Archives for March 2010

An Apple A Day: Part 4

Hello, everyone! With no further delay, the exciting conclusion of “An Apple A Day”.

7. Stick to the 90% rule.

The 90% rule states that we eat clean 90% of the time. That means if we’re eating 5 meals a day, or 35 meals a week, three or four meals can be what I call reward meals. If we’re eating three meals a day that means two meals can be reward meals. These are the meals that reward us for eating clean the rest of the time. If you are in a caloric deficit, these reward meals can also help jump-start your metabolism which may have slowed during your diet.

8. Don’t go crazy with your 10%.

Just because you get 10% to go off your diet, don’t go crazy! If you are eating in a 500 calorie deficit each day, that comes to 3500 calories a week. That would equal about a pound of fat loss. If you eat a pizza with an ice cream sundae for one of your reward meals, that could easily equal 1500-2000 calories and would cut any gains you’ve made by more than half. Eat one more meal like that and have a drink on Saturday night and you’ve gained weight for the week. Your 33 good meals during the week are completely counteracted by two bad ones.

9. Eat for your activity.

People are afraid of carbohydrates these days, but they really shouldn’t be. Carbs are a primary source of energy for our body. That being said, you should eat most of your carbs before and after exercise. If you are going to be sitting behind a desk your body is not going to need all that much energy and the carbs you don’t use will be stored as fat. The same goes for eating potatoes or grains, such as rice, with dinner. These are great foods when eaten at the right time, but again, your body doesn’t have anywhere for that energy to go if you are just going to relax and watch CSI Miami after dinner. You must remember that many of our eating habits were developed when most people worked at some sort of job that involved manual labor or, at least, more activity than most people get at work now. We have to make adjustments to our current activity levels!

10. Don’t buy junk.

This is pretty simple. If you don’t have junk food in your house, you won’t eat it.

I hope this series has helped give you a sense of some pretty simple things you can do to get your diet in order. As always if you have any questions or comments, please drop me a line and let me know. Happy and healthy eating to you!
– from the Castro Valley Forum, March 24, 2010
Mitchell Rothbardt
Discover Your Strength!

Endurance Training Thoughts

Hello, everyone! It was a beautiful day here and it was very nice down at the Oakland Running Festival today. One thing really struck me, though. As I watched and talked with various people who had just finished either the half or full marathon, it became pretty apparent that many of them really hadn't trained the best way they could.

Some people looked good and some really looked terrible. I only spoke with one person who had even done any resistance training in preperation for the race.

Resistance training can help the endurance athlete in so many ways from injury prevention to force production to running economy. It's not just for guys who want to get big.

I think that I will write something a little more extensive about that soon, but seeing as how I'm doing this on my phone I think I'll end this one now and keep you in a little bit suspense. You can, of course, call or email me with any questions if the suspense is too debilitating. I don't want anyone getting hurt.

I hope you're having a great weekend! We'll talk soon.

Mitchell Rothbardt, CPT ACE

Mitch Rothbardt Training


Discover Your Strength


Hello, everyone! I just wanted to let everyone know that I just got a Yelp page.
If anyone would like to go there and write a review, that would be greatly appreciated.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT
Discover Your Strength!

What Now? A Starter’s Guide

So, what now? You’ve decided you need to get in shape. What now? Where do you go? What do you do? Thousands of wide-eyed folks join gyms every day with sugar-plum thoughts of fitness in their heads only to stop going six weeks later seeing no discernible difference in their bodies or, more importantly, the way they feel and move. They still have the bad knee. They still have the belly. Why? Well, there’s probably a few reasons. What I’ll try to do here is outline a couple of things you can do to get started in a way that will actually help you achieve your goals and not be one of the disillusioned souls wondering why nothing is happening.

1. Set your goals.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

How does this awesome quote from Alice in Wonderland relate to the gym? Easy. Goals. The Cat is merely pointing out that if Alice isn’t clear on where she’d like to go then he really can’t help her. In other words you need goals to know what you need to do. The goal will tell us everything. It will tell you what to eat, what to lift, how often, etc.

When I ask people their goals, I often hear, “I want to get in shape.” What does that mean? The fact is, it’s much too general a term to mean much of anything. To different people it can mean losing weight, gaining weight, getting stronger, getting faster, reducing pain, increasing endurance and probably a hundred other things I can’t even think of.

What I’m trying to say, is that saying, “I want to get in shape”, isn’t a particularly useful goal. You need to be much more specific. “OK”, you say, “how’s this? I want to lose 15 pounds.”

