Saturday, February 28, 2009

Austin Personal Trainers Linked to Amelioration of Chronic Back Pain in Clients

A Surplus of Treatment Options, Few of Them Good

In Brief:
-Back pain is one of the most widespread medical complaints, but a specific cause is rarely identified.

-Concerns about substance abuse and side effects limit the usefulness of many painkillers.

-Antidepressants, anticonvulsants and other drugs are increasingly prescribed to ease patients' back pain.

-Despite the popularity of spinal injections, there is no strong evidence that they provide benefit beyond short-term relief of back pain.

-Surgery for back pain has met with mixed results. Many experts now favor more conservative treatments like exercise and physical therapy.

Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints, so it’s no surprise that treatments for it have multiplied over the years. That ought to be good news; instead, many patients find that sudden back pain opens the door to a world of medical controversy. Virtually every pharmaceutical or surgical remedy has been challenged in recent years, and for all the money sufferers spend on doctor visits, hospital stays, procedures and drugs, studies clearly show that most people with back pain heal the old-fashioned way: on their own, slowly, without significant intervention.

“Low back pain represents so many different diseases that there really hasn’t been a breakthrough treatment,” said Dr. Russell K. Portenoy, chairman of the department of pain medicine and palliative care at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. “It’s good for the public to know how little we know.”

The mystery begins with the first visit to a doctor’s office. The exact cause of back pain is never found in 85 percent of patients, according to Dr. Dennis C. Turk, professor of anesthesiology and pain research at the University of Washington and a past president of the American Pain Society. Even sophisticated magnetic resonance imaging seldom sheds light -- indeed, in many studies the scans have picked up spinal abnormalities in many people who have never reported back pain.

Regardless of cause, an ailing back hurts. So what’s a sufferer to do? Pop a pill? Submit to the scalpel? Wait and see? Consult an Austin Personal Trainer?

These days, most heavy-duty pain relievers come with a hefty set of warnings. Narcotics like OxyContin, used regularly by more than eight million Americans, can work wonders, but doctors remain deeply divided over when to prescribe them. On the one hand, these painkillers can be highly addictive; on the other, serious pain is too often untreated in this society, with its Puritan roots, and many patients with back problems suffer for weeks.

Alternatives to the narcotics have proved problematic, too. Rofecoxib (Vioxx) and valdecoxib (Bextra), both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, were pulled off the market after it was discovered they raised the risk of heart attacks. Even over-the-counter mainstays like ibuprofen and aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding or organ damage at high doses.

Spinal injections of steroids and anestetics increased by nearly a third during the 1990s, but several scientific reviews found scant evidence that any provided more than short-term relief. With options diminishing, many physicians have begun prescribing off-label painkillers such as pregabalin (Lyrica) and antidepressants like duloxetine (Cymbalta) to their patients with chronic back pain.

While the quest for a safe and effective pain pill continues, Americans undergo more than 300,000 spinal fusion surgeries a year, at an average cost of $59,000 each, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Almost as many undergo laminectomies or diskectomies, aimed at removing damaged vertebrae and disks. Back surgery can be life-altering, eliminating pain and disability. It can also have serious consequences.

One study found that 11.6 percent of patients in the 78 spinal surgeries developed infections and other serious complications. Perhaps more disturbing, more than half of those surgeries were performed to correct complications from a previous surgery.

Newer surgical procedures have met with mixed results. Implants of medication pumps and stimulators into the spine, for example — a promising area of growing research — have been greeted as godsends by some patients. For others, the devices have led only to infections and bleeding, or have required repair. The jury is also still out on kyphoplasty, a newer outpatient procedure for patients whose vertebrae fracture because of osteoporosis. The doctor inserts a needle into the spine and inflates a balloon, then injects a cement literally gluing the bones together. The procedure works only for a subset of patients.

With all the uncertainties surrounding medications and surgery, it’s little wonder that many physicians have fallen back on noninvasive, traditional approaches to easing the pain, like exercise or counseling. This year the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which oversees doctors’ training programs, began requiring that residents who want to become pain specialists study not only anesthesiology but also psychology, neurology and rehabilitative medicine.

Indeed, many back pain specialists are now evaluating their patients daily exercise habits and emotional stresses. The new standards are a small step, but one reflective of the growing realization that pain, in all its forms, must be approached more holistically. But realization now dawning on physicians has not yet been felt by insurers. Health plans pay for surgery, drugs and spinal injections, but rarely for long-term physical therapy, psychotherapy -- or joining a gym and seeking the assistence of a professional trainer in Austin.
Noted Dr. Portenoy, “Training people to do the right thing doesn’t necessarily work in the real world if you’re only reimbursed for interventions.”

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Austin Personal Muay Thai Trainers and Muay Thai Boot camps in Austin

Muay Thai: Cross-Train with Thai Boxing For Fun and Effective Results In the Gym
Kyle Brown, CSCS

One of the hottest new fi tness training methods is MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) training. Its benefi ts are not just for competitors or self defense, but also for crosstraining conditioning. A wide variety of men and women from serious athletes to desk jockeys and housewives are
embracing MMA training to enhance their fitness level. Considered to be the most brutal of the Martial Arts, Muay Thai (Thai-boxing) includes kicking and punching as well as devastating elbow, knee, and shin strikes (1). Muay Thai is one of the best sports for physical conditioning and a great compliment to your resistance training program for fun and eff ective results.


Athletes and weekend warriors alike can benefit from incorporating Muay Thai conditioning into their workout routine without the dangers of combat. Muay Thai training methods develop incredible speed, agility, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, strength, and power. Side benefits
include: stress relief, increased confi dence, self defense skills, and exciting, challenging workouts (2).

