4 Ways to Burn More Fat!

September 20, 2011
There is nothing quite as frustrating as seeing your results fizzle out.

This is a common place to end up, usually after a few months on the same exercise routine. In the beginning your body responds to your routine with lost pounds and gained muscle tone, then one day all results screech to a stop.

Why does this happen? And, more importantly, how can you prevent it?

Your muscles adapt quickly to any repetitive routine. Remember that the definition of ‘insanity’ is to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. This holds true for your workouts.

When your results stop, it’s time to do something new.

  • The problem: Your muscles have adapted to your routine.
  • The Solution: It’s time to apply the concept of muscle confusion.

Muscle confusion is a way to keep your body guessing by changing your routine.

I have good news – the following 4 strategies are guaranteed to crank your workouts up to the next level and to deliver better results.

Strategy #1: Use a Drop Set

Drop sets are often used to fight off exercise plateaus. This technique is great for increasing muscle strength, endurance and for adding to the cardiovascular benefit of your workout – which results in more fat burn.

This is how to do a drop set: When you perform an exercise to exhaustion, don’t stop there. Drop the weight by 80% and do another set.

You could take it a step further by dropping the weight twice, making it a double drop. Or drop the weight three times for a descending drop set. Use this technique only once or twice per workout, on the final set of the exercise.

Strategy #2: Focus on Negatives

Each time that you do a weight lifting repetition you are using three types of strength.

  1. Positive strength: lifting the weight.
  2. Static strength: holding weight in a contracted position.
  3. Negative strength: lowering the weight.

Most people completely miss the benefit of the negative in each repetition by allowing the weight to drop quickly with little control. It is understood that the negative portion of each repetition is just as important as the positive portion, possibly more important.

Focus on the negative portion of each repetition by lowering the weight very slowly. Concentrate on the negative contraction, and make each repetition count.

If you are advanced, then use a training partner to assist you in moving heavier-than-normal weight into a contracted position, then lower it very slowly.

Another way to utilize negative repetitions on a machine is to lift the weight using two limbs but then lower it with just one. For example, use both legs to lift the weight on a leg extension machine, but then lower it back down slowly using only one leg.

Strategy #3: Use Active Rest

Every minute of your workout is an opportunity to increase intensity and to burn more fat. Don’t waste precious minutes with long rest periods.

While it is important to catch your breath if you feel winded, most of the time you would benefit more from an active rest. Do one of the following activities for 30 seconds between exercises and turn your regular workout into High Intensity Interval Training.

  • High Knees with Alternating Punches: Alternately bring each knee high to your chest in a quick jumping movement while alternating forward punches at shoulder level.
  • Burpees: Start in a sanding position and bend at the waist. Once your hands hit the floor, push your entire body back, extending your legs until they’re straight and you’re in the push-up position. Go down for a push-up, and when you push yourself up, jump slightly to bring your feet back near your hands. Finally, jump in the air with your arms fully extended over your head.
  • Side-to-Side Jumps on Bench: Stand on one side of an exercise bench. Place the foot closest up onto the bench, jump up and switch feet, then land on the opposite side of the bench.
  • Mountain Climbers: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly.
  • Side-to-Side Ab Twists: With feet close together, jump and twist your legs left to right – holding your abs tight. Keep a bend in your knees and swing your upper arms with each twist.
  • Jump Lunges with Pop Squat: Start in a lunge position, lunge down then quickly jump up, switching your leg position in midair, land in an opposite leg lunge. Once you’ve done both legs, jump straight into a squat.
  • Medicine Ball Squat Jumps: With feet wider than shoulder-width apart hold a medicine ball at chest level. Squat down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Explosively jump up, raising the medicine ball straight over your head.

Strategy #4: Modify the Exercise There are certain exercises that are considered ‘staples’ in the gym.

The squat. The lunge. The chest press. The shoulder press. The bicep curl. You get the idea…

While you shouldn’t throw these exercises out the window, find creative ways to modify the familiar motion in order to challenge your muscles. Try these exercise modifications:

  • Squat on a Bosu ball or balance board.
  • Place a weighted bar across your shoulders and do walking lunges.
  • Use an exercise ball for chest presses instead of the bench.
  • Do a full squat between each repetition of shoulder presses.
  • Do a shoulder press between each repetition of bicep curls.

Have a healthy day!

Your Coach, Mark

Transform from “Before” to “After”

September 6, 2011

Have you ever seen a really impressive “before” and “after” photo on a weight loss product?

Well, there’s something that the diet industry doesn’t want you to know. There is more involved than just the diet product, and it’s the same across the board.

Look into the eyes of any person in their “before” picture and you’ll see that they are deeply disturbed. The body they have is no longer in sync with the body they are able to accept.

