Friday, November 27, 2009

It's a small world after all

In the fitness world, it seems as if everyone knows or knows of everyone else. As trainers we all read Mike, Alwyn, Mark, Gray, Coach Dos; the list goes on and on. I also have enjoyed reading Nick Tumminello's work for quite some time.

Several months ago I caught a post about Nick's girlfriend and client Alli McKee. Turns out she was a former athlete who wanted a goal and she decided to embark on a Figure Competition. Sound familiar?

Throughout the next few months she posted videos of her training, to my surprise they were all fully functional! She wasn't isolating everyday and there were no steady state cardio workouts. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Alli ended up placing SECOND in just her SECOND show!!!!

I chose to contact Nick and see how we could work together on my first fitness competition :)

I have wanted to share an awesome article from Nick's blog about Alli and Figure Competitors, it assured me that I am doing a lot of things right :))))))

you all know Emily.
You know the gorgeous baby momma that got her body back and more ;) WELL it turns out that SHE GREW UP WITH ALLI in Baltimore,
such a small world!

Gobble Gobble!

Hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving and got to spend much needed quality time with friends and family!

I wanted to share some recipes from our table :)

As you may know I have many food allergies/intolerances and my mother has psoriasitic arthritis. I keep corn, milk, wheat, eggs, soy, pistachios and hazelnuts out of my diet. My momma on the other hand, follows an anti-inflammation diet to ease her symptoms. At first glance you would think that our table would be BORING, but it was ANYTHING BUT THAT!


6 medium beets, peeled and cut into chunks
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar (agave)
3 medium sweet potatoes cut into chunks
1 large sweet onion chopped

Preheat oven to 400 F

In a bowl, toss the beets with 1/2 TB olive oil to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Mix the remaining 2 TB olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar (agave) in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal bag and shake to coat vegetables with the oil mixture.

Bake beets 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Continue baking 45 min, stirring after 20 min, until all vegetables are tender.

Stuffed Squash (my version of stuffing )

4 acorn squash, halved lengthwise; seeds and membrane removed ( I used ONE butternut squash)
1 cup of organic brown rice ( I used basmati brown rice)
1/2 cup wild rice
4 cups vegetable broth or water (used water)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped ( any nut you want)
1/2 cup dried apricots diced (organic)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamom

Preheat oven to 375 F

Cook both varieties of rice together in broth or water with 1/4 tsp of salt (omit salt if broth is already salted)

Meanwhile, place squash halves, cut side down, into a large shallow baking dish or cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

In a skillet, saute onion in olive oil until it becomes transparent. Add the celery and saute a couple of min. Remove from heat. Using a large mixing bowl, blend this mixture together with the cooked rice, cranberries, nuts , apricots and remaining seasonings.

When done, remove the partially baked squash from the oven. Spoon out some of the cooked squash and mix it with the rest of the ingredients. Be sure to scrape only a little; you want to leave squash in the shells too.

Press the rice mixture into each squash cavity, mounding rice as much as possible. (Depending on how large the squash are, you may end up with some leftover rice mixture, I DID ;) it makes a great side dish by itself.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 min or until squash flesh is thoroughly tender.

Don't discard the nutritious squash seeds. Instead rinse the seeds and remove the membrane. Pat dry. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil and spread the seeds evenly on the sheet. Spray seeds lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or any other favorite seasoning. Bake the seeds in a 375 F oven for about 15 min or until your golden brown. Enjoy immediately or store them in the airtight container for up to a week :)

Mashed Sweet Potato with a TWIST

1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
1/2 olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1- 1 1/2 cup low sodium warm chicken broth
1 teaspoon orange rind, very finely chooped
Sea salt to taste

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place the potatoes in salted water and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and mash

Add oil and mix well. Add orange juice, stirring to mix well, then add the warmed broth slowly, mixing until you obtain the right consistency. Add orange rind to salt to taste.

