some as many as 12. The more, the better as you get a better idea for the total fat on your body. One of the best ways is to have it done by someone who does Bio Signature, or Hormone Analysis through fat storage ratios. Doing so helps get professionals, such as myself get your body working for you, so you can better keep the fat off long term. KEEPING the results you worked so hard for. Working smarter, not always harder.

     So now that you know where you stand, lets look at the functionality of your core. Its comprised up of 6 main muscle groups that can confuse people as to what angles to hit or hit certain spots of their abs. You have the 6pack, or Rectus Abdominus down the front (it is the upper and ill-termed “lower” abs – they are one group), the Transverse Abdominus, Internal & External Obliques, the Quadratus Lumborum, and Spinal Erectors.  You have some supporting core muscles such as the Serratus Anterior and a few others, but we wont get into that too much. The overall functionality requirements of the core/midsection is to provide stabilization of the midsection. With increased stabilization of the core, not only will everything you do in the gym get better (cardio, stronger in all your lifting), you will see increase efficiency in all day to day activities.

     With that said, now we can get to what you really want to know…What are the best ab exercises? Knowing that stabilization is the focus, iso-metric exercises are best. You also do not want any core exercise that cause you to over extend your back. So lets look at a few great exercises you can do at home, the gym, or on the road. They will help build a lot of strength and also keep your muscles “long and lean”. If you do too much crunching or back extensions, you can end up with imbalances that can really compromise your overall posture and put your joints, especially your spine at risk. By strengthening more than just the front muscles you will see your waistline disappear faster than you can imagine.

1. Plank hold – Either on elbows or arms extended. There are more challenging variations, but start simple.

2. Side Plank – Either on elbows or arms extended. There are more challenging variations, but start simple.

3. Paloff Hold – Requires a band or cable machine to apply tension. This can be done kneeling or standing and have specific added movements for varying degrees of difficulty.

     Lastly, the important part of reducing bodyfat. Based on your Hormone Analysis, we can then determine what foods you want to eat, and when. Additionally, the same plan for the right supplementation to get the fat off and more importantly, keep it off! After all, it doesnt matter how hard you work in the gym if you dont control what you put on your plate.

Should you trust a Phd or MD with your health?

So each month its always great to go back and look at the highlights of the last month. For me, that was on a call with a local Physician at a Mens Health Clinic who “specializes in physicals”. What prompted this was a problem with my prostate. To start, its a $550 for the physical itself. $450 for “basic” blood-work on top of that. So let me tell you what $1000 would get me (thats with a Paid-in-Full cash discount). In general the Dr was very vague as to what was included, as it was, “a standard physical”. He still would not tell me what specifically would be done.


So I went past that and inquired about the blood analysis. He said they would check cholesterol. I asked for him to be more specific. He said “Total Cholesterol.” I then asked if they would look at the ratio of LDL and HDL. He said no. Further blood work would be needed then. He told me they would check for Thyroid function. Again, I asked for him to expand. He said they would check the TSH. I asked if they would check for T3 or T4. He said further blood work would be needed. Then he mentioned that they would check Testosterone. Yet again, I asked for what they were testing. He informed me rather quickly that it would be just “Total Testosterone”. Naturally, my reply was “what about Free Testosterone, or Estrone, or Estrodiol, or Progesterone or Luteinizing Hormones? By this point it was no surprise that he said more blood work would be required for such information. He then added that they would check the T3 and T4 in the Testosterone check. I reminded him that T3 and T4 are related to Thyroid, not Testosterone. I asked him if they would check RBC Zinc, RBC Magnesium, DHEA Sulfate, Fasting Insulin, or HbA1C. Can you guess what he said? No sir, all that costs more.


At this point, there was a moment of awkward silence on the phone while I could tell the MD was pondering while formulating a very pivotal question. As plain as day he asked, “Are you in the medical profession?” I replied with a succinct, “No, I am just a fitness trainer.” Shortly after this point, he went back into a sales pitch, where I interrupted him and told him I was not interested. I politely thanked him for his time and lack of education.


Moral of the story is that you can not always trust someone with a PHD or MD. In many cases this over-inflates the persons ego.  I am thankful for the mentors I have had both in college and in my professional career. When you trust your health to others, they sure as hell better know what they are talking about.


