10 Rules Of Gym Etiquette

Gym Etiquette

Gym Etiquette

Here is my “Top Ten” list of things you should and shouldn’t do in a crowded gym.

1. Don’t talk on your phone, it’s just rude.

2. Re-rack your weights and put them back in the correct order. Don’t make someone smaller than you have to peel off stacks of 45 lbs. plates so they can use the bench or squat rack.

3. Wipe down the equipment when finished. Accidentally laying your head down in a pool of someone else’s sweat is disgusting.

4. Don’t stare at other people in the mirror when you’re in between sets. It’s distracting and also a little creepy.

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Protein Bar Healthy Parm Bowl

Protein Bar Healthy Parm Bowl Quinoa

Protein Bar Healthy Parm Bowl

Protein Bar Nutrition Facts: 390 calories, 16g fat, 29g carbs, 6g fiber, 36g protein

Ingredients: Chicken – Roasted: Chicken Breast, Spices, Rice Flour, Salt, Marinara Sauce: Tomatoes, Water, Canola Oil, Spices, Salt, Organic Quinoa Blend: Golden Quinoa*, Red Quinoa*, White Proso Millet*, Yellow Amaranth*, Brown Flax Seed* (*denotes organic), Parmesan Cheese: Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Enzymes, Salt

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Functional Fitness Training

Functional Fitness Training

What Is Functional Fitness Training?

Functional fitness training can be described as any program that includes exercises designed to mimic and/or help you to perform daily tasks or activities safely and efficiently. Examples of these types of tasks or activities include loading and unloading furniture from a truck, or picking your kid up and carrying them up the stairs.

Functional exercises are generally multi-joint movements that involve using both upper and lower body muscle groups simultaneously while engaging the core.

For example, while an exercise like a dumbbell curl ONLY works the bicep and is performed in most cases for aesthetic purposes, an exercise like a dumbbell farmer’s walk trains the body to lift heavy objects properly off the ground, engaging the core, driving through the heels, then moving those heavy objects from point A to point B. Muscles worked: glutes, quads, hamstrings, upper traps, forearms, and core. In addition, it’s not a bad high intensity cardio workout either. In a real world scenario, an exercise such as this is much more likely to transfer over to a common task such as carrying two heavy grocery bags from the store to your car.

 

Should You Be Incorporating Functional Movements In Your Exercise Program?

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Wheat Belly Challenge

Wheat Belly

The Wheat Belly Challenge

There is a popular book within the health & fitness community called Wheat Belly, written by respected cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, which details his studies and findings with his patients once they eliminated wheat from their diets. In short, the book claims that wheat has been so genetically modified from it’s purest form dating 10,000 years ago that it is no longer fit for human consumption and is in fact the cause of a plethora of health issues, most notably diabetes and obesity. Below is a list of foods you can and cannot eat if you are to take the Wheat Belly Challenge. The rules are, for 30 days, Monday through Friday you must stick to the list of foods below. Saturday and Sunday are your cheat days. On your cheat days you are allowed to eat whatever you like, just don’t go overboard.

Good Luck!

Coach Brian Donovan
www.briandonovanfitness.com

Winner of Chicago Reader magazine’s “Best Personal Trainer” award,
Best Of Chicago 2014 edition. Available for personal training in the Chicago neighborhoods of Andersonville, Bucktown, and Lakeshore East.

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How To Get In Shape For A Fitness Photo Shoot

Medicine Ball Plank

Tips On Preparing For A Fitness Photo Shoot

Six weeks from my fitness photo shoot, I was 178.5 lbs., around 12% body fat, and in decent shape, although not camera ready. By following a few steps outlined below, I was able to get those numbers down to 169.5 lbs. and 7.5% body fat in time for my shoot. If you are looking for some tips on how to do the same, read on.

Before & After Photos

There is a 2-week span between each picture on the left and right. In the photos on the right, I am down from 10.5% to 8.5% body fat, lost 3.5 lbs. of fat, and gained 2.5 lbs. of lean muscle. These were taken 5 days from the photo shoot.

Fitness Photo Shoot   Fitness Photo Shoot

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Vanilla Whey Pancakes

Vanilla Whey Pancakes

Vanilla Whey Pancakes

While experimenting in the kitchen the other morning, I seemed to have concocted something worth sharing. While I must admit that for a brief period of time, I was singing my own praises for this new heavenly breakfast treat I had just created, my bubble was burst once I Googled “vanilla whey pancakes”. Nonetheless, if you love breakfast food like I do, you definitely need to try these. They are loaded with protein and taste great! I will give you the healthy version for your workout days, and my doctored up version for cheat days. Make sure all ingredients are mixed well in a blender or bowl before pouring onto the frying pan.