If the sweet potatoes are not warm enough, reheat on low heat, mixing constantly with a wooden spoon.

Some raisins and nuts can be added before serving during the holidays!

Red Cabbage with Apples

2 TBSP olive oil
2 large onions chopped
1 red cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cloves
2 TBP apple cider vinegar
3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion in oil for a few minutes. Add red cabbage, water cinnamon, cloves, vinegar and a little salt and pepper. Stir well.

Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If cabbage gets too dry, add a little water from time to time.

Add apples, stir and adjust seasoning with vinegar to taste. Simmer covered until tender.

Friday, November 20, 2009


and I mean it in the best way possible ;)

Vacations are amazing! For the first time ever, I truly relaxed and did all the things I love.

Read brainless magazines :) Kept up with my yoga practice, swam, went on adventures in the JEEP, snorkeled, ate amazing food, played BINGO in the pool and WON TWICE :) drank quite a few yummy drinks, spent a ton of quality time with you know who ;) kept up with my workouts with the help of the versus hell I even won me some $$

There is no reason your vacation has to come as a sacrifice to you workouts! After all you train hard at home, why go away and lose all of your progress. All you need is 20-40min the majority of the days that you are away and you can maintain all the progress you have worked so hard to gain!

Down the main hotel strip in Aruba is an outdoor "playground" of sorts for adults. I brought my versus and simply attached it to the monkey bars. I maintained my range of motion and got great strength and metabolic workouts in all while catching some rays and Vitamin D :)))) It doesn't get better than that! Oh and I trained a few interested passerbys as well, HEY MAUREEN HEY MARK!!!!!!!

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I have decided to take part in my first FIGURE COMPETITION in the Spring. My commitment will officially start after Thanksgiving but I wanted to ease myself into things. I packed my protein powder and used it after every workout. JT and I went the grocery store and got fresh fruits and nuts along with tons of water for the beach. For lunch I had either fresh fish or chicken on top of a salad. Obviously had a few drinks most days and ate whatever I wanted for dinner.
That is NOT that hard!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free mini-facial and makeup application

Come in with a friend on Sunday November 15th between 9am and 2pm and experience what ORIGINS has to offer!

You will also receive ORIGINS special friends and family discount of 25% OFF, should you want to purchase products :)

I personally use the line for face and body wash, as well as the WHITE TEA MOISTURIZERS!!!! Winter is just around the corner and so are the holidays, treat yourself and a friend and come check out the gym!

to reserve a spot!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Don’t be concerned that your path is not like that of others.

It takes courage to be yourself and not to live in reaction to the likes and dislikes of others.

Be courageous and follow your heart.

You need to walk your own unique path in order to honor yourself and fulfill your spiritual purpose.

Paul Ferrini

Thanks Jeannie Parkus!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stolen from Alwyn...The Death of Intervals

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Death of Intervals?

Here's an interview I just did with Mike Roussell:

Mike: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. First so we all have some perspective, how long have you been a trainer?

Alwyn Cosgrove: I started training people in 1989. Actually 1987 if you count teaching martial arts classes.

In 1995 (after college) I went full time. Since day one I've been very particular (i.e. ANAL ) about what I do. I track and tweak everything. When we opened Results Fitness in 2000, we really started to gather a lot of data. We currently have 250 members and we track all their workouts and body comp changes week in and week out.

Mike: So it is like you run your own fat loss studies at your gym?

Alwyn: Exactly. We had read all the studies showing interval training to be superior for fat loss than steady state training. This confirmed what we were seeing with our clients. But I am a big believer in that there is no physiological limit to the amount of weight a person can lose in a week, month, or year so I kept tweaking and tracking the results.

Mike: What has been one of your biggest breakthroughs lately?

Alwyn: One day it hit me -- cardiovascular programming is an ass-backwards concept.

I don't know when I first thought this - but it was confirmed to me when viewing Lance Armstrong's performance in the New York Marathon.

