Tag Archives: fitness

New Ways to Treat


By Livia Ly MS RD LDN and Melza van Roijen MS. We are in a new health care era. One marked by treatment integration. Many health care professionals have begun treating their patients and clients as people rather than mere numbers on a chart. Patients today are looking for holistic preventive approaches to optimize their health and well-being. Preventive medicine doctors already exist and have the goal to promote and maintain health and well-being and to prevent disease. However, we need more than that.red apple

Have you heard of integrative medicine? It is a great concept; designed to follow a whole-person approach that treats the person and not just the disease. Well, let me introduce myself, I am a dietitian trained both in São Paulo, Brazil and in Chicago, U.S. I believe that nutritional caretakers should not only consider the diagnosis, but also decode the hidden messages expressed by the client. I consider the entirety of the human being since the human body is unique with structured organs and systems that are interdependent.

I moved to the U.S. in 2008 and quickly learned how different the methods of treatment are in these two countries. The primary focus of conventional health treatments in the U.S. is often the disease, and not the patient. In Brazil there is a larger emphasis on prevention. For example, when I lived in Brazil, I underwent multiple medical exams every year to proactively check my health. Those same exams are typically only performed in the U.S. to reactively diagnose a symptom. Also, our Brazilian Dietary Guidelines were in the American headlines last year and well-known public health advocates, like Marion Nestle and Michael Pollan, praised them for being food-based.

The American government and the private sector are now realizing that prevention will save a lot of money. The U.S. is facing a severe healthcare cost crisis that is mainly due to the increasing number of chronic illnesses in the population. There is hope, however, if we focus more on prevention and not just the treatment of illness. The key is a lifestyle change that incorporates both nutrition and exercise! But, we need more than that.


Here are the ten Brazilian guidelines:

1. Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet

2. Use oils, fats, salt, and sugar in small amounts when seasoning and cooking natural or minimally processed foods and to create culinary preparations

3. Limit consumption of processed foods

4. Avoid consumption of ultra-processed foods

5. Eat regularly and carefully in appropriate environments and, whenever possible, in company

6. Shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods

7. Develop, exercise and share cooking skills

8. Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life

9. Out of home, prefer places that serve freshly made meals

10. Be wary of food advertising and marketing

In addition to the Brazilian guidelines, I also recommend to my clients functional foods and nutraceuticals: foods or ingredients that produce beneficial health effects beyond their basic nutritional functions. Various health conditions can be managed with functional foods and nutraceuticals, including prevention of hair loss or weak nails, decrease in the progression of aging skin, improvement of muscle growth, control of hypothyroidism or migraines, and help to promote lasting weight loss in a healthy manner. I also believe that individualized recommendations will promote greater and longer lasting results. We are unique and therefore need personalized strategies. Finally, I believe that listening to client stories and looking at interactions among genetic, food sensitivity, environmental, cultural, and lifestyle factors can positively influence long-term health.

Livia LyAbout Author: Livia Ly, MS, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian and nutritionist trained both in Brazil and in the United States. She is the founder of Nutrily, LLC http://nutri.ly/ a nutrition consultancy company that follows a holistic approach.



Melza van RoijenAbout Editor: Melza van Roijen, MS is a volunteer at Nutrily, LLC. “I completed my B.S. in psychology at the College of Charleston in 2010 and my M.S. in behavioral neuroscience at Tulane University in 2014. I have worked in many different research labs over the years and have investigated topics such as drugs of addiction, traumatic brain injury, neuroendocrinology and spatial cognition.”


