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Jun 8, 2011

May 26, 2011

FREE Stuff and a Rant

Let the games begin... if you're easily offended, then read on because that's the way uh-huh, uh-huh I like it.  At the end, you'll see a link to a "Travel Workouts" program I put together for you because 1) I'm basically kinda awesome,  and 2) alot of people might be going out of town next week with Memorial Day approaching, so I wanted to offer you a chance to stay lean with quick, yet effective workouts.  The price of the program is 1 virtual fist pump.  Yes, 1 virtual fist pump.  You can email a picture of your fist pump, or I can just take your word for it that you gave me one on your computer screen.

Quick Note: If you are in the metro-Atlanta, GA area and you want to participate in an awesome 5K race, then check out  You can run/walk it, too.  It's June 11th.  And just for participating or contributing to this great cause, I'll hook you up with this:
Just shoot an email to once your register or contribute and I'll send this your way.

Now for the "good stuff"...

Early Summer Rant

1) It was IDIOT day at the gym, and here were the winners (it was a tie)... the dude taking up the Squat Rack during a "rush hour" for bicep curls using only the bar and the dude wearing those "5-Finger" shoes and supersetting the leg extensions and leg curls for about an hour.  Yeah, he gets it... totally.

2) "Just can't seem to shake off any of this weight" some person said.  And on facebook you see something like, "_______ checked in at the Grease Pit Cafe" at least 3-4 times a week.  It happens TOO. MANY. TIMES.

3) The whiners about Oprah being over.  I think it's kinda crazy that some people think she can empower a blank post-it note. 

4) The freaks come out at night you say?... you haven't come with to a Walmart during the day my friend.

5) I am totally burned out on cheesy Chick Flicks.  Never again will I tell my wife my Netflix password. 

6) Hey, if you're checking your phone for text messages or facebook between every forsaken set, then your intensity is ridiculously and stupidly low.  Go watch Opera.  Wuss.

7) Hey, do guys let the weight stack slam down because they are idiots or because they're idiots?  

8) Oh yeah, by the way, when you walk around like your chest is full of air and you look like you can't seem to breathe it out while you're wearing your little sister's shirt, you look like an idiot.  You're not even close to cool. You're so far from cool, that I'm going to make my point by blogging about it.

Ahhhh, I feel better now. 

To your fitness success, and have a great Memorial Day!
- Mikey

To access your  program, simply click on the image  below:


May 19, 2011

What Inspires You? An Inteview with a FB Friend Part 2

This is part 2 of my interview with my friend Margaret.  If you missed part 1, you won't want to miss out on it.  You can read it here.  She has an amazing story and her journey still continues today.

A good caption for this would be, "daaaaaaang"

Mike: You have named your training "Purely Natural Fitness".  What helped you come up with that name because I like it.

Margaret: I am glad you like it!  (-:  When I was thinking of a name, I wanted it to reflect my philosophy on fitness.  I want to promote natural eating, as well as natural fitness.  I do not like machines.  I don’t like things that limit movement and where you have to sit down to do it.  I try to use exercises that a person might need to function throughout the day.  One example is body squats.  Our bodies are meant to squat.   It’s a purely natural exercise.   It is an exercise that can be used in a person’s life.  You should be squatting to pick up stuff.  You do ½ squats when getting in and out of the car.  I not only want to help people lose weight but I want to help them live their lives much easier by being able to move more freely without much strain on the body.

Mike: What keeps you motivated to set new goals now?  

 Margaret: My past goals motivate me.  Looking back at what I accomplished pushes me to set new goals.  My goals keep me pushing forward.  Without my goals, I have no reason to exercise.  I know it is for good healthy and everything BUT sometimes we need more than that to keep us motivated.  Good health is a life goal but we need some short term personal goals to focus on.  Being healthy is number one for me so I need to do what I need to do to keep myself on track.  

Mike: Any favorite exercises? 

