Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Key To Smaller Meals

Calorie cutting isn't easy, but we often make it harder than it needs to be by believing in obstacles that don't exist.  For example, many Americans believe that by eating a smaller meal than usual, they'll be inclined to overeat in the next meal, due to increased hunger. 

Is it really that simple? Not so, according to a study present in the journal Appetite. Many factors play into our sense of hunger, but simply shortening one meal is not necessarily going to make a person want to overeat in the next. In fact, a study showed that if people cut back on only one meal and maintained their caloric consumption for the other meals, that overall satiety would likely be maintained throughout the day while still cutting calories and, therefore, burning bodyfat through the creation of this caloric deficit. Ultimately, we see that minor changes can, very thankfully, reap major benefits.

If you're wrestling with fat loss, then work with your Perfect Personal Trainer to blend this into your process for calorie-cutting.  Choose just one meal per day, strategically, and cut out the calories that don't need to be there -- the ones that you're already getting in appropriate supply.  It also never hurts to drink a bit more water before, during, and after the meal to help to fill you up, also!

It is important to keep in mind that you should never reduce your calories below 1200 per day.  Roughly 1200-1700 calories per day is, generally, an appropriate amount to sustain some fat reduction without depriving your body and brain of what they need for proper function.  Dropping your intake to fewer than 1200 daily calories is unsafe, and is likely to cause problems such as ketosis and metabolic damage.

Another important point to keep in mind is that a meal isn't a "meal" if it doesn't contain proteins, carbs, and dietary fats.  Having a banana or an apple will deliver great anti-oxidants, but will fail to substantially sustain muscle tissue or metabolism because of the lack of protein and dietary fat.  Build combinations so that you're giving your body what it needs with each meal to not only fuel your activities, but to keep your body burning up calories throughout the day and night.  Your Perfect Personal Trainer will help you to craft these kinds of meals -- just right for you -- in a way that you'll enjoy!

Questions?  Please post below or simply call us at (877)698-3648 - our team of nutritionists and exercise scientists are always here to help!  Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

5 Great Ways to Mitigate Thanksgiving Weight Gain

Thanksgiving can really pack on the calories in a short amount of time, can't it?

Evening out the holiday weight gain can certainly take more time and effort than one might think, but if the right plan and understanding are in place, it can actually take nothing more than a week's worth of determination and fun, challenging exercise in relatively short bouts.
FACT: the Average American gains an entire pound of bodyfat during the holiday season, and doesn't burn it off afterward.

If that figure sounds unbelievable then reflect on these numbers for a moment:

There are only 3500 calories in a pound of fat. So, consuming just 3500 more calories than you normally would, over any given period of time, will equate to an extra pound of weight on your body if you're not countering it with a caloric loss elsewhere.

Alcoholic beverages range from 100 to 1000 calories each.

Missing a 30-minute exercise session can easily mean keeping on an extra 200 to 300 calories that you'd have burned off.

Just one dessert can be as high as 1000 calories, easily.

Given those figures above, gaining an extra pound over the holidays doesn't seem so unlikely, does it?  Then, think about all the sitting, and the missed workouts, during the holidays as well...

So, how do we turn the weight gain around quickly and effectively?  How can we get our bodies back to where they were before all the excess, but without overtraining our joints and heart?

We've put together the top five ways to burn off the extra fat and get back to your pre-Thanksgiving physique!
#5. Walking! Walking burns approximately three to six calories per minute, depending upon your pace, cardiovascular health, and bodyweight. In general, an hourlong walk will burn about 300 calories. Twelve walks like this should burn approximately one pound of fat from your body.
#4. The elliptical machine: At a moderate to high intensity, you can usually expect to burn about 500 calories per hour. Commit to just one hour per day for one week, and you'll burn off about a pounf of bodyfat without any additional effort!
#3. Jogging: While Perfect Personal Training generally doesn't recommend jogging (because of its hard nature against lower-extremity joints), it is noteworthy that just thirty minutes of jogging often burn between 400 and 500 calories (again, dependent upon speed, bodyweight, and individual fitness levels). Around eight of these 30-minute jogs will reduce your bodyfat by about a pound.

