Paleo Diet Confers Health Benefits

In General, Nutrition by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

Here’s a new study which shows that even short term consumption of the Paleolithic type diet confers many health benefits. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine performed a study in which nine non-obese sedentary, healthy individuals consumed their usual diet for three days, then ate foods with more potassium and fiber for seven days, and …

The Dynamic Weight Stage

In General, Nutrition by Mikki Reilly3 Comments

I’ve had a lot of experience with weight loss over the years. I dieted down to six percent body fat to compete in the Iron Maiden bodybuilding contest back in 1992. And I’ve helped many of my clients reach their ideal weight. One thing I’ve noticed is that there’s a point you can reach where you seem to have an …

Continuing Education

In General by Mikki Reilly1 Comment

I took the CSCS certification exam yesterday up in Santa Maria. This certification is a highly prestigious credential. It’s recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). And before you can take the exam you must show attainment of at least a Bachelors degree. Here’s a little about the certification: The Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) program was …

Should You Work Out With A Cold?

In General, Primal Lifestyle by Mikki Reilly4 Comments

With the flu season upon us, one question I’m often asked is: should you continue to work out when you come down with a cold? A recent article in the New York Times addressed this topic and pointed to a couple of studies that were published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise about a decade ago. …

Train For Strength

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly2 Comments

If your goal is to build strength then you should train differently than someone who wants to put on muscle mass. Many people believe that training for muscle mass (bodybuilding) is the same as training for strength. But they could not be further from the truth. Strength is developed by lifting heavier weights for fewer reps with a longer rest …

The Asian High Carb Argument

In General, Nutrition by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

When I present the low carb nutritional approach to my clients I’m often asked how the Asians manage to stay healthy on a high carb diet. Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories answers this question as well as a number of other questions on the low carb diet on Dr. Michael Eades’ blog. Read the entire post here. …

Jump Over Burpee

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly3 Comments

Here’s a true full body exercise that burns fat, builds muscle, and increases cardiovascular endurance with nothing more than a small area of floor space and something that you can set up as a barrier. It’s a combination of the classic burpee with a lateral jump. From a standing position squat down and drop your hands to the floor (as …

High Intensity Exercise Reduces Abdominal Fat

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly1 Comment

Here’s an interesting new study which examined the effects of exercise intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition in obese women with the metabolic syndrome. As many of you know, metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors linked to obesity that increase your chance for heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes and …

Toxic Fat By Barry Sears

In General, Nutrition by Mikki Reilly2 Comments

I just finished reading Toxic Fat: When Good Fat Turns Bad by Barry Sears, Ph.D. author of The Zone. What I found interesting about the book is that Sears doesn’t just tell us that obesity is related to the diseases of civilization – such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. He explains the connection. According to Sears, over the …

The Gender Gap In Endurance Sports

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly3 Comments

The Chicago marathon took place today. Whenever I see news of a marathon race, I check the finishing times of the male and female winners. I want to know if both genders are getting faster and if the women are continuing to get faster relative to the men. Historically, women could not officially participate in marathon races until 1963. And …

Kettlebells For Strength, Cardiovascular Conditioning And Fat Loss

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly1 Comment

I went to Los Angeles recently to attend a really great seminar on kettlebell training. If you’re not familiar with the kettlebell, it looks like a cannon ball with a handle (see photo). It’s this shape that makes it so different from using a dumbbell. The unique design causes the weight of the bell to hang off your body, with …

Static Stretching Before Sprinting Slows You Down

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I mentioned in a previous post that stretching before exercise doesn’t prevent injury. And that stretching following training reduces muscle soreness. So I recommended stretching following training. Now here’s one more reason to avoid stretching prior to exercising, especially if you plan to sprint or perform intervals. In this recent study, researchers at Middle Tennessee State University examined the effect …

Lower Ab Workout

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If I were to ask you, what one part of the body would you most like to change? Chances are it might be your lower abdominal area. It’s been my experience that almost everyone would like to get a sexy, flat-as-a-plank abdomen. But it can often be one of the most difficult parts of the body to develop. One reason …

Organic Lard: An Oxymoron?

