Tag Archives: Fitness

Is drinking coffee bad for your health

So you think your morning coffee an OK option on your healthy eating plan? Is drinking coffee really bad for you or is it actually good?

Healthy Caffeine in Coffee?, I get these questions about coffee and health all the time and as a coffee drinker myself, it is smart to take a look at both the good and the bad and learn how to drink coffee safely..

Now, I’m not here to tell you that coffee is good for you. (I’m here to tell you the facts). If I did, I would be telling only the good side of the story and I’m no politician. I am here to give you the good and the bad and tell you how you can incorporate your favorite coffee or tea into your healthy meal plan.

The bad side of Caffeine

Most coffee and tea contains a lot of caffeine. This is usually the primary reason people make coffee their drink of choice in the morning. Caffeine is a drug and comes with a long list of side effects. Have you ever tried not having your coffee in the morning? The headache that comes on when you try and kick this habit can be brutal (just like with any other drug), and creating a dependency and addiction like this is harmful to the body.

Second, coffee is extremely acidic. Our bodies function at optimum levels when they are slightly more alkaline (the opposite of acidic). It is best for us to greatly reduce any foods that will drive our body’s pH to be more acidic and eat more foods that are alkaline (like fruits and veggies). An acidic body pH is like a magnet for all kinds of illnesses. Also, an alkaline body has a much stronger immune system, thus making illness much less likely to occur.

Last but not least, the caffeine in coffee and tea is abuse to your adrenal glands. Your adrenals release your “fight or flight” hormones basically giving you a nice “boost” when needed. Unfortunately, people who drink coffee all day long are consistently beating on their adrenals. This is the equivalent of whipping a tired horse even when he is exhausted. Eventually he will not move at all, the result is adrenal fatigue, leaving you with no energy, think of chronic fatigue.
Research on the effects of caffeine on the adrenal glands

The good side of Caffeine

Coffee tastes so nice and makes me feel great in the morning.

Many studies have shown that drinking coffee can help towards the prevention, and treatment of diseases and illnesses as varied as Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, skin cancer, diabetes, parkinsons’s disease and many more. Although, I don’t believe coffee is the cure all to these diseases, many ancient cultures did rely on the coffee bean to cure a long list of ailments. But also, small doses of caffeine can increase performance and mental focus.

Green tea is a great drink with a long list of benefits. Green tea is a wonderful source of antioxidants which are important in cancer prevention. Green tea has even been found to raise the body’s metabolism and aid in fat burning. However its effects are really minor when compared to the effects of sound nutrition and a good exercise plan. Now that I’ve said that, don’t think you can eat junk food and just wash it down with green tea!

What is a coffee and tea drinker to do?

1. Limit your coffee and tea intake to 2 – 8 oz cups per day. Not 2 of each, 2 in total. Any more than that is considered as a addict.

2. If you are currently dependent on a lot of caffeine each day, replace at least 1 of the cups of coffee with green tea instead. Green tea is lower in caffeine than coffee, and will help combat the ugly detox symptoms.

3. Do not jack up your coffee with sugar, milk, syrup and whip cream . Use stevia or xylitol to sweeten and avoid all the empty, harmful calories. A teaspoon of half and half won’t hurt either. Please do not use any of those flavored creamers. They are closer to a students chemistry experiment than they are to real food.

4. Make sure that your food choices are healthy. Avoiding other acidic foods like sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods will lighten the acid load on the body.

5. Make sure the coffee you drink is organic. Conventional coffee is contaminated with pesticides and various chemicals and should be avoided.

There is no need to pass on your morning coffee but it is important to drink the right types of coffee, without the added unhealthy extras and, as with most things, in moderation.

Natalie Jill Interview Video

Fitness instructor Natalie Jill talks about how she became a fitness expert, why being FUNCTIONALLY FIT is paramount to her. She specialize’s in healthy lifestyles, weight loss, functional body weight training and gluten free nutrition. In this video Natalie also discusses the importance of being GLUTEN FREE as well as eating an UNPROCESSED food diet.