Margaret:  Weighted pullups!!!!!! Oh you know it!! They are quick, hard core and make me feel like a freakin' POWERHOUSE. Doing pullups beyond your bodyweight is an amazing feeling.  Nothing like strapping on 40 extra lbs and banging out 3 reps.  It just makes you want to RAWWWWRRR!

Handstand pushups are fun, too.  I like bodyweight exercises because it's so cool to be able to use your body to gain strength.  I do like that some of them you can move beyond bodyweight.  Once I get better with handstand pushups, I plan to buy a weighted vest and start doing them weighted.
Oh cool, it's G.I. Jane
I know people might ask, why weighted pullups?  I like to do exercises that are not “normal” for women.  I like to push beyond what people think of what women can do.  I have nothing against weights but it seems that is only what women do when they do strength training.  They tend to look at the pullup bar and think “yeah right” and go pick up some light weight dumbbells.  

Mike: Bottom line, take us from point A (when you first started) to point B (where you are now).  In other words, what would you say are your biggest transformation changes since starting on this journey?

Margaret: With this question, I am not going to point out the obvious which is strength and body.  Ok, I guess I did point that out…hahaha!  Anyways, for me, the major transformation came from within me.  I am doing things I NEVER thought possible.  I am pushing through some mental blocks I carried with me for years.  I am finally living my dreams.  I am becoming a more confident person.  I am becoming a MUCH happier me.   The HUGE transformation is I no longer have a self-esteem that someone would have to dig deep to find.  I no longer let people control how I feel and decide what I do or don’t do.  I don’t let judgmental views stand in my way of becoming stronger and achieving my dreams.  I am pushing through the thought of the fear of failing.  For the first time in my life I have a list of personal goals I want to achieve.  Its right here posted where I can see it daily.  My physical transformation is only a fraction compared to the change that took place within me.  I just wanted to be happy.  At point A, my goal was JUST to be happy.  That is all I asked for.  Now at point B, I have gotten so much more than that.  I am sooo much more than JUST happy.  I am ALIVE and LIVING a wonderful, beautiful, amazing life!

Again, you can follow Margaret and her journey at the following:

My bottom line?  If Margaret can do it, so can you.

To your success,

May 16, 2011

What Inspires You? An Interview with a FB Friend

Recently, I have gotten to know a facebook friend named Margaret.  I knew she had made a transformation, but after interviewing her, I didn't realize the huge changes she went through.  It is really quite amazing!  I hope you find part one of this interview inspiring and invigorating.  Enjoy! 

Mike:   I've noticed you have made quite a transformation, especially with your strength.  Tell me a little bit about what got you started. Why did you want to make such a change? 

 Margaret: My fitness journey started after gaining 35lbs and having to go to a size 16 pants (size I have NEVER been in!!).  After my 2nd son was born in 2004, I decided it was time to do something.  I did some running and Pilates, on and off.  Lost some weight but nothing I would consider “transforming”.   I kept stopping and starting exercising.  I spent the next few years trying to figure out what I enjoyed doing and what my body loved.  It was actually quite frustrating, really.  I almost gave up.  Yes, I was almost to the point of just accepting the “fat” me and the “unhappy” me.  I was just going to accept it all.  I was ready to give up.  Well, that all changed when I went to visit my dad in the hospital after he had open heart surgery.  He was over 350lbs and only 62 yrs old to the time.  It was so hard seeing my daddy in that condition.  He was always the strong one in the family BUT he looked so weak.  I left the room in tears.  He struggled really badly in recovering.  I remember him telling my husband when he found out he had to have open heart surgery “Take care of yourself.  I ignored the problem and here I am.  Take care of yourself before it’s too late”.

