Friday, August 29, 2008

Quick Hint #1: Activate your core without doing core work

Quick hint #1 - If you are doing machine or dumbbell lifts, here is a terrific tip to work on your stabilizers in your body. When you grip the handle of the machine or the dumbbell, don't just hold it, CRUSH IT! By squeezing on the grip with all your might you end up waking up all the stabilizing muscles throughout your body. This allows those smaller muscles to stabilize the joints and then helps to let the bigger muscles do what they are supposed to which is move the weight. You will be surprised about how much more weight you can lift or by how many more perfect repetitions you can perform.

We should be doing exercises that make us use our core instead of doing core exercises at the end. This is a great way to get a core workout at the same time as doing regular lifts. More on this later.

Any questions you all have out there for us, remember you can send us an email at

Monday, August 25, 2008

5 keys to fat loss

found on

5 Keys to Fat LossBy Alwyn Cosgrove August 12, 2008

Master these fundamentals for losing weight and seeing results fast.

You may think you’ve tried everything for losing weight, but what about sticking to basic, proven methods? Forget magic diet pills and exercise fads. These are your new guiding principles for burning fat.

1. Create a caloric deficit. No two ways about it—you must burn more energy than you consume.

2. Attack fat from both sides.The most effective way to create that deficit is to use a combination of diet and exercise.

3. Hoist iron.The biggest determinant of calorie burning is your metabolism. And the biggest factor in that is your lean muscle mass. Build more lean muscle, increase your metabolism. So weight training has to be a part of any effective fat loss program.

4. Eat clean, eat often.Your diet should consist mainly of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Keep starches and refined carbs to a minimum. Drink plenty of fluids (primarily water), and try to eat at least 4-5 small meals per day. This will help your body maintain blood sugar levels and keep burning fat.

5. Stoke your metabolism.Interval training and metabolic resistance training will provide the most efficient use of your training time. Steady state aerobic training (going at a slow, steady pace) just doesn't burn enough calories, and splitting up your workouts by body parts will be less effective than total body training for fat loss.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Very Proud of my boy David Durante

I am a very proud American and Athletic Trainer today. One of my former athletes, who battled back from an ACL tear in his knee, was the alternate for the Men's Gymnastics Team who won the bronze medal in this years Olympics. His name is David Durante. I am not telling you this because I want to "toot my horn" like most of my friends and my wife hear from time to time (sorry guys I was just really proud). I watched the Olympic Trials on TV with my wife a few weeks ago and was wondering if any of my former athletes that I worked with would be competing at the trials. I caught a glimpse of David and was very proud to see all that he has achieved to get to the trials. Then the commentators told the story of how he had a bad day 1 of the trials, but did that make him give up, HELL NO, he went out and gave a terrific performance on day 2 which won him an alternate position.

David did not get to perform in the Olympics, nor did he even get a medal. But he is a huge inspiration to all of us. The way he handled himself during those Olympics when the cameras were on him was impressive. David has battled back from disappointments and injury to be the best he can be. And most important he is a terrific person. My hats off to you David. You always kept me on my toes and always made me laugh at a time in my life when I was alone and needed to laugh. Thanks buddy.

The Men's Gymnastics team at Stanford University was an awakening for me and all of those guys (Cade, the twins, David, Jason, Rico, Craig, Marshall, Reshad) made life pretty fun. They were a lot of work to take care of due to the things they did to their bodies, but they made it fun to show up to work.

Also David's physique is a great example of what body weight training can do to your true strength and body. So the next time you can't make it into the gym, do some push ups, squats, lunges, single leg squats, planks and other routines to work on that physique. Click on his picture to get to his blog page, very cool stuff.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Eating better but staying full

  • Eating better but staying full

    One of the big problems I have been faced with is being able to control my food portions throughout the day. If I do a bad job and don’t eat enough, then by the time I get home I am STARVING! What I end up doing next is overeating during my dinner meal and thus the reason I am having trouble getting to my ideal weight. This also brought up another problem people are faced with is staying full with the smaller portioned meals that they eat during the day and have the same starving feeling the time they get home for dinner.

    I just recently read a great article online by a gentleman named Chris Shugart. He gives a great solution to my problem. He states that the problem we face is that the foods we eat are high calorie and low volume foods. So we are putting calories in our system but they are not satisfying our hunger. He suggests “volumize your food” (eat more low-calorie and high volume foods in our diets). Then we will be full more and hungry less and also less likely to eat too much at the end of our day (he calls it “making us full but not fat”).

    Some ideas or substitutions he suggests when baking and preparing meals:
  • Olive oil and almonds are high in calories and fats, BUT they provide very important omega-3s to your diet. Use them sparingly in your diet.
  • Replace white flour with whole grain flour. Healthier and adds much needed fiber to our diet.
  • Replace sugar with sucralose (splenda). Saves a ton of calories!
  • Replace oil with unsweetened apple sauce. Another HUGE calorie saver can be used for brownies, pancakes, muffins and most baked goods.
  • Eggs: Replace with some or all egg whites. (there are omega-3s in egg yolks as well, but this will help to reduce some of your calories in your recipes)
  • For burgers, mix lean ground turkey and/or veggies with your ground beef
  • For spaghetti, cut out half the pasta and replace with vegetables
  • Instead of adding butter, bananas, syrup, peanut butter or other calorie-dense ingredients to recipes, use calorie free extracts or imitation flavorings.

    I will try to do my best over the next few months to begin providing recipes with this new “volumized” replacement method and show the difference made in calories and healthy additions made to the “modified recipes”.