Learn more about Natalies range of fitness programs here

Flat Six Pack Abdominals, Lean Stomach

My friend Mike Geary told me about an interview he did with a fitness professional from NYC, non other than certified personal trainer, Geovanni Derice. In it he reveals some of the hardest hitting strategies for getting rid of stubborn stomach fat to uncover those flat six pack abdominals that everyone wants.

“GD: Welcome Mike to our 4-ever-Toned Fitness Journal. For those people who do not know you, please tell us a few things about yourself, and how you can help our readers with their fitness, health and fat loss.

MG: Thanks for having me on, Geo. Well, to go back a little, I have been heavily involved in fitness and sports for about 17 years now, ever since I was a teenager. I got involved in sports in high school which got me interested in strength training and conditioning.

At that point, once I started feeling more energetic, then getting stronger, and looking better, I was instantly hooked for life. I’m now 33 years old and I’m still addicted to the way living a healthy and fit lifestyle, makes me feel energetic, confident, and youthful on a daily basis.

I decided earlier in my 20’s that I wanted to make the commitment to help other people experience the excitement of being fit, and getting themselves in the best shape that they can. Since we’ve reached a tragic epidemic of obesity, heart disease, fatigue, diabetes, cancer, depression, etc. That’s why I decided to became a fitness professional. It just gives me such a buzz to help others, who have been struggling for years to get into shape, and to show them that it can be done, and how it can be a fun process.

I’ve expanded over the years from just reaching local individuals with personal training, into being able to help people all over the globe achieve their fitness goals thanks to the internet. I hope that my passion for fitness, helps to inspire people to take action, and improve how they look at life.

GD: Mike, one question is: there are so many things out there as to what works and what does not work… if you had to pick the 3 things that work time and time again to get flat lean abs, what else would they be?

MG: The first and most important thing to get under control, in order to lose your abdominal obesity and get flat six pack abdominals is cleaning up your diet. Exercise is important, but your diet is more important when it comes to losing body fat so that you can see your abs.

There’s so much confusion these days about what a healthy diet that promotes fat loss really is. After all, we are constantly bombarded by conflicting messages in the media about what is healthy, and you have all of these gimmicky diet books about various diets too many to mention. There’s so much conflicting info, that the average consumer doesn’t even know where to start when it comes to eating for fat loss.

The second thing that works, is to focus on the intensity of your workouts and focus on working the body as a whole in order to get the best metabolic response to lose that stubborn stomach fat.

For you to get lean, the workouts should have a high intensity, with short rest periods, working the largest muscle groups of the body, instead of trying to isolate specific small muscles like the biceps, triceps, or calves.

For the third thing, let’s talk about actually training the abs specifically. When it comes to training the abs. I always recommend forgetting about the crunches and situps for the most part. They are OK for someone who is really unfit, but most people that already have some training under their belt need a much better stimulus for their abs than doing crunches. Although crunches are one of the abs exercises that actually provide the least amount of resistance. Just remember that resistance is what develops and tones the muscles.

I provide a wealth of great abs exercises in my book, but one of the highest resistance exercises for the abs, is hanging leg raises (but NOT the way you see most people at the gym doing them). The key to doing these and actually working the hell out of your abs is to curl your pelvis up as you raise your legs. Most people don’t ever do it the right way. To be truthfully honest with you, the majority of people cannot do this to begin with, but I provide some strategies in my book how to progress to doing these correctly.

GD: Where are most people going wrong when it comes to developing the coveted “6 pack abs”?

MG: Well Geo, I know this sounds funny to most people, but the MAIN thing that people are doing wrong to get those flat six pack abs is… are you ready for this?

They spend entirely too much time focusing on training their abs! WAY too much time spent on abs exercises. Crazy, but that’s the truth.