Nearly all techniques in Muay Thai involve movement of the entire body. Th e foundation of these movements involves rotating the hips with each kick, punch, and block. The power behind each striking movement comes from the core—not the lever being used (the arms or legs). This intense focus on the core is a big part of what differentiates Muay Thai from other Martial Arts (2).

Muay Thai-specific training includes using Thai-pads, focus mitts, heavy bag, and sparring. Muay Thai athletes also use traditional combat sport conditioning methods like running, shadowboxing, jumping rope, weight training, bodyweight-resistance exercises, medicine-ball exercises, and abdominal exercises (1).

The foundation of the Thai-boxer’s conditioning is the use of Thai-pads. Thai-pads are heavy pads strapped to the arms of a trainer/workout partner that work as targets to absorb the impact of the strikes and allow the athlete to react to the attacks of the pad holder. Th is method of training is advantageous to the heavy bag in that it allows the fighter to respond to a “live” opponent (3). Lastly, the heavy bag training can be used in addition to the Th ai-pads and focus
mitts for conditioning and power training. However, if you do not have the benefit of a trainer/workout partner, a Thai heavy bag or Body Opponent Bag (BOB) can be utilized.

A typical Muay Thai training program includes three to five minute rounds alternating between these various training skills – followed by a minute or two-minute rest period
(3). If you are looking to include Muay Thai into your fitness routine but do not have the time to make it a separate workout from your resistance training days, you can incorporate
it into your resistance training workouts.

1. Kraitus, P, Kraitus, P. Muay Thai: The Most Distinguished
Art of Fighting: 9th edition. Phuket, Thailand: Asia Books,
2. Mousel T. The Thai Boxing Workout: A Scientifi c
Approach. Accessed May 22, 2008 from, 2006.
3. Rebac Z. (1987) Thai Boxing Dynamite: The Explosive
Art of Muay Thai. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 1987.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Austin personal trainers training CrossFit in Austin, and the Dangers of rhabdomyolysis and scientifically invalidated CrossFit stupidity

Getting Fit, Even if It Kills You

WHILE many gymgoers complain that they might not survive a tough workout, Brian Anderson can speak from experience. For his first CrossFit session, he swung a 44-pound steel ball with a handle over his head and between his legs. The aim was to do 50 quick repetitions, rest and repeat. After 30 minutes, Mr. Anderson, a 38-year-old member of the special weapons and tactics team in the sheriff's office in Tacoma, Wash., left the gym with his muscles sapped and back pain so excruciating that he had to lie in the driveway to collect himself.

That night he went to the emergency room, where doctors told him he had rhabdomyolysis, which is caused when muscle fiber breaks down and is released into the bloodstream, poisoning the kidneys. He spent six days in intensive care.
Yet six months later Mr. Anderson, a former Army Ranger, was back in the gym, performing the very exercises that nearly killed him. "I see pushing my body to the point where the muscles destroy themselves as a huge benefit of CrossFit," he said.
In the last year this controversial exercise program has attracted a growing following of thousands nationwide, who log on to CrossFit's website for a daily workout, said its founder, Greg Glassman. Participants skip StairMasters and weight machines. Instead they do high-intensity workouts that mix gymnastics, track and field skills and bodybuilding, resting very little between movements.
The emphasis is on speed and weight hoisted, not technique. And the importance placed on quantifiable results has attracted hard-charging people like hedge fund managers, former Olympians and scientists. But some exercise experts are troubled by the lack of guidance for beginners, who may dive into stressful workouts as Mr. Anderson did. (He had not worked out regularly for two years.) "There's no way inexperienced people doing this are not going to hurt themselves," said Wayne Winnick, a sports medicine specialist in private practice in Manhattan, who also works for the New York City Marathon.
Other critics say that even fit people risk injury if they exercise strenuously and too quickly to give form its due, as CrossFit participants often do. For people who like to push the limits of fitness and strength - there are many police officers, firefighters and military personnel in the ranks of CrossFit athletes - the risks are worth it, because they consider it the most challenging workout around.
The short grueling sessions aren't for the weekend gym warrior. The three-days-on, one-day-rest schedule includes workouts like "Cindy": 20 minutes of as many repetitions as you can of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats. "Fight Gone Bad" entails rotating through five exercises, including throwing a 20-pound ball at a target 10 feet away. And only veteran CrossFit devotees even attempt, and few complete, "Murph," a timed mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and then a second mile run. (A weighted vest is optional.)
Mr. Glassman, CrossFit's founder, does not discount his regimen's risks, even to those who are in shape and take the time to warm up their bodies before a session.
"It can kill you," he said. "I've always been completely honest about that."
But CrossFitters revel in the challenge. A common axiom among practitioners is "I met Pukey," meaning they worked out so hard they vomited. Some even own T-shirts emblazoned with a clown, Pukey. CrossFit's other mascot is Uncle Rhabdo, another clown, whose kidneys have spilled onto the floor presumably due to rhabdomyolysis.
Mr. Glassman, 49, a former gymnast from Santa Cruz, Calif., walks with a slight limp because of a knee injury, and at 5-foot-7 and 185 pounds admits he should lose weight. He began developing CrossFit more than two decades ago, but he says that he spends so much time running the business now that he no longer regularly does the routines. At first his program was a hard sell to clients who weren't keen to climb ropes or grapple with gymnastic rings.
Then in 2001 he launched and began publishing a monthly journal and holding seminars at his California gym. People from around the world have come to learn Mr. Glassman's techniques. Today CrossFit has more than 50 affiliates in 21 states and 5 countries, Mr. Glassman said. And has 25,000 unique visitors a week, according to WebSideStory, a Web analytics company in Seattle.
Mr. Glassman's followers call him Coach and share a cultlike devotion to his theories.
"We are all drinking the Kool-Aid," said Eugene Allen, another Tacoma SWAT team member who introduced Mr. Anderson to CrossFit last summer. "It's hard not to catch Coach's enthusiasm."