In General, Nutrition by Mikki Reilly4 Comments

After reading a post by Dr Mary Dan Eades, I casually mentioned to one of my clients that I was having a hard time finding organic lard here in Santa Barbara. My client turned to me and said “organic lard … that sounds like an oxymoron.” He then went on to confess that he still has a hard time with …

The Hotel Workout

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly3 Comments

This time of year I get a lot of requests for travel programs. And although some hotels have gyms that are equipped with most of the basics, I find that most clients prefer a quick workout which they can do without leaving their hotel room. This workout was designed with that in mind. Prone Bridge There are three different levels …

Low-Carb Better Than Low-Fat

In General, Nutrition by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

A study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine compared the low-fat, low-carb and Mediterranean diets to determine which diet is the safest and most effective for weight loss. Researchers at the Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, Israel, an isolated workplace with its own medical department, followed 322 moderately obese participants, 277 men and 45 women for …

Exercise Tip: Dumbbell Squat Press

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly3 Comments

The dumbbell squat press is a phenomenal full body exercise for developing strength in the legs, hips, low back, abdomen, shoulders and arms. Muscles involved: Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus, Erector Spinae, Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Deltoids, Triceps Brachii and Trapezius. Action: Begin with your back straight, feet shoulder-width apart and dumbbells at shoulder height. Then lower yourself down by pushing your hips …

Five Fat Loss Tips For Summer

In General, Movement, Nutrition by Mikki Reilly3 Comments

1. Build Muscle. When you add muscle to your body, you increase your metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories all day long. The most effective way to gain muscle is to train your full body with free weights three times a week for 45 minutes each session. Multiple studies have shown that performing total body workouts, rather than …

Healthy Cooking Oils

In General, Nutrition by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

Here’s an interesting post by Scott Kustes of the Modern Forager on Ten Oils And How To Use Them. It’s a follow-up to a guest post that Scott wrote recently for Mark’s Daily Apple on The Tropical Oils, Coconut and Red Palm Oil. In the post on Tropical Oils, Scott explains…. Saturated oils are nearly impervious to oxidation and degradation. …

Fat Loss Stalled On A Low Carb Diet?

In General, Nutrition by Mikki Reilly1 Comment

Here’s a great post by Dr. Michael Eades on how you lose weight and why fat loss stalls on a low carb diet. First, Dr Eades describes the weight loss process… Let’s look at what happens when we cut carbohydrates in the diet. First we don’t get enough carbs to replenish our blood sugar, so the body has to convert …

A Maverick’s Guide To: Booming Fitness

In General, Movement, Nutrition by Mikki Reilly2 Comments

In the past, aging has often meant a gradual loss of health and vigor as the years progress. But with the recent advances in research on aging, we now know this slow decline is no longer inevitable. With the right exercise and nutritional program, even an unfit person can turn around most of the consequences of aging. We know, for …

The Muscle Tone Myth

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly7 Comments

I taught a circuit class for the Body Electric in Santa Barbara yesterday, and after the class, one of the women in the group asked if it was possible to tone-up the back of her arms. I understood that she wanted firmer, more defined looking arms, but is that what “muscle tone” really means? According to Wikipedia, “muscle tone” is …

Music For Motivation

In General by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

Need a little motivation for your workout? Try putting on an iPod with your favorite tunes and see if it adds a bit of inspiration to your training. We all know that music in the exercise environment has been around forever. But can it significantly enhance performance … make you quicker, stronger and more focused during exercise? Researcher Costas Karageorghis, …

Self-Efficacy Influences Fat Loss And Fitness

In General, Nutrition by Mikki Reilly2 Comments

Here’s an interesting new study which suggests that self-efficacy – belief in yourself – has a lot to do with what you eat and whether you stick to an exercise program. Researcher Rhonda Anderson at Queensland University of Technology surveyed over 560 women between the ages of 51 and 66 on their exercise and dietary habits. She found that two …

Exercise Tip: Swiss Pullovers

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The Swiss pullover is a great exercise which targets the muscles of the back as well as the glutes and core since you are holding yourself in a bridged posture. Muscles involved: Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis Major, Triceps, Erector Spinae and Gluteus Maximus. Action: Grasp a dumbbell and lower yourself back on a Swiss ball with your head and shoulders supported, …

Dietary Glycemic Index/Load And Disease Risk

In General, Nutrition by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that low glycemic index (GI) and low glycemic load (GL) diets are associated with a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases. These diseases include type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease and breast cancer. Researchers, at the Mayo Clinic, noted that there have been inconsistent findings on …

Exercise Tip: Dumbbell Forward Lunge Press

In General, Movement by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

The dumbbell forward lunge press is a great full body exercise. The lunge works your quads and glutes and the press works your upper back and shoulders. Muscles involved: Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus, Deltoids, Trapezius and Triceps Brachii. Action: Grab a pair of dumbbells and bring them to your shoulders. Start with your feet shoulders width apart and toes pointed straight …