Paddling and Corenography

coreby Jose Antonio PhD FISSN. Not to be confused with Pornography, Corenography instead refers to the proliferation of books, websites, and blogs dedicated to ‘Core Training.’ Nevertheless, do a search on Amazon.com and faster than you can download that goofya$$ video of the fake Kardashian wedding video, you’ll find scores of fitness books dedicated to training the ‘Core.’  Sort of like the ‘core’ of an apple, you can define ‘core training’ as training the muscles attached to your torso (i.e. the abdominal muscles and lower back).  This includes all the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus and intercostals), the spine (the erector spinae group) and the hip flexors (iliacus and psoas, together known as the iliopsoas).  Basically these muscles stabilize and move the center or core of your body.  All this anatomy talk is making me sleepy.  Back to my point.  Apparently core training can do lots of things.  If you look at various book titles, you have “The Complete Book of Core Training: The Definitive Resource for Shaping and Strengthening the “Core” — the Muscles of the Abdomen, Butt, Hips, and Lower Back.”  That pretty much explains it.   But then you have a ‘revolutionary’ type of program (sort of like the American or French Revolution I guess) in “The Core Performance: The Revolutionary Workout Program to Transform Your Body & Your Life.”  And of course, if your IQ doesn’t exceed a banana, then “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Core Conditioning Illustrated” is for you.You’d think with a plethora of books on core training that nobody figured out before that training your abs, back, and hip flexors/extensors was important.  But as with many things in exercise, it’s basically a ‘different way’ of looking at the same thing.  If you do a full squat, you are training the core.  If you do heavy curls using an EZ curl bar, believe me, you’re training the ‘core.’  Heck, doing a friggin’ push-up trains the ‘core.’  But if you’re tired of the gym and doing silly exercises on Swiss Balls, BOSU, and assorted plastic contraptions, why not do ‘core’ work that also serves to increase muscle strength and endurance.  And it’s a helluva lot more fun that balancing on a stinkin’ Swiss ball.  What is it? Outrigger paddling my friends.  What exactly is outrigger paddling?  Well way back when, ole Captain Cook arrived in Kealakekua Bay in the year 1779, he reported seeing at least 1500 canoes. Purportedly, Hawaii must have numbered between 6,000 and 12,000 canoes for a population of 175,000 to 225,000. (http://www.coffeetimes.com/july97.htm) Here was a culture that was dependent on the ocean and used ancient canoes to get from the beach to 7-11.  Okay, maybe not 7-11, but when you’re in need of coconut water, the island next door might be your best bet. Polynesians actually have used the outrigger canoe as a mode of travel dating back thousands of years.  Paddling, specifically outrigger canoe paddling, utilize all the core muscles, as well as the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.  The rotation, flexion, and extension of the torso while paddling is a much better core workout than all the latest fad of the day exercises that you see at your local gym.  In fact, the paddling sports are unique as a strength-endurance sport in that you train your cardiovascular system intensely but in addition, you can gain quite a bit of muscle mass, especially in the back and shoulders.  Think of each paddling stroke as weight training using water as resistance.  For instance, an ‘easy’ workout would consist of a one hour paddle in which your stroke cadence is 60 per minute (15 strokes left then right, alternating); if you do a rep count, that’s 1,800 reps on the left and right side respectively.  That to me, is a helluva lot better than getting on some newfangled plastic ball and doing an exercise that you’ll never encounter in real life.  But that’s just me.

So do yourself a favor, take a break from the gym and workout on the water.  There are paddling clubs all over the world.  Check out http://www.y2kanu.com/ (the pictures here are courtesy of them), www.kanaluimiami.com and www.ocpaddler.com. Believe me; It is more fun getting a hard workout on the open ocean doing strength-endurance work for the upper body and ‘core’ while working the lower extremity muscles as stabilizers.  And besides, how often can you workout and see dolphins all at the same time?



Choosing the right “Cardio Modality” for pre and post workouts?

By Chris and Eric Martinez, CISSN, CPT, BA.  The lovely world of cardio, we have to love it right? Cardio has countless benefits for the human body, so it must be good for us, right? How else do you think all the celebrities stay so skinny and “toned?”cardio-on-empty-stomach1

How many times have you seen people get to the gym and hop on a cardio machine and just gas themselves, and not to mention go do some resistance training right after. Or what about when someone gets done from an intense lifting session, then goes off and does an intense cardio session?

We know you’ve seen this before and we are not going to get into the psychology of why people do this because that could be a whole other article itself. We are more focused on is it optimal to perform cardio pre and post workout? With a specific focus on which cardio modality (type of cardio you do) is the best to perform to avoid the interference effect of strength, power, and hypertrophy gains? But before we give you the answer, it’s vital that we always have to take people’s goals, activity level, overall health, and training experience into consideration before anything. So please read this with an open mind and a non-black and white answer, all or nothing approach.

What’s This Interference Effect Thing?

When we refer to the interference effect, we are talking about the interference of strength, power, and hypertrophy gains (muscle growth) when doing cardio pre or post workout. This topic of discussion has been floating around for quite some time now, whether concurrent training is optimal or not.

We all have our biased opinions, but what is the correct cardio modality to do pre and post workout and should we even be doing cardio pre or post workouts? That is the million dollar question that many of us would like to know.

Why continue to keep robbing your hard earned gains and progress if you don’t need to. Instead, why not continue to maximize your overall potential the correct way instead of shooting yourself in the foot? As always, we bring scientific based evidence to the table to get to the bottom of these popular topics, because the research doesn’t lie folks.

