I spent $100,000 on this idea and lost it all

      I’d like to wish a Happy Halloween to everyone. I love the fall, and for me Halloween ushers in the holiday season. I don’t want to freak anyone out, but we’re only 56 days away from Christmas. Wow! One of the reasons I enjoy this time of year is because it’s filled with a lot of tradition. I enjoy that piece of candy on Halloween, a piece of pumpkin pie next month, and the turkey dinner on Christmas. I know I just rattled off a lot of food. I can enjoy these things because I’ve been working hard all year. I also don’t back down from my workouts during the holidays, I actually try to step them up. In 2 months my phone will start to ring with people looking to “start the year off right”. My advice to people is to always start now, why wait? Start jogging and lifting now. I believe that life is about balance, and you should be able to enjoy those seasonal treats without guilt. I treat them as rewards for my hard work & discipline throughout the year.
      I also enjoy this time of year because I typically will start to reflect on past goals, dreams, and failures of the past. I’ve learned a lot from failures. One of them was when I started a fitness software company in 2007. Some of you may be familiar with it. The company was called I-Trainer international, and we offered video exercise downloads that you could use on your Ipod, Blackberry, Zune etc. I came up with the idea that more people would exercise if they had the ability to create a personalize exercise program of their own, download it to their mobile device, and then use it when they went to the gym. I marketed this product to gym chains, hotels spas, and wellness companies throughout the US. Similar to “Mr. Happy” from that popular TV show Shark Tank, I believed there was money in licensing. 600 exercises filmed in high definition using every piece of equipment imaginable. I even had the exercises broken down by skill level and body-part. How could I lose? My partner and I invested over $100,000 in 3 years. We bombed. The hard lesson I learned was that we didn’t include an accountability factor. Just go search on YouTube. Look up 1 arm push-ups or pull ups, and I guarantee you will see videos with over 100,000 views. But here’s my question, of those people who have watched, how many have tried to perform a 1 arm push up or pull up?
      In society today we have accepted watching challenging exercises as entertainment. People will watch cool exercises on YouTube, and even click “Like”. But never leave the comfy of their chair. I failed because there wasn’t any accountability on the user’s behalf with I-Trainer. So after meager sales we shut it down after 3 years.
      So let’s fast forward 4 years to the present. We are finishing up our 2 month of the Torch classes. Things are jamming. Classes are filling up, and people are leaving energized and better than when they first walked through our doors. Along with great instruction, results orientated workouts, high energy, we offer accountability. Once you sign up for our classes, we hold your feet to the fire to come in. We reserve your spot in our Torch Classes, so there is someone waiting for you to come in. If you miss a class, you’ll receive a friendly text or phone call. Strength gains and fat loss are closely monitored. Most important, you feel like you’re part of a team. So next time you watch “The best lower body exercise” video on YouTube, remember that you have to try it next time in the gym. See you at the studio.

Are You Treating Your Workouts Like the Buffet at Caesar's Palace?