Intermittent Fasting

In General, Nutrition by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

In years past, the practice of fasting was usually associated with religious or spiritual customs and traditions. But now, a growing number of fitness enthusiasts are beginning to include intermittent fasts in their lives, depending on goals and circumstances, as a way to lose fat and improve overall health and longevity. Intermittent fasting (IF) makes perfect sense from an evolutionary …

6 Meals vs 3 Meals A Day

In General, Nutrition by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

One of my clients recently asked me if I think it’s better to eat six small meals a day or the more traditional fare of three larger meals. Some may ask: Why would anyone want to eat six meals a day? The idea comes from the world of body building where it’s believed that a positive nitrogen balance is the …

The Push-Up: One Measure Of Fitness

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly6 Comments

There was an article this week in the New York Times about how the simple push-up is the greatest measure of fitness. Here’s what the article had to say: “The push-up is the ultimate barometer of fitness. It tests the whole body, engaging muscle groups in the arms, chest, abdomen, hips and legs. It requires the body to be taut …

Exercise Tip: Swiss Ball Jackknife

In General, Movement by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

The Swiss ball jackknife is great movement for targeting your lower abdominals. And, since the ball is unstable, your entire core has to work to maintain the position of your body. Muscles involved: Rectus Abdominus, Obliques, Hip Flexors and Shoulder Girdle. Action: Start by getting into a pushup position with the tops of your feet on a Swiss ball. Your …

Diet Soda And Metabolic Syndrome

In General, Nutrition by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

There’s been some interesting news on diet soda, and in particular, artificial sweeteners, recently. First, in a study at the University of Minnesota, researchers analyzed the diets of more than 9,500 men and women between the ages of 45 and 64 for nine years to see if there was a correlation between nutrition and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of …

Escalating Density Training

In General, Movement by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

In my most recent post, I discussed the idea of increasing the density of your workouts by using supersets and complexes as a way to cut back on the amount of time spent in the gym. Escalating density training (EDT), devised by my old friend, Charles Staley, is another simple yet effective training method which emphasizes training density. The EDT …

Burn Fat Faster With Shorter Workouts

In General, Movement by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

The most frequent reason I hear for not working out is: I don’t have time. With that in mind, I’d like to suggest a couple of ways to effectively work your muscles and increase fat burning while spending less time in the gym. The simplest way to decrease your time in the gym is to increase the “density” of your …

Exercise Tip: Lateral Lunge

In General, Movement by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

The lateral lunge is a great hip mobility exercise which can be used to increase range of motion when done at bodyweight. It can also improve strength when a weighted vest, dumbbells or a medicine ball is added. Muscles involved: Gluteus Maximus (buttocks), Hamstrings, Adductors (inner thigh). Action: Stand with feet together and hands above your chest. Keeping your abs …

Cholesterol Contributes To Muscle Gain?

In General, Nutrition by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

Here’s an interesting new study which suggests that a higher intake of cholesterol is associated with improvements in strength and muscle gain in response to exercise. As you might guess, these results were a quite a surprise to the researchers. In a study at Texas A&M University, researchers studied 55 men and women, between 60 and 69 years of age …

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Disease

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New research suggests that people with low levels of vitamin D may have an elevated risk for heart disease and stroke. And those with high blood pressure and vitamin D deficiency are at an even greater risk. Researchers followed 1,739 people, average age 59, for 5 years and used blood samples to determine the level of vitamin D in their …

Three Ways To Build Muscle

In General, Movement by Mikki Reilly3 Comments

In a recent post I discussed the best way to build muscle – full body workouts with exercises that work multiple joints. But what would that look like in terms of reps and sets? While there are many ways to structure a workout, if you want to gain muscle there’s one basic notion you’ll want to adhere to. It’s called …

Exercise Tip: One Leg Stiff Leg Deadlift

In General, Movement by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

Here’s a great functional exercise for developing your entire posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) while also enhancing balance and dynamic flexibility. Muscles involved: Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus. Action: Grasp a dumbbell and hold it in front of your body. With shoulders back and chest elevated, raise the foot that is on the same side as the dumbbell and begin …

Exercise Tip: Prone Row

In General, Movement by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

This exercise is my favorite version of the classic dumbbell row. It works the muscles in the upper back while also developing core strength. Muscles involved: Rhomboids, Trapezius, Latissimus Dorsi, Rectus Abdominis, External Obliques, Hip Flexors. Action: Position yourself with one hand on a bench while the other hand holds a dumbbell, arm fully extended, with your body fully extended …