#2: Circuit Training is another
great way to burn 5 to 15 calories per minute. And, you'll get the added benefit of increasing muscle mass, which boosts metabolism more than the aforementioned forms of cardiovascular conditioning. It won't take long to burn a pound of bodyfat if your circuit training program is updated to reflect your current levels of muscular and metabolic health.

#1: Caloric control! Here it is, friends: as important as it may be to eat "HEALTHY" foods, the real challenge when it comes to weight management is to consume the same amount of calories each day that you're expending. So, hypothetically, if you get into the routine of burning 2000 and consuming 2250, then you're likely going to gain about two pounds per month while that trend continues. On the other hand, by consuming less than you utilize, you can turn those figures around and create a caloric defecit, even without exercise! The trick is to know how much you're consuming, and stick to a plan for fat loss until you can reach a stage of maintenance.
For more information on Perfect Personal Training's personalized, structured, progressive programs, please visit or call 877-698-3648.  Our top degreed and certified wellness coaches and weight management consultants come right to your home, and bring eveything needed for your health & fitness success!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Top 5 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Healthier

#5.  Take just ten minutes Thanksgiving morning to perform moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise.  Just ten minutes will likely burn approximately 100 calories, and will help your metabolism over the next few hours as well.  (If you can, get the family to go for a brisk walk after dinner also.)

#4.  Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey.  This, alone, will save quite a few unhealthy calories without negatively affecting the taste.

#3.  Drinks lots of water that day!  This will help you to curb hunger and fill up faster.  Aim for, in ounces of water, at least your weight in pounds divided by two.

#2.  Prioritize the healthier, lower-fat options such as white turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, and non-fat gravy.

And the number one way to make your Thanksgiving healthier is to simply eat slowly and avoid the high-fat or high-sugar foods. 

Most Americans gain one pound of bodyfat throughout the holidays that they never burn off.  End your meal when you are "satisfied", not "full".

For more health & wellness information, please visit or call (877)698-3648.  Gift certificates are easily available in any quantity!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Protein Requirements Defined

The biggest, yet most forgotten, bottom line to achieving a lean, healthy physique is simple: Eat the right amount of protein at the right times of every day. There is no getting around the significance of protein. Protein is necessary for muscle, and muscle = metabolism.

Yes, muscle mass = metabolism!  And protein is essential for muscle mass.

So, what is recommended?  Your protein needs will vary depending upon your exercise's intensity, duration, and frequency, and your Perfect Personal Trainer will be able to help you better craft the specifics.  In general, these three bulletpoints below should give you a good outline regarding your protein needs:

- Get roughly 0.7 - 0.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.  Just look at your food labels to determine the numbers of grams of protein that are found in the foods and drinks you're consuming.  If you are very obese, then go as low as 0.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.  Stick to higher numbers (even over 1 gram of protein per pound) if your strength training is taking up more than four hours weekly, and lower if it is minimal (under one hour weekly).

- Divide this daily total by five, and make this new value your requirement per meal, for each of five meals per day. 

- Eat one of these five meals every 3-4 hours.  This way, you have protein coming into your body and building and maintaining muscle tissue throughou the day.

Follow these rules to keep your muscle, battle the normal atrophy that most Americans experience, and elevate your metabolism!  You'll find that in time, you'll have more energy and a healthier physique!

For more, please call us at (877)698-3648 or consult your Perfect Personal Trainer.  Remember, YOU have all the power in the world in creating a lean, strong physique that stays healthy as you age.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top Five Ways To Keep YOUR Independence

Happy birthday, America!

It is during this time of year that we are reminded of the importance of being a free and independent American.

And, it is during this time of year that we'd like to remind you of how to keep your independence!
We're not talking about political independence, but of maintaining your physical independence.  As you know, Perfect Personal Training is passionate about keeping you free and clear of emergency rooms, overnight hospital stays, and debilitating diseases of the heart, brain, and joints.