My Dad was my inspiration to not give up.  I knew after seeing him in the hospital that I couldn’t give up.   So I kept searching for something to really click with me.  I decided to give a DVD workout program one last shot.  I had a whole collection of DVD workouts that just didn’t work for me.  I had a friend that got great results from the P90X program.  I was VERY skeptical but thought “one last time”.  Within a month I dropped two sizes and I didn’t really follow the program exactly.  I  FINALLY found what works for me, STRENGTH TRAINING!!!!!!  Not only did it work for me BUT its something I came to LOVE doing!  I finally found a workout that I didn’t dread doing.

Why did I want to make the change?  I wanted to be happy with what I saw in the mirror every day.  I wanted to look like Jillian on the Biggest Loser.  I wanted to be happy with myself.  I thought if I was happy with myself physically, I would be happy with ME.  Well, I’ve learned that it doesn’t work that way.  Being happy with yourself is a whole different area.  Fitness and losing weight gave me the confidence to work on those internal issues I have with myself but it wasn’t a cure.  Even to this day I still have my internal struggles of self-worth and confidence but I am a million times better than I was before losing weight.  I am on the road of truly being 100% happy with the person that defines ME.

Now I am going to talk about the “why” with strength.  Push for strength really didn’t come into the picture until after a year of maintaining what I lost after starting the P90X.  I reached my size and weight goal so why push for anything else, right??  To make a long story short, I met a friend through some of my youtube videos.  He totally put the bug in me to get stronger.  At the time, I knew very little about women being strong.  He sent me videos and such, telling me if I wanted to I could get stronger I could do be.   It opened a whole new world for me.  It’s funny because he said he would give me $5.00 for every pullup I could once I reached 10 pullups in a row.  At the time I could only do like 2 pullups (this was just 2 yrs ago!) but he said I could easily get myself to 10 pullups.  I totally thought he was crazy.  Me do 10 pullups?? Yeah, whatever buddy!!   Well, I ended up making over $50.00 on that bet!  Now it’s an addiction for me because I love how getting stronger makes me feel.  I have set new goals for myself and I realized that I will always continue to do so… more “maintaining” for this woman!!!!!

Mike: The other day, I saw you post a video of doing 1-arm push-ups.  First of all... WOW.  Second of all, WOW.  I know I said it twice because that's how I roll.  But seriously, do you remember how many regular push-ups you were able to do when you first started?

Margaret: I like how you roll Mikey! (-:  Oh gosh, how many regular push-ups I could do when I first started??  Well, I started off with modified (NO they are NOT girlie!! Hahaha) pushups.  When I moved into regular pushups, I could only do a few.   At the time, I didn’t even think I knew there was such a thing as a one arm pushup.  I think I saw Jillian do a few when I watched the Biggest Loser after being able to do about 10 regular ones and thought “wow” BUT it never was a goal of mine.  One day I just did like one or two but it was tough and sloppy.  I think someone asked me if I could do any so I think that’s why I tried them.

Mike: From your blog and posts, it looks like you eat whole, natural foods. Do you think this has made an impact on your strength gains (or should I say freakish strength gains)?

Margaret: Yeah, I’ve been told I’m a freak of nature…hahaha!  I do give my eating HUGE credit.  Its not just whole, natural foods but its beyond that.  Example is the eggs I eat.  I eat organic eggs BUT I buy them from a local organic farmer who let their chicken roam to eat grass, bugs and they are fed a special mineral diet.  I also listen to my body and give it what it needs to function.  I know what I function well on.
It is not just in the food either.  I feel I train smart as well.  If my body needs a break, I give it.  I hear about people that don’t take rest days.  I know people that train every single day.  I can’t do either of them.  I might train 2 days in a row but I feel if I listen well to my body and give it a break when its begging me for one, my strength increases.  Training is great but its that rest time that works wonders for strength gains.  When I come off a rest day (or two..haha!), I feel much stronger.

So basically it’s a combination of my natural diet, training smart, and listening to my body.  I honestly think people would be shocked that I can gain so much strength without following a set “schedule”.  I know people that will do things on certain days of the week.  I have strength training day “routines” (3-4) but what I do on what day depends on my mood and body.