I'd been taught through my college education and countless training certifications and seminars that cardiovascular exercise was necessary to improve the cardiovascular system and subsequently aerobic performance.

But there seemed an inherent flaw in that argument….

Why didn't Lance Armstrong - with perhaps one of the highest recorded VO2 max levels in history - win the New York Marathon? Or beat people with lesser aerobic levels than himself?

The greatest endurance cyclist (and possibly endurance athlete) of all time - the seven time Tour De France winner - finished 868th and described the event as the “hardest physical thing” he had ever done.

Runner's World Magazine actually examined Lance's physiology (and VO2 max which was tested at 83) and compared them to the numbers of Paul Tergat (the World Record holder and defending NYC Marathon Champion at the time).

They concluded:

"This figure wouldn't mean much if it weren't for the pioneering research of famed running coach Jack Daniels, Ph.D., who first published his Oxygen Power tables in 1979-- According to Daniels, who's rarely off by more than a smidgen or two, a max VO2 of 83 is roughly equivalent to a 2:06 marathon"

Based on his other physical qualities the magazine suggested that Lance was capable of running 2:01:11.

The world record at the time was 2:04:55

Lance ran 2:59:36 (and don't misinterpret me - that's still a great time). But it's clear that the physiology didn't transfer the way the running community expected.

The flaw in this thinking was looking solely at aerobic capacity -- VO2 max - the "engine" as it were. And it's fair to say that Lance had a "Formula One" engine.

But he didn't have the structural development for running. Lance was a cyclist - his body had adapted to the demands of cycling. But NOT to the specific demands of running (in fact Lance had only ran 16 miles at once EVER prior to running the marathon). Lance had developed strength, postural endurance and flexibility in the correct "cycling muscles” - but it didn't transfer to running the way his VO2 max did.

From this example we know that cardio training doesn't transfer well from one activity to another - and it only 'kicks' in because of muscular demand - so why don't we program muscular activity first - in order to create a cardiovascular response. Makes total sense.

So how does this relate to fat loss? We have found that our most successful fat loss programs center around stimulating the muscles to burn more calories - not ramping up and down the cardiovascular system. What matters is total caloric burn and how much you can increase the person's metabolism. It is a total shift in thinking.

Mike: Wow. So it is this the death of intervals and cardio? How to you put this into action with clients?

Alwyn: What we have found is so great about this approach is that you burn more calories, lose more weight, while putting a lot less stress on your joints.

Here's how I like to think about it. Let's look at traditional interval training which uses running.

Depending on stride length - walking a mile takes about 2000 repetitions and running takes 1000-1500 and will burn on average 100 calories or so.

So if we use an interval training model of running and walking - we're looking at around 1500 reps to burn 100 calories.

If we take traditional models of caloric burn - this means we'd need to do 35 miles to lose one pound of fat from our interval training efforts (discounting the metabolic afterburn for now).

So we have a problem. It's a very poor "rate of return" on our "rep investment".

Additionally - running applies a vertical force of 2x bodyweight on the joints of the lower body.

So now we have a dilemma.

Let's choose a 180lb deconditioned overweight client.
1500 reps x 360lbs = 540,000lbs of force to burn 100 calories. (The 360lbs is 2x 180lbs)

That's a LOT of stress on the joints. Literally - TONS!
Now no one was getting injured, but it seemed like there had to be a better way. A better "return"...

So -- we started to think of how we could use different interval training methods other than running to get the same metabolic effect without stressing the joints so much.

We used the airdyne bike, other bikes in order to create a training effect with less load. But whenever you take the bodyweight out of the equation in cardio - you have to work harder to burn the same calories. So this usually needs more reps. So that didn't seem like a much better idea.

At this point we started using metabolic training with weight training implements/kettlebells and bodyweight exercises in the same interval format.

So a circuit of five exercises, performed three times round (15 total sets) would actually burn more calories than the same time spent doing traditional cardio. That was a plus.