So, we've put together our list of five key lifestyle changes that will go a long way in preventing disease and injury.  Please print this list and put it somewhere where it can serve as a daily reminder!

#5.  Keep a Food Journal:  While this may sound like a time-consuming task, just doing this for two or three days each month can give you a great idea of your intake.  It's not just total calories that you should be counting, but your approximate daily carbohydrate intake, your approximate daily protein intake, your water intake, and other important factors.  Of course, a Perfect Personal Trainer can assess your factors and make the appropriate recommendations.

#4.  Know Your Body Composition:  Knowing your weight is not enough!  Only your body composition score can truly assess how "fat" you are, and just how much change is needed, if any, to keep your risk for cardiovascular disease low.  This will also tell us how high (or low) your metabolism is.

#3.  Get Your Cardio In:  Five days per week are recommended for strong cardiovascular health, at a duration of 20-60 minutes per session, and at a "moderate to high" intensity.  This goes for everyone who is in generally good health and who is cleared for exercise by a physician.  This is not just for fat burning, but to keep your circulatory and cardiorespiratory systems functioning ideally.

#2.  Take Care of Your Muscles:  Let's face it - without healthy muscles, we're all in trouble as we age.  Stretch all major muscles safely every day, and perform appropriate strength training for every major muscle at least once or twice per week.  Statistically, even this low amount of strength training, when done properly, will improve metabolism and joint health, while maintaining your level of mobility year and after year.

And, the #1 thing that you should be doing to keep your independence.....

#1.  Load up on anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories!  Yes, more than anything, you need anti-oxidants to fight off free radicals.  Free radicals are worse than ever now, with environmental issues and other factors contributing regularly to our poorer health.  Fight them off by getting high amounts of anti-oxidants through fruits and vegetables, green teas, herbs, and vitamins.  And, by adhering to a diet that is high in anti-inflammatory foods, you will reduce your risk even further.  These are easy and very important components to keeping your body healthy, while minimizing risk for cancer and chronic disease.
Stay independent, America!  Your decisions have the ability to make or break your health, happiness, and long-term physical independence.  Make the right ones, and you'll make your "future self" a healthy one.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Conquering Metabolism This Summer -- Without the Gym!

Losing Weight & Feeling Great!
Perhaps you have heard the buzzword "metabolism" over and over again, but never quite understood how to improve it, or what it really is.  Or, perhaps you've the usual approaches, but your efforts never really seemed to create the change that you needed to create energetic, healthy days.

"Metabolism" is a word that represents all the caloric reactions happening in the body. This includes burning calories for energy and movement, building lean tissue, immune system functions, brain activity, digestion, and more.

Your metabolism is unique to you: Roughly 60-70% of the calories burned in a day come from the normal daily reactions in your body that are necessary just to keep you alive. Your heart beating, your kidneys clearing waste from your blood, your brain functioning, the digestion of food, and other factors all contribute to that 60-70% -- even while you sleep!

Roughly 10-20% of calories burned are done so through normal daily activity. Walking around the office, doing the dishes, cooking, etc burn those 10-20%.
So, where do the remaining 10-30% of burned calories come from?  Those calories are burned from additional physical movement -- cardiovascular or anaerobic exercise.
If you're not getting these types of exercise in your day-to-routine, then you're missing a big opportunity for longer life and better health, because you're not burning any additional calories. That 10-30% above becomes zero, and your daily caloric expenditure is going to come from those calories burned from just being alive and maintaining normal daily activities. It is important to understand that the number of calories you burn each day is a major factor in maintaining weight and/or weight loss.
Are you ready for the good news?

