Kettlebells For Fixing Your Bad Back

Exercise, Health No Comments »

I just wrote a guest post for Dr. Brian Russell called: 5 Reasons Kettlebells Will Fix Your Bad Back

If you have ever had a sore lower back, you need to check it out.

Read it here: Kettlebells And Back Pain

Have a great day!

~ Luke


How To Start Bicycling

Exercise No Comments »

The Tour de France is all over the news right now.  (This is the race Lance Armstrong won after his battle with cancer)

Professional bicyclists from around the world meet in France for this killer 21 day race. And with the exciting and dangerous terrain, the high drama of the event… not to mention the competitors’ impressively toned calves and thighs, this race makes for great entertainment.

Want to get into bicycling, improve your cardiovascular fitness, and get legs like Lance Armstrong?

Here are 3 Fast And Simple Tips:

1. Visit Your Local Bike Shop

Most bike shops have bulletin boards, flyers, and knowledgeable staff that can advise you on beginner to advanced group rides, mechanics that can teach you about your bike, and locals who’ll teach you where to ride. Pick a shop, become their friend, and just like at your favorite restaurant, they’ll take good care of you.

2. Buy a Used Bike

There’s nothing like a weekend bike ride outdoors with the wind in your hair, the birds singing, and nature all around. Often, serious cyclists are serial bike buyers, and they’ll sell their nearly new bikes on Craigslist for a fraction of the original cost. This is a great way to get a nice bike, but be sure to look for scratches, dents, cracks, or any other sign of a  crash.

3. Get Your Gear

Some of the equipment that will make your cycling more enjoyable and safe is: a headlight night riding, a well-vented helmet for keeping your head cool and protected, padded gloves and cork tape for preventing hand numbness, a cycling computer to tell you how fast you’re going and how far you’ve ridden, and special cycling shoes that attach to the pedals and allow you to have a much more efficient pedaling stroke.

One Liner Diet Plans

Nutrition 4 Comments »

In my nutrition seminars I teach a simple order of importance for the different areas of nutrition.

They are:

  1. WHAT you eat
  2. WHEN you eat
  3. HOW MUCH you eat

So, if you want to change how your body looks and feels, you need to focus on what kind of food you’re eating BEFORE you start counting calories.

(Of course, this is exactly the opposite of where most people start.  That’s why they’re fat.)

There are a bunch of simple one-line nutrition plans that trainers recommend.  And guess what?  They all focus on the first part of the nutrition hierarchy: What you eat.

Without further ado, here they are!

One Line Diet Plan Numero Uno: Meat, Leaves, and Berries

I first learned about the “Meat, Leaves, and Berries” diet from the legendary weightlifter and thrower Dan John.

It’s just like it sounds.  Here is Dan’s own description:

It’s a very simple idea. My wife and I had gone on the Atkins Diet and really saw some fantastic results. What I started to notice almost immediately, was a real improvement in “general” health, especially in my skin, basic nasal congestion issues, that kind of thing.

This is right after I invented the Internet, so I started surfing the web and discovered others who were “Paleo-dieting.” Well, to simplify it, we start calling it “meat and leaves.” Basically, meat is fish, beef, poultry and eggs. Leaves are uncooked vegetables, salad and salad bar items, basically. After a while, we tossed in berries for all the antioxidant help. Then we started considering “in season” fruit, apples in the fall, citrus in the winter, and the whole thing fell into place.

I know that I thrive on eating like this, but I fall off the wagon sometimes and get fat, bloated and red faced. It’s an attractive look on me.

You can check out Dan at:

One Line Diet Plan Numero Dos: The Dental Floss Diet

Basically, everything that’s good for you sticks in your teeth and you have to floss after eating.

(Yes, I know caramel gets stuck in your teeth.  It’s not on this plan.  Sorry)

Ice cream, Big Macs, donuts, white bread, etc are so processed that there is nothing left for your teeth to do.

Broccoli, steak, almonds, and spinach, however, get stuck up in your grill and are great for you.

One Line Diet Plan Numero Tres: Green Faces

I first heard about this one from the one and only Rachel Cosgrove.

On it, you only eat green vegetables and things that have a face.

This is a GREAT plan because it takes all ambivalence out of your eating.  It’s a yes or no answer.

Can I have cheese?  Nope, no face.

Veal? Yep, cute face.

Pie? No face, not even if you cut one in the crust.

Salmon? Yes, weird looking face.

Since Green Faces takes out all of the guess work, you end up eating only things that are good for you.

One Line Diet Plan Numero Quatro: 3 Steps From The Farm

This diet comes from Lou Schuler, the best-selling fitness author.