      I want to take a moment and thank everyone who came out for our Grand Opening party last Friday. We also kicked off our 5-week Back to School Body Fat Challenge. It was a great night filled with friends, food, raffle prizes and laughs. Stay tuned for our announcement of the winner on November 21st. One of the highlights for me was showing guests the workout floor, where we keep the TRXs, where we store our kettlebells, and keep the sandbags. I enjoyed listening to a few members share their workout stories. One of the common themes I heard from members was how we do so much with so little. By little, I mean we use 3 pieces of equipment. Now the weights may vary from workout to workout, depending on what we’re doing, but 3 pieces nonetheless. It's been one of my goals to teach that a workout's effectiveness should be judged by it's results, not by the quantity of equipment
       When I created the Torch workout I wanted to create a workout that would change the focus from being “the latest & greatest exercises” to mastering a series of core moves, no pun intended. From that foundation, we would build everything. In the exercise world we are distracted by what’s the latest thing, instead of focusing on doing a few things really, really well. I frequently tell our members that you should leave every workout feeling that you did better than the last session.
      Being a trainer in Vegas, I’m approached and hired by casino executives frequently. A few years back, I was approached by Caesar’s Palace president, Gary Selesner. Gary is a great client and has evolved into a better friend. This last year Caesar’s re-launched their buffet, The Bacchanal Buffet. I’m not a buffet guy, but this buffet is amazing. It’s been heralded as the best buffet in Las Vegas and that’s saying something. I can remember when Gary invited me to the hotel to check it out. Sushi, King crab legs, prime rib, pasta bar, tacos. Everything you could think of, every style of cuisine is represented. I can remember acting like a kid in a candy store. I want this, and this, and this, until I got to the next station. No, I want that! It's that mindset, in my opinion, that some of you approach your workouts. You start with barbell work for legs and then jump on the cable machine because it’s available. You use low reps for this exercise, followed by high reps for the next. You mix in descending sets with ascending sets. There is no rhyme or reason.
      When you’re creating a workout you have to first establish the goal. Then everything in that workout should tie into that goal. You also have to give yourself enough time on a program. I recommend 6-12 weeks. I’ve observed people trying a new exercise and if they don’t master it day 1, they never do it again. Here’s another popular scenario. They read about the latest celebrity workout, try it once, and then decide it’s no good. My question to those people is this. If you took up golf, would you expect to hit a hole in one on your first day out? What we need to do is re-title our workouts to “practice”. In those words spoken by Allen Iverson, "You’re talking about practice”. My good friend, Brian Nguyen runs a studio in Santa Monica, California called Brik Fitness. He works with many of Hollywood’s most famous celebrities. He told me that “People would be shocked at how simple our workouts are. We’re very consistent and stick to a program." If you think it doesn’t work, Brian has been Mark Wahlberg’s trainer for years.

                                     Brian and I at a TRX conference this summer

      It’s been proven in research that beginners experience huge strength increases in their first few weeks. This dramatic change is due to the fact that your body is making neurological adaptations. You’re not stronger, your body is just smarter. So next time you’re in the gym don’t be distracted with the new exercise you saw on YouTube, stay focused on your program, and give it some time. See you at the studio!


P.S. If you want to try the Torch Workout and experience the leading fat loss & strengthening workout in Las Vegas just shoot me an e-mail at I took 1 year to research and create this workout so that I could GUARANTEE RESULTS for you. You have nothing to lose other than fat & inches.

This is the easiest way to get more out of your workouts

      I recently was going through a few pictures of when I used to compete in Bodybuilding. I competed for over 10 years and was lucky enough to win the Jr. Nationals as a light heavyweight in my final year of competition. At that time I was obsessed with bodybuilding. Everything I did in the gym was about building size. And from the outside I appeared very fit.

But my mobility was terrible, and I was always getting injuries. The final straw was when I went to my wife’s family reunion and pulled a hamstring playing in the family softball game. And here was the kicker… they all boasted about “how out of shape” they were. And I was supposed to be the fit one! It was at this time I started re-evaluating the way I trained myself & others. Up to that point I had always trained muscle groups. The bench press was a chest exercise. Squats were a quadricep or frontal thigh exercise. But then I started to read a few books by some well respected physical therapists. They explained that even though the bench press is a chest movement, aren’t your shoulders stabilizers, and don’t you also use your triceps when you lock out your arms? Don’t you have to retract your scapulae when you push, etc, etc. So to put it simply, it’s a pushing movement. The light bulb went off and I started to realize that you don’t train muscle groups, but rather movement patterns.
      One of the biggest problems in the gym is that we over-train certain muscles (chest, shoulders, biceps, frontal thighs), and under-train others (back, glutes, and hamstrings). In essence we've created our own muscle imbalances. We typically like to train the muscles we can see in the mirror. And ignore, or treat the muscles we can’t see as an afterthought. You can ask any physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon and they will tell you that some of the shoulder injuries sustained are due to muscle imbalances created by the way many of us train. So here’s a tip, next time you’re in the gym think of movements- ex. squats, lunges, hip hinges, horizontal/vertical push, horizontal/vertical pull. This alone can be a huge breakthrough for you, and may help you avoid a few visits to the doctor.
      If you’re interested in trying a movement based workout for strength and fat loss, you should try our New Torch workout. We use the TRX suspension system, kettlebells, and weighted sandbags. Each one of these tools provides a unique feel for the user. They are all similar in that they revolve around full body multi-joint movements. The sandbags challenge the user by the shifting of weight and different dimensions of the bag. The TRX forces the user to find and maintain a plank throughout the exercises. And the offset weight of the kettlebell is dynamic for building strength and teaching people how to develop tension under load. We combine these tools and use them in a timed class that elevates heart rate intensity to enhance fat burning and metabolism. The combination is a homerun. But don’t take my word for it, take it for a test drive and try a class. To reserve a spot in a class e-mail me at See you in the studio.