Following these suggestions, below, will cause additional caloric deficit, but they will also lead to an increase in calories burned throughout the rest of the day... Yes, those calories burned "just to keep you alive" suddenly increase!  It now costs your body more calories each day just to live, all because you did any or all of the following:

  • 2-3 times per week of appropriate strength training (100+ additional calories burned)
  • 3-5 days a week of 20-60 minutes of appropriate cardiovascular exercising (100+ additional calories burned)
  • Nutritionally packed meals/snacks   (5-10% additional calories burned)
Further, your age and genetic factors generally don't have to weigh as heavily into your metabolism as you might think.  While these factors can certainly play a role against you, lifestyle far outweighs the effects age and genetic heritage.  For example, people tend to lose muscle mass as they age, and that, in turn, reduces metabolism.  But, this isn't a necessary function of aging.  By sustaining muscle mass through healthy diet, proper exercise, and supplementation, a person can maintain muscle mass (lean tissue) through the aging process, and thereby minimize the effects of age working against metabolic factors.

Now, here is the bad news:  Skipping meals or cutting calories too low will lower your metabolism tremendously. This is generally the cause of weight loss plateaus. For example, a dieter loses weight quickly by eating very little -- usually fewer than 1200 calories daily. Then, after a few weeks of this, the breakdown of muscle and bone density has taken its toll on a dieter's metabolism, and the body weight starts to return. 
So, this is metabolism in a nutshell -- a crash course on the body weight basics.  But, there are lot more specifics that will be pertinent to you, and as with any science, the "devil is in the details".  If you aren't already, then we strongly suggest beginning regular Wellness with a Perfect Personal Trainer nutritionist and weight management expert.  Not only will your metabolism greatly improve (and stay that way), but your joints, bones, and heart will be tremendously healthier, also. 

And, with Fathers' Day coming up, we'd like to recommend a gift certificate for Dear Old Dad.  You can purchase in any quantity of sessions, and a free fitness assessment and consultation always starts things off - giving Dad the chance to meet with a trainer before using any of his gift certificate.  To make an easy purchase, just click here:

Questions or concerns about health and wellness with Perfect Personal Training?  Just call us at (877)698-3648 between 8am and 8pm Eastern Time during the week.  Every day, we help our clients achieve physical and mental success through safe, scientific, and well-balanced exercise.  Our clients love their results!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Do You Burn As Much Fat with Two Small Workouts As One Big One?

Happy Memorial Day, readers!

Today's question is a bit of a controversial one amongst dieters and those exercising for fat loss.  This question is, will a person burn the same amount of body fat by doing two small workouts instead of one big one?  Let's look at an example, below:

John Doe normally does 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day.  He is considering splitting this into two 30 minute workouts.  Will John burn the same amount of fat this way?

The answer?  John will  likely burn about the same number of calories in both scenarios.  And, by splitting the workout into two smaller workouts, he will get added health benefits, improved post-exercise metabolic factors, and will generally reduce feelings of hunger more effectively than with his current hourlong exercise session.  However, there is a big downside...

After roughly 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at the appropriate intensity for fat loss, a person starts to burn a higher percentage of calories from stored fat.  You see, when you train your cardiovascular energy system, you don't burn every calorie from stored fat.  A bout that burns 1000 calories will not burn all 1000 calories from fat, but after 20-30 minutes, that percentage of calories burned from fat vs those burned from other sources will be higher and higher.  The story gets better:  After about 45 or 50 minutes, we'll see an even higher percentage of calories burned being stored from fat, and fewer and fewer from stored glycogen.

So, what does this mean for John Doe?  Absolute, maximum fat calories will be more greatly burned in the longer sweat-session than in the two shorter sessions, combined.  If John's sole aim is to burn as much body fat as possible, then he should stick to his current hourlong exercise session.  But, if John is bored with his routine and seeking a change that will still burn a great number of calories (and, generally, a decent percentage of those calories from stored fat), then splitting up his workout may be a good idea to avoid boredom and eventual burnout.  And again, the health benefits and metabolic benefits are often improved by exercising more frequently.

Do you have a question for an exercise physiologist from Perfect Personal Training?  We love to help!  Just post a comment below or call 877-698-3648 with your question, and we'll give you an in-depth and well-researched answer.  For more continued and personalized advice, we recommend working with a degreed and top-certified Perfect Personal Trainer.  Thank you for reading, and have a great new week!