They changed the body that they accept, and became disturbed.

Now look into their eyes in the “after” picture – see the sweet satisfaction? They now live in the body that they decided they could accept. What an amazing feeling that is.

Why are you still living life in your “before” body?

Sure, you have obstacles that get in your way – your schedule, your job, your kids, the weather, your knee injury from college…but ultimately you have the body that you accept.

I’m going to repeat that so it will really sink in.

You have the body that you accept.

Transform from “Before” to “After”
You may not realize it, but you already posses everything you need to transform your body, and it all starts with taking responsibility for the body that you have today.

You are in your current shape because, until this moment, you’ve been OK with it.

Oh I know you aren’t thrilled with it, and you even talk about losing weight and getting fit – but you haven’t changed what you’ll accept.

Here’s how to transform your body in 3 steps:

Step One: Feel Disturbed
It has been said that emotion creates motion. This is essential when it comes to personal transformation. Just like those folks in the “before” pictures, to transform your body you must first decide that you can’t live another day in the body you currently have.

Get your emotions stirred up. Make a list of all the reasons that you’re ready to lose weight and get fit. Get disturbed.

Step Two: Decide What You Want
Without clarity you’ll never get where you want to go. Now that you’re disturbed with the body you have, decide what the body you can accept looks like.

Think in concrete and specific terms. Just like the captions under ‘before” and “after” pictures – “Shannon lost 50 lbs,” “Matt lost 8 inches from his waist,” “Catherine went from a size 20 to a size 4.”

Get a clear picture in your mind of what you’ll look like in your “after” picture and decide what the caption will read.

Step Three: Take Action
The time spent between your inspiration (now) and taking action determines whether you will succeed or fail. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck between inspiration and action – there is always something that you can do immediately.

I am here to take you from your “before” picture to your “after” picture. What will your “after” caption read?

Committed to Your Fitness Success,

Your Coach, Mark

5 Easy Diet Tweaks for Flat Abs!!

August 29, 2011
If your stomach isn’t as flat as you’d like it to be then you have come to the right place. 

Exercise alone will not get you a toned stomach – diet is a huge part of the equation.

Below I have compiled 5 very easy tweaks to your eating habits that will dramatically flatten your abs.

Diet Tweak #1: Don’t eat after 6pm
This is such a simple and effective way to lose fat. Late night eating is the most damaging to your waistline, so cut it out completely.

  • Brush your teeth immediately following dinner. Once your teeth are brushed, you’ve put a period to the end of your consumption for the day.
  • Change your evening routine. If you’ve always ended your day watching your favorite shows with your hand in the snack bowl, then now is the time to change things up. Find activities that don’t revolve around food and stick with those.
  • Make it a habit. The first few weeks will be the hardest, but soon your new no-food-after-6pm routine will feel normal.

Diet Tweak #2: Cut back on carbs
Notice I didn’t say to cut out all carbs, but rather to cut back on carbs. These diet tweaks are meant as lifestyle changes that you stick with long term. Cutting back on carbs is a realistic and very effective way to lose weight.

  • Always choose whole grain bread and pasta over white. Whole grains are less likely to be stored as fat than processed grains.
  • Eat half of the carbs you normally do. Eat your sandwich open-faced and reduce the size of your pasta serving.
  • Avoid carb-filled snacks between meals. Instead of crackers or chips, have fresh fruit and veggies.

Diet Tweak #3: Eat more fiber
Most people simply do not get enough fiber in their diets. Fiber is essential when it comes to getting lean since it is low calorie while filling you up.

  • Instead of seeing salad just as a side item, make salads into meals. Add protein to a large pile of greens for a guiltless meal.
  • Make veggies a part of every meal. The benefits of eating more vegetables are too numerous to list, just know that your body will become healthier and leaner with each fibrous bite.
  • Fruits are a delicious source of fiber. Incorporate fresh, seasonal fruits into your daily diet.

Diet Tweak #4: Drink tons of water
Drinking plenty of water is another extremely simple way to promote weight loss. Chronic dehydration leads to false hunger signals and unnecessary calorie consumption.

  • Drink a large glass of water before each meal. This will prevent overeating.
  • Choose water instead of sugar-filled sodas and juices. Sugar-filled drinks are a huge weight-gain trap.
  • Carry a water bottle with you throughout your day. Keep water in the car and at your desk for constant hydration.

Diet Tweak #5: Enjoy natural sweets
Traditional sugar-filled sweets will quickly add up around your waistline. Instead of going for sugary sweets, enjoy natural sweets.

