Durbrow Performance Training June Client of the Month: Shonda Ettienne

Congratulations to our June 2014 Client of the Month, Shonda Ettienne!

Shonda has been training at Durbrow Performance for just over 1 year and in that time she’s made one of the best transformations we’ve ever had. She has lost 87 pounds since starting with the training family last July.

Shonda is always one to push herself and she has an amazing way of being laser focused during an exercise and then being able to joke and have fun during the breaks, then turn the focus right back on.

It’s been amazing watching Shonda transform her body and each week she is able to challenge herself past just moving more weight. Now with more confidence she’s building her athleticism and pushing herself to try different exercises.

Shonda Push Ups 300x225 Durbrow Performance Training June Client of the Month: Shonda Ettienne

I was joking with her a few weeks ago that that’s the way it has to go- she loses more weight and her weights in the gym go up.

Shonda has hit a recent PR of a #235 Deadlift, she flips the #420 tire with ease and just yesterday started swinging the 40kg kettlebell.

In addition to her own success, we have heard from several clients about how much her transformation and journey has inspired them to become better.

Congrats again Shonda, you deserve it more than you know!

Shonda COM1 e1406230257122 Durbrow Performance Training June Client of the Month: Shonda Ettienne

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What’s the Deal with Bulletproof Coffee?

We got this question from a few different clients over the last month or so.

Bulletproof Coffee.

It’s all the rage in the Paleo and Primal communities, boasting huge energy boosts without the crashes, incredible mental clarity for hours on end and even improve fat loss results.

Sounds amazing, right?

This idea was spawned from Dave Asprey, also known as the Bulletproof Exec.

If you haven’t heard of Bulletproof Coffee or you have heard about it but you aren’t sure what it entails, here are the basics.

  • Organic, toxin free coffee
  • Kerrygold Grass Fed Butter
  • MCT Oil

You are brewing the coffee as usual and then adding the grass fed butter (Asprey recommends at least 2 tablespoons) and then also adding the MCT Oil (1-2 tablespoons).

The premise of this recipe is that the healthy fats from the butter will give you a ketonic energy effect, meaning your body will burn fats for energy and avoid any insulin spikes. The fats also keep you more full throughout the morning.

MCT (medium chain triglyceride), in this case found in an oil, has been shown to promote fat oxidation and weight loss because they passively diffuse from the GI tract and do not require any energy for storage or absorption.

The premise of Bulletproof Coffee is that you would drink a cup of this in the morning as your breakfast. The high fat intake will keep you full, help push your body to use fats as energy.

It does taste pretty good. When I tried this for about a month, I didn’t notice a huge change in my energy or focus. It didn’t hurt me, but it didn’t change my life either.

The other issue that comes up is when people do Bulletproof Coffee AND eat throughout the early part of the day. That just leads to an excess of calories and usually way too much fat.

If you like to drink your calories, then give it a try. I much prefer eating and focusing on quality foods instead of a hyped up coffee.

The one positive aspect I will take from this is that if you want to sweeten your coffee with something more natural and healthy, use a tablespoon of coconut oil. It has a similar premise to the MCT oil (which is flavorless) and tastes great.

Otherwise, skip the 400-500 calorie coffee and eat some real food.

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Don’t Focus on the Whispers

I like to make lists. On my calendar, on my phone, on my desk with a few sticky notes.

I realized after a while that my to-do lists were starting to have to-do lists.

Time to scale back. I still make lists but it’s all about the important stuff. I figure out what my most important tasks are and do those first. I believe this is essential when you’re training and working to lose fat or get in shape.

One saying that a mentor of mine uses a lot is “don’t focus on the whispers. Focus on the shouts.”

Too many people get wrapped up in the minutia. He was talking about
business but again, this translates over to health and fitness.

Does it really matter if you eat spinach OR kale? They are both great. Pick one. Or eat both. Just do it.

Which kind of protein powder is best?

Most of the time, as long as it’s not containing a lot of garbage and chemicals, it’s good. Just pick one.

If you spend your time focusing on the tiny pieces of the puzzle, you won’t make any progress.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t care but focus on the big picture of the questions I just asked. The big picture is, you are eating your green leafy veggies and a high quality protein to supplement your hard work in the gym.