* The Perfect Fathers' Day gift:  In-Home Exercise & Nutrition  *

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Five Quick & Easy Fitness Opportunities You're Missing Out On

If achieving greater preventive health and fitness was as easy as a few minutes per day, then wouldn't you take those few extra minutes to improve yourself and reduce risk for debilitating disease?

Below are five quick and easy ways to make yourself healthier and more energetic, with a very small time commitment:

#5.  Perform 30-60 seconds of a front plank exercise.

This exercise is rarely contraindicated for those of normalized blood pressure and spinal health, making it a generally safe, effective method of improving core muscles, balance, and posture.  Please breathe regularly while you hold this position, and be sure to check with your physician to be certain that there are no health concerns regarding this or any other exercise.

#4.  Divide your bodyweight (in lbs) by two.  This number is, roughly, your recommended amount of daily water intake (in ounces).  On days of heavy sweating, high juice or tea intake, or prolonged cardiovascular or strength training, then this number should be much higher.

#3.  Stretch your major muscles any time that you can -- during phone calls, television time, or whenever you find yourself available to perform  some stretching.  Twenty seconds or longer is usually sufficient for improving joint and muscular health and flexibility.  This may even help you to prevent muscle aches and cramps, and to sleep more soundly.

#2.  Consume green teas, green vegetables, beans, and other high-anti-oxidant foods and drinks.  Just adding one more serving to each day can make a tremendous difference in your health and wellness.

And the #1 easy fitness opportunity to aim for each day:  Devote more time to cardiovascular training!  Just 20 minutes per day is often sufficient for greatly reducing risks for heart failure, stroke, and heart attack.  If twenty minutes per day isn't attainable for you, then keep in mind that even five or six minutes each day is helpful at improving long-term cardiac function, and will burn roughly forty to eighty calories for most people.

There you have it!  As always, we recommend consulting a top-certified and degreed Perfect Personal Trainer for specific, personalized exercise science and nutrition.  Have a great Easter weekend!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Will the ab roller give you better abdominals?

This question comes in a lot for our in home personal training team:  Does the ab roller give people better abdominal muscles?

Technically, if you use the ab roller properly and often enough for your fitness levels, then YES, it will improve the abilities of your abdominal muscles.  But, what is your ultimate goal in using the ab roller?  Is it really to improve those muscles or to burn the fat surrounding them?  Nine times out of ten, people are using the ab roller for the purpose of weight loss, and this is not a good use of your limited, precious exercise time.

If you're strictly looking to increase endurance and strength in your abdominal wall, then go ahead and use the ab roller.  If your concern is more about the "laundry" that lies above your "washboard abds" then you need to better identify your goal:  You're not after "better abdominal muscles".  Nope.  You're after "fat loss".  And, unfortunately, fat loss won't come from using the ab roller.... Not much anyway.

For fat loss, you need moving exercise of your bigger muscles at moderate to high intensity (this is not suitable for those of serious medical conditions or uncontrolled COPD).  And, you need to get a handle on your total calories coming in vs going out in the average week.  After all, if you burn 1000 calories in a workout but then consume an extra 1000 calories later, then you're not going to achieve much weight loss from that session.  (By the way, some sugary alcoholic beverages contain 1000 calories in just one drink!)

You can train the core abdomen muscles all you'd like (and believe me, it's very good for you to do so), but when it comes to burning bodyfat, there is a world of difference in training and lifestyle methods.

Perfect Personal Training is America's choice for in home personal training and exercise science.  Our personal trainers and wellness coaches are top certified, degreed, highly knowledgeable, and extremely experienced.  For a free in home consultation with a top certified Perfect Personal Trainer, please visit us online at or call 877-698-3648.  Our top certified personal trainers are always eager to help!

Monday, February 14, 2011

In Home Personal Trainer Tells Doctor The BMI Scale Is No Good

People are rightfully concerned about achieving a healthy body, but with all the misleading infomercials and pieces of data out there, one of the most misleading may be from your own doctor.

In Home Perfect Personal Trainer Aaron Dunn recently put together a press release telling physicians that the use of the BMI scale is outdated and, often, contraintuitive to fitness and wellness.