Devotees say CrossFit has enabled them to challenge their bodies in ways they never thought possible. Eva Twardokens, 40, an Olympic alpine skier in the 1992 and 1994 Games, said years of CrossFit training have enabled her to bench-press 155 pounds, 20 more than she could when she was training for the Olympics.

Tariq Kassum, 31, a research analyst in New York, found both the workout community and the variety of difficult exercises he was looking for. Online, where some participants record their workout progress, people cheered him on as his upper-body strength increased. When he started CrossFit, Mr. Kassum was unable to do a handstand, but after a year with the program he can do push-ups from that position. CrossFit exercises can be made more or less intense based on a person's abilities, but the workouts are the same for everyone, from marines to senior citizens. And some critics say that is a big part of what's wrong.
"My concern is that one cookie-cutter program doesn't apply to everyone," said Fabio Comana, an exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise. He said people in their 60's who have osteoporosis, for example, may not be able to do an overhead press, pushing a barbell over one's head.
CrossFit enthusiasts are also criticized for being cavalier about the injuries they sustain, including chronic soreness, pulled muscles and even some separated shoulders. Norma Loehr, 37, a vice president for a financial services company in New York, was sidelined for a week after she strained her back doing "Three Bars of Death," 10 sets of 3 lifts using barbells that weigh up to one and a half times as much as the person using them. She realized the barbells were too heavy, but she didn't want to waste the seconds it would have taken to change plates.
Mr. Glassman said that he has never been sued by an injured client and that paramedics have never had to treat one of his clients in his gym. But he acknowledged that as many as six CrossFit participants have suffered rhabdomyolysis, which often sets in more than a day after excessive exercise.
After they complete the workout of the day, hundreds of people post their times and the amount they have lifted on the Web site, making CrossFit a competitive online sport.
"When I first started the program, I could barely do a pull-up, so I was embarrassed to post," Mr. Kassum said. "Now that I can do 20 or 30, I'm on there every day. People on there are animals."
Those people include Kelly Moore, a 42-year-old Wisconsin police dispatcher and former powerlifter who is 5 feet tall and 117 pounds and has eight-pack abs. Her self-reported statistics have become the stuff of legend on, inspiring both praise ("Pull-ups with a broken hand? You rock!") and amazement that she beats most men on the site. ("I'll be chasing Kelly until I die. At this rate, literally.")
CrossFit has an especially large number of police, firefighter and military participants. Members of Navy Seals, Air Force Pararescue and Special Forces groups also do workouts. And though it is not recognized as an official military regimen, CrossFit has drawn the attention of people in charge of military preparation. Capt. Timothy Joyce teaches CrossFit to marines in the Fleet Support Division in Barstow, Calif. And Capt. J. T. Williams, the chief standards officer at the Canadian Infantry School, where officers are trained, helped run a six-week trial where half of the participants followed the school's fitness program and half did CrossFit workouts. He declared CrossFit "very effective."
In recent months a group of New York CrossFit athletes have tried unsuccessfully to find a home gym. Joshua Newman, the group's organizer, said gym managers expressed concerns that they took up too much space, or even that their fast and furious pull-ups would break the apparatus.
"They used too many pieces of equipment at one time, and we got a lot of complaints from trainers who didn't like being on the floor with them," said Eric Slayton, the owner of New York Underground Fitness, a Midtown gym that Crossfit New York called home for a few weeks. "They put too much emphasis on getting things done in a certain amount of time and not enough on form."
But for Mr. Glassman, dismissals of his extreme workouts merely help him weed out people he considers weak-willed. "If you find the notion of falling off the rings and breaking your neck so foreign to you, then we don't want you in our ranks," he said.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Next Austin, TX Train With Jake Boot camp Begins on Wednesday, February 25th 2009. Be there.

We are going to work hard. We are going to use kettlebells. We are going to rock out in Downtown Austin. And, we are going to get the bodies we've always wanted.

My award winning instruction, based on current information, combined with Celeste Brinson's nutritional expertise makes the Train With Jake boot camp members unstoppable in pursuing their fitness goals. Our techniques are based on classical methods combined with information from the latest professional research journals.

The real question is:
In six weeks will you have put yourself through the best boot camp in Austin, TX, or will you still be in the same shape you are today?

Personal Trainers and boot camps serving the Austin, Texas (TX) area: Cedar Park, Round Rock, Hutto, Normans Crossing, Turkey Hollow, Jonestown, Spicewood, Lago Vista, Pond Springs, Jollyville, Ward Spring, Rices Crossing, Coupland, Cele, Pflugerville, Volente, North Shore Acres, Briarcliff, Marshall Ford, Four Points, Dessau, New Sweden, Lund, Manda, Elgin, Butler, Littig, Manor, Decker, Smoot, Greenshores, Rivers Hill, The Hills, Lakeway, Hammetts Crossing, Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, Rollingwood, Smoot, Pershing, Hornsby Bend, Webberville, Sayersville, Utley, Phelan, Garfield, Del Valle, Vinson, Cedar Valley, Kincheonville, Bear Creek, Dripping Springs, Mount Gainor, Driftwood, Manchaca, Pilot Knob, Elroy, Bastrop, Cedar Creek, Creedmoor, Buda, Flatrock Ford, Hays, Woodcreek, Mountain City, Goforth, Niederwald, Mustang Ridge, Mendoza, Lytton Springs, Rockne, Clearview

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Free workouts for Track and Field enthusiasts in Austin, TX by world renowned Olympic coaches

Today, I had the opportunity to work out with the folks at the Waterloo Track and Field Club at Austin High School. Let me tell you, seeing a 65-year-old woman in tip-top sprinting shape almost brings tears to my eyes (ok, not really, but it's still pretty cool). These people know what they are doing. They have trained numerous Olympic atheletes and been around for quite some time in the athletic scene. Anyone who has ever done any sort of athletic training in any reputable gym in Austin, under the guidance of any reputable strength coach or personal trainer, has picked up a Dynamax medicine ball at some time or another. The two chair people of this club designed them. You can check out their company at

The real reason I am posting this, is for you to have a free Austin workout resource. These people want to educate you for free, and of the fifteen or so of us that were out there today, three of us own prominent Austin personal training companies and Austin boot camps. Today, instead of giving others instruction in current fitness methods, we were there to shut up and listen to the voices of those with several decades of experience in training world-class athletes, and to expand our knowledge of exercise science.