  • Fruit is nature’s candy. Reach for sweet, seasonal fruit for dessert.
  • Avoid foods that contain white sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Consider these items ‘anti-flat-abs’.
  • Use wholesome sweeteners such as pure maple syrup, brown rice syrup or dates in your recipes instead of white sugar. Eliminate white sugar from your kitchen.

Eating right, coupled with challenging exercise, is the formula for a toned, lean body – so guarantee your results by teaming up with me.

Together we will come up with a fitness plan that is uniquely yours, one that fits your lifestyle and brings you promptly to your goals.

Committed to Your Success,

Coach Mark

SOS Results for Saturday, June 11

June 11, 2011

Great job today girls! You all gave it your all and remember, these numbers are to track future improvement in your fitness level.

Fight Gone Bad Workout Results

Becca – 515
Lisa 502
Shawna – 426

Alice – 435
Judy – 364
LG – 317

Anna – 489
Kristina – 439
Pam – 411
Jamie – 391
Lori Cruz – 364
Mon Mon – 358

Terry – 399
Sara – 309

Recipe of the Week: White Lasagna!

April 21, 2011

Hey Boot Campers

If you haven’t bookmarked hungry-girl.com yet you have to do so. Many of our boot campers use their recipes frequently and here’s one of their most popular reecipes…

“In what world is pasta baked in cream sauce and cheese NOT a calorie-and-fat-packed nightmare? In HG Land, baby! Your head may actually explode when you taste the insanely gooey decadence that is our Hungry Girlfredo White Lasagna. So don’t say we didn’t warn you…

3 medium zucchini, ends removed
1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
2 large egg whites or 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 cups chopped spinach
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
4 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese
4 tbsp. reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping, divided
4 sheets oven-ready lasagna noodles (like the kind by Ronzoni)
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Optional: additional salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice zucchini in half widthwise, and then slice each half lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick strips. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg whites, garlic, oregano, basil, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Stir well and set aside.

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Add mushrooms and, stirring occasionally, cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook until spinach has wilted and excess moisture has evaporated, about 2 more minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and let cool. Blot away excess moisture from veggies, using paper towels. Transfer contents to the bowl of ricotta mixture and set aside.

Re-spray skillet and return to medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook zucchini until softened, about 2 minutes per side; remove skillet from heat and re-spray between batches. Set zucchini aside.

To make the sauce, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine sour cream with cheese wedges, breaking cheese wedges into pieces as you add them. Stir in 2 tbsp. Parm-style topping, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Microwave for 30 – 45 seconds, until very warm. Stir until smooth and set aside.

Spray an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray. Evenly place 1/3rd of the cooked zucchini strips on the bottom. With a spoon or spatula, spread half of the ricotta-veggie mixture on top. Evenly top with 2 lasagna sheets, followed by 1/3rd of the sauce.

Repeat layering with the same amounts of zucchini, ricotta-veggie mixture, lasagna sheets, and sauce. Evenly top with remaining zucchini, followed by remaining sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining 2 tbsp. Parm-style grated topping.

Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until cheese starts to brown.

If you like, season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Enjoy!


Serving Size: 1/4th of lasagna (1 large piece)
Calories: 290
Fat: 6.5g
Sodium: 726mg
Carbs: 33g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 10g
Protein: 21.5g

Have  a great rest of your day!

Coach Mark

Five #1 Diet Rules for Fat Loss

April 13, 2011

index The Five #1 Diet Rules for Fat Loss

Hey Boot Campers,

One of my great buddies Craig Ballantyne wrote a great review on 5 of the TOP THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR FAT LOSS. It’s a great read and you should read it thoroughly if you want to achieve your goals this month!

“I have a diet book review for you today that is going to give you the top five #1 diet rules for fat loss.

Two things I didn’t agree with:

A) I think the author goes overboard with his recommendations on avoiding fruit (all the science I’ve read has found that eating more fruit leads to weight loss, not weight gain).

B) The author lays the blame heavily on genetics, BUT I’ve watched too many folks from all types of backgrounds lose ridiculous amounts of fat to believe that genetics is as big of a problem as the author believes. Genetics are a factor in where you store fat, sure, but you CAN beat bad genes.

On the bright side, I agree with the major rules he sets out for fat loss.

So let’s take a look at the top 5 #1 rules for your fat loss diet:

#1 Rule #1 – Avoid all liquid calories.

Stop drinking soda, juice, high-calorie coffees, high-sugar post-workout drinks marketed to you as mandatory for results (they aren’t), sports drinks, and energy drinks.

When you drink calories, your body says, “Oh, yummy! But I’m still not full in my tummy. Must have more foodz too! Yayz!”

And then you overeat calories, adding to the excess calories and sugar from your liquids, and then your belly fat piles on and gets stuck to you like peanut butter on Bally’s nose when he licks an empty jar of peanut butter clean.

