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