Reading Nutrition Labels

One of the most important quick hints I was given about reading nutrition labels is this. If within the first three ingredients it states "high fructose corn syrup" or just "corn syrup" then put the item down and slowly walk away and look for something else. Read every label of every food you put into your cart. My wife and I were surprised to read that corn syrup was a main ingredient in some of the whole wheat breads that are available in the grocery store. I even found it as the 1st ingredient in a popular sports drink.

This is a high calorie, sugar and if it is not burned off quickly (say before or after a workout) usually it will be transformed within the body into fat.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Michael Phelps

He has been the all the rage for the USA this olympics with his dominance. Did you know that before the 2004 olympic games that he never did any type of weight training. I watched a very good video on him before the olympics began about the fact that he began weight training for this upcoming olympics. No one thought that Michael could get any better then he added weight training. Now he is smashing records very easily. I am not saying that weight training is the only reason that he is outperforming even himself but I would like to think that it plays a part. Now if we could only get him working on his nutrition! Maybe next olympics...

This proves that anyone who wants to get better at anything (examples: marathons, biking, hiking, gardening, softball, volleyball, walking, injury prevention, and etc) would benefit from some sort of weight training. All they need is the right program and the correct technique and they are on their way to a more productive life.

ESPN's OTL on Phelps

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Improve your mood instantly

My little mood enhancer (my niece, ain't she cute!)

One thing that I learned from watching "The Secret" and listening to the "Masters of the Secret Podcast" is that you can make your day as enjoyable as you want it to be. For example: If something happens, say you get cut off in traffic, two things can happen:

  1. you can curse the drivers name, honk the horn, flip the driver the bird, and etc OR

  2. you can shrug your shoulders and laugh out loud because you have probably cut someone off in your lifetime as well

The first decision may be the domino effect to a rotten day. The second could be the start of a beautiful day. Here are some pointers that "I try" to use every day.

  • Tell yourself in the morning when you head out that you are going to try and make a positive effect on everyone you come into contact with. (Remember the movie, pay it forward?) It makes your day way more enjoyable, and it could be the difference between those people having a good or bad day. (It can catch like a cold!)
  • Instead of complaining of people and their faults (everyone has faults) try and concentrate on their strengths, what things they do well. Then those faults don't seem like that big of a deal
  • Laugh way more than you already do, laughter is contagious and feels way better than complaining.

Believe me it will put a more positive spin on things during your day and make your life, your workouts, your day way more enjoyable! Have fun!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Starting from Scratch

You need to start anew with your workout plan? Start simple and work to complex is the key. Start with a plan and see it through for 4 weeks, then re-evaluate your plan and mix it up for another 4 wks after that.

Get yourself into good habits

1. planning and preparing meals for the week ahead of time

2. getting yourself on a food journal, check

3. schedule your lifting and cardio days with your work schedule

This makes it easy to get on track. Begin your strength training by working on some foundational strength, especially if you have had injuries in the past or more importantly, want to prevent injuries in the future. This will be very important in the beginning of a program so you can perform more strenuous lifts later on down the line which will allow you to reach those big goals you have (lose fat, gain strength, gain muscle).

Foundational strength is crucial and is not machine lifts! These are exercises that help to improve your posture and technique and work various stabilizing muscles in the body that can sometimes fall asleep on you when you need them most. In the upcoming weeks I will give you my top 5 foundational exercises for you to try in the gym or at home. Until then, get working on that Nutrition!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Love yourself

I have exercised, lifted, dieted, and taken supplements when I was an athlete in high school and college and now as an individual for almost 20 years now. At some time during my quest for the ultimate body, I felt that I always would hit a wall and could never get the results I wanted. If I did get some results, then they were short lived. I would get so frustrated with myself, I would look in the mirror and see someone I did not like very much. I hated the way I looked and I hated the way I felt...

Then, I read the book and watched the DVD titled "The Secret". I finally figured out that I was surrounding myself with way too much negativity, I was being too hard on myself and I was blaming others for my misfortunes as well. I realized I was working very hard on the physical me but not the emotional me.

I believe the point is true that no one will ever love you for who truly are until you love yourself first. Instead of pointing out all of your faults, point out your positive points (what you are good at). Put a positive spin on things and situations. Don't sweat the small little things in life that piss us off. I realized that you cannot be negative all the time. Make a point to have a positive effect on your life and the lives of others and your life will feel way more fulfilled. Then working out, eating right and/or getting those injured areas back to healthy is just icing on the cake.

So work on the physical and the emotional you (you will see better benefits if you tackle these together). Forgive yourself for your mistakes in the past and forgive others for the emotional scars that have been made on your heart and let them heal. Enjoy life for every minute that you have it, live for the now and not the future. You will thank me for it.

Now that you love yourself the journey can truly begin and it is going to be one wild ride!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Greetings to SGHP!

First of all we are extremely excited to post the very first blog for Snow-Gargano Human Performance. Nikki and I are sooooo excited to get started telling everyone all that we know about in one of the most important things in everyones life, their human performance. We could have called is sports performance since I have a background in getting athletes to perform better in their field of play, but that would take out so much of us that just want to live our lives healthier.

This blog spot is for everyone out their that wants to improve or maintain their quality of life. Whether it be the individual that wants to be able to go for walks, garden and play with their grandchildren to those individuals who need help training for triathlons and half marathons. Whether it is that young athlete who wants to train for an upcoming high school basketball season or the recreational athlete that wants to get prepared for a fun and injury free coed softball season. This is for everyone that wants to learn more about injury prevention, rehabilitation, fitness for all ages, sports medicine, athletic injuries, nutrition, recipes and so much more!

Nikki and I will post (at least weekly) cool information to all of you. And without further blabbing my me (Mark), WELCOME TO SGHP!

PS. I want to thank my BEAUTIFUL wife Nikki for giving me the idea for our blog! (she is such an inspiration! "moment")

Kettlebell Training in the Nashville News