If you’re broken I won’t fix you

      How would you rate your current level of fitness? What would you use as a scale? How much you bench? How fast you can run a mile? Can you touch your toes? These are all standards that have been used at some point in time by fitness professionals. And I would agree that each does has some merit. But the problem is that if you ask 20 fitness professionals how do they rate someone’s fitness, you’ll probably get 20 different answers. There needs to be a standard. When you visit the doctor, they take a few specific measurements to compare between visits. They typically take your blood pressure, temperature, weight, and resting pulse rate. Shouldn’t trainers have some type of standard to monitor someone’s current fitness state? Well actually we do.
      A brilliant physical therapist, known for working with professional athletes, named Gray Cook came out with a screen called the Functional Movement Screen or the FMS as it’s more commonly referred to. This screen checks the quality of your movement patterns, in 7 of the most common ways we all move. It has a simple scoring chart, and it allows you to use it as an assessment. You may not be able to squat parallel or perform a correct push up without compensation, or put your arm overhead… like you do in overhead presses. The screen will check for that. I started using this screen a few years back. It’s helped me tremendously, specifically with program design. How can you determine how much weight to give someone in a squat if you’ve never seen them perform a squat? You can’t. What if squats aren’t a good option for someone, but you don’t know that? And what happens in gyms everyday is that most trainers & strength coaches guess. Now most of the time that won’t get you in trouble, except for that one time where the guy has really tight calves or hamstrings & compensates with his lower back. After a month in the chiropractor’s office he returns to the gym, but this time without performing squats. It doesn’t happen frequently, but I have turned people away because they weren’t cleared to start a program. They needed a few sessions of physical therapy before they jumped into a workout. I believe exercise can cure a lot of things, but it can’t heal a pre-existing injury. In the Torch Workout every person is put through a movement screen to determine what they can handle. Before they pick up a kettlebell or sandbag, I know how strong their core is. One of the cool things is that in a class we can have 4 people performing 4 different exercises at the same time. Their score will determine which exercise and the intensity of their exercise. I wrote a book last year about this work. You can download it for FREE below to read about the science behind the Torch Workout.

The Torch Workout- A Personalized, Non-traditional HIIT Workout Class for Fat loss

      We have 5 days left to receive the August discount on your membership for the Torch Workout. As I mentioned before, we are offering a 30 day 100% money back guarantee with all memberships. So there is no risk! The only thing you have to risk is fat & inches. So please give me a call (702) 892-0400 or shoot me an e-mail to book a class or stop by to check out a class. See you at the studio.

Torch Class starts in 3 weeks!!!

The Torch Workout

When has being strong ever been bad for you?

