Monthly Archives: October 2011

Micronutrients

Micronutrients

        Vitamins and minerals are two substances that make up micronutrients. In my opinionmicronutrients often get overlooked in the general population as well as the fitness industry. The term “micronutrient” simply means a nutrient that is needed in small quantities. Although they are needed in small amounts, vitamins and minerals play important roles throughout the human body. On the other hand, the big buzzword in the nutrition field that gets a lot of attention is macronutrient. Similarly, “macronutrients” are nutrients that are needed in large amounts. Hence the prefix “micro” and “macro”.  Since the components of macronutrients protein, carbohydrates, and fat contribute calories, people feel as if they are the only important nutrients needed to be monitored.

The problem is most people do not know enough about micronutrients to realize how important they are for bodily function or athletic performance. This article is going to detail a complete overview of the topic of micronutrients and hopefully provide a greater understanding of the topic.

What are vitamins?

This is a question I get asked quite often but when I think about it not often enough. By definition vitamins are organic molecules that are essential for human survival. There are two types of vitamins, water soluble and fat soluble. The water soluble vitamins are all B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, and Choline. The fat soluble vitamins are Vitamin D, E, K, and A.

Water soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are easily transported in the blood. Since they are water soluble, excess is excreted in urine which creates a low potential for toxicity. Water soluble vitamins have low stores in the body because of this. On the other hand fat soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water; they require fat for transportation in the blood. Unlike water soluble
vitamins, excess can be stored in fat which creates a greater potential for toxicity and a larger storing potential.

Vitamins


Thiamin Vitamin
(B1) – RDA/AI Men 1.2mg Women 1.1mg a day

Thiamin
plays a major role in energy production and most specifically carbohydrate
metabolism. Thiamin is involved in the conversion and utilization of glycogen
to produce energy.  Also of note Thiamin
helps maintain a healthy nervous system. A deficiency in Thiamin is normally
cause by a severe restriction in calories. If untreated for up to 10 days the
condition could turn into the disease Beriberi. Like most water soluble
vitamins toxic build up is rare. Thiamin is found in a variety of foods including
whole grains, nuts, pork and fortified foods such as cereal.

Riboflavin Vitamin (B2) – RDA/AI Men 1.3mg Women 1.1mg a day

Riboflavin
is highly involved in aerobic energy production and electron transport.
Riboflavin deficiency can lead to poor exercise performance and can be seen as
red cracked lips, sore throat or inflamed tongue. Toxicity is rare. Riboflavin
can be found in yogurt, milk, bread and cereal.

Niacin Vitamin (B3) – RDA/AI Men 16mg Women 14mg a day

Niacin is highly involved in energy production and mitochondrial metabolism. It is involved in electron transport in BOTH aerobic and anaerobic energy production. Niacin can be used to lower cholesterol because it can slightly block fat breakdown. Another interesting fact about Niacin is that it can be made in the body in small amounts from the amino acid Tryptophan. Niacin deficiency will affect a number of different metabolic pathways. Symptoms of deficiency are skin rashes, mental confusion, muscle weakness, and fatigue. If deficiency is not treated it can turn into the disease pellagra.  Symptoms of toxicity are itchy rashes,
headaches, and liver complications. The upper limit is 35mg. Niacin is found in
fortified foods such as flours, grains and cereals. Other Niacin rich foods are
beef, poultry and seafood.

Vitamin B6 – RDA/AI Men and Women 1.3mg a day

Vitamin
B6 has many pyridox forms. The body uses it very efficiently therefore only a
small amount of intake is needed. It plays an important role in glycogen
metabolism. B6 is involved in breaking down glycogen for energy and
gluconeogenesis in the liver, both processes are very important during
endurance activities. Vitamin B6 is also important for red blood cell
production. Deficiencies are rare. The upper limit is around 100mg. Extreme high
levels of B6 (1000-2000mg/day) can cause irreversible nerve damage. Vitamin B6
is found in high protein foods such as beef, poultry, fish, and eggs. Unlike
the previous B vitamins fortification does not replace lost B6 from foods.