Figure out what your end goal is. Come up with your WHY. Then work backwards and every time you come up with a “whispering” question, ask yourself if that aligns with your big picture goal or if you can focus your energy and efforts elsewhere.

Here’s the thing too, focusing on the minutia sometimes makes you feel like you’re getting somewhere. Focusing on the big stuff is hard, but that’s where the progress is. Keep working at it.

Have a great week,

Callie

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Cut the Sugars…Now What?

A few weeks ago Emily covered why you need to cut out artificial sweeteners. Take a minute to read this one.

Why you should cut artificial sweeteners.

Now, check out the follow-up to a lot of questions we received about what you should use instead. Here are Emily’s answers…

Best Options:

Organic Maple Syrup- (shocking I know that a girl from Vermont would recommend maple syrup) It is very sweet, comes from nature, has been around for years so we know it is safe, and our body knows how to process it. MPS is sweet enough that you can use very little and get a lot of sweetness and flavor.

Organic Honey- Honey is made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Very sweet, comes from nature, has been around for years so we know it is safe, and our body knows how to process it.

Molasses- Very sweet, comes from nature, has been around for years so we know it is safe, and our body knows how to process it. Also offers the body nutrients like potassium, calcium, and iron.

Organic Green Leaf Stevia -Stevia is a sweetener made by purifying extracts from an herb that grows in South America. Stevia is available as a dietary supplement but not a food additive in the United States because of a lack of data regarding its safety.

This means you can buy packets to use in your coffee or for baking, but you won’t find it already added to packaged foods. You can now also by the herb and process it yourself. Stevia has been widely used in Japan for the past several decades without any apparent adverse effects.

It actually has no calories and tastes up to 400 times sweeter than sugar, but it can produce a slightly bitter aftertaste. It won’t raise blood sugar, and it may even help stabilize blood sugar levels. There is some debate out there if it causes sweet cravings when you consume large quantities.

Okay Options:

Brown Sugar – white sugar with molasses, so it does offer a little nutritional content.

Truvia – more processed version of stevia, made by the Cargill and Coca-Cola company. Although they start with raw stevia herb, it is not know what process they use to develop the granules. They also list “natural flavor” in their process without identifying the source.

Why are theses your best options? They pack a sweet punch so you can use very little. Some of them offer nutrients, and excellent flavor. However, let us cover one more time that you should avoid excess sugar/sweetness.

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Donuts and Seat Belts

Do you wear your seat belt every day?

Most people do, I would bet.

Do you eat donuts every day?

Some people do.

If you didn’t wear your seat belt for one day, it probably wouldn’t
harm you. I’m not advocating this, I’m just saying…

If you ate a donut one day, it wouldn’t cause you to gain weight.

When it comes to changing your habits (whether it’s fitness or
otherwise), it’s kind of like seat belts and donuts.

When you do this one destructive behavior every day (not wearing
your seat belt or eating a donut for breakfast) for a period of
time, that’s what creates the bad habits or the weight gain. This
can relate to other areas of life too, not just fitness.

No one ever ate a donut and woke up 20 pounds heavier. If you ate
that donut every day for several years, you probably would be 20
pounds heavier.

Think about the thing in your life that you’re trying to change.
Are you doing the right daily habits and reps to make that change,
like wearing your seat belt every day?

Or are you doing the daily habits and reps that will prolong that
negative behavior or result, like eating a donut every day for
breakfast?

Enjoy your week and try to get in those daily reps that make a
positive change in your life.

 
Callie

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Killer Home Workout to Build a Strong Upper Body

Killer Home Workout to Build Up a Strong Chest

By Nick Lynch

It seems today that bodyweight movements just don’t get the love they deserve. However, many elite athletes  will have entire workout regimens based off of 4 basic bodyweight movements: Push-up, Pull-up, Dip, and Squat. All four of those exercises can be modified into several different versions (adjusting the angle, working across a different plane of direction, adding weight onto body, etc.) activating multiple muscles throughout each movement. 

The push-up is a great way to target the chest, along with dips. These exercises can be performed right in the comfort of your home! All you need is a little creativity to enhance each movement and cater it to the difficulty level you need for results.

First things first- If you can pump out 30 push-ups no problem, then you obviously need more resistance. A great at home solution to this is to take a backpack and fill it with weight (water bottles work fantastic).  The tighter the backpack is to the body, the more balanced it will be. 