I don’t like this one quite as much as the others, because it allows things like whole grains, but here’s the gist: Don’t eat anything you can’t trace back to the farm in 3 steps.

Steak? Yes: Farm, Butcher, Store

Cheese? Yes: Dairy, Aging House, Store

Bagel? No: Farm, Dairy, processor, bakery, store

Snickers? Hell no: Too many to list

One Line Diet Plan Numero Cinco: Nothing You Couldn’t Get In The Wilderness With A Sharp Stick

Another one-liner that focuses only on natural foods.

You can get meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and eggs with nothing but a sharp stick.

You can’t get anything that depends on agriculture: grains, beans, dairy, etc.

One Line Diet Plan Numero Seis: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

This comes from In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan.

Pretty good rules to fit in one line, right?

Eat Food: Only eat unprocessed foods that your body knows what to do with

Not Too Much: Self explanatory

Mostly Plants: Dr. Russel always recommends that at least half of your plate is covered with veggies.  Good idea.

What They Have In Common

All six of these nutritional one-liners focus on making GOOD FOOD CHOICES.

Cut out the crap and replace it with meat, leaves, and berries and your body will finally start changing!

Smoky Chicken Recipe

Recipe No Comments »

This chicken has a delicious smoky flavor without the carcinogens from actually smoking the meat.  Plus, it’s quick and easy to make on busy weeknights.

Pair with some broccoli for a perfect healthy meal.

smoky chicken

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Smoky Chicken Recipe Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on, organic chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • dash of salt and pepper

Preheat your oven oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place in a large ziplock bag.

In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Add to the ziplock bag and toss until the chicken is fully coated.

Place the coated chicken thighs on a broiling pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Nutrition Info: Each serving equals: 248 calories, 18g fat, 1g carbohydrate, and 18g protein

One Problem With Prescription Drugs…

Health, Rant No Comments »

I have to admit it: ads on TV for prescription drugs kind of offend me.

I mean, isn’t that why I’m going to the doctor?  To find out what I should be doing?

Doctors probably HATE it.  It’s their expertise and people are reading a newspaper article and seeing a commercial and then come in and tell the Doc what’s wrong.  HOW THE HELL DOES A 30SECOND COMMERCIAL TRUMP 8 YEARS OF MEDICAL SCHOOL?

Anyhoo, check out this great video of Jake Johanssen poking fun at prescription drug ads:

Talk to you soon,

~ Luke
Carson City Personal Trainer

Swearing, Lactic Acid, And Exercise

Exercise, Study 4 Comments »

I remember the morning clearly.  I called my little sister on the way home from the gym and said, “You know that sweet southern girl I was telling you about?  She said the F-WORD during her workout this morning!

The sweet, slow-talking girl I was talking about is Deirdre Reid, one of my first clients in Carson City:

And the exercise that made her swear?  Negative Chin Ups:

Why do I bring this up?

Well, two reasons:

  1. To tell an embarrassing story about Deirdre
  2. I needed a way to introduce a study on swearing and exercise

If you exercise hard at all, you’ve probably at least felt like swearing (even if you didn’t out loud :))

And here’s something cool: A study from last August showed that swearing helps you tolerate pain!

Stephens R, Atkins J, Kingston A. (2009). Swearing as a response to pain. Neuroreport. 2009 Aug 5;20(12):1056-60.

The pain from exercise comes from a build-up of lactic acid.  All this means is that you’re exercising and producing lactate faster than your body can remove it, and that’s a GOOD THING.

That lactic acid does make your muscles burn and prompt a few swear words, but it has some cool benefits for your body transformation, such as:

  • Increased testosterone production (good for men and women)
  • Increased Human Growth Hormone (burns fat and keeps you young!)
  • Helps you use carbohydrates more efficiently
  • Fuels your brain during exercise

The abstract from the swearing and pain study is, well…. abstract:

Although a common pain response, whether swearing alters individuals’ experience of pain has not been investigated. This study investigated whether swearing affects cold-pressor pain tolerance (the ability to withstand immersing the hand in icy water), pain perception and heart rate. In a repeated measures design, pain outcomes were assessed in participants asked to repeat a swear word versus a neutral word. In addition, sex differences and the roles of pain catastrophising, fear of pain and trait anxiety were explored. Swearing increased pain tolerance, increased heart rate and decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing. However, swearing did not increase pain tolerance in males with a tendency to catastrophise. The observed pain-lessening (hypoalgesic) effect may occur because swearing induces a fight-or-flight response and nullifies the link between fear of pain and pain perception.

Luke’s Take Home Message:

You should be working out so freaking hard that you feel like swearing to relieve the burn!

Fitness For 10 Year Olds: Play Lots Of Sports!