Vitamin B12 – RDA/AI Men and Women 2.4 micro grams a day

Vitamin
B12 is commonly referred to as cobalamin.
B12 is important for energy production, tissue growth and development as
well as nervous and cardiovascular health. In order to properly absorb Vitamin
B12 intrinsic factor is needed. Pernicious Anemia is caused by a lack of
intrinsic factor. Deficiencies are caused by either impaired absorption or lack
of intake. Vegans need to be sure to intake fortified foods or consume a
supplement because B12 is only found naturally in animal products. Toxicity is
very rare and no upper limit has been established. Vitamin B12 is found in
meat, dairy, eggs and fortified foods such as cereal.

Folate (Folic Acid) – RDA/AI Men and Women 400 micrograms a day

Folate
is naturally occurring form found in whole foods; folic acid is used in
supplemental form. Folate plays a huge role in growth and development of a
fetus and is also important for prevention of neural tube defects during
pregnancy. Folate is involved with Red Blood Cell maturation as well. Signs of
deficiency are neural tube defects, anemia and impaired immune function. High
Folate can hide Vitamin B12 deficiencies.  Toxicity is rare. Folate can be found in dark
leafy green vegetables as well as a variety of other plant based fruits and
vegetables.

Biotin – RDA/AI Men and Women 30 micrograms a day

Biotin
plays a role in DNA synthesis for healthy cell production and an important role
in energy production for endurance activities. Deficiency is rare and there is
no documented case of toxicity. Biotin can be found in a wide range of foods
from legumes, cheese, nuts, egg yolk, and green leafy vegetables.

Pantothenic Acid – RDA/AI Men and Women 5 mg a day

Pantothenic
Acid is very important to athletes because of its role in energy metabolism. PA
is a component of coenzyme A, which is a molecule that is critical for the
passage of metabolic intermediates from protein, carbohydrates and fat into the
citric acid cycle. Deficiencies are rare but take in the symptoms of a constant
hangover. No documented toxicity. PA can be found in beef, poultry, fish, whole
grains, dairy products, potatoes, oats and a variety of other foods.

Choline – RDA/AI Men 550mg and Women 425mg a day

Choline
is a vitamin type compound but is not considered a B vitamin. Choline is
involved in the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is
involved in muscle activation. Deficiencies are rare but toxicity can happen
around 3,500 mg. low blood pressure, diarrhea and a fish body odor are all
symptoms of Choline toxicity.  Choline
can be found in egg yolks, nuts, milk, cauliflower, soybeans and a variety of
other foods.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) – RDA/AI Men 90mg and Women 75mg a day

Vitamin
C has gained a lot of attention because of its antioxidant properties. Vitamin
C’s main functions are collagen synthesis and enhanced immune function. Vitamin
C also can enhance iron absorption. Vitamin C deficiency is connected with
Scurvy. Short term toxicity does not happen but long term toxicity can effect
kidney function and lead to kidney stones. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits,
tomatoes, kiwi, green leafy vegetables and green peppers.

Vitamin A – RDA/AI Men 900 micrograms and Women 700 micrograms

Vitamin
A is found in three different forms- retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid. These
three forms are collectively called retinoids. Vitamin a plays an important
role in vision. It can also help maintain skin and mucus membrane. Deficiencies
are rare but can cause a loss of vision including night and color blindness. Toxicity
can cause vomiting, fatigue, blurred vision, and liver damage. The upper limit
is 3,000 micrograms. Toxicity can be quick and fatal. It is found in fish oils,
egg yolks, carrots, sweet potatoes and other fruits and vegetables.

Carotenoids – No RDA/AI established

Carotenoids
are not considered vitamins although some can be converted into vitamin A.
These compounds can be found in plants and have antioxidant properties and
immune function properties. To increase Carotenoid consumption, have 5-9
servings of a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables a day.  Examples of Carotenoids are lycopene and Beta
Carotine.