And that's just part 1.    Part 2 to come... I was really excited about Margaret agreeing to do an interview because I find it inspiring and I hope you do, too.

To follow Margaret on her journey, check out her blog at:

Be on the lookout for part 2!

To your success,
Mikey, CFT, CFNC

May 5, 2011

Training Women for Fat Loss

"I don't want to get big and bulky".  <----- That statement is usually the first thing I hear from a woman that wants to lose fat but is afraid of weight training.  Even guys come up to me at the gym and ask me how I train women differently than men.  I'll be honest with you... my philosophy is just not that different.  Train with intensity, and yes, that means HEAVY.  Also, don't do stupid stuff.

This includes stupid stuff

However, most guys tend to have a "chest day", which of course, I'm not going to have a mom of 2 kids do a billion chest exercises.  Then again, NONE of my male clients won't do that either. As most of you know, I don't do "body-part" days.

What are a couple of differences you may ask?  Well, for one, I typically have my female clients do more reverse lunges than forward lunges (since most women want to firm up their butts... this hits the glutes a little harder and less on the quads).  And if they are dead-set in thinking they will bulk up, I ease their psychology by implementing more bodyweight moves (push-ups, inverted rows, etc., etc.).   It makes them feel all gooey and fuzzy inside.  I had one client last week say, "Mike... when you have me do Spiderman Push-ups, I feel like it was me that was supposed to be in the Royal Wedding.  I feel that beautiful.  Can we do another set?".

Mikey <----- this guy just lied.

So ladies?  If you want to avoid bulking up, then don't do this:

  • Work out 6 days a week with each day devoted to one single body part... why ANYONE wants to spend 2 hours on their calves is beyond me
  • Eat like the old Mikey (humongous surplus of calories)
 And if you find yourself one of the few women who claim they can bulk up quite easily, then reduce the volume of your program, but still weight train.  So if your program calls for 3 sets of squats, then stick with just 1 set.

Another trick is to substitute bodyweight moves.  For example, instead of pulldowns, you can do bodyweight inverted rows.

Trust me, you won't bulk up.  I just had a grandmother do chest presses with 30 lb dumbbells this week and she's not bulky.  Last summer, I had a female client blow me away by doing walking lunges with 40 lb dumbbells and it was nothing to her.  By the way, I miss her.  She worked so hard and got freakishly strong and then she got pregnant (because of her husband, not because of the lunges).  And about 2 months ago, I had a client really pleased with her deadlift PR.  She's got that lean, athletic look.  I have a friend on facebook that is doing weighted pull-ups for crying out loud.  She has muscles, but she's not "bulky".  She actually looks awesome.  She has quite a journey.

Oh yeah..., Cynthia, one of the trainers at my gym, can do more pull-ups in her sleep than most guys can after 300 mg of caffeine.  And she is RIPPED.

(Insert plug here) ----------> Oh cool that's what this space is for.

After over a year in the making, I have a 12-week program for both males and females that won't "bulk" you up.  You can check it out by clicking here ------->  New Reflection Training Package

To your transformation success,

Apr 26, 2011

Cardio on an Empty Stomach

I ate so much banana pudding on Easter that I'm still full.  Yes, that much.  Ridiculous.

Anyway, I'm clearing up the confusion about "Cardio on an empty stomach" today.  I'm sure you heard the saying, "do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach so you'll burn more fat".  Well, let's set the record straight...

(Insert dramatic pause here)  But first, let me tell you how excited I am about an upcoming project that I've been working on for over a year.  It will be released hopefully this week, so keep your eyes open for that :)

Alright, now back to the topic.  I first read about this study from Craig Ballantyne. It was a study done in Italy from researchers who had a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition Exercise and Metabolism (21:48-54, 2011).

