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!

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!)

Paleo Bookshelf: Must Have Titles For Primal Living

Health, Nutrition 4 Comments »

Paleo eating is awesome.

I used to have a t-shirt that said “Eat Like A Caveman”, but it got destroyed during a brutal tire-flipping workout :)

What is a primal diet?  Basically, it is a way of eating that gives your body the foods it was designed to use, and gives you optimal health, fast fat loss, and tons of satisfaction.

I go deep into primal diets (and primal fat loss) in my nutrition seminars, too deep to cover here.  Take a look at the list below.

Do you:

  • have any “diseases of civilization”? (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc)
  • have trouble losing weight?
  • get periods of low energy during the day?
  • ever suffer from emotional troubles? (ADD, depression, anxiety)
  • get acne, psoriasis, or other skin conditions?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you need to look into primal eating.

Check out this testimonial one of my personal trainer friends received on his website:

I’m 56 years old and have been a type 2 diabetic since I was 32. When diagnosed, I went on the American Diabetic Association exchange diet, which is 50%+ carbohydrates. Believe it or not, the diet worked for a while, because as high in carbs as it is, it was still fewer than I had been eating. Over the years I made an effort at taking care of myself, but medicines increased. At the first of this year I was injecting 10mcg of Byetta twice a day, 22 units of insulin at night, and taking 2 grams of metformin in the evenings. I was unable to predict what my body’s reaction to meals would be. I had frequent lows, because I was trying to maintain healthy blood sugars. I had been doing some studying – read Dr. Bernstein’s book, Taubes’ book, etc. Anyway on January 4th I began my first steps at becoming primal.

With my doctor’s consent, I discontinued the Byetta and began eating a low carb diet (he also agreed I could stop taking the statin I was on). Initially I was eating 90g of carbs or less a day. That soon dropped to 75g and now I am eating <50g a day. I had to start lowering my insulin dosage within two weeks and was off the insulin in 6 weeks. In 6 months I was off the Metformin, so I am now free of diabetes drugs, though I have not yet been able to get off some others. I have hope for the future. The only exercise I used to do was tai chi, which I enjoy a lot, but was not all I needed. I found out about burpees on this web site and began doing those as well. I also found out about grass-fed beef. I was able to locate a farmer about 75 miles from my home who raises and sells grass-fed beef and recently bought half a cow! I’m eating organic raw cheese. I have cut out artificial sweeteners with occasional lapses. I have cut out all grains and starchy vegetables. I do often have one square of a Lindt 85% cocoa bar – it is about 1.5 grams of sugar (never more than one in a day). Otherwise no sugar. No trans-fats. I find I am very sensitive to carbs so the only fruit I eat is berries, in small amounts. I have increased my fat intake in hopes of raising my HDLs, which historically have been < 30 most of the time. I have added coconut oil to my diet. My low testosterone had risen by 200+ points at my last check up. I hope for a further increase at the end of next week when I have another check up. If that happens, I can begin reducing the medicine I am on for that. I feel great and look forward to continued improvements in my health as time goes by. I wish I had known this 24 years ago.

After reading this, one of my clients asked me for a few resource recommendations for someone interested in learning more about the primal eating lifestyle.

The Vegetarian Myth

If, like me, people have tried to pound vegetarian arguments into your head, this book is a must read.

Lierre Keith was a hard-core vegetarian activist for 20 years, speaking at world conferences and being an advocate for vegetarianism however she could.  Until she started to notice all of the health problems that vegetarians have.

(Did you know that 100% of anorexic and bulimic teenage girls start as vegetarians?)

In The Vegetarian Myth Keith looks at vegetarianism from health, political, and environmental standpoints and offers an alternative view: That we are designed to eat animals.

She describes her lifestyle – which is very primal in nature – and how she managed to make the decision to live cruelty free while still eating a healthy (primal) diet.

But be forewarned – Keith is also a feminist and doesn’t care who knows it.  I really enjoyed the book, but it turned a few people I know off (both men and women).  It won’t impact your nutrition education, but I don’t want any more angry emails :)

Bottom line: I read this book twice through in 2 days and keep it on my desk.  If you’re interested in nutrition and health, get it.

Primal Body, Primal Mind

I’m going to be honest about this: I don’t understand this book’s subtitle.  Main title?  Easy.  “Primal Body, Primal Mind.”  Nora Gedgaudas is writing about having a healthy body and a healthy mind with primal nutrition.

It’s the subtitle that throws me: “Empower your total health the way evolution intended (…and didn’t)”

The “…and didn’t” is confusing.  Oh well.  That aside, this is a great book.

I use it as a reference manual more than anything.  Want to know about nutrition and ADD?  It’s there.

How magnesium and zinc support your total health?  Right in the index.

This is another book I use as a desk reference.

Paleo Diet

This is a good all-around introduction to primal eating.

It’s an easy read (where Primal Body, Primal Mind is more technical).

I don’t like the focus on low-fat in the diet, but other than that, this book is a solid read.

Paleo Diet For Athletes

By “athletes,” the author is referring to endurance athletes such as marathoners and triathletes.  The recommendations aren’t for strength and power sports like baseball, volleyball, or wrestling.

BUT, if you are involved in any endurance sports, this book is a goldmine.

The culture of endurance sports has lots and lots of high-carb supplements like powerbars and Clif bars that aren’t supporting health and optimal performance.

Here’s the deal: If you’re into distance biking or running, get this book. If you just want weight loss and health, you can skip it.


This is the book most of my top trainer friends recommend for their clients.

For some reason, the info in this book is very easy to remember.

If you want to be a modern day hunter-gatherer, this book has all the goods.

The Primal Blueprint

Mark is THE MAN when it comes to a complete primal lifestyle. He can explain diet, exercise, and lifestyle without sounding like a froot loop. (Always a danger when writing about paleo diets!)

His ten primal commandments are excellent, and he lays down very clear guidelines, nothing vague.

If you only get one book off of this list, make it this one!

Good Calories, Bad Calories

This isn’t really a “primal” book per se, but it takes a very detached look at carbs and fat, and how they affect our health.

Taubes explains how the low fat, high carb diet came into the mainstream, as well as presenting a history of low carb diets that had info even I had never heard of!

It’s a little harder to read than other books on this page, but well well worth it.

Paleo Cookbooks

If you want to get started on Primal eating TODAY, these cookbooks are instant downloads.

They are what I use to try new recipes.

And guess what…. there’s COCOA!! That’s right, one of the add-ons is a book of primal dessert recipes.

Amazon doesn’t carry these, so you can check them out here: Paleo Cookbooks

That’s it for today! Pick one or all of these and get reading!