Vitamin D – RDA/AI Men and Women 5-15 micrograms a day depending on age

  • Ages 19-50=5micrograms 51-70=10micrograms 70+=15micrograms

Vitamin D is called the sunshine
vitamin because the ultraviolet rays of the sun initiate vitamin D synthesis in
the body. The primary role of Vitamin D in the body is to control blood calcium
levels which in turn effects bone growth and development. Calcitrol is the
active form of vitamin D. Vitamin D regulates calcium concentration in the
body. Having adequate levels of vitamin D will improve muscle function. Signs
of deficiencies are rickets and osteoporosis. Symptoms of toxicity are
Hypocalcemia (above normal blood calcium levels), muscle weakness and kidney
stones. Vitamin D is found in milk, cereal, fish oils, egg yolks and portabella
mushrooms.

Vitamin E – RDA/AI Men and Women 15mg a day

 

Vitamin E has two types
Alpha-totocopherol which is the supplemental version and Gamma-tocopherol which
comes from food. The primary role of Vitamin E in the body is to act as an
antioxidant. Vitamin E also helps maintain healthy skin. Deficiencies are rare
but cause muscle weakness and loss of motor coordination. Toxicity causes
decreased blood clotting and easy bruising. The upper limit is around 1,000mg.
Vitamin E is found in plant oils and fortified cereals.

Vitamin K – RDA/AI Men 120 micrograms and Women 90 micrograms a day

Vitamin K’s major function is blood
clotting. Deficiencies include impaired blood clotting and excessive bleeding.
There are no symptoms of toxicity and there is no upper limit established.
Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and milk, eggs and cereal.

 Antioxidants

I want to end the vitamin section of this article with a brief discussion on antioxidants and how they are beneficial. To understand the concept of antioxidants you need to have a basic understanding of the parts involved. Vitamin A, E, and C all have strong antioxidant properties. An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical
reaction
that transfers electrons  from a substance to an oxidizing agent, producing free radicals. A free radical is a molecule
with an unpaired electron that causes “havoc” within the body.  Free radicals are always looking for an electron to become stable. Antioxidants are electron donors; they give away electrons freely to free radicals but then they become free radicals
themselves. Once the antioxidants become free radicals a cycle starts and then they start looking for another antioxidant for an electron to give up. This cycle continues until the enzyme glutathione reductase gives up an electron but with the help of selenium gets restored to its original form ending the cycle. Antioxidants are important to athletes because endurance exercise creates more
oxidative stress. However, though exercise your body become more efficient at handling the added stress.

What are minerals?

Minerals are inorganic molecules unlike protein, carbohydrates, fats, and
vitamins which are organic. Minerals contain no caloric value but are essential
for human survival. There are two classifications of minerals, “Major Minerals”
and “Trace Minerals”. Major minerals are needed in amounts greater than 100mg and
trace minerals are needed in amounts equal to or less than 100mg. the
classification does not indicate the importance of the mineral only the amount
needed.

Minerals

 

Calcium – RDA 1,000mg Females 50yrs+ 1,200mg

Calcium is the most abundant mineral. Calcium is involved in four main
functions, blood clotting, muscle contraction, nerve transmission and bone
formation. Signs of deficiency are Hypocalcemia which is low blood calcium
caused by decrease kidney function excreting it all out.  Muscle spasms and low bone density. Symptoms
of toxicity are hypercalcimia, which is the opposite of Hypocalcemia and kidney
stones. Calcium is found in all dairy products and green leafy vegetables.

Phosphorus – RDA 700mg

 

Phosphorus is important for energy metabolism. Phosphorus is also involved
with bone and tooth formation, cell membrane formation and enzyme activity. Deficiencies
are rare but can cause hyperparathyroidism. Toxicity is another concern causing
altered calcium metabolism and can lead to osteoporosis. The upper limit is
around 4,000mg. Phosphorus can be found in animal proteins including meat,
fish, eggs, and dairy.