Before we delve into the research, we want to quote what Brad Schoenfeld said:

“There is no one cookie-cutter recommendation I can provide that will be ideal for everyone. People have varying responses to exercise programs. Large inter-individual differences are seen in any research protocol. Thus, in giving advice on a topic such as this, I can only provide general recommendations that must be individualized based on a variety of genetic and environmental factors. This is the essence of evidence-based practice, which should form the basis of every fitness professional’s decision making process.” (1)

We can’t agree more with this statement and we truly feel this statement is a legitimate and valid way of viewing such a topic like this one.

Cardio Modalities

We are certain we can all agree that there are numerous different cardio modalities out there today. To name a few modalities that have more ground-reaction force with higher impact are:

Pretty much all the badass cardio workouts that we look forward to doing.

Cardio modalities that minimize ground-reaction forces are:

  • Cycling bikes
  • Treadmillscardio-gym2
  • Ellipticals
  • Various machine based equipment

The stuff we like to watch TV on or read magazines 😉

These are all great choices whether you use them in the form of HIIT or LISS, but which modality is more optimal to prevent the interference effect and when should you do these you ask? Let’s delve into some research shall we.

Should you do cardio pre or post workout?

Layne Norton and Jacob Wilson claim that when you choose a cardio modality such as running or sprinting after a resistance training bout, the ground-reaction force (think sprints) and distance causes more muscle damage as opposed to a modality with less impact such as cycling instead. Cycling seems to be more similar to hip and knee flexion as opposed to running because it’s biomechanically interfering with squat and leg press patterns. This muscle damage seems to be coming from the eccentric components when running and sprinting (2).

Norton and Wilson make a valid point in the essence that if you are going to do cardio post workout, make sure you do it in the form of an opposing muscle group. Let’s say you did a grueling lower body workout, you would then want to do cardio in the form of using your upper body, something like rope slams because otherwise if you go and run or do sprints you are going to get a complete interference effect and possibly get injured.

After resistance training you have mTOR (cell growth) being ramped up and protein synthesis (making of new proteins) being turned on and when you do cardio after resistance training you get such high drastic rises in AMP kinase (signaling cascade for ATP production) that it ends up shutting off protein synthesis. In easier terms, cardio after weights interferes with the muscle growth phase and a good analogy is after training you turn the faucet on for muscle growth and when too much cardio is being done or after training, it shuts the faucet off.

As for pre workout cardio, this tends to be a little trickier than post workout cardio and we say this because it really depends on a lot of factors such as: What muscle groups are you training that day? What form of cardio are you doing pre workout (low, moderate, or high intensity)? What modality will you use? Are you in a low calorie and glycogen depleted state?

A Study in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise shows 30 minutes of jogging pre workout decreases volume of spinal discs and leads to a reduction in the amount of weight you can load on your back (3). For example, if you did a moderate-high intensity cardio bout such as jogging before squats it’s probably not a good idea because it will lead to decrements in strength and negatively affect your squats. Jogging shows to have a lot of muscle damage in the quads, hams, and glutes, so this will definitely affect your squat game.

A 2012 study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition showed extended periods of moderate volume concurrent strength, power, and endurance training interferes with explosive strength development (4). This is not something you want if you’re trying to increase your 1 rep max on squats and deadlifts.

The data is pretty clear that performing moderate-high intensity cardio pre workout will lead to decrements in strength and power with your resistance training. Perhaps doing cardio earlier in the day and performing resistance training later in the day will not have a negative impact on either the performance or the measured markers of the exercise induced growth stimulus the resistance training session will have. However, we highly encourage doing resistance training and cardio on separate days as this would be the most optimal route to go.

Is there really an interference effect?

            In a study by Wilson et al. a large body of research indicates that combining aerobic and resistance exercise (concurrent training) has a negative effect on gains in muscular strength and size (5). There is credence to the underlying concept that catabolic processes predominate to a greater extent in aerobic training, and concurrent exercise therefore has the potential to impair muscular gains. There is even evidence that cardio can blunt the satellite cell response (helps with muscle growth) to a bout of resistance exercise and therefore potentially impair the protein-producing capacity of muscle (6). With that said, why are people still considering doing cardio pre or post workout if clearly the evidence indicates that it can potentially inhibit muscular gains, strength, and power?

What if you could avoid the interference effect?

            Burn more calories, increase muscle, and acutely increase your metabolic rate, sounds good, right? This is where the famous HIIT cardio would come into play. When you think of HIIT, high intensity and high stress should be taken into consideration. What we have to keep in mind is that stress has to be recovered from, just like the stress from weight training. Last time we checked HIIT cardio is done during the week along with resistance training. If you are still recovering from a HIIT cardio session to the point that it affects your ability to lift weights, then it can be detrimental to your gains. If there is a significant eccentric component (sprinting and running), or high level of impact, HIIT can cause problems in your overall training and potentially lead to chronic overuse injuries. You have to be cautious and smart when incorporating HIIT into your training protocol because it seems that the work to rest ratios in HIIT intervals are very similar to resistance training sets and your number one focus should be on progressive resistance training.

