Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Have a Better Breakfast

Most experts agree that breakfast is an important meal.  After an over night fast of 8-10 hours your body is low on energy and needs to refuel with quality calories and healthy nutrients.  I know that for most people the morning is spent constantly rushing around and breakfast seems to be an after thought.  When people do eat breakfast it is often in the form of some sugar saturated cereal or a highly processed cereal bar.  These are not very good options because they cause spikes in blood sugar, provide little nutrients, and just leave you feeling hungry an hour after you eat.  If there is one thing that I can recommend it is that you try to take time in the morning to feed yourself properly.  All it takes is an extra ten minutes to start your day off right. So with that being said I would like to share one of my favorite breakfasts.  I call it the "vegetable scramble".  All you need is some fresh vegetables and a few eggs.  This is an easy way to increase the amount of vegetables you eat, and you can never have enough vegetables.  I firmly believe they make a huge difference in your health.  Here are the ingredients that I use to make mine.

 I simply use about half an onion, about one quarter of a large bell pepper, and about a cup of baby spinach.  I generally use 2 or 3 eggs depending on how hungry I am.  Here is how you make it:

  Dice up the onion and bell pepper pretty small.  Then sauté your onions over medium heat for about 2 minutes in some olive oil ( or whatever you have ).  After the onions have cooked a few minutes toss in the bell peppers and cook for another minute or two.

Then you toss in your spinach.  It may seem like you are putting in too much but the spinach will shrink down significantly.  Once the spinach has turned dark green and shrunken down you can add in your eggs.  I usually beat in the eggs in a separate container before I add them.  Just pour the eggs right over the vegetables.  I also usually turn the heat down a little when I add the eggs so I don't burn them.

 It doesn't take the eggs very long to cook so monitor them and cook to your desired consistency.  When the eggs are done just plate the whole mixture and consume.  If you are not watching your calories than you can add some shredded cheese for extra flavoring or you can eat with a small side of salsa.  Also, if you are one of those people trying to gain weight you can add some toast and butter to the meal.

Overall this is a low calorie, nutrient dense breakfast that will leave you feeling full and satisfied until lunch.  The eggs provide about 70 calories per egg, with 6 grams protein per egg,  the vegetables might provide an extra 50 calories, and the oil that you use might add an extra 100 calories.  So a 2 egg scramble is probably going to be under 300 calories.  Give this recipe a try and see how you feel.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fitness Xmas

  Since ,"it's beginning to look alot like Christmas", I decided to write an article on some fitness related presents that NO ONE should ever buy.  These are products that are marketed for individuals who are trying to lose weight and fall prey to all the newest gimics.  I can save you some time and money right now and tell you that there is no product out there that is going to make you reach your goals.  The only way to reach your fitness related goals is with proper exercise and diet.  So with that being said, let begin...

Price: $85.00
Aahhh... the shape up shoes. " The Gym for your feet."  I don't think there is a more ridiculous looking shoe out there.  Please, please do not buy this shoe thinking that it is going to make you lose weight.  It is going to make you walk around very unbalanced, and it is going to make you look funny.  I actually feel kind of bad when I see people wearing them because I know they bought them with high hopes of losing weight.  The marketing and advertising biz has seen how popular these shoes are and there are new brands popping up all over.  None of them work.  So steer clear of any shoes that look like big marsh mellows.


 Price: $25.00
 I consider it very sad that I even have to mention this product.  The whole premise of getting " In shape" by shaking a weighted cylinder back and forth is laughable.  To start with, exercise should mimic real world movements and elicit a total body response.  What does this exercise even mimic...don't answer that.  Also, how can you expect to get in a workout if you are only using you arms.  Lets see, your arms account for less than 10% of your body mass so you are really only exercising at less than 10% capacity. That is clearly not ideal.  Oh.. and did I mention it looks ridiculous.  I thought it was weird when I saw the first advertisement with a woman using it.  If you are a man and want to keep any shred of masculanity do not even pick this thing up.  Studies have shown it drastically increases estrogen levels.