Magnesium – RDA Men 400mg Women 320mg

 

Magnesium is involved in hundreds of enzymatic reactions in the body. Some
of the functions include bone formation, blood clotting, and regulation of
blood pressure. Magnesium has an inverse reaction to blood pressure. As
magnesium goes up blood pressure can be lowered. The major issue stemming from
a deficiency is decreased carbohydrate metabolism. Other issues of deficiency
are irritability, muscle cramps, and hypertension. Symptoms of toxicity include
nausea, vomiting and muscle weakness. Magnesium can be found in whole grains,
leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts and seafood.

Sodium – AI 1,500mg

Sodium is a major electrolyte that is extremely important in athletics.
Sodium is involved in GLC/NA transport, muscle contractions, regulation of
blood pressure and fluid balance. A consistently high intake of sodium can lead
to high blood pressure. Signs of deficiency is hypotremia or low salt volume.
Toxicity includes swelling and increased blood pressure over time. Sodium can
be found in table salt; anything processed, and sports drinks.

Chloride – AI 2,300mg

Chloride is a major electrolyte that is involved in nerve impulse
transmission, fluid balance and aiding in digestion through hydrochloric acid
(HCL).  Consistent vomiting can limit
chloride and cause a deficiency because of the removal of HCL from the stomach.
Deficiencies cause increased blood ph and abnormal heart rhythm. The main issue
with toxicity is increased blood pressure. Chloride can be found in salt, and
in small amounts some fruit and vegetables.

Potassium – AI 4,700mg

 

Major electrolyte. Potassium is involved in the regulation of many bodily
processes including blood pressure, nerve impulse transmission, muscle
contraction, and fluid balance. Deficiencies in potassium can lead to muscle
cramping (although most issues with “cramps” are caused by dehydration),
weakness and loss of appetite. Toxicity is rare and an upper limit is not
established. Potassium can be found in bananas, russet potatoes, spinach, and a
bunch of other fruits and vegetables.

Iron – RDA Males 8mg Females 18mg

 

Iron is critical for optimal health and performance. Iron is involved in
oxygen transport and utilization as a component of hemoglobin and myoglobin.
Hemoglobin is made up of iron and protein; it transports oxygen from the lungs
into the muscle cell. Myoglobin transports the oxygen while in the muscle cell
into the mitochondria.  Vegetarians need
to be especially concerned with deficiencies . Deficiencies are caused blow
intake, increased need for hemoglobin and myoglobin due to training, loss in
sweat and can cause anemia. Toxicity issues can cause nausea and diarrhea. Iron
is found in red meat and leafy green vegetables.

Zinc – RDA Men 11mg Women 8mg

Zinc is a cofactor in over 200 enzymatic reactions. Functions of zinc
include wound healing, protein synthesis, growth and maintenance as well as producing
hormones. Signs of zinc deficiencies include poor immunity, dermatitis and
diarrhea although zinc deficiencies are rare. Deficiencies are normally caused
by low calorie diets or mal absorption. Toxicity is also rare but can cause
nausea, vomiting, and anemia. Zinc is found in beef, fish, whole grains, eggs,
and dairy products.

Chromium – AI Men 35 microgram Women 25 micrograms

Chromium’s major function is enhancing the function of insulin causing an
decrease in cellular insulin resistance which decreases blood glucose. Signs of
deficiency include high blood sugar and decreased muscle endurance because of
lower glycogen stores in the muscle cells.
Toxicity is rare but high intake may decrease levels of zinc and iron.
Chromium is found in mushrooms, whole grains, nuts, broccoli, eggs, and
asparagus among other vegetables.

Selenium – RDA 55 micrograms

 

Selenium is a component of many proteins in the body. It is an enzyme
cofactor which supports immune function, thyroid function as well as antioxidant
function. Selenium helps glutathione production. Vitamin E and selenium work
together to quench free radicals.
Deficiencies are rare but can cause an increased risk for cancer.
Symptoms of toxicity include brittle hair and nails. Selenium can be found in
seafood and plants depending on the selenium concentration in the soil.

 

What to know about the rest of the minerals….

 

Fluoride- aids in bone and tooth mineralization and can prevent dental
cavities.

Copper- Biggest impact is enhancing iron metabolism. Also is an antioxidant
co-factor.