The Waterloo Track and Field Club meets at the following times and locations:
Sundays 4:00 PM at the Austin High School Track
Tuesdays 9:30 AM, at the McNeil High School Track and 6:30 PM at the Austin High School Track
Fridays 9:30 AM at the McNeil High School Track and 5:30 PM at the Austin High School Track

E-Mail the Waterloo Track Club at

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Just Say No To High Fructose Death Syrup (AKA CRYSTALLINE FRUCTOSE)

By: Jacob Bellonzi


"Although they taste sweet, Dr. Oz says food products that contain high fructose corn syrup should be avoided. Dr. Oz says the body processes the sugar in high-fructose corn syrup differently than it does old-fashioned cane or beet sugar, which in turn alters your body's natural ability to regulate appetite. "It blocks the ability of a chemical called leptin, which is the way your fat tells your brain it's there," says Dr. Oz. "It's not so much the 150 calories in the soda pop—it's the fact at that same meal you will normally consume an extra hundred calories of food than you would have."

It's not rocket science people. Change the molecular structure of a substance (like the vegetable oil which forms "trans fat" when it's heated up to a couple hundred degrees) and the body screams "are you trying to kill me." The coolest thing though, is that the good people at the Corn Refiners Association are actually getting their legal teams to threaten health professionals like my father out of speaking the truth about the poison they purvey. I'm not sure if you've seen their creepy new ad campaign. I mean what would you say if your kids were watching their Saturday morning cartoons and on an alcohol commercial one woman turns to another, because she is concerned about her friend's drinking and the alcoholic friend responded "Alcohol? What about it? It's safer than crack, and harmless when taken in moderation."

Like I always say people educate yourselves. Knowledge is power. The FDA is clearly acting on behalf of the consumer. I feel totally safe and protected now. LOL.



Friday, February 20, 2009

For Austin runners, ameteur athletes, and anyone else spending too much time in Austin, TX on a treadmill

Sprinting: The Courvaisier of Cardio
By Loki

When it comes to cutting you up and promoting a nutrient-partitioning milieu conducive to building and maintaining a lean, muscular physique, sprinting simply cannot be beat. A simple look at competitive athletics demonstrates this pretty clearly.

And I am NOT even talking about PRO-athletics, a world rife with performance-enhancing-drug-using, one-and-a-million-gene-possessing individuals who are able to log hours of gym-time every day while being tended to by a virtual cadre of trainers, coaches, dieticians and sports-specialists.

No, instead just think back to your high-school days (unless you were home-schooled, in which case may someone have mercy on your sad, coddled soul, because you're just going to have to skip a few sentences).

Okay, now - mild genetic-selectivity aside - who were the most ripped (i.e. lowest amount of bodyfat relative to the amount of lean body mass carried) guys on your football team? The running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs, right? Track team? Jumpers and guys who ran events 400m and shorter. Basketball team guards?

Almost none of the guys or girls whose athletic lively-hoods depended on their being able to sprint at maximal or near-maximal speed (causing them to thereby hone their anaerobic threshold in the process) ever had an appreciable amount of bodyfat on their frames during their playing days.

Most folks (while speeding by the track on the way to the weight-room) still mistakenly attribute this phenomenon to simple 'ectomorphism.' Well I, Loki, shall not tolerate it any longer, and that is why I have come to preach the gospel of "going really fast with your feet."

The fact of the matter is, those kids' physiques may have been influenced by 'ectomorphism,' but they were influenced a whole helluva' lot more by "the big A's" when it comes to nutrient-partitioning, fat oxidation, and physique-augmentation:

  • 5'-AMP-mediated protein kinase (AMPk)
  • Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and
  • ADP : ATP (adenosine di- and tri- phosphate, respectively) cellular ratios.

The fact of the matter is, unless you simply happen to be the most inept Google-user on God's green Earth, if you're reading this article, you care about exercise and how you look. And if you care about either (and hopefully both), then you should make sure you save some room in that split of yours for some sprint work. Because 'booking it big-time' - be it on a track, in a park, in your yard, or from 'the 5-0' - will do more to develop your aesthetic and anaerobic capacities than anything else out there.

Trying to lose fat? You should be sprinting. Trying to gain lean mass? You should be sprinting. Trying to defy conventional established wisdom and be really badass and do both simultaneously in an effort to 'recomp?' Then you damn-sure NEED to be sprinting. And a look at the physiological effects and adaptations elicited by consistent (and possibly even infrequent) sprint-sessions, which I shall now share with you... will make things abundantly clear.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

For people in Austin currently interested in rest-pause training

Experiments With Rest-Pause Training

By Drew Baye


For those unfamiliar with the term, rest-pause is a method of resistance training where a brief pause is taken between repetitions. Some variations involve a pause between every repetition of a set, some involve pausing between reps or groups of reps to enable the performance of additional repetitions after muscular failure has been reached. The rest-pause between reps is typically between 5 and 15 seconds, and some variations start lower and increase as the set becomes progressively harder.