Price: Approx. $150.00
The Ab Doer Twist.  This is essentially a computer chair with handle bars.  I have no idea how flexing your spine back and forth is going to give you a six pack.  One, there is no resistance so there is no strength component involved. Two, you are seated the entire time.  Anyone who thinks they are going to lose weight by sitting in a chair seriously needs to re-evaluate their thought process.

 So when you are out doing your Chrismas shopping and you see these products, you can stop and mock them, but do not purchase them.  You money would be better spent on a SNUGGIE.  Merry Christmas.

 ,Jacob Cagney Amerson

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fat Loss Protocol

 There are many different protocols that one may implement when the goal is fat loss.  Since I am sure most people recently ate themselves into a near coma state with thanksgiving food, I figured an article on fat loss would be of interest.  One vital component that cannot be overlooked is diet.  You have to monitor your food intake and make sure you are eating to fuel and replenish your body. ( As opposed to eating just to eat. )  I cannot stress that enough...You cannot out-train a poor diet! So with that being said, lets talk about what you can do in the gym to help shed some unwanted pounds. Most people will go directly to the treadmill or elliptical, pop in the head phones, turn on the TV, and begin a slow grind for the next hour.  This does burn calories, but it takes a very long time and it is not the optimal way to lose weight.
  Long, slow cardio does not cause your body significant stress.  Thats why you can go for an hour watching TV and not really feel like you are working out.  Then, after you have exercised your body is still pretty much in homeostasis.  Homeostasis is a very intricate and important component.  Briefly and simply, homeostasis is the normal levels of chemicals, hormones, temperature, etc., that your body uses and maintains on a regular basis.Your body always wants to maintain homeostasis and it will work hard to do so.  So if you disturb that homeostasis your body works harder to get back to normal.  That is where today's subject comes in.  Using weight training to disturb hemeostasis and promote weight loss.
  After you weight train with high intensity you cause your body to need, and use, oxygen at a higher rate than before exercise.  This is known as excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.  According to Dr. Len Kravitz, an associate professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico, " ...the body is restoring itself to its pre-exercise state, and thus is consuming oxygen at an elevated rate. This means that energy is also being expended at an elevated rate."  This translates to burning more calories over time and eventaully promoting increased weight loss.  The body is working harder to resore itself to homeostasis and burning more calories in the process.  Studies have shown that resistance training, or weight training, has a greater EPOC response when compared to traditional aerobic exercise.  This elevated EPOC state can also be reached with high intensity aerobic exercises such as interval training and sprints, but these modes of exercise do not promote strength gains or increased muscle mass, so they are not as effective.  Maintaining, and increasing, muscle mass is also going to have an impact on metabolism.  Those individuals with a higher percentage of muscle mass typically display an increased resting metabolic rate since muscle consumes more energy at rest compared to adipose, or fat, tissue.  Maintaing muscle mass also contributes to an aesthetically pleasing body shape.  If you were to do only aerobic exercise you become what is known as ." skinny-fat".  This is characterized by a small body size, but no muscle definition.
  In conclusion, if your goal is to lose weight or shed some fat then start focusing on weight training.  Traditional cardio can be added to help increase energy expenditure, but make strength training your priority.  Lift hard and reap the benefits. Good luck.

 ,Jacob Cagney Amerson

Reynolds, J.M., Kravitz, L. " Resistance training and EPOC".

Sunday, October 23, 2011


This blog entry is about intensity.  Whenever I begin to train a new client I let them know that the number one variable that is going to get them results is intensity.  And by that, I mean the amount of effort that one puts into what they are doing.  All too often I see people in the gym just going through the motions of an exercise and not putting forth any type of effort.  When you exercise you should be uncomfortable, you should experience a significant amount of physical stress, you should sweat, you should FEEL your muscles working, and you should push yourself hard.  There is a reason that so many fitness programs like P90X, crossfit, INSANITY, and many others get results.  It is because those programs utilize high intensity within their workouts.  That is also why professional athletes look the way that they do.  They have mastered the pratice maximizing intensity in their given sports.  That being said, please do not interpret this as me saying that you should take every rep of every set to the brink of muscle failure and blacking out.  That can quickly lead to overtraining and injury.  What I AM saying is that to get results you should learn to get out of your comfort zone, push the envelope every now and then, and embrace intensity. Good luck.