Manganese – Enzyme cofactor in metabolism, tissue growth and antioxidant.
Deficiencies can cause altered carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

Iodine – Assists in the synthesis of thyroid hormones. In table salt.

Molybdenum – Antioxidant cofactor.

Ending Comments  

To conclude this article I want to give some general recommendations.
In order to hit all of your micronutrient totals I recommend the following.

–     Eat a wide range and variety of food. A common theme is vitamins and minerals are
found in a number of different kinds of food so do not just eat the same thing every
day.

–         Make it a point to eat at least 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. This can easily be
done by including a large salad with a meal and a side of veggies in another.

–        Don’t be afraid of fruit. Yes fruit can be high in sugar and carbohydrates but use it
to your advantage and have a banana after your workout or some berries with
your oatmeal at breakfast.

–         Take a multivitamin to ensure you have all of your micronutrient needs taken care
of!

Until next time “One Dream One Reality”

-Kyle  Hunt

Hunt Fitness

P.S- This is how I study for my exercise nutrition test tomorrow! I write a blog article going over everything I need to know for the test!

Advertisements

The Functional Benefits of Flexibility and Stretching

The Functional Benefits of Flexibility and Stretching

When you hear the word flexibility the first thing that most likely pops into your head is stretching. Flexibility and stretching go hand in hand so theconnection is obvious. The truth is, for many of you the last time you preformed or even thought about stretching or flexibility was probably in your highschool gym class! Stretching and more importantly flexibility often gets over looked by everyone from your average Joe to the advanced fitness enthusiast. Anyone who forgets about stretching is making a mistake because there are many benefits to gain from stretching. One of the most important benefits from stretching is improving your ability to perform functional movements.

Functional movements are movements that are multi-planar, multi-joint and usually require an enhanced range of motion. Basically any type of activity that requires you to get off the couch and moving around is considered a functional movement. Just
as functional movement is important for athletes to enhance performance; improving ones functional movement is beneficial in just improving one’s day to day life. To improve functional movement one must improve their flexibility. In the fitness world flexibility is simply defined as the ability of joints to move throughout a full range of motion. So to improve flexibility you have to improve joint mobility in a range of motion. This can be accomplished through two ways, static and dynamic stretching.

Static stretching is the type that most people think of when they think of stretching. Static stretching is done by reaching to a point of muscle tension and holding for an extended period of time. To improve range of motion through static stretching, stretch to the point of mild to moderate discomfort. This type of stretching is best done after muscles have been warmed up. The warm up can be anything from light cardiovascular work to even a warm bath or shower. Body temperature helps to facilitate increases in range of motion; therefore it is important to elevate body temperature before performing static stretches. Contrary to popular belief this style of stretching should not be done before a work out or physical activity even if properly warmed up. Research shows performing static stretching before exercise can cause muscles to tighten, exactly what your do not want before activity. When including static stretching into your routine it is best done either after a workout or at the end of the day. Static stretching can be used as a cool down to physical activity or as a relaxation device before bed.

Sample Hunt Fitness Static Stretching routine (Following workout or at night)

  • Stretches are preformed standing and sitting down
  • Pick 4-5 stretches; perform the desired holds for 2-3 sets

–      Standing toe touch                                                     hold for 15-20 seconds

–      Feet spread apart stretch to the middle          hold for 15-20 seconds

–      Hamstring stretch                                                      hold for 15-20 seconds

–      Standing groin stretch                                           hold for 15-20 seconds

–      Calf stretch                                                                     hold for 15-20 seconds

–      Quad Stretch                                                               hold for 15-20 seconds

–      Posterior shoulder stretch                                     hold for 15-20 seconds

–      Butterfly stretch                                                       hold for 15-20 seconds

–      Hurdlers stretch                                                          hold for 15-20 seconds

–      Sit and reach                                                                hold or 15-20 seconds

–      Seal stretch                                                                 hold for 15-20seconds

 

Although both static and dynamic stretching are important for flexibility, the more beneficial of the two types when the goal is to improve functional movement is dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching uses range of movement, momentum and active muscular effort to create a stretch and improve flexibility. Dynamic stretching usually involves swinging the arm and/or legs in a controlled manner. However, unlike static stretching dynamic stretching does not require you to hold the end position. Dynamic stretching is best preformed as a warm up to activity. It is very important to not use jerky or forced movements to go beyond the range of motion that is comfortable.