As for the dips, find a surface in the house that you can perform a dip on safely, without touching the floor (Stools/chairs work great).  The last piece of “equipment” we will need to perform this routine is either 2 dish towels if you are on a hard surface or 2 paper plates if you are on a carpet. That’s it! (side note: you can also use Valslides or Furniture Movers if you have them)

 Exercises:

  • Incline Push-up (4 sets, 8-15 reps) - Using one of the dip chairs, or another elevated surface in the house, place your feet (toes for higher difficulty) onto the surface and your hands on the floor. Lower yourself down until your chest is about .5-1 inch from the floor, hold 1-2 seconds, and explode back up, SQUEEZING the chest throughout and holding that squeeze at the top of the movement. Continue for 8-15 reps.  Make sure the weight in the pack has you reaching close to failure within the rep range.  Hands should be shoulder-width or slightly outside, and fingers should be pointed slightly out, about 30-45 degrees. 
  • Close Grip Push-up (2 sets, 10-15 reps) - Hands within shoulder-width, this is a triceps dominant push-up, but it will also target the inner chest. Make sure you hold at the bottom and squeeze throughout the movement, holding the squeeze for 1-2 seconds at the peak.
  • Wide-Grip Push-up (2 Sets, 10-15 reps) – Hands wider than shoulder width and fingers pointed out at 90 degrees. Control both the positive and negative movement of this exercise with a 3 count down, 1 count hold, and 3 count up.  
  • Dips(3 sets, 8-12 reps)- 2 Chairs on each side of you for each hand, place bodyweight onto the hands and lower yourself between the chairs until elbow is at 90 degrees. Rise back up and squeeze. The farther you lean forward, the more it will hit the chest. 
  • Chest Flyes (3 sets 6-10 reps) - assume the top of a push-up position (arms extended) with the paper plates or towels under the hands. Slide your hands away from the midline of your body in a controlled motion, lowering your body towards the floor. Squeezing the arms and chest, and keeping the core tight, drive your hands back towards the midline until you reach the starting position. 
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The Illusion of Fear is Holding You Back

I recently started reading a new book called The Obstacle is the Way.

It’s gotten me to think a lot more about how I look at my life, at the things standing in the way of what I want to achieve or help others achieve.

Today’s post is short, but something I want you to start thinking about.

We all have choices. So many people are literally on the verge of greatness or they are on the cusp of making a decision that can change the trajectory of their lives (in a great way).

What happens in that weird space after the excitement?

Fear.

The illusion of fear allows us to stop dead in our tracks and we convince ourselves that we can’t do it, can’t afford it, can’t handle it.

Taking action is a choice. Not taking action is also a choice.

If you’re stuck, push yourself through the resistance and take control. It’s not going to be perfect or pretty, but you have to take some action.

If you’re unhappy, you can choose to rid yourself of the negative stuff or people in your life.

The choices you have or haven’t made up to this point determine what’s going on in your life.

Consistently taking action will get you there. I remember a quote from a mentor of mine, he said “action alleviates anxiety.”

It’s true. Even if you don’t take a huge step, take a little one. Then take another one the next day.

Just remember that you ALWAYS have a choice and you can choose to move forward, backward or stay still.

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Ask a Trainer: If I’m Not Sore, Does that Mean it Wasn’t a Good Training Session?

I’m so sore.

That workout killed me.

I couldn’t even sit down to pee.

Walking down the stairs was a challenge yesterday.

I’ve heard these and so many other variations of “I’m so sore” in all my years as a trainer and coach.

In this edition of “Ask a Trainer” I’m going to dive into why being sore doesn’t always equate to a good training session.

I got this question from a new client specifically two weeks ago, but I’ve gotten it over the years many times. “I wasn’t really sore, does that mean I should have worked harder?”

First, what does being sore really mean?

When you train with resistance- whether it’s weights, kettlebells, or even your own body weight, you produce damage in the muscles during that session. There are small micro-tears in the tissue that after your training session need to be repaired and over time they grow back to become stronger.

When you train, you are also creating some inflammation in the muscle tissue and throughout the body.

When you are new to a training program or just to certain exercises, the reaction will be a bit more aggressive than if you have been training for a while.