Here are some ways to avoid the interference effect.

  • Schedule your cardio around your resistance training, especially HIIT cardio
  • If your number one priority is resistance training, then perform cardio modalities that minimize ground-reaction forces
  • Perform a cardio modality that is opposite of the muscle group your training. For example, if you do train legs then do an upper body dominate form of cardio and vice versa
  • If you absolutely have to do cardio the same day as your resistance training and you can’t find a cardio modality opposite of the body part you trained then make sure to keep the intensity to low-moderate

Wrapping this up

We believe that the research is pretty clear here when it comes to this particular topic. Clearly there is no black and white answer, sorry to disappoint, but at least we have a great indication of what to do and when not to do it. It’s tough to predict that anyone can avoid any interference effect when it comes to aerobic or anaerobic training. Just like anything else you have to compensate something. We are not all built like machines and able to handle the same workload as others. Genetics always play a vital role in how someone responds to training. Other factors such as nutrition, stress, sleep, occupational activity, ect. All must be taken into account. Refer back to Brad Schoenfeld’s quote if needed, it pretty much tells you there are only general recommendations that can be given here. The best thing to do is choose the correct cardio modality that suits your training and goals. Always train hard, think logically, and but most importantly train smart.


(1)  Schoenfeld, AARR Research Review. Cardio Roundtable Discussion. February and March 2013.

(2)  Norton, L & Wilson J. Muscle college radio with Dr. Layne Norton & Dr. Jake Wilson. http://www.rxmuscle.com/2013-01-11-01-57-36/muscle-college/7694-muscle-college-3-12-13.html

(3)   Kingsley, MI., et al., Moderate-Intensity Running Causes Intervertebral Disc Compression in young adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2012.

(4)  Mikkola, et al., Neuromuscular and cardiovascular adaptations during concurrent strength and endurance training in untrained men. Int J Sports Med. 2012.

(5)  Babcock, L, Escano, M, D’Lugos, A, Todd, K, Murach, K, and Luden, N. Concurrent aerobic exercise interferes with the satellite cell response to acute resistance exercise. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. 302: 2012.

(6)  Wilson, J.M., et al., Concurrent Training: A Meta Analysis Examining Interference if Aerobic and Resistance Exercise. J Strength Cond Res, 2011.

About The Authors:

Chris and Eric Martinez, CISSN, CPT, BA, also known as the “Dynamic Duo” operate a world class personal training and online training business “Dynamic Duo Training,” They’re also fitness and nutrition writers, fitness models, and coaches that love helping people reach their goals. Their philosophy is “No excuses, only solutions.”

Visit them at:

Dynamic Duo Training


FaceBook Page


YouTube Channel 

Are You Activating Your Glutes Properly?!

 By Eric Martinez CSCS.  When the phrase “Glute Activation” stumbles upon us, what does it exactly mean? Well, before I 578426_499793200106862_1750951167_nstart rambling on please do me a favor and sit up straight and have your booties nice and relaxed. Glute Activation is another way of saying warming up your buns or stretching the muscles in your buns. The famous muscle “Gluteus Maximus,” oh where would our bodies be without this beautiful muscle, aka our butt? Well, our glutes only pretty much help and act as stabilizers for our legs and torso, that’s pretty damn important if you really stop and think about it. The butt, which most of us treat like a vestigial bleacher cushion, isn’t just the main engine of the lower body; it’s also the steering wheel. Underneath and around the gluteus maximus is a critical network of smaller muscles: the gluteus medius (top), the gluteus minimus (lower) and a group of thinner muscles known as the deep six. Together, they surround the femur and pelvis like a rubber-band ball. And, ladies and gents when we activate these muscles properly and put them to work in the weight room, my oh my what a beauty it can become along with numerous reaping benefits to your health, daily training routine, and overall eye candy.

(Check out ‘Monster Walks’ for activating the Glutes!).

I hope everyone is still sitting up straight with their booties relaxed. So, how do we activate this star studded muscle? Well, this is where the two exercises “Monster Walks” and “Sumo Walks” are introduced. You might be thinking, huh? What the hell are those? These two exercises are commonly employed in Strength and Conditioning and will become more popular as time goes on. There was a study done in the Journal of Clinical Biomechanics by Cambridge et al, Sidorkewicz, Ikeda, and McGill 2012 on the effects of resistance band placement on gluteal activation during two common exercises.  The researchers wanted to understand the effect of resistance bands on muscle activation profiles during two rehabilitation exercises, called “Monster Walks” and “Sumo Walks.” These exercises involve walking in semi-squat postures in order to involve the gluteal muscles and the tensor fascia latae (TFL). So, they recruited 9 male subjects and had them perform both these exercises to see what area gave more glute activation with three different band placements: above the knee, ankles, and forefeet.