 Sample Hunt fitness Dynamic Stretching routine (Before activity)

  • Pick 4-5 dynamic stretches and perform them before your workout or at another time of the day to improve functional
    mobility.

–      20 Arm circles

–      10 Body weight squats

–      10 Body weight lunge

–      20 Trunk rotations

–      5 Power skips

–      10 strides High knees

–      10 strides Butt kicks

–      10 strides Frankenstein march or the Toy Soldier

–      5 each side Scorpion

       Improved flexibility through static and dynamic stretching is a great way to increase one’s functional movement capacity. Adding stretching to your daily routine will not only improve your workout performance but make your daily activities easier.

“One Dream, One Reality”

-Kyle Hunt

Meal Frequency and Timing

MealFrequency and Timing

Like most fitness professionals I get a ton of emails and Facebook messages every week
asking fitness related questions. I personally love it! I really enjoy going
through my emails helping people out. That is why I am going to start making
weekly Q and A videos where I answer a question on camera for everyone to see.
Hopefully this enlightens the people who might have had the same questions but
just didn’t want to ask them!

I got a question this week on a topic I wanted to write about for a while so I figured
it was worthy of a video and article. The topic is meal frequency.

When talking about meal frequency I feel there are two major points of concern. One, most importantly
figuring out what the optimal time between meals is and two, what is the
benefits of consuming more or less meals.

I think everyone has heard the 2-3 hour recommendation regarding how often one should
eat. Most people rationalize this by saying more frequent meals leads to a
faster metabolism. This however is false. More frequent meals does not really do
anything to speed up the metabolism. Metabolic rate is not affected. In my
opinion this is not even the correct argument to make regarding meal frequency.
The real argument surrounding meal frequency is around maximizing protein
synthesis.

Following a meal containing protein, levels of essential amino acids are elevated leading
to protein synthesis. Now there are a lot of factors that go into building new
muscle tissue but maximizing protein synthesis (mps) is very important. Most
studies show a peak in protein synthesis around the 90 minute mark following a
meal and a return to baseline levels around 120-180 minutes even though levels
of essential amino acids are still elevated. Essentially what this says is
there would be no reason to elevate levels of EAAs in the form of a meal within
this time period. Anywhere from 3-6 hours between meals may be optimal. I would
not recommend consuming meals under 3 hours or over 6 hours apart. However,
like I said earlier hitting the desired macronutrient total is most important. Consuming
an EAA/BCAA and or CHO supplement between meals has been shown to prolong
(mps). Therefore this can be beneficial to include into your nutrition protocol.
During a bulking phase you can supplement between meals with 5g BCAA combined
with 20-40g CHOs and during a cut just stick to the BCAAs.

To read more about this topic and how supplementing with either a EAA or CHO supplement can
help check this out http://www.jorntrommelen.com/energy-status-influences-duration-muscle-growth/I

In regards to how many meals you eat in a day, to me it doesn’t really matter. The most
important thing is hitting your macronutrient (protein, carbs, fat) totals for
the day. Now I don’t feel like 1 meal is optimal like a “Warrior Diet” but I
also don’t feel like 8 is either. I personally recommend between 4-6 meals.
Typically if you eat every 4 hours you will eat somewhere around 4 or 5 meals.

The only time I would recommend over 6 meals
would be if the individual could not eat enough food in 6 meals to hit the
desired macro totals I prescribed. Again this leads me to the point of macro
totals are an upmost importance. I don’t consider myself an IIFYM (if it fits
your macros) person but essentially I am. When I design a diet I lay it out in
4-6 meals and a desired macronutrient total. I also provide the foods to hit
that total along with a list of substitutes. I allow them to combine meals so
for instance if they want 3 or 4 meals instead of 5 or 6 I am ok with that.
Also if they want to change the foods to hit the desired total I am ok with that
too! I provide a list of foods with macros listed to help my clients mix and
match foods and still hit their desired totals. For contest prep I do become
much stricter and design the prep diets around a certain amount of meals and
foods that I want the clients to follow.