Rest pause is not a new method of training, or even a relatively recent development. Peary Rader wrote about rest pause training in 1946 in one of his Iron Man training courses, The Rader Master Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining System, and Bob Hoffman wrote about a method of rest pause he called Muscle Contraction with Measured Movement in 1962 in his Functional Isometric Contraction - Advanced Course. There have been numerous variations since then, some of the most popular being the 20 rep breathing squats popularized by Randall Strossen in his book Super Squats, Mike Mentzer’s version from High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way, and Dante Trudell’s “Dogg Crapp” training method.

Over a period of several weeks during the summer of 2006 Jon Kilcoyne and I used Mike Mentzer’s version of rest-pause training in our workouts. This involved performing two repetitions using close to one-rep maximum weights with a 10 second pause between reps, followed by two or three more forced reps with the same or a slightly reduced weight. Although this produced noticeable size increases we discontinued after a few weeks since assisting with the forced reps was becoming almost as draining as the sets themselves due to the rapid increases in weight.

We resumed rest-pause training in the fall using a more traditional method after reading Dan Moore’s articles on his Max Stim protocol, which make a strong case for rest-pause for hypertrophy. Rather than the near one rep max weights and 10 second pauses we were using with Mentzer’s rest-pause, we started with our normal weights and a 5 second pause, which initially resulted in a doubling of our rep counts. Over a period of several workouts we increased the weights until we were back down in the 5 to 8 repetition range, which we had both found worked well for us. Within a few weeks my one rep max on the chest press increased by nearly thirty pounds, and our weights had increased significantly on every exercise.

We started using this version of rest-pause with several clients, all with good results. The only downside was most of the Nautilus Nitro equipment we were using did provide an adequate amount of resistance - Jon and I and most of the male clients using rest pause quickly maxed out several of the machines. This has been an even bigger problem with MedX equipment, which sacrifices resistance for low inertia by limiting the stroke of the weight stacks to under a foot. My preference of machines for rest pause would be first and second generation Nautilus equipment, which had adequately heavy weight stacks, although free weights and well-designed plate-loaded machines would probably be the best choice since they will accomodate even the strongest trainees.

Twin Experiment with Rest Pause

In November of 2006 I started an experiment with a pair of identical twins to compare the effects of rest pause training on strength and muscle mass. Unfortunately, the twins were poor subjects for an experiment on muscular hypertrophy, being small-framed teenage girls and posessing what appeared to be very poor potential for muscular size. Additionally, it was apparent they did not follow my instructions to increase their calorie and protein intake, as there was no significant increase in bodyweight over an 11 week period. I didn’t exactly have identical twins knocking down the doors to participate in training experiments though, so I figured they’d have to do.

On November 13, 2006, I tested both twins’ one rep maximums on the calf raise, seated leg curl, leg press, row, chest press, pulldown, overhead press, back extension, and abdominal machines. Two days later I tested each twin for repetition maximums with 75% of their 1RM. While their reps for the upper body exercises were only a little on the high side, their reps for the leg exercises were absurdly high for 75% of 1RM, which probably had a bit to do with both being long distance runners. Interestingly, both performed very few reps with 75% of their 1RM on the back extension machine.

Both twins performed the same exercises, in the same order, using a repetition range of 8 to 12, a 3 second lifting and 3 second lowering cadence, and rested around 60 seconds between exercises. The only difference was one twin set down the weight and rested for 5 seconds between each repetition. Each twin worked out 16 times over a period of 11 weeks, starting November 20, 2006 and ending February 2, 2007. They were tested again for 1RM on February 6, and for their repetition maximum with 75% of their November 13 1RMs two days later on February 8. The muscular endurance test with 75% of the original 1RM was not retested on calf raise since I stopped both twins when they reached 40 repetitions during the initial test.

Kara: Rest-Pause (8-12 reps, 3/3 cadence, 5 second rest-pause)

Strength (1RM) Average Increase = 30.3%

Endurance (RM with 75% of Initial 1RM) Average Increase = 112%

Kelsey: Traditional Reps (8-12 reps, 3/3 cadence, No rest-pause)

Strength (1RM) Average Increase = 26.3%

Endurance (RM with 75% of Initial 1RM) Average Increase = 156%

Both twins increased their muscular strength and endurance significantly, but much of this can probably be attributed to learning effect since neither gained a significant amount of body weight. While the twin who performed rest pause had a higher increase in 1RM, the twin who performed regular repetitions had a much greater increase in muscular endurance.

Joseph Ross - 8.5 Pounds in Three Weeks

Unlike the twins in the experiment, Joe Ross had above average potential for muscular size gains, and followed my instructions to increase his calorie and protein intake. Joe also performed fewer exercises per workout, and alternated between two different workouts consisting of a few compound exercises each plus direct exercises for the upper arms and forearms. Over a period of three weeks during which he performed six workouts Joe increased his bodyweight from 165 to 173.5 pounds, while maintaining a very low level of body fat. I do not believe Joe’s results are typical, and would be highly skeptical if I did not weigh him and perform the skinfold measurements myself. I believe he could probably gain another 20 pounds of muscle if he continues to train and eat properly.

Recommendations for Rest-Pause Training

Since then, I have been using rest-pause regularly in my own workouts and with several of my personal training and phone clients. After a bit of experimentation, I’ve developed the following guidelines, which have been working pretty well so far.

Rest-Pause Duration: 5 seconds

I’ve been using a rest-pause duration of approximately 5 seconds. The weight is set down completely, unloading the muscles, and two deep breaths are taken: inhale on the one count, exhale on the two, inhale on the three, exhale on the four, then inhale on the five while getting set to begin the next rep. Shorter pauses don’t seem to allow as much of a weight increase, and pauses that are longer than 10 seconds end up taking a bit longer but don’t seem much more effective.