I can remember in my early days of training one of the biggest request from my female clients was “don’t make me BIG”. Now to bring you up to speed, this was the early 90s, bodybuilding was big... no pun intended. So big that most exercise routines performed in most gyms were taken right from the pages of Muscle & Fitness. These workouts weren’t research based products, just the flavor of the month. Later I would learn, from a friend who had his arm routine featured, that they were typically ghost written by the writing staff of the magazine, and pictures of the popular bodybuilder were just inserted. Also you have to understand the 90s were the peak of the machine/isolate the muscle craze. So looking back, I could see the fear that these women experienced. But you need to note that the people featured in these magazines were on high calorie diets and using drugs, which played a big role in putting on a lot of that size, not just the preacher curls.
So let’s fast forward to now. Many of you may know that I recently launched our new Torch workout. And make no bones about it, this workout’s focus is on dropping body fat along with improving overall strength. I did say improve strength, not size. What’s happened in our society is that many people believe that by being stronger you will be bigger. A larger muscle is created from muscle hypertrophy, and I won’t bore you with the science but this typically happens with lighter loads, yes lighter loads, and with single joint isolated exercises. In strength training, one of the benefits is improved muscle contractile strength. This comes from multi-joint exercises using heavier loads for lesser repetitions. Now depending on whom you listen to, those reps could be 2-6 or 3- 8. Nonetheless, not 15! Along with the strength increase muscles will typically take on more of a toned appearance. Just look at the bodies of our athletes from the US Olympic weightlifting team. You may confuse them for gymnast.
But this brings me to my final point, when in life has being strong been bad? And let’s eliminate the “it will make me big” theory. Now I am taking one assumption, that with improved strength you are moving better. And in a healthy program design, strength is built on good movement patterns. Building strength on poor moving patterns just creates dysfunction, which traditionally leads to injury. Being strong prevents injury and leads to a better quality of life. Putting your own suitcase up on the airplane or loading the car up at Costco never hurt anyone. So stop with the myths and start lifting something heavy. I promise you’ll like the outcome.
Now for some big news, this week starts the pre-sale for our Torch classes that kick into high gear next month. Please feel free to visit the studio, check it out, and ask any questions you may have. I can be reached at (702) 892-0400 or to schedule an appointment. And we’re offering big savings. The $99 initiation fee will be waived if you sign up this month! This initiation fee covers the Polar Bluetooth Heart monitor that everyone gets along with a private orientation before your 1st class. In your orientation we go through your functional movement screen (FMS) a few exercise basics, and everything you’ll need to make that 1st class a Homerun. See you at the studio.


I was wrong... I can't train everyone

     When I first started training folks my goal was to be something for everyone. If you know me personally, this should make sense. I generally enjoy people. I like to engage with people, so it’s very easy for me to ask someone what their fitness goals are, and what do they expect from our training. After I ask those questions I typically follow up with an important step. I listen. If they want to drop fat, then I draft a program that will assist in fat loss. If they want to be stronger, we focus on strength. If they want to improve their overall cardiopulmonary strength we strive to improve their lung capacity & efficiency. I do my best to let people know that they are in the driver’s seat. I work for them. I recently met a gal that wanted to drop a significant amount of body fat. She was obese and out of shape. Trying long bouts of exercise out the gate were out of the question. I recommended we focus on strength training for caloric burn plus the added benefit of speeding up her resting metabolic rate. I also recommended that it would be more valuable for her to try brief (20-30 seconds) of intense work, followed by a 1 minute rest interval. My reasoning was that pushing yourself is a bit easier mentally when you know that the set is going to be brief. I explained that 12-21 short burst of intense exercise could be completed in 30-45 minutes, and would give her more benefit than slow & steady workouts that could last an hour or more. Slow and steady workouts create minimal disruption to your metabolism, and burn minimal calories. This isn’t just my opinion, but rather what the research has proven. She gave it some thought and decided to opt for water aerobics because it was easier. Not that it was better for her or would give her the results she wanted. The “hard work thing” just didn’t gel with her. 

     I try to always learn from every experience, and what I learned from this is that perception is very important in fitness. Working hard has become perceived as hardcore. Hardcore to me is working out twice a day 6 days a week. Hardcore to me is an 1 ½ hr workout. I may use a sandbag with someone and have them learn how to deadlift it off the ground. This is not only a great functional exercise but also a useful  tip in life - how to pick something heavy up off the ground. Not hardcore, but functional. But because it’s not a shiny machine, some people may question it’s usefulness. I’ve learned that kettlebells, as great as I believe they can be, are not for everyone. In an exercise program I believe that you need to embrace that training modality. Be all in or out. I’ve come to understand that some people may opt not to use kettlebells, sandbags, bodyweight, or the TRX for exercise. I’m not a Pilates or Yoga guy, but I understand their benefits, and respect those who choose those forms of exercise. That being said,  I still don’t get Gyrotonics.