The researcher’s findings were very similar for both the “Sumo Walks” and “Monster Walks”. By decreasing band height, the activation of Gluteus Medius (top) and Tensor Fascia Latae monster-walk(TFL) were found to increase progressively. The increase from the knee to ankle for the Gluteus Medius didn’t reach much significance. The Gluteus Maximus activation was low and only increased significantly when the resistance bands were moved to the forefoot. Which is very interesting because our first instinct when trying to activate our glute muscles would not be to put resistance bands on our feet? So, what did the researchers conclude in their study? They concluded that band placements that were more distal (further from the center of the body) caused the gluteal muscles to be highly more activated than any other placement. We now know that when performing these two exercises prior to a training session that by using band placement at the forefeet will lead to greater gluteal activation, without increasing involvement of the TFL.

Time to wrap up this glute activation talk ladies and gentlemen. I can’t tell you how many people I see walk into the gym and go straight to the squat rack or straight to deadlifting without any kind of warm up or gluteal activation exercises. It is mind boggling and to this day I still can’t understand why people do it. It’s is imperative that we take 15-20 minutes to properly warm our bodies up and activate our glute muscles, remember they are the steering wheel to your lower body and they deserve to be activated. Keeping this muscle healthy, strong, active, and full ROM (range of motion) is key for a successful training protocol overall, not just for your lower body, but for your upper body and for the long run most importantly. The last thing you want to do is sustain an injury in one of your glute muscles, just the thought of it sounds painful. The society we live in today is dominated by a sedentary lifestyle and although many people are active, at the end of the day you are probably sitting on your tush for 8 hours a day to pay the bills. So, take the time to try some Monster or Sumo walks and get your glutes activated and ready for battle. Remember, you always want that booty looking better going than coming.


(1)  Cambridge ED, Sidorkewicz N, Ikeda DM, McGill SM,  Progressive hip rehabilitation: The effects of resistance band placement on gluteal activation during two common exercises,  Clinical Biomechanics 2012

“No Excuses, Only Solutions”


We are Chris and Eric Martinez, the “Dynamic Duo” of Dynamic Duo Training. We are identical twins, born and raised in Santa Rosa, CA. We are Certified Personal Trainers through AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) and CISSN (Certified International Society of Sports Nutrition).  Fitness has always been central to our lives. We have pursued a love of sports since the fourth grade, with basketball and soccer being our focal sports. In high school, we faced the loss of our father, and it made a huge impact on us. We feel it was a trial that strengthened us, but it also formed our belief that nothing is more important than health for living a long, happy and fulfilling life. Since that time, having an optimally functioning body has been a priority in our lives, which we have pursued through our study and practice of fitness and nutrition. It is a passion we wish to share with others, which is why we started Dynamic Duo Training.  Go to: http://www.dynamicduotraining.com/aboutUs.htm


Battling Ropes!

BattleRope1by Ryan Mallett USAW; FMS.  As a fitness professional, it’s imperative to stay educated and up to date with information; techniques and new equipment and its applications. Like in any industry, you will typically see something packaged as ‘new’, but has really been around for some time, leading you to believe the wheel has been reinvented. You may have seen various studio type gyms; boot camps even NFL teams and professional MMA fighters,  using large ropes being swung or whipped to varying degrees of success by their users, with “trainers” looking on and cheering for them to work harder or faster. Such ropes can be easily mis-used but were they used correctly, could really step up your fitness game. No, those aren’t ‘boat ropes’ buddy…they’re Battling Ropes!

What are these Battling Ropes, and aside from looking really cool to use, what can they do for you?  Well, if you want to know the real scoop on something, you go right to the source, and that’s just what I did. I had the honor of talking to Mr. John Brookfield (world record holding strong man known as ‘Mr. Hands’), inventor and pioneer of The Battling Ropes System, and got the low down on this amazing piece of equipment.