Remember, having a flat and visible six pack of abs is all about getting down to a low body fat percentage.For you to do that, your workouts must focus on stimulating a fat burning hormonal environment in your body, and thus increasing your metabolic rate. That is not going to happen when you focus too much time training a small muscle group like the abs.

Instead, you must use the majority of your time focusing on training the largest muscle groups of the body like the legs, back, and chest. That’s what stimulates your metabolism and the fat burning hormones that will get you truly lean and sporting a flat six pack!

GD: Which exercises do you rate as the top exercises that people need to do if they are to get maximum definition with their midsection?

MG: When it comes to developing the abs themselves, I again refer to any kinds of hanging abs exercises, as well as some good floor abs exercises like lying leg thrusts. All these routines are described as well as illustrated in my book mentioned below.

However, maximum definition in the abs and midsection comes from losing body fat, the most effective exercises featured in my program for that one goal. Various forms of swings and snatches (unique dumbbell or kettle bell exercises that almost nobody ever does), squats, dead lifts, lunges, step-ups, clean & presses, mountain climbers, sprinting, and other full body exercises and calisthenics. If you desire great looking flat abs, focus on the above methods instead of focusing so much on training the abs directly!

GD: When it comes to diet Mike, people really have tried millions of ways to get one thing and that is fat loss. What do you recommend to your clients, to lose body fat and keep it off?

MG: I have included a fully comprehensive discussion of this topic in my book, which makes up almost half of the book. The most important thing to achieve is that your diet is as natural, and as unprocessed as is possible. It almost always comes back to the over processing of food that makes it unhealthy, and it will wreck your metabolism and hormone balance in your body.

For example, why would you want to eat refined grains, if you can eat whole grains (even better are sprouted grains, as I usually recommend limiting grain foods overall for best results).

Why eat all that disgusting refined sugar that causes weight gain, when you can get natural sources of sugar from a high nutrient whole food like fruit. Why do we eat highly processed, refined, and hydrogenated vegetable oils (these are THE worst thing in the modern diet), when we can eat natural sources of healthy fats like nuts, avocados, fish, eggs, coconut milk, even organically raised meat.

The point here is to not fall for some quick gimmick like extremely low carbs (although I do believe in a fairly reduced carb intake as that is a big problem for most people), low fat, super high protein, or any other combination that has you focusing on one macro nutrient compared to another.

Your body needs all macro nutrients to thrive and obtain a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. Cutting out an entire food group out just works against what your body needs. I go into more detail on this vitally important topic towards losing body fat (especially that stubborn stomach fat) for life in my book.

GD: Thank you very much Mike for taking the time to share with us all of this great information.

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview and got several useful bits of info to get you motivated and started on showing off your flat abs shortly. If you have not already got a copy, be sure to pick up a copy of Mikes Truth about Six Pack Abs Ebook, and discover for yourself the entire system he developed for ridding yourself of that extra abdominal fat for good!

Six Pack Abs

Eat Potatoes White Foods – for a Leaner-Body?

I think it about time we started a little discussion about carbohydrates… and in particular, “white foods” including potatoes. One reason I wanted to talk about this is because so many health and fitness professionals trash talk potatoes about being a bad carbohydrate choice because of the high glycemic index. Some people are saying such ridiculous things as “avoid any and all white carbohydrates”.

Now while I agree that white bread and refined white sugar are two of the worst things we can be feeding our bodies. I don’t believe in avoiding any and all “white carbohydrates”.

Believe it or not “White Foods” aren’t always the enemy.

It’s true that colourful foods are great, but it is also a big mistake to specifically avoid white foods! There are plenty of white foods that have specific nutrients that are hard to find elsewhere. Let’s take a look at a few examples…

Onions and Garlic

What about onions and garlic? They are both white and they are chock full of protective phytonutrients, vitamins, and trace minerals that aren’t easy to find elsewhere in a normal diet… such nutrients as allicin, quercetin (an important flavonoid), chromium, and other unique anti-inflammatory nutrients.