If you remember back to your first week of training, you were likely pretty sore. If you also think back to a time when you did a new exercise that your body wasn’t used to- even if you consistently trained 2-3 days per week, you will remember feeling a new soreness sensation.

Think about the Valslide Leg Curls, Tricep Crushers on the Rings and Romanian Deadlifts.

Some of you may have heard me say that these are “sneaky” exercises and you often feel the effects more the next day.

Why is that?

These exercises have what’s called an eccentric component. Eccentric essentially means you are going against the gravity of the movement. So when you do the Valslide Leg Curl and you are working to straighten your legs- that’s eccentric. When you contract the muscle during the movement- that’s concentric, like when you curl your legs in or when you pull the weight up during a Bicep Curl.

The eccentric portion of a movement can produce the highest amount of damage to the muscle tissue, often resulting in some more aggressive soreness.

So why do you get sore sometimes and not others?

In reality, the goal of your overall programming should to be the LEAST sore that you possibly can.

That means that you’re training your body with exactly the right stimulus but more importantly, you are doing all of the right stuff in the other 23 hours of the day.

The better your hydration, nutrition and sleep are, the faster you will recover.

If you eat really well with a nice balance of protein, carbs and fats, you drink 60-100 ounces of water each day and you sleep 8 hours, your soreness factor will be really low.

If you are constantly sore and you have been training for a while, I would definitely consider looking at your outside the gym factors.

If you are new and you are sore for the first week, that’s normal. You just have to pay extra attention to your other factors (hydration, nutrition, sleep).

One other supplemental note: taking 500 mg of Magnesium each night has helped me tremendously. It has some muscle relaxing properties and also can help with deeper sleep so there’s a win-win when it comes to recovery.

So, do NOT make your goal to be as sore as possible. Instead focus on 100% intensity during your sessions and then doing all the right stuff after the fact to ensure proper recovery.

 

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Ask Your Trainer: #1 Food to Cut Out

This week’s “Ask Your Trainer” post is brought to you by our own resident nutrition expert, Emily Boynton.

Emily gets this question a lot. Here what she has to say.

If I was going to cut out one food what should it be?

 The #1 food to absolutely cut out of your diet is….

Fake sugars.

This means artificial sweeteners:

Aspartame- “Equal” &”Nutra-sweet”

Acesulfame K- “Sweet One”

Saccharin- “Sweet’N Low”

Sucralose- “Splenda”

Tagatose

Golden Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup

What’s so bad about these? (besides the fact that the names just sound down right nasty)

Some of them are proven obesogens, which is a foreign chemical compound that disrupts normal development and balance of lipid metabolism which in some cases can lead to obesity.

All them create havoc on you endocrine system. Your endocrine system is a collection of glands that produce hormones and regulate your body’s growth, metabolism and sexual development and function. The hormones are released into the bloodstream and transported to tissues and organs throughout your body.

They can also trigger sweet cravings and increase the risk for excess belly fat.

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Somerville Training Client of the Month: Karen Enriquez

Congratulations to our May Client of the Month at Durbrow Performance, Karen Enriquez.

Karen has been training with the Durbrow Performance family since February of 2012. She came in, ready to make a change and even though she was very quiet and sweet, I knew there was a fire under there and a readiness to improve.

Karen travels a lot for work and has always been juggling a rough schedule but when she’s in the gym, she’s one of the hardest working clients we have. She’ll unassumingly bang out a heavy set of KB Swings or full Push Ups from the toes and she’s always there to cheer on her fellow training buddies when they’re pushing a heavy Prowler or if they just need a boost of motivation.

Karen has always been a consistent hard worker but she was also always a little nervous to push too far and in the last 2-3 months we have seen that change dramatically. Karen joined up on the 90 day nutrition plan over the winter and she became truly a new person. Her confidence was elevated, she lost a bunch of inches (more on that later) and you could just tell in her overall strength and endurance, this was a new woman.

That’s why Emily, Nick and I believed that Karen was the easy winner for Client of the Month this time around. She was the true definition of a transformation. Not only did she lose 8 inches but she gained extreme confidence in her ability to push harder, get out of her comfort zone and become a great version of herself. We all absolutely love Karen and now she is starting to see just how great she can be.

Congrats Karen!

 

Karen COM e1403723135788 225x300 Somerville Training Client of the Month: Karen Enriquez

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