But we could also do sets of just 10-15 reps. So we're looking at 225 total reps (with a force LESS than your bodyweight) as opposed to 1500+ reps at double bodyweight.

We gave it a try. Clients loved it (which was a huge plus), and actually started to get better results than we were getting with intervals.

So we get more fat loss, less stress on the body, and happier clients. It is a win-win-win. Currently we don't program traditional interval training our regular fat loss clients anymore.

So, is the death of traditional intervals.

You can get a sample workout using this kind of training program at:

Mike: This is great stuff. Thanks for taking the time. I definitely recommend that everyone go to:

and pick up the workout to try.

posted by Alwyn Cosgrove at 12:04 PM

I'm pretty sure that this is exactly what we do at the studio in our classes :)

What do you think?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Life is as AMAZING as you make it

Since I returned home from London, I have been going non-stop, without stopping to realize it.

Yoga has it's own unique way of telling me to slow the FUCK down. Please excuse my language :)

The days before I left for my trip where busy squeezing last minute things in as well as taking time off to give my shoulder a rest. And the days after my trip where spent similarly, spending most of my time at work, oh and then there was Halloween on Saturday night(thanks for sharing Krista)...then there was Yoga Teacher Training on Sunday. Even with the clocks turned back it was a struggle to drag myself out of bed on Sunday morning, all I wanted to do was sleep.

As soon as I entered the studio I KNEW that this was going to be a challenging day. The studio is beautiful and warm and filled with people possessing these exact qualities. I had fought myself so hard to get there on time and was definitely not in a "warm" mood. As usual we began the morning with Hanuman Chaleesa. Tears began streaming down my face before we had even finished the opening invocation.
Hang on a minute. I know a lot of you reading this will think that chanting and the like are weird and perhaps even scary, just as I did just a year or two ago. Give it a chance, don't pass judgement until you have experienced it, for it is exactly the opposite.

Our morning practice's theme was forward folding. I strongly believe that there is an emotional and mental connection that goes along with specifically sequenced classes. Depending upon whether it is a backbending, hip opening, side bending, twisting, or forward folding class, you are going to react differently.

At the start of my practice several years ago, it was always hip opening classes (it is believed that many emotions are housed deep in the external rotators) that would get me. As a grew into my practice, back bending (opening up the heart, exposing what many people attempt to hide) would get to me, and this past Sunday forward folding (looking within) got to me. When I say "got to me" I mean that I could no longer hold up my emotional guard that I so often put up.

I learned a huge lesson yesterday morning. Yoga is a huge part of my life, in fact it is the one thing I need that makes the rest of my life better and easier. With out it I truly struggle to find balance in my life.

Find something in your life that makes the rest of your life more meaningful. Whether it is your children, your love for animals, music, drawing, dancing, cooking....stick with it.

Needless to say I didn't stay for our second class which is optional, I took a walk, cooked some food and took and nap before returning to afternoon session.

I cannot say enough amazing things about this adventure I have embarked on. It truly is a life changing experience. I recommend anyone even remotely interested in the practice of Yoga to look into a Teacher Training.

In the afternoon we discussed 3 of the 7 Chakras. A chakra is believed to be a center of activity that receives, assimilates, and expresses life force energy.

As part of the exploration we were given water colors and asked to paint our interpretation of the Root, Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras.
The first Chakra: Base or Root Chakra is located at the base of the spine. It grounds us in the physical world. It is represented by the color red.
The second Chakra: Spleen: Located just beneath the navel, and related to our sexual and reproductive capacity. It is represented by the color orange.
The third Chakra: Solar Plexis: Seat of Emotions. Gives us a sense of personal power in the world. It is represented by the color yellow

We then created a mural in the studio :0 It was so interesting to see everyones different interpretations of the chakras and to admire everyones artwork. Despite the fact that I don't ever think of myself as an artist this was a very rewarding and eye opening experience for me.