Take home messages from article

–         Eat every 3-6 hours

–         Consuming an EAA/BCAA and or CHO supplement between meals may be beneficial

–         Consume between 4-6 meals a day

–         Above all else hit your desired Macronutrient Totals!!!

Interview with the “Bulldog” Mark Featherstone

Interview with the “Bulldog” Mark Featherstone

Most of you know Mark from the workout videos done
with Hunt Fitness sponsored athlete Nick Wright. Mark is a wonderful person and
has a lot of experience in the iron game. Mark is also a personal trainer at
Powerhouse Gym in Plymouth Massachusetts, if you want to contact Mark his Facebook
link is provided below.

http://facebook.com/Bulldog112563

 

The Interview

Q-How did you get started working out?

MF- I got started lifting in the 80’s with Nautilus
and someone showed me the bench and some squats and I was hooked from there. My
gym kept expanding and the Nautilus stayed the same and finally got put into a
small room while the free weights just got bigger, more and better…

Q-What do you love most about training?

MF- What I love most about training is the feeling of
overpowering massive amounts of weight and controlling it from start to finish.
I love the feeling I get when my muscles are hard and pumped and I can see the
striations in each one and the separation of each muscle for one another…

Q-What training program has given you the best results?

MF- Right now I get the best results from a 5 day
split and hitting every muscle group once a week with very heavy weights, 10
reps and high volume of sets. I do 25 sets on chest day, 33 on shoulder day, 24
on back and 33 on arms and on leg day as well…

Q-Where does your motivation come from?

MF- My motivation comes from the people I train and
the confidence I get from being big and lifting huge weights. People look to me
for advice and training and I am so happy to be able to help them any way I can
so I stay motivated to be my best so I can help them be their best…

Q-What is your current diet like? Do you cut or bulk, if so how does your diet change?

– I do not cut or bulk, I stay lean and strong all
year long. I do not feel that I need to bulk to get bigger I simply need to add
weights. lower the reps and hit that body part twice a week rather than once a
week and honestly it’s hard for me to get enough calories in every day just to
maintain so I never need to cut because a lot of times I run close to deficit
anyway. I always eat clean 4 or 5 meals a day and if i ever want to cheat I
just do it. I just DON’T do it more than once in a few days…

Q-What supplements do you take/recommend?

– I take a pre-workout, usually Hemo Rage Black Ultra
or 1MR or C4… I use whey isolate twice a day, once right after lifting, I
take a multi, a C and 2 fish oil tabs a day and other than that I eat. I make
sure I get all colored veggies every day and all of my macros, that, food, is
my supplement…

Q-Why do you think people do not get the type of results they are looking for?

MF- A LOT of people come to me with nutritional
questions because they are not getting what they want and I ask them what they
eat but then they have a complete and healthy list of food that they eat. I
personally believe the biggest problem most people have achieving their goals
is that they don’t know how to exercise properly to achieve the goals they have
set. 99% of the people who come to me for diet get their results from the
lifting program I give them…

Q-How did you get involved doing personal training?

MF- I got into personal training on a whim in 1991.
They offered a 6 hour course and a certificate for $50.00 at my gym so I did
it. Back then it was fresh and new and the gyms didn’t need their cut and we
made our own money. At first I started in people’s homes but I hated the
perverts and getting hit on everywhere I went, lol… Honestly… I didn’t know
at the time it would actually be my calling and my career.

How do you balance living the bodybuilding lifestyle while still having a social life?

MF- I don’t have much of a social life lol, but when I
do go out I go out with athletes and we all have the same things to lose by
going too wild so we just grin and bare it. I mostly only go out to Cage
Fighting events to support friends and clients that fight.

Q-If you had to give a young aspiring bodybuilder one piece of advice what would it be?