Exercise No Comments »

A crazy mom a few years ago wanted to hire me to train her baseball star son.  She wanted me to work on his rotational strength and forward speed.

No problem for the Lukester.  Until I found out she had also hired:

  • a hitting coach
  • a throwing coach
  • a conditioning coach
  • a lateral speed coach

And that was in addition to his normal baseball practice!

Oh, did I mention he was 8 freaking years old?!?!

I declined her offer.  (I tend to rub other coaches the wrong way :))

Also, I think sports should actually be FUN for kids.

Before puberty is the best time to play all sorts of sports, to build a wide base of motor skills and movement patterns.  Kids who specialize too early are at MAJOR risk for burnout and injury before they ever get to college.

Here’s a quote from The Development Of The Russian Conjugate Sequence System (Myslinski):

“At an early age (approximately 6.5-9 years old+ 1 year), the initial preparation stage begins. This stage is the cornerstone in the pursuit of PASM (Process of Attaining Sports Mastery) and is characterized by the progressive development of motor skills through a traditional multifaceted motor preparedness and the creation of a functional groundwork for specialized perfecting of motor abilities. Its exclusive goal is to expose young athletes to a wide variety of physical skills, thus stimulating a healthy development and increasing their functional capacities, motor abilities and knowledge base. Additionally, exposing the pre-adolescent sportsman to a well-rounded curriculum negates the effects of early specialization and elevates their overall adaptation level”

Or, to put it another way, children should minor in all sports and major in none.

What practical advice do I have?  (This Fitness For 10 Year Olds Series could just be a rant about overweight kids, but I want everyone to have some things to take action on)

  1. Sign your kid up for all sorts of different classes.  6 weeks of karate, 12 weeks of soccer, a volleyball seminar
  2. Lock up the Wii and XBox.  WiiFit doesn’t count as exercise.  Make kids spend time outside playing to earn time inside sitting.
  3. Play sports yourself.  Your kids will follow your example.
  4. Understand that sports have winners and losers.  Learning how to handle a loss is a valuable skill, don’t let your kids quit just because they can’t handle losing.
  5. Read the Youth Fitness Solution.  It’s a nutrition and exercise program for parents to use with their kids.

That’s it!  The take-home message for today is: Kids should play sports, and play a lot of them!

4 Natural Bodycare Recipes

Health, Recipe No Comments »

Whatever you put on your skin is absorbed through your whole body.  If you’re skeptical, try this experiment: Rub a lot of garlic on your feet.  In 20 minutes you’ll be able to taste it on your tongue.

Only 20 minutes to go all the way from your feet to your mouth.

So it makes sense to switch out unpronounceable chemicals for natural products.  Here are four simple switches that you can make yourself to keep you looking and feeling great.

fruit on face

Sweet Coconut Sea Salt Scrub


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil


Mix the ingredients well in a bowl, then use a spatula to transfer to a glass jar with an airtight lid.  Keep the mix in a cool, dry place (not in your shower/bath stall).

Use it once or twice a week.  Keep the mix jar out of water and it will last up to two years – but you’ll enjoy the smooth skin so much you’ll be out of it wayy before then ;)

Almond And Olive Bath Moisturizer


  • 1 cup almond oil
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Either 1 sliced vanilla bean or a handful of fresh peppermint leaves… your choice


Mix the ingredients in a jar, shake until well blended.  Leave sealed for two or three days to let the vanilla or mint infuse the oils.

Keep in a cool, dry place and it will last for 2 months.

Use two or three spoonfuls in your bath to moisturize without feeling clogged.

Lavender Shea Avocado After-Shower Moisturizing Cream


  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup shea butter
  • A few drops lavender oil (5-10 drops, depending on how lavender-y you want it)


Mix the shea butter and avocado oil over low heat in a small pan, until all melted together.  Pour into a sealable glass container, then add your lavender oil.

Put in the refrigerator until creamy.

Use after your shower to soften and protect dry skin.

Calming And Toning Refreshing Body Mist


  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup rosewater
  •  5-10 drops lemon or orange essential oil


Pour the ingredients in a glass spray bottle and shake until well blended.

Store in the refrigerator and use it to mist bare skin.  It is a great refresher any time of the day.

glowing natural skin

Primal Snacking Rocks! 19 Delicious Ideas For You

Health, Nutrition, Weight Loss 4 Comments »

When you get your nutrition program really dialed in, your training program will work like magic.

One of the habits you need to get into is eating every 2-3 hours.

Meals are pretty easy to visualize:

  • Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, melon, sausage
  • Lunch: Chicken, Roast beef, spinach salad, carrots, bell pepper
  • Dinner: steak, salmon, broccoli, asparagus

But it’s harder to come up with good snack ideas. I mean, the time it takes to chew steak, spinach, and a bell pepper will use up a whole 15 minute break (and then you won’t even have a chance to pee!)