The Italian researchers wanted to see what would happen when eight healthy young men did the following workouts:

Workout A: 36 minutes of slow cardio at 65% maximum heart rate in the morning without eating
Workout B: 36 minutes of slow cardio at 65% maximum heart rate in the morning AFTER a small meal

The results:

4 hours after exercise, the results found that eating before cardio increased both calorie burning AND fat burning. Yep, eating before the workout increased fat burning in the 24-hours after exercise. The scientists concluded that “fasting before exercise does not enhance lipid utilization; rather, physical activity after a light meal is advisable.”

What it means for you:
You certainly don't need to do cardio on an empty stomach to "burn more fat".  Another myth debunked.  For those of you that have been following me, you already know how I feel about "cardio" anyway.  If you really want to drop fat, you need to do interval training.  I put up a post about that here.

Keep in mind, you have to do what's right for YOU.  If I have the chance to knock out a workout at 5:30am (which I've been known to do because I have a full plate that day), I'll be honest...  I go to the gym and work out with nothing in me.  Why?  Because I actually perform my workout better.  I've experimented with a little snack and eating nothing.  "Nothing" wins.  I have some clients that have a better workout with an apple and half a protein shake.  I encourage them to "experiment" and really figure what works best for them.  That's what you have to do.  If I work out mid-day, I find that eating a small snack about 90 minutes before my workout is what works for me.  Some people like to eat 15 minutes before.  Everyone is different.  Experiment and see what works for you, but don't do something one way because it's the "magical" way to lose fat.  Sorry, there is no such thing :(

To your fitness success,

Apr 13, 2011

Why Do You Hate "Hump" Day?

Happy Hump Day!  First of all, let's get this out of the way.  Why are Wednesdays called, "Hump Day"?  That's kinda weird to me, but whatever.  If you're in a job that you hate so much that you even look forward to the middle of the week to say you're halfway there, then I suggest looking for another job. 

I know, I know.  "Easier said than done", you say.  But the way I look at it is you take one step back to take two steps forward.  Take me for example; I used to work at a big corporate company behind a desk for 8-10 hours a day.  I left that job to go work for my Dad, which was 42 miles away.  I went from an 18 mile commute to a 42 mile commute job, but darn it, I was happy.  I mean, after all, I got to work with my Dad for crying out loud.  For most people that would be horrific, but for me it was great.  He taught me the entrepreneurial spirit and good old-fashioned hard work.  

My passion for fitness was overwhelming and I knew that's what I wanted to do ultimately.  So, at one point, I had 5 jobs as I was trying to get my fitness business up and running.  Yes, 5: 
  1. Worked with my Dad in Jasper, GA
  2. Trained clients in their homes (traveled quite a bit)
  3. Trained clients at the gym I just started at
  4. Delivered coupon books to local businesses 
  5. Wrote the sports section in a local newspaper
It was alot of work, but I realized that it was just temporary until I built up the client base I needed to do fitness full time. I don't regret it at all.  I learned alot about myself and knew that I gave it my best in order to do what I want with my life.

Now, I'm in the fitness industry full time and LOVE it.  The sacrifice of my time and giving of my best effort has paid off.  I would rather do 10 hours of research, training people, doing boot camps, writing programs and blogs to help more people finally get out of their fat loss struggles than work 3 hours a day at a job I absolutely despise.  But that's just me.

The same goes for fat loss.  Sometimes, you simply have to look at what you're willing to give, in order to gain.  So it may mean you have to skip "Happy Hour" with the gang because you know you will end up binging on bar food and caloric drinks.  Instead of eating your favorite beef nachos 4 nights a week, you may have to cut down to 1.  Instead of going out to eat every day for lunch, you may have to bring something with you and work out during your lunch hour so you don't spend time away from your family, yet get your exercise in.  Are you giving your fitness goals the absolute best you can?  Reach further and you might surprise yourself.  For a little inspiration, watch the video below.

To your fitness success,