#1 Rule #2 – Avoid eating added sugar and white flour.

This will help you lose fat and avoid cancer.  The author of “Why We Get Fat” believes that the #1 reason ANY diet works is because they help users avoid fattening carbohydrates (such as sugar, candy, liquid calories, and processed carbohydrates).  No matter what “extreme diet” you are into, I think that’s pretty easy to agree with.

And that’s why I also believe that almost EVERY diet out there will work for someone, and that’s why you must continue to look for the diet that works for YOU.

Listen, I’ve read both ends of the spectrum.

I’ve read “The China Study” and I’ve read about “Paleo Diets”, and I don’t believe you have to go to either extreme.

You don’t need to give up all meat, and you don’t need to give up all grains.

The commonality that both of these “diet factions” can agree on is that excess sugar, processed carbs, and liquid calories are a BAD, BAD, BAD idea.

It’s that simple.

Avoid added sugar, processed carbs, and liquid calories and that way you’ll keep your insulin levels lower and that will help fight fat storage and will promote fat burning.

Soooooo simple. It really is. Still not convinced? Next rule:

#1 Rule #3 – Avoid eating carbohydrate rich foods that are easy to eat in massive quantities.

The author recommends avoiding the following foods if you want to lose fat, and while it is very restrictive, I tend to agree because it is really easy to over-consume these:

– beer

– liquid calories

– sugar

– candy

These are easy to agree with…not a lot of room for these in a fat loss program.

And the following foods are more controversial (but again, are the recommendation of the author):

– bread

– potatoes

– rice

– cereal grains

– dairy

NOTE: Yes, you can get lean and stay lean with these in your diet. In fact, I eat a few of these foods on a weekly basis, but I know they are really easy to overeat…so that’s why I stick to the next rule:

#1 Rule #4 – Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Now this rule was only quoted in this book, but it comes from my favorite nutrition book, “Food Rules”. So simple.

So powerful.

You don’t have to give up your favorite foods forever, you just need to stop making them a part of EVERY meal. Which brings me to my last point:

#1 Rule #5 – If you have it in the house, you’re going to eat it, so keep it out of your house. Period.

As I’ve said in the past, your kitchen doesn’t need to resemble a 7-11.

If your kids need treats, that’s fine. Have a SMALL bag of treats in the house.

I grew up in a house that had 5-10 cases of soda in the basement, plus 4-5 bags of chips (crisps for our UK friends),

3 boxes of ice cream in the freezer, and bags of candy all over the place.

That won’t help anyone lose fat.

I was able to stay lean, but it would be a lot easier if those foods weren’t there when I go home to visit my family.

On the other hand, here’s something that will help you lose fat if you have it in the house:

=> Delicious Recipes for a Fat Loss Diet <= Your fat loss cookbook

The great thing about that cookbook is that it doesn’t require you to make any extreme sacrifices. It’s common sense, and simple.

(Can you tell I like to keep it simple?) ”

Bottom Line:

Avoid the foods that cause us to get fat (liquid calories, sugar, processed carbohydrates) and eat real food – and delicious meals – that are prepared properly.

Diet beats exercise almost every time,

Your Coach, Mark

Recipe of the Week: Healthy Huevos Rancheros!

March 16, 2011

Hey Boot Campers,

We all love us our peanut butter toast and oatmeal but if you want to switch it up a little, try this delicious recipe from hungry-girl.com.

Do the “HUEV”

A hot breakfast of crispy corn tortillas covered in refried beans, topped with eggs, and smothered in zesty sauce sounds AMAZING. But huevos rancheros is a dish that’s typically no bueno in the fat and calories departments. Check out our decadent single-serving version ahora. (That means NOW!)

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
2 tbsp. chopped onion
2 tbsp. canned diced green chilies
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. chili powder
Dash black pepper
Dash ground cumin
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
One 6-inch corn tortilla
1 large egg
2 tbsp. fat-free refried beans

Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat on the stove. Add all ingredients for sauce except cilantro. Stirring occasionally, cook until veggies have softened, about 7 minutes. Add cilantro and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to a small bowl and cover to keep warm.

Once skillet has cooled, clean and return it to the stove. Add butter and bring skillet to medium-high heat. Once butter has coated the bottom of skillet, add tortilla. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Remove skillet from heat, spray with nonstick spray, and bring to medium heat. Add egg to the skillet and cook per your preference (we like it over medium!), about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, spread beans onto tortilla. Place egg over the tortilla and cover with sauce. Enjoy!


Serving Size: entire recipe
Calories: 232
Fat: 7.75g
Sodium: 762mg
Carbs: 30g
Fiber: 5.5g
Sugars: 7.5g
Protein: 12g