As a world record holder athlete, John was searching for something that could help to build and sustain power, but over time. It had dawned on him that hurricanes generate unyielding power in waves, and he determined that ‘waves’ can be produced with ropes. The Battling Ropes System was born. Within the entire system, there are seven concepts of the non-momentum style training, each system stemming from the ‘velocity + strength and speed together’ ideology. Although each system uses different applications of the Battling Ropes, simply looking for a great workout from using any of John’s systems will help you to achieve stress relief; better concentration and coordination in motor function; enhanced focus and motivation; increased muscular endurance & sustained work capacity by helping to push out lactic acid. It’s safe; anyone can do it and it’s visually motivating as well. Having used them at the Bridgewater Sports Arena here in Central NJ where I train myself, as well as varying populations of clients, people will stop to watch me make the waves and want to give it a try. The Battling Ropes come in one and a half, to two inch thick manila, or polyester styles which you can use indoor, or outside. The thicker the rope, the heavier it’ll be and the more your grip will be challenged.

metcon-kategorie-banner_1John didn’t stop there though in offering up as much information as possible about the impressive Battling Ropes System. He put me in touch with Dr. Mike Martino who is the NSCA SE Regional Coordinator and Associate Professor of Exercise Science at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, GA. Dr. Martino had pointed out that in studies done at his schools labs using baseball players (pitchers more specifically), “the group [using the Battling Ropes System] had less of a drop off in pitching velocity than the traditionally trained group (running etc.). Arm power also went up significantly via arm cranking.”  The relatively low impact of the BRS clearly supports effective caloric expenditure and Dr. Martino says; “It’s easy to cause CNS (central nervous system) fatigue when people use the BRS correctly, but especially when they use it incorrectly and use too heavy of a rope. If someone can’t maintain a certain frequency for 60-120 seconds straight with perfect mechanics, than the actual rope mass is too great for them. Muscular, as well as anaerobic endurance are improved tremendously when the system(s) are used correctly. Neuromuscular endurance can be improved also, which it should be noted, is different than muscular endurance.”

For the ‘average Joe’ wanting to get into amazing shape, or even the most seasoned athlete looking to break through plateaus, anyone can gain tremendous benefit from The Battling Ropes System. For more information on The Battling Ropes; any other of John’s great products or DVD’s, visit his website; www.battlingropes.com. For personal training, consultations and programs, you can contact me at ryanmallett@hotmail.com.  Special thanks to Mr. Brookfield and Dr. Mike Martino for lending their time to talk about this great training tool.


Interview – Kristy Lee Wilson – Cirque du Soleil

SNI:  As a former champion gymnast and Cirque du Soleil performer, what do you miss most about competing/performing?

Kristy: Wow what do I miss most? Definitely not the injuries and embarrassing stacks that’s for sure!! I’d have to stay being on stage and the close friendships that develop amongst your teammates and even other athletes is what I miss the most. It’s a special bond you share with people you train with and who know what you have been through to get to that competition or performance stage. And believe it or shapeimage_1not I also miss the nerves, the pressure of having to hit your routines. Cirque was much tougher than sport for me as you had to be right on every night. In training you can mess up and that’s ok, you try fix it next time. But on that performance stage, if you mess up you kind of want to disappear through the stage and become invisible!

SNI: Training and performing in the Cirque is quite physically demanding; if you had to do it ‘all over again,’ what would you change about your diet, training or supplementation? (versus what you were taught as a youngster).

_MG_1198_crop_webKristy: I was not taught well as a youngster so I would change EVERYTHING!!! As a youngster I was taught to be a beautiful gymnast was to be skinny, and to be skinny it meant not eating. It’s no surprise my gymnastics career ended before it should have due to injuries. A malnourished athlete is not going to stay competitive for very long. I think the most important things I’d change are to 1) Listen to my body and not try to be superwoman and push through injuries and pain. Obviously this only makes them worse and makes recovery longer. 2) Fuel my body with good nutrition on a regular basis and not go days without eating or drinking a single thing. And 3) Supplement!! I believe high quality supplementation is absolutely essential for all athletes. We cannot get all the nutrients we need from foods alone. When I started using supplements on a regular basis it was amazing the difference I felt in my body. I felt more energized, could workout longer and harder, and was also recovering MUCH faster than without supplements.

SNI: How do you currently stay in shape?

Kristy: Well right now I am training for some fitness competitions so I lift 5 days a week , do cardio 2-3 three times a week, and then also practice my fitness skills. I love to be active and stay in shape. I took a little break recently but am back in the gym now and training hard. It’s my drug!!

SNI: Ok, give us some ‘dirt’ on the Cirque:-) What is the ‘craziest’ thing you’ve seen go on back stage or during training? I imagine Cirque performers are maniacal bunch:)

Kristy: Oh boy, where to even start!! Cirque performers are definitely a special bunch that’s for sure. There are so many things that have happened back stage, during training, and even on stage during shows!! People fall off the stage (I’m guilty of that one), They mess around back stage and scare the crap out of each other. Sometimes people forget cues or forget parts of their costumes. I remember one show I accidently put 2 legs in one leg of my costume. That was interesting and entertained everyone on stage! There’s usually something silly that goes on every day. I mean it is the circus after all. Cirque people are NOT normal ☺

SNI: Tell the audience what supplements you take and what are your favorite healthy foods?