Repetition Range: 5-8

Most clients were able to almost double their repetitions with their normal set weight when performing the 5-second rest-pause between reps, and were able to use significantly more weight for their normal rep ranges. However, since systemic fatigue seemed to become more of a limiting factor when sets went on too long I reduced the upper rep number for everyone to 8 to keep the total set time under 90 seconds. I set the lower rep number at 5 to maintain a minimal cumulative time under tension of around 30 seconds for adequate motor unit recruitment and stimulation.

Some people may do better with slightly lower ranges similar to what Mentzer recommends, some will do better with higher reps, but this has worked well for everyone I have worked with so far.


When switching from normal, continuous sets to rest-pause I recommend increasing the weight by about 5-10% each workout until you are only able to perform 5 to 8 reps. Bigger weight increases if you normally use a higher repetition range, smaller if you normally use a lower repetition range.


Some exercises are better-than others for rest pause training. I recommend using exercises that allow you to set the weight down completely between repetitions. A power rack makes it possible to do this with a variety of barbell exercises. A bench or chair can be placed under a chinning bar for performing rest-pause chin-ups or pull-ups. Most well-designed machines work well for rest-pause, however many newer selectorized machines have weight stacks that are too small for stronger trainees. This is not a problem with plate-loaded machines. A book is currently in the works on rest-pause training that goes into this in detail.


Due to the much heavier weights that can be handled with rest-pause training, it is absolutely essential that all safety precautions are taken. I highly recommend a power rack for all barbell pressing exercises. If you’re lifting a bar over yourself, you should have the safety pins set at the right height to set the bar on during the rest-pauses and to prevent it from coming down on you if dropped. Inspect equipment before use to make sure there are no loose bolts, frayed cables or belts, or broken welds - I’ve seen all of these on equipment in big-name commercial gyms that were left unfixed for months. Don’t assume any equipment you use is in safe working condition - check it yourself.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If you live in Austin and are interested in CrossFit, read this article first

Lawsuit Alleges CrossFit Workout Damaging

By Bryan Mitchell - Naval Staff writer

MANASSAS, Va. — A lawsuit filed by a former sailor has raised concerns about the dangers of a workout regimen that is rapidly growing in popularity across the military.
The lawsuit, filed by former Information Systems Technician 1st Class Makimba Mimms in Prince William County, Va., Circuit Court late last year, seeks $500,000, as well as punitive damages, in connection with the permanent disability Mimms allegedly suffered as a result of performing the CrossFit workout under the direction of a trainer at a Manassas gym.
CrossFit, an intense strength and conditioning regimen, is practiced by thousands worldwide at dozens of ad-hoc clubs and is especially popular with military and law enforcement communities.
Neither CrossFit nor its founder, Greg Glassman, is listed as defendants in the lawsuit, but the word “CrossFit” appears dozens of times throughout the legal documents connected to the suit. Glassman could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuit is part of an emerging body of evidence that CrossFit may be damaging to participants’ health, perhaps even causing death — a possibility acknowledged by its founder as early as 2005.
Following a June story on the popularity of CrossFit in Military Times newspapers, Capt. Jonathan Picker, commander of the Navy’s Center for Personal and Professional Development, posted a story that raised concerns about CrossFit in the July issue of the center’s internal magazine.
“Several [experts] in the sports medicine field (military and civilian) have addressed a concern that the program has the potential for causing an increased incidence of musculoskeletal injuries and even muscle breakdown (rhabdomyoloysis) and therefore is not supported by [Navy Center for Personal and Professional Development],” the story states. “Granted, anyone can develop a program that’s very intense, but there’s a safer way of doing this for our sailors.” Picker could not be reached for comment.
Navy officials said studies are underway to examine CrossFit and its potential effects on service members, but those involved with the studies declined to discuss the specifics.
A section of Picker’s story was posted on a CrossFit Web site and subsequently mocked by some of CrossFit’s more strident advocates.
“You know what’s another excellent way to get a musculoskeletal injury?” one poster asked in reply to Picker’s assessment. “Getting shot because you can’t run fast enough with 50 [pounds] on your back!”
However, Glassman posted a warning on the CrossFit site in October 2005 labeled “CrossFit induced Rhabdo,” telling participants about the potential problems associated with the unforgiving workout, while Eugene Allen — a Washington State law enforcement officer who runs a CrossFit blog — posted an even less ambiguous warning in May 2005 titled “Killer Workouts.”
“With CrossFit, we are dealing with what is known as exertional rhabdomyolysis,” he wrote. “It can disable, maim and even kill.”
That’s what Mimms contends happened to him in one intense exercise session Dec. 11, 2005, in which, he said, he suffered injuries he has yet to recover from.
In the initial seven-page complaint filed Nov. 21, Mimms’ attorney, Phillip Walsh, contends that Manassas World Gym, Ruthless Training Concepts and Ruthless trainer Javier Lopez failed to exercise diligence before instructing an unprepared Mimms in performing CrossFit.
“The defendants, in concert with one another, entreated, promoted, encouraged and coached Mr. Mimms to perform and endure the extreme exertion prescribed by the CrossFit regimen,” court records state.
The suit claims Mimms suffered from rhabdomyolysis — which occurs when tiny shreds of muscle fiber are absorbed by the bloodstream and ultimately poison the kidneys — as a result of performing a CrossFit workout under the direction of Lopez, who worked as Ruthless Training Concepts trainer at the now-defunct Manassas World Gym.
Mimms, who was in the Navy for 11 years, got out in May and was not separated for medical reasons, declined to discuss the case, pending a trial slated to begin Oct. 6 in Manassas.
Lopez could not be reached for comment. However, statements made by Lopez to court officials during a pretrial deposition indicate he was aware that “people who perform too intensely perhaps can undergo this rhabdomyolysis,” he said.
Ruthless Training Concepts, as well as attorneys representing Ruthless and Manassas World Gym, declined to comment on the suit.
Several physicians, including Walter Reed Army Medical Center neurophysiologist Lt. Col. Mark Landau, concluded that Mimms suffered severe injuries following his intense CrossFit workout, according to court records.
The injuries included rhabdomyolysis, lumbosacral spine strain and strain of the bilateral quadriceps, according to court documents. As a result of these injuries, Mimms was incapacitated, lost time from work and required surgery, court records show.
“[He] endured great mental and physical pain, mental anguish and inconvenience,” court records state. “[He] has incurred and will in the future incur medical and related expenses, has sustained permanent disability.” The extent of his physical disability was not outlined in court documents.
Dr. Priscilla Clarkson of the University of Massachusetts contends that Lopez encouraged Mimms to perform exercises known to produce rhabdomyolysis. “Adequate precautions to prevent such a condition from occurring were not taken,” Clarkson wrote in documents prepared for the lawsuit.
Gray Cook, a physical therapist who consults with a host of NFL teams on strength and conditioning, said CrossFit is not dangerous unless performed by people not physically prepared for its intensity.
Cook stressed that he did not want to disparage CrossFit, and that the program has inherent benefits, such as keeping people active and preventing boredom by mixing up workouts. His concern is that novice participants don’t know what they’re getting into.
“Football players practice a lot more than they play for a reason,” Cook said. “You are not supposed to test drive the system as much as you tune it up.”
Mimms is certainly not the only service member to induce rhabdo with a strenuous workout. An article in the February/March 2008 issue of the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, published by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, indicates the ailment is on the rise across the services.
There were 114 cases of rhabdo across the military services in 2004, four of which required hospitalization. The number rose to 159 in 2007, including 34 that required hospital visits.
No individual cause is provided for the rise in the number of rhabdo cases, and CrossFit is not mentioned in the four-page article.
The article states that troops struck with rhabdo are more likely to be from Army and Marine units, that cases tend to occur in the summer, and that blacks and other nonwhite service members are at a higher risk of suffering from the ailment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Award winning Austin Personal Training Treadmill Protocol