Thanks David for another beautiful weekend :)

Lunch with a special friend

As part of the cleanse I am entitled to one meal per day along with 2 JOOS's and as many raw fruits and vegetables as I want.
My long lost friend, who recently moved to CALI, came home for a week :)))))
We met up for a "BURGER" before she returns to the West Coast.
Poor Laura, she has dealt with my health "craziness" for a LONG TIME. I took her to her first yoga class, have made her kale smoothies til she herself turned green, and now I told we were going out for a burger (she loves those), little did she know what she would actually be eating (insert evil laugh here)
Turns out she LOVED IT! YAY. A few months ago, JT, Kevin, Yvonne, Gina T and I went to the preview of The Prana Raw Cafe, the food was DELISH!!!!

This afternoon Laura accompanied me to my first visit to the Cafe since its opening.
We started with flax seed chips and mango salsa, split a burger on an onion bun with kale chips topped with sesame seeds. And finished with vanilla and chocolate macaroons and chocolate pudding!!!!!

As our group from the studio comes to the end of our cleanse some ladies have opted to keep this a constant in their life, while others have learned the valuable lesson of encorporating more fruits and vegetables as well as whole foods into their diets. IT'S a WIN-WIN if you ask me!

We have been collecting some recipes and sharing them with each other and now I will share some with you!

ENJOY ;0 Made this one Sunday

Lentil Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinagrette

1 1/2 cups French lentils (de Puy), check for stones and rinse
1 bay leaf
sea salt
1 carrot peeled and shredded
1 red pepper, cored and finely diced
1/4 cup scallions greens, chopped parsley or cilantro
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Maple Balsamic Vinagrette

3 T balsamic vinegar
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 t sea salt

Fill a large saucepan with water, add lentil and bay leaf, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered until the lentil are cooked about 18-20 minutes. The lentils should be tender, but still holding their shape, not mushy. Drains lentils well, add a few pinches of salt and shake a few times as they cool to release steam.

When cool, combine the lentils, carrots, red pepper, scallions or herbs and raisins in a large bowl

To make dressing, in a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with lentils and veggies. Garnish with toasted walnuts.

Variations: add chickpease, add herbs, chopped cuke, tomatoes, feta, cumin and coriander, use other sweetener of choice, other nuts:pine nuts, pecans, slivered almonds.

Thai Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 t sea salt
1 red pepper core and cut in strips
1 carrot peeled and shredded or julienned
1 cucumber,peeled seeded and diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 chopped cilantro

Thai Dressing

6 T fresh lime juice
1 T sweetner of choice
1 T fish sauce
1/2 t red pepper flakes

Add quinoa, salt and 1 1/2 cupes water to saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 13-15 minues until all water is absorbed. Turn off heat and let sit of 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, red pepper, carrot and cucumber.

Combine dressing ingredients and add dressing to salad and toss. Gently mix in the chopped herbs.


For those of you who think that desert is out the question, here is a great snack courtesy of JO ;)

Cut up bananas in chunks, spreak almond butter or natural Peanut butter on 1 end and roll that end in ground flaxseed, then freeze them.
They taste like banana splits w/o the ice cream.

Fun with Lucy


The morning before I went to London, my Punch gals and I took a trip to the new Legacy Place Mall in Dedham and showed off our kettlebell skills :) It was really fun! Some ladies from the store joined us and we had a blast. They were very impressed with my gals skillz and loved how much the kettlebell basics worked their bums and abs...they are hooked ;)

Emily brought the Grady man along for the trip, after all he LOVES the ladies, check out his onesie !!!!

I taught the first class of the opening weekend, and afterwards we ate fruit and drank coconut water and shopped :)
Someone special finally had the confidence she has always wanted to buy a pair of purple short shorts for the first time since having a baby ;)

We all recieved free outfits as well as 30% off of everything in the store. 5% of the weekends sales went to YogaHope... what a great cause :)

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