Vanilla Whey Pancakes (Healthy Version)

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla whey protein (I recommend Whey Stronger 2.0 Vanilla from Poliquin Group)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (this can be substituted with almond or quinoa flour)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (this can be substituted with almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar free or low sugar syrup

 

Vanilla Whey Pancakes (Cheat Day Version)

All of the ingredients listed above plus:

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Starch And Your Body Fat

Starch and Your Body Fat

Lose Weight And Burn Body Fat The Healthy Way

Let’s start with what starch is. Starches are actually long complex chains of simple sugar, also known as “complex carbohydrates”. Like sugar, starch has the potential to elevate blood sugar levels quickly. Some starches are actually more glycemic than some sugar. High glycemic foods spike your blood sugar level, which in turn releases the hormone insulin in the body. Insulin actually increases the storage of fat in fat cells while also preventing fat cells from releasing fat for energy. In other words, insulin actually turns off the “fat burning switch” and tells the body to store fat. Quick spikes and drops in blood sugar can cause a person to overeat, have low energy, mood swings, and hunger cravings. For most people, the answer to the question “how can I burn more body fat?” is to eat a diet that is lower in carbohydrates. Most Americans consume more then enough carbohydrates on a daily basis. If carbs are not burned as fuel through physical activity over a 24-48 hour period after being consumed, they turn to fat. As a side note, it is highly advised not to attempt to cut out carbohydrates completely. No-carb diets are unhealthy, and unsustainable. Your body needs certain amounts of all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) each day for different functions. Cut one out and you will crave it like no other. Interestingly, many people who have committed to a lower-carbohydrate diet have actually reported increased levels of energy. In general, focusing mainly on lean meats, a variety of vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, while only having a little starch and sugar daily is a good way to structure your diet. Try to eliminate processed foods and foods made from refined grain. Avoid most baked goods or goods made with flour.

Foods that are highest in starch:

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Panera Bread Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Panera Bread Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Panera Bread Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Panera Bread Nutrition Facts: 360 calories, 33g protein, 8g carbs, 2g fiber, 22g fat.

Ingredients: All-natural, Antibiotic-free chicken, baby spinach, romaine, tomatoes, apple-wood smoked bacon, diced eggs, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil.

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5 Practical Ways To Maintain Your Fitness This Holiday Season

Holiday Fitness Tips

Holiday Fitness Tips

Eat, drink, and be merry. It’s that time of year again. So before we kick off this month and a half marathon of good times and overindulging, let me weigh in with 5 practical steps you can take between now and New Year’s Eve to minimize set backs and help you to maintain your fitness this holiday season.

It has been said that the average American gains anywhere from 5 lbs. to 12 lbs. between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Don’t be average this year.

  1. Maintain exercise. As busy and as stressful as the holidays are, it is important to maintain some sort of physical activity. It is OK to go for shorter duration, higher intensity workouts here such as intervals or circuits. Just get it in. 20-30 minutes is a lot better than nothing at all. Short duration, high intensity workouts can create a caloric after burn known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) which allows your body to continue burning calories long after your workout is over. Up to 36 hours in fact.
  2. Watch your alcohol consumption. I know. No one wants to hear this one, so I’ll start with a positive. Some studies have shown that moderate drinkers (one to two drinks per day) are less likely to suffer from diabetes, arthritis, dementia, heart attack, and stroke. That’s great news if you’re a moderate drinker. On the flip side, overconsumption of alcohol decreases the use of glucose and amino acids in your skeletal muscles, which has a negative affect on muscle growth. In addition, the large influx of carbohydrates causes the body’s insulin levels to spike, which much like a high-carb diet, forces the body to burn the alcohol for energy rather than body fat. Not to mention you take in a massive amount of calories with hardly any nutritional value. 7 calories per gram of alcohol to be precise.
  3. Try a new healthy recipe. You don’t have to go Paleo here. Don’t be the guy that brings a bag of unsalted almonds to Thanksgiving dinner. Just try searching for some healthy holiday recipes and give one a shot. You may like what you find and you’ll thank yourself later. Click here for ideas Ultimate Holiday Cookbook: Healthy Holiday Recipes – Cooking Light. Read more…

Featured In RightFit Chicago

RightFit Chicago

Featured Trainer: Brian Donovan

RightFit Chicago

Meet Featured RightFit Chicago Personal Trainer, Brian Donovan:

Chicago Bucktown Personal Trainer

How long have you been a personal trainer?

I’ve been a personal trainer for a little over 4 years.

Was this a gradual progression or did you start out training?

I did not plan on becoming a personal trainer right out of college. I’ve always been active and involved with sports. I played basketball, soccer, and ran track in high school. When I graduated from Michigan State and moved to Chicago, I was unsure of what I wanted to do but I had to make a decision fast or I wasn’t going to be able to pay my bills. I ended up working a corporate job as a Technical Recruiter for two years, and while the job security, salary, and benefits were nice, I did not enjoy anything about it. I knew I needed to transition into something I was passionate about. From there it was a pretty easy choice. I liked the idea of working with people individually, creating my own schedule, running my own business, and most of all, enjoying what I was doing on a daily basis. So I got certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, studied 500 hours at the National Personal Training Institute, and started interning at a private studio in Lincoln Park. Shortly after that I LLC’d my company Brian Donovan Fitness and have been training ever since.

What is your ideal work out? pre/post meals too!

For me personally, metabolic conditioning (strength training plus high intensity cardio) gives me the best workout for my time. I don’t believe it’s necessary to spend hours on end working out. Who has that kind of time? I like to get in, go hard, and get it done so that I can get back to focusing on my clients and my business. Pre-workout, I might have something light like a banana or some sort of carb for fuel. Post-workout, I always have two scoops of protein powder ready in my water bottle. I don’t like to waste my workout. Nutrient timing is important and your body is primed for absorption for a short window of about an hour immediately following a workout. I always make sure I’m getting that protein to my muscles when I finish a workout. If I have time, I usually have a high protein/low carb/low fat meal about an hour or so after my workout as well. Chicken, quinoa, mixed veggies, handful of mixed nuts or almonds is an easy one that I usually have already prepared.

What is your typical day like as a trainer?

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