Here is another example of something white, that is great for you is cauliflower. Cauliflower is full of vitamin C, trace elements, fiber, and special compounds such as glucosinolates and thiocyanates, which are abundant in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage. One little-known fact is that some of the compounds in cruciferous vegetables help to counteract other estrogenic compounds in our food supply and environment and can help prevent excess belly fat. So eat up that cauliflower!


Not many people realize this, but even white mushrooms have high levels of unique nutrients and antioxidants. Ordinary white mushrooms are high in antioxidants called polyphenols and ergothioneine.


Now that also leads us to another example – white potatoes. Many health professionals claim that potatoes are a bad carbohydrate because they are thought to have a high glycemic index. If you’ve read my Truth about Six Pack Abs book, you will understand that glycemic index is not necessarily the most important factor in choosing your carbohydrates.

While making the assumption that most low glycemic index carbohydrate choices will help you lose body fat easier than high glycemic index choices, it is not all that it’s cracked out to be. There are many other factors that determine how your body will react-to and process the carbohydrates you ingest, such as glycemic load and also how you combine the high GI food with other foods.

For example, using glycemic load as an example… it is known that watermelons have quite a high glycemic index. However, the glycemic level of a normal serving of watermelon is just way too low for your body to start packing on body fat just because you ate a high glycemic index fruit. You would have to eat such an enormous quantity of watermelon just to get enough grams of carbohydrates to have any negative glycemic effect, that’s just not logical.

Not to mention that watermelon is also a great source of vitamins, minerals, and lycopene. There’s just no reason to avoid it simply because it has a high GI. The point that I am trying to get across is… candy bars, cupcakes, and donuts etc make you fat. Not because they contain fat but because of all the added sugar… NOT watermelons, carrots or potatoes… French fries excluded of course.

Also, as i mentioned, food combinations are important in how your body processes the carbohydrates and the associated blood sugar and insulin response you receive. e.g if you mix a high glycemic index carbohydrate with an extra source of fiber, and healthy fats, or even certain proteins, effect of the increased blood sugar and glycemic response will be slowed down considerably by the way you combined the food. I talk in great detail about this topic in my book.

Back to my point that white potatoes are actually a healthy carbohydrate as long as you eat them in the right form… with the entire skin, and please don’t ruin them by deep frying them into french fries either! French fries or Chips whatever you want to call them, are one of the most evil things ever invented for your health, but only because we ruin them by soaking them in a scorching bath of trans fats in the deep fryer from the hydrogenated oils that are typically used.

Will eating 8 potatoes per day make you fatter? of course not.

On the subject of potatoes not being bad after all, I don’t remember where I read this, but I saw a study that had participants eat at least 7-9 whole potatoes per day for several weeks.
At the end of the study, the potato eaters had consistently lost weight! I’d venture a guess that the reason the people lost weight is that they were probably so full from eating all of those potatoes. They consumed less calories than normal! An average sized potato has about 100-120 calories, and I can imagine you’d be constantly full from eating 7-9 potatoes each day.

I would never recommend going to those extremes, but my point is that an occasional potato is not going to affect your efforts to get leaner, especially if you combine it with some other fibrous vegetables, and maybe a healthy fat, and some protein. Let me share with you one of my favorite recipes for you to try, using potatoes.

Mikes’s Lean-Body Potato Side Dish

* Desired quantity of baby potatoes (I like to use this mixture I found recently at a health food store… it is a mixture of white, red, yellow, and purple baby potatoes)

* 1 red pepper

* 1 green pepper

* 1 yellow pepper

* 1 or 2 onions

* a couple cloves of garlic, finely chopped

* 1 or 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and / or coconut oil

* a little salt and pepper to taste (I like using a sea salt instead of normal commercial salt)

Cut the baby potatoes into smaller pieces and place in a steamer until soft all the way through. Slice up the peppers and onions into strips and add with the chopped garlic into a pan with the olive oil. Slowly fry the peppers, onions, and garlic until tender, and then add the steamed baby potatoes. Mix together and serve. Its is a delicious and healthy side dish that goes great with chicken or red meat.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little topic today about potatoes, healthy carbohydrates, glycemic index, and my healthy potato recipe idea!