MF- My advice to young bodybuilders most importantly
is to let your body grow naturally. Get to know it and understand it before you
start adding supplements to it. When you DO start supps add one at a time to
see and feel what it does to/for you. So many young bodybuilders start so young
stacking supps and they have no idea what is doing what so they are now
mentally committed to using all of these supps all of the time and that is when
they run into trouble… Learn to understand and communicate with your own body
THEN play with it here and there. You have all sorts of time to get there, you
don’t have to get there tomorrow…

Q- Any shout outs or people you want to recognize?

MF- There are so many people who have influenced me
that I really just want to thank EVERYONE because I don’t want to leave anyone
out. I’ve been lifting for 28 years now and I have met and worked with so many
people it’s impossible to name them all and they are all important so.. if I
know you, I want to thank you, lol… no matter who you are you have somehow
helped or pushed me in some direction be it good or bad and without that I
would not be the good man I am today… Thank YOU!!

I just want to conclude this interview with a special thanks to Mark for taking time to do
this!  If you have any questions feel free to leave some comments….

Here is part 3 of the last workout video with Nick and Mark!

Until next time “one dream, one reality”

Quick Home Ab Workouts

Quick Home Ab Workouts

Here is the situation and I don’t mean Mike Sorrentino! You
are at the gym finishing up your workout consisting of cardio and resistance
training and after 60 minutes you are ready to go home. Sounds like a good day
at the gym however today was the day you told yourself you were actually going
to do abs! You tried in the past doing them at the end of your routine but you
never have enough energy. Someone told you to try them before your workout but
you did research (lol maybe) and found out doing abs before a resistance
workout limits your ability on a number of different lifts because your core is
directly involved with almost every key movement. So what are you to do, never
do abs again? No, a better option would be to figure out a workout that you can
do at home either on your off days from the gym or at another time entirely
that will fit your schedule.

I designed a couple different ab routines that you can
follow depending on your fitness level and access to equipment. Without getting
into detail on ab training because you can find my other detailed ab articles here
and here.
The main points to remember when training your abs are to work upper abs, lower
abs, obliques and stabilization. These workouts do just that!

*All workouts are in a progression fashion, meaning they involve
basically the same exercises but they just get harder as you move from one
level to the next.

 

Beginner Level

Workout #1- Bare bones
no equipment necessary

–        Crunches (feet up) 10-15 reps

–         Lying Leg raises 8-10 reps

–         Side crunches 15 reps per side

–         Pushup position plank hold for 20-30 seconds

*Repeat circuit 2 times

Workout #2- Minimal Equipment necessary

–         Exercise ball crunches 10-15 reps

–         Leg lifts hold for 20 seconds

–         Twisting crunches with medicine ball 10-12 reps per side

–         Ab roller 10-12 reps

*Repeat circuit 2 times

 

 

Intermediate Level

Workout #1- Bare bones no equipment
necessary

–         Crunches (feet up) 25-30 reps

–         Lying leg raises 12-15 reps

–         Bicycle crunches 20 reps each side (total of 40)

–         Plank hold for 30-45 seconds

*Repeat circuit 3 times

Workout #2- Minimal Equipment necessary

–         Weighted crunches 15-20 reps

–         Exercise ball knee tucks 12-15 reps

–         Twisting crunches with medicine ball 15-20 reps per side

–         Ab roller 15-20 reps

*Repeat circuit 3 times

 

 

Advanced Level

Workout # 1- Bare bones no equipment necessary

–         Double crunches 25-30 reps

–         Lying leg raises 15-20 reps

–         Side plank hold for 45 seconds

–         Bicycle crunches 25 reps each side

–         Feet elevated plank hold 60-90 seconds

*Repeat circuit 3-4 times

Workout # 2- Minimal Equipment necessary

–         Weighted double crunch 15-20 reps

–         Exercise ball knee tucks 15-20 reps

–         Side plank hold for 45 seconds

–         Ab roller 20-25 reps

–         Feet elevated plank hold for 60-90 seconds

*Repeat circuit 3-4 times