Kristy: I actually really love USANA supplements. I take their HealthPak, Procosa, BiOmega, CoQuinone 30 and use their Nutrimeal for shakes. They also have an amazing energy drink that I am totally addicted to – Rev3. It’s awesome. If you like energy drinks, you seriously have to try this one. Then I also take Glutamine, BCAA’s and Creatine. My favorite healthy foods would have to be egg whites, sweet potatoes, any fruit, and I’m a huge fan of veggies too. Don’t like asparagus though. And I don’t care what anyone says but my all time healthy food is ice cream! It can be healthy if I convince myself it’s healthy right?!

SNI:  What are your future plans? Anything you want to promote?

Kristy: I actually just became a best-selling author! I contributed to The Definitive Guide to Youth Strength, Conditioning and Performance which was published by Celebrity Press and won an Editor’s Choice award for it. So I’d really love to do more writing in the future. I’ve always really wanted to make fitness DVD’s so that is going to be something else I’d like to look into doing soon too. Maybe move out west for a change also!

SNI’s Bonus question: If you could be a Superhero, who would it be and why?

Kristy: Ooh this is a FUN question!! Wow. Well in my dreams I have all these super powers! I can jump and fly and I can even turn myself invisible. I’m serious. It’s so cool!! So maybe a mix of Invisible Woman and Storm (from X-Men). I already have both these powers in my dreams. I can make myself invisible and whoever is touching me I can make them invisible too, and it’s so fun to be able to sneak up on the bad guys and give them what they deserve. It’s easy cause they can’t see me coming so I can play with them and make them nervous and then BAM! And Storm is cool because she can fly at high speeds and I’d love to be able to fly!! I can in my dreams – it’s awesome. An easy way to get away from the bad guys because you know you can never run fast in a dream. My alternative is to fly and be invisible at the same time. I can defeat anyone with those two powers!!

About Kristy

Kristy Lee Wilson is a former champion gymnast, and Cirque du Soleil performer based in Orlando, FL. Originally from Australia, Kristy has been an elite athlete for over 20 years, and has been wowing crowds performing with the world renowned Cirque du Soleil for the past 9 years. While still performing nightly with Cirque du Soleil, Kristy is now also making her mark in the fitness industry as a highly sought after Fitness Professional and Fitness Model.

Kristy has over 10 years experience as a nationally recognized gymnastics and trampoline coach. She has coached many State and National Champions and was named the State Tumbling Coach of Queensland in 2000.  Kristy holds numerous health and fitness certifications by some of the most respected fitness organizations in the world, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA).  For the past 9 years, Kristy has been wowing crowds performing with the world renowned Cirque du Soleilin the Orlando based production ‘La Nouba‘. She uses her own personal experiences and knowledge, both as a champion athlete and from what she has learned from being trained by top coaches and fitness professionals in the world, to help those who come in contact with her. Kristy recently became the new face of the ‘Gym in a Bag’ and is representing Flexsolate as a spokesperson and athlete.  She has been published in magazines including ‘Today and Tonight’ and ‘Fitness Forum Magazine’, and has been featured on numerous health and fitness websites. Kristy is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the ‘Excellence Through Exercise Foundation’. A foundation dedicated to helping fight Childhood Obesity. Also a Fitness Model, she has graced the cover of ‘Today and Tonight Magazine’, been featured in calendars, and has also been featured on top fitness websites such as ‘FitOrbit’, ‘World Physique’, ‘Fitness Star Network’, and the ‘Real Spot’. Through her customized personal training programs, exercise plans and nutritional advice, Kristy will keep you focused and motivated on your way to success! If you are READY to make the commitment and achieve your personal fitness goals, contact Kristy at kristyleefitness@me.com


Interview – Fitness Expert Laura Mak

paige-hathawaySNI: What is the most annoying exercise myth that you deal with in working with clients?

Mak: When women say “I don’t want to get big, so I don’t want to lift heavy.” – Now liftying and lifting heavy are typically very different for women. It is a fact that we women need weight training, to help increase metabolism, bone density, and over all health.There isn’t too much benefit in lifting the 1, 2,and 3lbs (unless you are coming off an injury) but other than that at least challenge yourself with 5lbs or more!! :) Heavy lifting is really more when one is lift for either a one max rep (the heaviest weight they can do for one repetition) or only a few repetitions. This is not typically your weight loss, body shaping weight training protocol. For general conditioning and weight reduction, you still have to have enough weight to make it challenging, but it still isn’t considered “heavy”.