Primarily, a situation that we see too often is this:  Patient sees doctor and has BMI (body mass index) assessed, doctor says BMI is too high to be healthy, patient improves exercise and nutrition.

So far so good, right?

Well, here is the next step.  This is where things turn ugly.

The patient's new efforts will lose, let's say, 5 pounds of bodyfat.  And, the strength training, improved nutrition, and other associated factors will create 5 additional pounds of muscle and bone density.

Now what?  This patient has the same body weight as he or she did previously.  So, what does that do to his or her BMI?

The BMI stays the same, because it is a ratio of height to weight.

Well, what happens when the patient returns to the doctor to see how he is improving?

Read more at this link below.  This is a tremendously repeating scenario that DOES have a cure.  Please read the press release below to gain a life-changing understanding of your weight management efforts.

(Fat loss and in home personal training are available through Perfect Personal Training.  Call 877-698-3648.  Due to the time of year, we're busier than usual, so if no operator answers then please leave a message and we will promptly return your call.  You can also visit

Saturday, February 5, 2011

2011 Fitness & Wellness Resolutions -- Three Reasons Why You're Not Noticing Your Health Successes

It's now been over five weeks since your New Year's resolution began.  Surely, you're checking up regularly on your progress, eager to see if your efforts are paying out as you'd hoped.

If you're amongst those that feel that you're not living up to your potential, or if you think that you "just can't" seem to get at fit as you'd like, then here are some possible explanations for why you're actually being more successful than you think:

(1) First, if you're still measuring success solely by what the scale tells you, then you're probably misleading yourself.  If your exercise, diet, and overall lifestyle changed have led you to burn 5 pounds of bodyfat, and also led to a 5 pound gain in bone density, water, and/or lean muscle, then obviously, your weight will be what it was before you began.  THIS IS NOT A BAD THING!  Gaining muscle and bone density is incredibly good, and will prevent future injuries while improving metabolism.  Losing fat, is of course, very desirable for most of us.  For this reason, you can't let the scale be your "be all / end all" when it comes to assessing your progress, because your actual weight is not an indicator of fat loss or improved fitness.

(2) Secondly, if you're judging your fat loss by how well your clothes fit, then understand that this is not always an accurate way to figure things out.  You don't burn body fat in all the right places at all the right times.  For example, you may lose 5 pounds of unwanted body fat, but it may not come from your belly or your butt right away.  In fact, these are sometimes the last places that body really loses its fat, while the calves, back, and legs show faster reductions in fat tissue.  So, if your pants are just as tight as they used to be, there is still plenty of hope: The fat in that area may not come off until later in your exercise regimen.  And, those other areas are gaining lots of muscle, too, meaning that your circumference measurements and the way your clothes will fit may not be much of a noticeable change.

(3) And, finally, there is one more big bad barrier to truly assessing your own health and fitness successes:  Your own psychology.  Some days, we just feel better or worse about ourselves than we do on other days, and those unsightly body parts tend to flow with our feelings, causing us to think that our fitness levels are changing in ways that they are not.  This also ties in with the feedback that we get from people, affecting the way that we perceive ourselves.

So, how do we truly assess our health and physical fitness variables?  The biggest recommendation is to regularly have a Perfect Personal Trainer assess your body composition -- your ratio of fat weight to non-fat weight.  Even if you're not a regular client of ours, Perfect Personal Trainers can come to your home and check this figure to compare to your past scores.  This will help you to understand what lifestyle changes are burning fat and which aren't, and how your body is changing (or not changing) as you move forward with your exercise and nutrition.  We also recommend having flexibility tests for major articulations, and strength/endurance tests.  Again, Perfect Personal Training has top exercise scientists and instructors that are eager to implement these exams with you, and explain how the results can impact your life during the aging process.  We'll compare the results with ACSM norms, using health industry guidelines to assess risk for joint degeneration, metabolic factors, and risk for cardiovascular diseases and interventions.  This way, you'll gain the "bigger picture" relating to where your health and fitness really stand.

Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 5 Things You Need to Reach Your New Year's Resolution

Happy 2011, Readers!

As a new year begins, so does the most common resolution:  "Eat healthier, and lose weight in the new year."  Don't let yourself become another statistic who tried and failed.  Below are the top five things you need to know to make sure you reach the success that you're setting out to achieve!

#5.  The fifth most important thing that you need to know involves flexibility training and its role in fat burning.  While not all flexibility methods are exactly alike, flexibility exercise usually involves "holding a stretch" for a given length of time (20-60 seconds is recommended by the ACSM for most populations, whereas yoga, Pilates, and some other disciplines encourage different durations).  Unlike moderate-to-high intensity cardiovascular or resistive exercise, flexibility conditioning tends to burn a relatively low number of calories per minute, even if you're sweating or "feeling the burn" to a great degree.  For the most part, you can't expect to lose much body fat from a standard flexibility regimen.  Keep that in mind when you're planning your exercise, meal plans, and total caloric consumption/expenditure, to avoid misleading yourself or setting yourself up for disappointment.

#4.  The fourth most important fact to keep in mind is that selecting an appropriate frequency and duration for your exercises is paramount.  We've all seen the "5-Minute Secret" books and strategies, that promise you the world if you just devote five minutes per day to exercise.  What we haven't seen is an example of any of these mythological systems actually working properly for people.  Science shows us that 20-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at moderate to high intensities is recommended for most of us, five days per week or more.  And, strength training should be performed at least twice per week for every major muscle group.  To burn more body fat and keep it off, do your best to free up enough time in your schedule to allow this.  "Some" is always better than nothing, but following these recommendations is the key to long-lasting fat-loss success and longer life.

#3.  Now, let's discuss a key ingredient: intensity!  People everywhere are performing cardiovascular and strength work at inappropriate intensities -- some too high and some too little.  The truth is that most muscles will not improve much without at least 60% of their maximum tolerated resistance.  This generally means that two, three, or even five pound dumbbells won't usually do the trick once you've been exercising for more than a few months.  (Consult with your Perfect Personal Trainer for more specifics regarding your own muscles and heart conditioning.)  And, to remain free of cardiovascular disease, we need more than a light walk; we need to challenge our aerobic systems and progress safely over time.

#2.  Is there a limit to the amount of "healthy food" that you should be eating?  Absolutely!  Regardless of a food's (or a drink's) health benefits, the term "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie" still applies.  Eating healthy foods is of tremendous importance, but the amount of those foods is what really makes the difference when you're on the road to fitness success.  Too many calories is too many calories, plain and simple.  Your Perfect Personal Trainer will help you to determine some safe and effective parameters in line with ACSM and AHA guidelines.

#1.  The number one thing you need to know as you embark on your quest for a healthier, leaner body?  Body Composition.  "Weight" is the measuring stick of yesterday, and "body composition" (also referred to as "fat percentage") is the gold standard for knowing the truth about your body and your risk for cardiovascular disease.  Here is the proof:
What if, after 5 weeks on your new exercise regimen, you lose 10 pounds of fat but gain 7 pounds of muscle, 1 pound of bone, and carry an extra 2 pounds of water in your body?  Your body weight would be the exact same as it was, right?  But, yet, you'd have made some excellent changes to your physique that would go unnoticeable when you look at a standard scale.  For this reason, we strongly recommend a body composition assessment by an in-home Perfect Personal Trainer.  This is truly the best way to evaluate your condition and how you progress.  Best of all, it's a good indicator of your risk for health problems such as heart disease or stroke.

Thank you all for your accomplishments and support in 2010!!  We've shed more pounds and improved more lives this year than ever before, as we've continued to expand throughout the country.  We look forward to serving you, your families, and your businesses even more in 2011 and beyond.  As always, we encourage your questions in the comment box below, or by calling 877-698-DO-IT (3648).  Our top exercise scientists and physiologists are always here to help!

We wish you all the safe, happy, and healthy New Year that you deserve!