In the beginning, raise this by 0.1mph every time you do it, when you get closer to your threshold, raise it ).1mph each week

Done at 3% incline on treadmill

-start at lowest point for two minutes
-climb up 2.0mph in 0.5mph increments(4 increments)
-drop back down to lowest point
-climb up 2.0mph in 4 increments
-drop back down to lowest point
-climb up 2.0mph in 4 increments
-climb up an additional 0.5mph for two minutes
-drop back down to lowest point for two minutes

If you're pretty fast, this would be a good example:

Committed to your success,
Jacob Bellonzi
Train With Jake
(512) 554-9944

Monday, February 16, 2009

An Austin Fitness Trainer begs you to reconsider getting vaccinated

Ah, vaccines, how many ways I despise them. We poison our children, as we were poisoned, all in the name of health and wellness. We trust doctors who tell us to abstain from alternative treatments like chelation. I can't stand it. It makes my blood boil. Please, people educate yourselves before you stick another needle into yourself or your children.

Here's what my father has to say on the subject:

and here is a special on the link between mercury (found in vaccines and amalgam fillings) toxicity and Autism in our children. Education is your best defense.

Part 1

Part 2

If you're still not convinced, go to for more information on the dangers of heavy metals and the truth about the false vilification of


Back to the Playground: Jumping Rope for Athletic Conditioning

By: Kyle Brown, CSCS

Reminisce for a moment back to your childhood when fitness was not a monitored chore but a multitude of fun games and activities you looked forward to participating in during recess or after school. One of the most time-efficient and beneficial childhood activities for physical fitness
was jumping rope. Yet as adults, the only group that notoriously taps into the conditioning benefits of jumping rope is fighters. With a little persistent practice, you too
can reap the conditioning benefits of this fun yet challenging
and time-efficient workout tool.

Make sure you purchase a quality rope and the appropriate size. The rope needs to be long enough but not too long that it is not challenging. To find a standard starting measurement, stand with one foot in the center of the rope and the handles should reach your underarm. Since
jumping rope is a plyometric move, (explosive jumping movement) you must ensure you have a forgiving shock absorbing surface. A few good examples are a basketball
court, tennis court, or gym mat.

Since jump roping is considered by many a plyometric activity, there should be a gradual progression in the quantity and intensity of the jumps. Learning how to jump rope parallels in many ways learning how to play a musical instrument. You need to get the skills down before you can play. When you are beginning learning to jump rope, you should focus on frequency rather than duration. For example, if you are at the gym to lift weights followed by cardio,
use jump rope for a minute or two as a warm up, post resistance training, and post cardio. Once you’ve developed baseline proficiency, you can train with a variety of programs. For instance, try one minute rounds followed by 30 seconds rest. Try to work up to 6 – 12 of them. Start by running in place or double leg jumps and work up to double unders (two turns of the rope for every jump), crisscross patterns, single leg jumps, and backwards jumps.

Not only is jumping rope a challenging workout, but once you develop proficiency it can become quite fun. No more need to stress if your hotel doesn’t have a gym and it’s cold or raining outside. You can take a jump rope with you wherever you travel so it’s the one of the most inexpensive portable workout options. If you are a novice, be patient and expect a challenge. Yet the rewards are worth the practice and jumping rope can become and enjoyable,
time-efficient conditioning tool.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Recovering at the Speed of Life

By Dr. Tim Maggs
July/August 2001
Washington Running Report

The million dollar question--"How can I recover more quickly from both injuries and training/racing?" Nature's time frame for recovery and our recovery needs are often in conflict. Speeding this process has kept many researchers (as well as yours truly) burning the midnight oil searching for advances. My greatest teacher was personally being on the disabled list. I wished my only goal was to recover from a marathon. Unfortunately, I tried in vain for eight years to recover from chronic calf pulls (more than 75 of them). I guess being personally injured automatically put the interest level up a notch or two. I'm not sure whether it was intelligence or ignorance that kept me persistently looking for an answer, but I ultimately found one, and this is now the foundation of my Maggs Muscle ManagementTM Program.