Mike Geary

Certified Personal Trainer

Certified Nutrition Specialist

Truth about Abs

Jason Ferruggia build bigger traps

When you ask the question of how to build big traps, the discussion usually starts and finishes with dead lifts. This is the number 1 mass builder, and it will pack huge slabs of beef on your traps faster than any other exercise there is. Take a look at power lifters, and you will see that you cannot avoid building huge traps when you do a lot of dead lifts.

While the dead lift is definitely the king of all trap building exercises, an argument could also be made that Olympic lifts are equally as effective. I would tend to agree with this, if it were not for the fact that Olympic lifts are much harder to teach and learn than dead lifts are, which moves them down to second place on the list. Just about everyone can do at least a partial range dead-lift properly. Not everyone is able to clean or snatch properly.

Finally, you have shrugs. While it’s supposed to be a very simple and straight forward movement there is actually a great deal of confusion over how to build big traps with shrugs. Can you believe that few people seem to be able to agree on how they should be done. On the one hand you have the camp that says you need to go as heavy as possible, and do partial reps, just by heaving the weight up. Of course there’s the camp that says you need to go light, by getting a full range of motion, try to get your shoulders as close to touching your ears as possible, and hold it for at least a second.

So who is right and who is wrong? – they both are!.

To try and understand where the answer lies lets take a look at the athletes with the biggest traps: power lifters and Olympic lifters

Power lifters have huge traps because of all the dead-lifts they do. Dead-lifts are heavy duty. There is no shrugging movement at all. Olympic lifters usually lift relatively lighter weights explosively, and with a range of motion that does indeed have them bringing their traps to their ears.

Looking at these two groups, what does this tell us about shrugs and the proper way to do them?

What it tells us is, the best way to get huge traps is to dead lift and also Olympic lift.

BUT… what if you can not do either of those exercises due to back or shoulder problems, or you just want more to have more variety in your trap training routine? Then you have little or no choice but to shrug. Traps are the most important, the most intimidating, and the impressive body part there is and you can’t walk around with none.

So then, exactly how do you do shrugs and which camp is right? To a certain extent they both are. Occasionally you should try going heavy for low reps, cheat the weight up. Then on another day of the week go lighter for higher reps with a complete range of motion and exaggerated contraction and hold at the top.

I suppose another option is to do both variations in one workout. You could always start with a lighter weight, doing about 10-12 reps, bringing your shoulders as high as they can comfortably go. With each set add extra weight, and work your way down to the point where you can only get five partial reps, with a little cheat at the end. You could start with the heavier sets first, and lighten them as you go.

Dead lifts and Olympic lifts should always be your first answer to the question of how to build big traps. But sometimes shrugs can be very effective as well. Be sure to go straight up and down, and don’t roll your shoulders back and forth. That’s for idiots who don’t have a full understanding of how gravity works.

Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is world renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For much more info on How to Build Muscle Fast, check out muscle gaining secrets.

C-section to Bikini Ready, 7 day jump start recipe

Hi my name is Courtney, and I can’t believe I am actually going to feel good about wearing my new bikini on vacation in April! Considering where I was less than a year ago. Since giving birth to my beautiful baby daughter. I have been following the guidelines to the 7 day Jump start recipe program for 5 weeks now. I have lost the last 12lbs from my pregnancy and I’m keeping it off! My baby is now 10 months old and I am so happy! I didn’t think I would get back in shape after a difficult pregnancy, gaining almost 65lbs, and then an emergency c-section! I have got the diet down!
That is when I reached out to my friend Natalie Jill. Who is a licensed sports nutritionist and personal trainer.