SNI: What is the ‘perfect meal’ for you? Describe what you would eat and why.

Mak: Oh lets see, I love a wide variety of foods, but mostly my favorite meals have a majority of protein (chicken fish turkey, lean steak occasionally) and LOTS of veggies – mostly green – spinach, asparagus, green beans, bell peppers, etc. . . .and using them in different combinations, instead of eating the same thing all the time, just because it is healthy. The body needs to have a mixture of foods so it doesn’t plateau, just like it needs a mixture of exercises.

SNI: Give your top 5 supplements for health and why.

Mak: Well, lets see, right now, since I just had a baby, I am still taking my prenatals, which I love because not only are they a complete vitamin, they also have digestive support and a vitality blend that includes chlorella, spirulina and alpha juice.I take an DHA/EPA omega blend, which is good for me and baby too. And lastly, a probiotic – just for general digestion and absorption. Those are my key supps right now. Before baby I would also take a mixture of the following, glutamine, BCAAs, and AHCC (a mushroom blend to keep me healthy).

SNI: For women who want to develop their booty like there’s no tomorrow, describe the best exercises for that.

Mak: Well I always say the single best leg exercise is the LUNGE!! There are so many variations of it that can target the glutes in so many effective ways. Just by changing the angle of where the leg lunges, can change the emphasis it has on the glutes. I think this is the single most effective exercise!

SNI: For those who want a 6-pack, what’s the secret? Diet? Describe the best way to eat for attaining those abs.

Mak: YES, first diet definitely comes into play, because your 6-pack doesn’t come to the surface unless there isn’t a layer of body fat or water that is hiding and disguising it. That 6 pack will defintely be present by maintaining a high protein, low complex carb diet and drinking lots of water, about a gallon a day. The more water you drink the more water you flush out of the body. Have 1-2 servings of carbs for meals 1 and 3, then the rest 2,4 ,and 5 meals should just be protein and veggie. It is important to use a variety of exercises that target all 4 parts of the abs including the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and the transversus abdominus. It doesn’t take thousands of repetitions, but it does take a concentrated effort to really target the muscles. In addition, I never work just the side movement for my abs, that has a tendancy to “widen” the look of the waist, and who wants a wide waist. When I work the sides it always has an oblique twist to keep that tiny waist in tact

SNI: Describe the ‘perfect workout’ if your goal is fat loss.

Mak: The Perfect workout consists of an INTENSE 30 minutes of full body, multi-joint exercises that keeps the heart rate elevated so I am burning calories, gaining strength, and developing muscles and endurance at the same time! Typically I use dumbbells, and a variety of machines to mix the workout together. I will add in some plyometric training 1-2 exercises for lower body and usually at least one for upper body. My abs I use as an “active rest” in between sets where I practice 3-4 exercises back to back without rest, or my abs are my “rest”. Short and definitely sweet, (after its all done that is!! :))

BIO – Over the past 19 years certified fitness expert Laura Mak, has used her Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from Michigan State University to help others live a fit lifestyle. She has made it part of her career in fitness to be a healthy living leader, a forward thinker, and a positive woman’s role model in every way when she undertakes a new project. Since her early days in training as an elite gymnast and then on to the top ranks as an IFBB Fitness Pro, Laura Mak has taken her passion for Lifestyle Fitness, Online Women’s Fitness Training, and Pre and Post Natal Specialist to a level only reached by the top echelon in the fitness industry.

Laura has been interviewed, featured, and contributed articles as a Fitness Expert in numerous health and fitness magazine publications such as Oxygen, Muscle and Fitness HERS, SELF, Prevention, FITNESS, Muscle and Fitness, Ironman, Natural Muscle, H2O Fitness, Planet Muscle, and Le Monde Muscle (French). She has been interviewed or featured as a fitness and wellness expert on Fox Sports, ESPN2, TBS, and local affiliates of NBC, ABC and WB.

Laura Mak has had the pleasure to work with a variety of people such as professional athletes, entertainers, top CEO’s, and numerous clients who want to take their fitness to the next level. Whether your goal is weight loss, body fat reduction, strength training, stretching and flexibility, or simply increasing your energy through out the day, Laura’s master fitness coaching plan can work for you!

According to her clients, Laura has an enthusiasm that is contagious, a patient teaching platform, and the commitment to help you achieve results fast! You may be laughing and having a great time while working with Laura, but it is all part of the plan to improve your fitness lifestyle.