     There was a time that I would try to persuade people to follow the training programs that I believed in. But I’ve learned it’s like picking a restaurant for a large group of people. Everyone is going to want something different and have a different tolerance level with menu selections. This is probably why the fitness world is so segmented right now. Spinning, Barre, Cross-fit, Yoga, Hot Yoga, kettlebells, suspension training, mixed martial arts…. and those are only the popular choices. My only suggestion, in my new state of mind, is to pick something. Embrace, it. Enjoy the journey and try to master it. If your goal is fat loss using the TRX, kettlebells, and sandbags I’m your guy. If it isn’t, I now understand why you may try water aerobics.


For more information on our New Torch Workouts in Las Vegas please contact me at

Still Not In The Shape You Want?

In my 30 (+) years of personal training experience, one of the most frequent complaints I hear from soon to be or existing clients is that they are not happy with the shape they are in.  I listen as individuals talk about their frustration at the slow progress they are making in getting in shape.  They swear they know what to do and are exercising and eating the right amounts. 

Usually, with a bit of further investigation, we can both come to the conclusion there is a bit of inconsistency with their fitness programs. Life sometimes gets in the way and workouts are missed and eating gets off track.  If they could be more consistent on a daily basis they could see better results. Alas, no one always feels motivated to exercise and eat healthy.  To be consistent requires making small goals. Instead of planning to do an hour of cardio every day, try committing to doing 30 minutes. Give yourself that much of a range of possible time to do your running, biking, etc. If you do the 60 minutes, then you have made a great accomplishment.  If you do the 30 minutes, you are still doing terrific and have remained consistent.

If consistency is one of the major missing keys to a successful program, as I feel it is, then accountability is a very close second. It can be extremely hard to remain consistent without that accountability. It could be a trainer or a friend who helps you be accountable. Small group exercise classes are terrific for accountability.  Not only do you have an instructor to nudge you get to class but there are other members who can motivate you as well.  Larger group classes can work but sometimes people get lost in the crowd and therefore lose accountability.

A safe fitness program is definitely built on sound knowledge of exercise and nutrition, which can be successful for many people. The reality is that even with all the knowledge available, most people will not have success unless they have consistency and accountability.

I need a personal trainer, but I need to get in shape first

     This is the response I have heard from people who contact me about personal training. After we’ve discussed their goals, their needs, and their current level of fitness, they ten proceed to end our conversation by saying “once I’m in shape I’ll give you a call”. That’s like cleaning up the house before the cleaning lady comes. Now this may be a way to avoid committing to a training program, and if so, that’s a discussion for another time. I always thought that after people attempt to get in shape on their own, and either don’t know how or just aren’t motivated, they hire a trainer. I’ve attempted in the past, and I’ll continue, to explain to people that everyone’s program should be unique to their needs. There isn’t a one size fits all solution. That’s been my beef with many Boot camps. They sometimes run too large in size, which affects the quality of the coaching.  Then some trainers simply follow the silly mantra that this is the workout… take it or leave it. Now for the record, my wife Judy has done a great job of individualizing the experience for everyone that enjoys our Boot camps. I know this may sound like a shameless plug, but it’s the truth. I truly don’t feel that if you have 4-6 people in front of you with different needs that it should be challenging for a trainer to assign each one of them a squat that is appropriate for their needs. I’ll admit that it may be a bit chaotic, but a controlled chaos.

     It must be those Reebok CrossFit videos that show people passing out after their workouts. I’m fully aware that some people don’t want to, nor can, squat & clean with a barbell until they pass out. It’s a shame but that’s what the media has fed us. It’s those people that tell me “I’ll be back in few weeks, just let me start hitting the gym”, that rarely get to the gym. I feel that I have failed these people. When I conduct my consultations I persistently try to explain that I don’t believe in working you until you drop. It doesn’t feed my ego to see people become ill from a workout, or miss work because they can’t walk. I believe I can challenge you, and I will, without crushing you. My goal is to make you better, not worse! I believe that my workout should be a lifestyle enhancement. You should be able to get in & get out quickly. And it should make everything outside of the gym better.