Natalie has been a close friend for over 6 years, and I had done here make-up on several occasions the past year or so when she started fitness modeling. I have seen first hand how passionate she is about health and fitness. She works incredible hard and is a mother herself. I knew Natalie would understand my needs, fears and concerns.
She introduced me to her Jump Start recipe program. Eventually I reached my goal of being under 140, I have exceeded it and am now 135lbs, and I lost roughs 12 lbs. I am not trying to be a fitness model, just a mom wanting to be the best I can be for my Daughter and Me.
Natalie Jill Fitness 7 day jump start recipe
Thank you so much! I now live a much healthier lifestyle – Courtney

Importance of muscle building nutrition

It’s been said many many times that nutrition is responsible for at least 75% of your muscle building effort. I think that is dramatically overstating the obvious, but nutrition is critically important to your muscle building efforts. Without the proper muscle building nutrition you will never build the physique you desire. Below are listed a few easy to follow muscle building nutrition rules that will help you get bigger and leaner. Follow these rules and you will see results, ignore them and you could be in for years of frustration.

• Eat small meals every 2-3 hours. Eating this way helps keeps your body in an anabolic state, and keeps your metabolism running along at high speeds so that you don’t get fat. If you need 3,000 calories per day to build muscle. Then it is much more effective to have five 600 calorie meals, or six five hundred calorie meals than it is to have three larger 1,000 calorie meals. Doing that will lead to fat accumulation and also has you going too long without eating which only leads to muscle loss.

• Build your meals around lean protein. Proteins (Amino acids) are what builds muscle, so every time you sit down to eat should eat certain types of proteins. This should be the primary goal of every meal. Once you have covered that, then you can add starch, vegetables and healthy fats. As the daily protein needs, you should take one gram per kilogram of body weight per day. The only time you need more than that is when you are dieting and carbohydrates are very low.

• Eat vegetables at every meal except breakfast. There are incredibly healthy because they provide lots of nutrients and fiber, they also slow down the absorption of your meals leading to less body fat accumulation.

• Eat organic foods whenever possible. There is so much artificial junk in the food we eat these days that it is really a very wise decision to eat organic as often as you can. This includes meats, fruits, veggies and grains.

• Avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners and saturated fats as much as possible (with the exception of coconut oil). Consumption of saturated fat and sugar is what leads to a wide range of health problems and diseases. Too much saturated fat and sugar also leads to inflammation in the body and can actually aggravate the nagging injuries and lead to further pain. Many people actually feel a reduction in pain in back when they cut saturated fat and sugar diet.

• Some saturated fat in meat is fine from time to time, but you should really try to cut sugar and artificial sweeteners. Although they do not talk much in this country USA, there is much evidence that artificial sweeteners are not the least bit healthy – quite the opposite!.

• Eat most of your carbs at breakfast and immediately before and after your workout. These are the times when your insulin sensitivity is at it’s highest, and when you will use carbs most efficiently with the least risk for body fat gain. Don’t be scared to eat some carbohydrates at this time because most of them will be used for building muscle and will not usually add to body fat accumulation.

• Drink at least a half gallon of water per day preferably bottled water. Doing this keeps you well hydrated which keeps your performance levels high. Even a slight decrease in hydration will cause a drop in performance. About half a gallon is a good start but anything upto a gallon is usually better, especially in the summer.

• Pay close attention to your sodium intake. When I say that I mean in the opposite direction that most people and doctors will think I mean it. I think you must be sure that your sodium intake is adequate. This is especially true for athletes who play in the summer when it’s hot and you sweat a lot. Without adequate sodium intake, your performance suffers greatly. Sodium levels also help maintain adequate strength levels during a diet.

This article was written by Jason Ferruggia who is a world famous fitness expert, well known and admired for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as possible. He is also the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine, where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. To get more muscle building nutrition tips, and to access his training program, check out. Renegade Diet Program.

Jason Ferruggia's Renegade Diet