  J.C. Amerson

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How to target Belly Fat

Working as a personal trainer the question that I get the most often is, " How do I get rid of belly fat?" or       "What exercise will make me lose fat on my stomach?"  People are always hoping to get some secret exercise that will give them a flat and toned midsection.  The sad truth is that this exercise does not exist.  What everyone needs to realize is that you CANNOT decide where your body loses fat.  You can do exercises to strengthen the muscles around the midsection but that will do nothing for the layer of fat sitting ontop of those muscles.  So if you have been doing endless situps in the pursuit of getting a flatter stomach, please stop.  You will save time in your workout and I am sure your spine and lower back will thank you.
  But to help answer the original question, "How do I get rid of belly fat?", I typically tell people to work their legs.  Now, you may be thinking "Why work the legs when I want to work the abs?"  Well, typically when people want to lose belly fat, what they really mean is they want to lose BODY fat.  If your body is going to lose weight, or fat, then it is going to lose the fat everywhere (ie. the arm, legs, butt, stomach, neck, face,  back, maybe even fingers).  When you have more muscle you have a higher metabolism, you tend to burn more calories, and you eventually lose excess weight.  Since the legs are the largest muscle group they have the most potential for building new muscle.  Also, when you work your legs at a significant intensity you can burn a large amount of calories... way more than if you were to do hundreds of situps.
  My recommendation to people trying to get a great midsection is to stop concentrating on the midsection.  Pay more attention to the large muscle groups like the legs, back, chest, and shoulders.  If you work those muscles often, and with sufficient intensity, you will see great gains in your body as a whole.  I do recommend working your abs ,however, for health and injury prevention.  I may write another post on that subject soon. Until then, keep working.

  ,Cagney Amerson

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Diet Confusion.

  Lately I have been researching different diets to try and find one that I think maximizes health and fitness.  I try to steer clear of fad diets and stick to sources that include individuals with Phd.'s in science and nutrition, reputable strength and fitness coaches, and national organizations such as the NSCA.  The problem is that even among all of these educated and experienced individuals there is conflicting results and recommendations, and each one of them considers their diet the valid one.  One diet that has grown in popularity lately is the "Paleo" style diet.  This diet, in a nut shell, consists of eating primarily meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, little fruit, no grains, no beans, and no dairy.  It is based on the premise that humans have not evolved to eat foods that have come about since the agricultural revolution, and that most health issues today are caused by a high carbohydrate diet.  I must admit, being someone who believes in keeping things natural, I was pretty intrigued by this diet.  The logic is there and it seems to make sense.  However, when I read books that are written by well known sports organizations and university professors in nutrition the benefits of high carbohydrate diets are praised for both health and performance.  Another interesting fact is that the highest concentration of individuals who live to be 100 years old are in Okinawa, Japan.  If you look at the traditional Okinawa diet you find that they eat predominantly whole grains, vegetables, fish products, and little meat.  This diet goes against alot of the "Paleo" rules, yet it seems to produce the world's longest living people.  Afterall, isn't prolonging life one of the main goals of diet and exercise.
  Personally I think there are many diets out there that can work and will probably bring about different results in different people.  It would be wise to try different diets to see which one gets you closer to whatever goals you have.  That could be a decrease in weight, control of blood sugar, increased sports performance, or improved blood lipid profile. Probably the more important issue is eating  more natural foods and eating proper portions.  That seems to be a consistant variable among all the diets.  EAT MORE VEGETABLES AND FRUITS.  To me, if it comes from the earth it has to be good for you in most cases.  I am not bashing one diet or another, I am just pointing out some inconsistancies that have been on my mind.  I am also urging others to not fall into thinking that there is only one diet and one way to eat to be healthy and fit.  At the end of the day I think food should be enjoyed and life should be lived to the fullest and finding a balance between the two is a good goal to strive for.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Blog

I created this blog to document my thoughts on exercise, fitness, and life in general.  I hope that this blog helps and inspires those who read it.  Much of the information will be my opinion but I plan to cite work that is factual or not my own.  I hope you enjoy.