I was re-reading Primal Body-Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas and found a great list of primal snacks. Check them out, try a few, and leave a comment with your favorite healthy snacks!

  • Raw nuts (that have preferably first been soaked overnight in salt water, drained, rinsed, and dried in a 150 degree oven to eliminate phytates and trypsin inhibitors) including: macadamia, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts
  • Hard boiled or deviled eggs (organic, free-range)
  • Sardines packed in olive oil (very rich in zinc and omega-3)
  • Tuna packed in olive oil
  • Tuna or chicken salad (w/o any macaroni)
  • Sliced seasoned avocado

  • Pate (no crackers or bread!)
  • Grass-fed liverwurst or braunschweiger sausage
  • Olives [note from Luke: Whole Foods in Reno has a great selection of olives!]
  • Cream cheese balls, herbed or plain, with an olive center
  • Coconut flakes
  • Green drinks (no sugar!)
  • Almond or other nut butter – NOT peanut or cashew (use celery sticks or a spoon)
  • Organic, full-fat cheese slices (preferably raw milk based) or a slice of brie (goat and/or sheep milk)
  • Homemade salmon jerky, beef jerky, or pemmican (see recipes in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon) or a good homemade-style beef jerky sold at a natural foods-type meat counter
  • Raw veggies and homemade avocado dip or guacamole
  • Sliced turkey or roast beef rolled up with cheese or cream cheese
  • Lox or smoked salmon – with or without cream cheese
  • Shrimp cocktail with lemon

The secret: Fuel your body more often, not less. You don’t want to feel starved or deprived.

By fueling your body throughout the day you’ll keep your metabolism revving!

QuickTrim Commercial Makes Me Sad Inside

Health, Nutrition, Rant 3 Comments »

Maybe I’m just weird, but I don’t think Kim Kardashian is hot.

And she’s certainly not fit.

So when I caught this commercial where she endorses QuickTrim weight loss supplements, it made me sad.

The music makes me think of 70’s porn films (don’t ask me how I know that), as does the whispered voice over.

Then she shoves her chest at the camera and asks “How hot do you want to be?

Quick note: QuicTrim didn’t give her those breasts.  Sorry.

But since I’m curious by nature, I decided to check out the ingredient list and see just exactly WHAT so many people are putting in their bodies.

You can read the product info at:

Ok, the “burn and cleanse” capsules contain 400mg of caffeine – which is equal to 4 or 5 cups of coffee.  They also contain black pepper and willow bark, both of which boost the potency of caffeine.

The caffeine in there is designed to raise your metabolism, but unless you burn a lot of calories while you jitter around, it won’t do much for your body.

There is also green tea extract, which might contain caffeine.  Green tea in its liquid form is good for you, concentrated forms are not.

And since it might contain caffeine, along with all of the other sources and boosters in the pills, if you wash this down with a cup of coffee you could overdose on caffeine and really mess up your heart.

The “IsoCleanse and Flush” pills have TWO kinds of laxatives:

  • Bulk laxatives: oat fiber, prunes, dates, & fig extracts
  • Stimulant laxatives: rhubarb, cascara, & senna

These pills are designed to speed up the movement of food through your intestines.  And unless you’re severely constipated, this is a BAD IDEA.

You’ll get dehydration and diarrhea (“How hot do you want to be?”), plus loss of nutrients.  On the bright side, you’ll weigh less.  Your body fat won’t have changed, but you’ll be nice and sick.

And even better, your system will become dependent on these pills for bowel movements, so you’ll become constipated if you ever stop supplementing.  You’ll also gain all the water weight back right away if you ever stop.

Bloated and constipated.  (“How hot do you want to be?”)

These pills also have a lot of diuretics in them, which will cause even more water loss and dehydration, without leading to any fat loss.

Added bonus: The ingredients juniper berry, uva ursi, and horsetail extract all become toxic over time.  Hooray!

Again, you’ll lose water weight, but not FAT weight.  And you’ll put every ounce of it back on.

While you’re dehydrated from these pills some of the side effects may be:

  • extreme exhaustion
  • severe muscle cramps
  • memory loss
  • coma
  • kidney stones
  • kidney failure
  • bloating
  • seizures

The rest of the supplements in this system are just more of the same: laxatives, stimulants, and diuretics.  Boooo.

Bottom line: These pills won’t help you lose weight, and they’ll do your body internal harm if you take them.

(Even flappers in the jazz age were taking weight loss pills.  Check out how fat Jane became slim Jane!)