      But here is the other side of the coin. When helping someone to establish fitness goals, people have to learn to be more realistic in accepting the amount of time that may be required to reach their goals. Losing 50lbs is possible. Getting it done in 3 months isn’t. I like people to consistently see change. I think that is very important. I should also define what I mean by change. Change can be improvement in a particular exercise, improvement in mobility around a joint, a change in attitude towards exercise, and for some the best of all… a positive change in body-fat. It’s like investments. Would you prefer a solid 10% return annually over 10 years, or a see-saw ride that nets a zero gain over the long haul. And just like the stock market, that workout that you buy & hold will always prevail over the quick-fix. It has to be a lifestyle commitment. If you’re not willing to give me 6 months at a minimum, you’re not doing yourself  any justice.

     I have experienced some of my greatest success stories when the client and I act as a team. Working and communicating together. The client should understand what the plan is.  The trainer should be able to provide the reasoning behind their programming, and when they should see results. There should be a healthy progression. Both of you should know where & what you’re working towards. It should be challenging, but achievable. It works best when both parties take on accountability & responsibility. So if you have contemplated hiring a trainer, stop putting it off. Hire one today and take control of your health. But remember that they have a responsibility to provide you a safe & effective program. Set realistic goals. And finally, if they can’t provide the why & how, move on. Good luck!

For information on our New Torch Workout coming this fall e-mail me at or (702) 892-0400.

Crazy Coconut Oil

     Functional foods, super foods, gluten free foods, anything-with-kale-in-it foods, etc. are all hot nutrition topics lately.  Fats, particularly oils, are right up there, as well. To be more specific, coconut oil is probably at the top of this topic list.  Nutritionists seem to be amused at watching some of these nutrition trends. They watch how fast these products flood the market and how fast they die down.  As with the rest of our nation, you probably have noticed the rise of the popular coconut oil.  The health claims of this product seem endless. Up to this point I have stood at arm’s length from talking all that much about coconut oil to its fervent followers.  Although I have had reservations about the coconut rage, I waited for more research results.

     First, coconut oil has a high medium-chain triglyceride percentage, which is good. These fats are more likely to be burned as fuel and less likely to go through the body and enter fat tissue. It also does not go rancid easily due to its very high saturated fat percentage. Coconut oil has no cholesterol, but still contains more saturated fat than butter. You know, the type of fat that is the main nutritional cause for clogging arteries and raising blood cholesterol.  There have been studies that show coconut oil can raise LDL, the bad cholesterol, and can cause heart disease.   The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 16 grams of saturated fat a day (based on a 2000 calories diet).  If you have 1 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil, you have exceeded that recommendation. A large amount of coconut oil’s saturated fats are not the good MCT’s.  About 40% of them are long chain saturated fats, the ones that clog your arteries. 

     Unfortunately, the hype about coconut oil helping with losing weight just does not have the research and proof to back it up. We can hope that more high quality studies will be done in this area. Remember that fat is fat and coconut oil is very high in calories, which can put on the pounds quickly.

     According to The Journal of Clinical Lipidology, there have been quite a few studies that have shown when people suddenly increase their intake of saturated fat, such as coconut oil, their blood lipid levels increase dramatically. One woman, who ate coconut oil daily, had a total cholesterol count of 303 with LDL’s at 178 and HDL’s at 106, Triglycerides at 94, and Non-HDL-C at 197.  After she stopped the coconut oil her lipids dropped dramatically.  Total cholesterol -201,   LDL – 127, HDL – 58, Triglycerides – 77, and Non-HDL-C 143.  Points to consider are that total LDL’s   seem to predict CVD (cardiovascular disease) risk the best.  Non- HDL-C is also a good measurement for CVD risk.

     It appears that the added coconut oil increased her heart disease risk.  Many doctors, including Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, have seen many similar examples of what appears to be the effect of adding saturated fat to the diet, such as coconut oil. Of course, as in most health related subjects, there is a genetic component.  Some people may be able to consume high amounts of saturated fat without it affecting their CVD risk. These points are all important to consider with one’s own diet, particularly those who follow high fat diets.


J & D Fitness
4180 South Fort Apache Rd,
Las Vegas, NV 89147