Physiological Changes An exercised muscle will go through micro-traumas. The micro- tears that occur after exercise require time to heal. That time is our recovery period. With a little forethought and discipline, we can expedite the recovery process, from both training and racing, while also reducing our vulnerability to injury.

The first step in a speedier recovery is to prepare your muscles better. Fast and short or long and slow, muscles recover more quickly with a thorough warm-up. My muscle management program encourages the increase of blood to muscles (The Stick is one way to do this), coupled with thorough stretching of the muscles. This will increase both the temperature and length of the muscle, making the muscle more efficient in both exercise and recovery. Circulation (food and oxygen) to the muscle will increase, while harmful toxins will be flushed from the muscle.

Recovery Once a muscle has been worked, and depending on the degree of work it has done, it will contain micro-tears. A worked muscle will also be tight, much like a clenched-fist. This environment suggests the need for circulation, but Mother Nature's time clock insists that a muscle must slowly relax before healthy volumes of new blood can get into the muscle to begin the clean- up and healing process. Again, with the combination of The Stick and stretching, new, rich blood flow is introduced to a muscle while the muscle is being manually relaxed. This allows food and oxygen to get into the muscle much faster, expediting the whole recovery process.

Now, to add one more piece to the puzzle, you have your carbohydrate window, which can help dramatically in this process. Studies have shown there is a period after intense or long endurance exercise that muscles are "hungry" for glycogen restoration. During a brief period after exercise, this "window" is your opportunity to consume carbohydrates that will speed recovery and increase your stores of glycogen for future use. "The longer you wait before you consume carbohydrates, the less 'hungry' your muscles become," says Dr. John Ivy, Ph.D., director of the exercise science laboratory at the University of Texas. "If you wait longer than 15 minutes, the rate of absorption is decreased by roughly fifty percent."

This basically says that, instead of sitting around reminiscing after a race or hard workout, get out your Stick or ask a friend to apply some good massage techniques to the most worked muscles in your body. Then, ingest some carbohydrate recovery product that will feed the muscles exactly what they are looking for.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Do you set S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals?

Ask any accomplished person, from Bill Gates to Micheal Jordan how they achieved their mountain of success, and they will reply that they accomplished their dreams, through obtaining realistic goals.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for

So the next time you are in Austin, wondering, "should I hire a personal trainer to help me lose 50 pounds?," or "I want to look like Arnold schwarzenegger, by recruiting a well-qualified personal trainer," ask yourself first if that is a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dr. Vince Bellonzi D.C., CCN

My father, Dr. Vincent Bellonzi, D.C., CCN and well respected Strength and Conditioning Coach discusses the primary obstacles to weight loss presented by stress.

What should a top notch Austin Group Fitness or Austin Boot Camp entail?

Dear Friends,

In your quest for fitness and weight loss in Austin, there are many Austin personal trainers and Austin boot camps to choose from, so HOW DO YOU PICK THE RIGHT ONE? In order to protect the anonymity of my former fitness employer, I'll leave they're name out. Although this employer offered several locations and classes, I generally taught a kickboxing and kettlebell class in the 78704. These people are great, don't get me wrong, and many members experienced an impressive weight loss, and saw all kinds of other great fitness results. However, this new trend of CrossFit, saying, "push em till they puke," "have Ms. Jones start doing cleans on her first day," and "let's just let em work, and worry about the risk later," mentalities are dangerous, and are a threat to everything a good, knowledgeable, and well qualified Austin trainer like myself spends his or her life trying to abolish.

I have narrowed the consumer concerns as follows:

1. What Austin fitness professional is running the Boot Camp?
-Are they well established in the Austin Community?
-Is their business insured?
-What is their athletic background?
-Can they provide references?
-What are their fitness credentials?

2. How do they process the new Boot Camp enrollee?
-Do they at least have a PAR-Q (physical activity readiness questionnaire) to protect both the integrity of their company and the safety of their new client?
-Did they perform a postural analysis or any other helpful fitness tests to ensure Boot Camp or group fitness would be an appropriate method of pursuing weight loss?
-Did they answer all of your questions, or did they just take your money and smile?

3. What sort of training methods do they provide in their Austin group fitness class or Boot Camp?
-How do they assess different fitness levels and provide an equally intense workout for all participants from sedentary to athletic?
-Do they have a dynamic program, or are they just making you do a bunch of push-ups and planks and telling you to run for extended periods in between
-Do they assess nutrition (this is 70%-80% of your results)
-Do they incorporate a proper warm-up and cool down into each session?
-Do they do anything to improve flexibility?
-Do you leave each session feeling educated or confused?

Before you consider factors like money and class time, first run your prospective Austin Boot Camp or Group Fitness service through the above checklist.

Good luck,
Jacob Bellonzi
Train With Jake
(512) 554-9944

Wednesday, February 11, 2009



I thought it was about time to begin my blog. It will feature every current bit of valuable contemporary fitness information an Austin top ten personal fitness trainer like myself can manage to provide. This will include tips for weight loss, techniques used by Austin personal trainers, Kettlebell techniques, resistence band training techniques, and just about every thing else I can think of.

Warm Regards,
Jacob Bellonzi
Train With Jake
(512) 554-9944