Ensure your Success with these few tips!

We all struggle with different aspects of health and fitness that we feel “hold us back” or we know we need to improve upon. Regardless of what you struggle with, a few easy changes will make a HUGE improvement on not on just how you feel, but how you look as well! You have likely read a plethora of articles either online, or in print, that in many cases just don’t seem realistic to sustain long term. Regardless of what we do, follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) principle and you will see success!


Failing to plan, is planning to fail. Within your plan you have to consider the 5 components of fitness, starting with the most important:


1. Nutrition – When you buy your groceries, stick to the outside of the store. Plan your meals ahead by making all your meals for the week in one afternoon or evening. Sunday works best for me. Lastly, use a 6pack cooler to take your meals with you for the day. Keep a food journal. I can help with learning how to shop and keep a food journal – Dont count calories!


2. Sleep – Plan to go to bed when you are tired. You will wake up with more energy. Listening to your chronotype will ensure that your hormonal cascade resets to proper capacities. This is critical for any goal.


3. Workouts – Plan ahead. Ensure that you have both cardio and strength training workouts and don’t forget to apply flexibility training into your routine as well. You shouldn’t need to spend more than 90min in any one workout session. Keeping a log of your workouts can go a long ways as well! If you do, you need to get some structure and guidance to do so.


 4. Supplements – This is really important to find a supplement rep that you trust and has both experience and knowledge to back it up. Most will have tried many different products and can give you first hand reviews. Most importantly, keep this simple. Too many products are out there that don’t offer what they say they do. You should only need a few products; nothing more. GMP is the way to go!



5. Professional assistance & support – Finding the right professional will guide you through any goal, regardless of what obstacles or injuries may come your way. Their job is to manage your health, nutrition and well-being by constantly employing strategies and re-designing them to keep you healthy, reduce stress, and get you results you seek. Having someone with a field-related degree and top tier certifications (NASM, NSCA, or USAW) and actual field experience.


If you keep these points in mind, you will find you will most importantly feel a whole lot better. You have to take care of yourself before you can properly take care of others. Remember, dont rely on just the scale for determining your success. Use other means, Body composition, pants sizes, push ups, or a plank hold test. Several to choose from! If you have more questions, please post them, or contact me to get more information.

Presidential Fitness Testing

One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to “Get Fit.” But in order to succeed at that goal, you must first ask, “What am I getting fit for?” Physical fitness means different things to different people. For years, as children we had to go through some standardized fitness testing of which most of us failed miserably. But then once we are out of grade school, the testing stops. There is no testing for teenagers, or adults unless you play(ed) high school, collegiate, or even professionally (for the fortunate few). So why not start the New Year with some basic testing, and push yourself to do better each month. You will find that by the end of each quarter, and the year, your improvement will be remarkable.

There are three general types of fitness, and determining what and why you are resolving to become more fit, will help you stay on track to accomplish those goals:

  • Performance-related fitness is linked to athletic performance (for example: a 50-yard dash time or the ability to maneuver around obstacles quickly) and is linked to speed, reaction time and coordination.
  • Health-related fitness is linked to fitness components that may lower risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or low back pain.
  • Functional fitness is being fit enough to enjoy your life fully without letting aches and pains or extra weight stand in your way.

So, what are you getting fit for and how will you accomplish that goal? Close your eyes and get a vision of what you want to look like, how fast you want to be or how healthy you want to be and keep that image in mind each time you work out. It is most important to note that there is no “ideal image” so whatever image is clear in YOUR mind is the right one for you.

Now… Test Yourself!
Now that you have a crystal clear image in mind, testing your current level of fitness is critical in measuring your success. The Presidential Fitness Test continues to be an excellent way to assess your own fitness. The test itself (available online at www.adultfitnesstest.org) will help estimate your level of fitness using several different components:

  • Aerobic fitness – ability of the heart and lungs to deliver blood to muscles
  • Muscular strength and endurance – enough to do normal activities easily and protect the low back
  • Flexibility – ability to move your many joints through their proper range of motion
  • Body composition – not too much body fat, especially around the waist

The results on each test provide you with a measure from which you can track your progress in each area as you become more physically active. If you have any concerns about your level of activity, it is always recommended you speak with your doctor first.

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