That’s better, but you need one more thing. A realistic time frame. Otherwise you could just keep looking to lose those 15 pounds for years! And many people do.

“Fine. I want to lose 15 pounds in three months.” That’s a goal. The next step is the planning.

2. Plan it out.

Coming up with your goal is obviously a huge step, but you can have any goal you want. If you don’t take the time to figure out how to achieve it, then you are once again like Alice talking to the Cat. You need to break it down and figure it out.

For instance, if you’re going to lose weight you need to be in a caloric deficit. A pound is about 3750 calories. 15 pounds in three months is a little over a pound a week so you need to be in a deficit of maybe 4000 calories a week, etc. You now have a blueprint on what you need to do with your diet and training that will get you toward your goal.

I know this stuff can be very difficult and overwhelming and, not coincidentally, this is the part where many people fall off the wagon. Don’t be that person! If you can’t figure out a plan to get you where you’d like to go, find someone who can. If I had a goal to build an addition on my house, I certainly wouldn’t try to come up with a plan to build one because I don’t want the roof to fall on my head. I don’t know the first thing about doing that, so the first part of my plan would be to find someone who knows what they’re doing to help with my goal.

These two steps are crucially important whatever your goal may be unless, of course, your goal is to wander around the gym aimlessly. It’s really just like anything else. You wouldn’t cook dinner without having an idea what you were trying to cook, would you? That’s no different than this. Too many people’s gym routines are like someone just blindly throwing stuff in a pot and then wondering why dinner doesn’t taste very good.

Don’t shortchange yourself. You are worth the extra effort to give yourself a better chance at success! Wouldn’t you rather spend a little extra time at the beginning so you don’t wind up wasting weeks or longer? I believe so, and I believe that when you give yourself the best chance at success it will payoff later and, in this case, will continue to pay off for you for the rest of your life.

If you need any help defining your goals or setting up your plan please drop me a line or give me a call. I’ll be glad to help.

Mitch Rothbardt Fitness
Now in Two Locations!!
Discover Your Strength!

Are You Excited?

Are you excited?

I’m excited! We are almost 25% into a great year. I can feel it. Can you? All you need to do to make this a successful year is to tell yourself that on December 31st, 2010 you will be in better shape than you are now. What does this mean to you? Who knows? That’s your decision. Does it mean ten pounds lighter? Ten pounds heavier? Ten pounds better in your bench press? It doesn’t matter. Figure it out and go for it!
Having said that, let me say this: What do you think is the most important thing you can have to hit your goals? The best exercises? Wrong. The best equipment? Nope. The cutest top and gym shorts? Absolutely not.

It’s this: Enthusiasm. Just that. Merely a little excitement and passion about what you’re doing.

How often do you walk into a gym and see a row of people just trudging away on the treadmill like they’re walking through three feet of snow and would rather be anywhere else? What do you think their results have been like over the past year? Do you think most of them have hit their goals? Sure, maybe a few of them have through sheer force of will, but with that mindset what is the likelihood that they will continue to hit goals or even maintain the ones they’ve already hit? Here’s a hint: it’s not very high.

Now think of the gym-goer you notice that’s having fun. They are into it. You can feel their excitement whatever they’re doing whether it’s lifting weights, throwing a medicine ball around or maybe just walking on the treadmill. The difference being that they are walking with a bounce in their step and a purpose in their stride. You can tell that this person looks forward to this. What is the likelihood that this gym-goer will hit their goals? You probably know the answer to that one.

You see, here’s the thing: This should be fun! Not only because you are much more likely to do something that is fun, but because you will work harder and better if you are enjoying yourself. Doesn’t that make sense? You’ve heard the saying “time flies when you’re having fun” haven’t you? Have you ever seen a lousy movie that feels like it’s four hours long even though it’s only an hour-and-a-half and then you watch a great two-and-a-half hour one that feels like it’s 15 minutes? Exercise is the same type of thing. If you approach it with enthusiasm and excitement you will get better results and you will make it a habit that will benefit you for life. Not just until you lose that 10 or 15 pounds.

Now, if you’ve never had much fun exercising you might be saying to yourself, “Yeah, right. Waiting in line to use that ab crunch machine isn’t going to be fun, no matter what.” You know what? You’re right! So don’t wait in line to use it. Have you ever done Landmines? Or Farmer’s Walks? Both those exercises are much more effective and will make you feel like wrestling a saber-toothed tiger when you’re done. Hate doing the 45 minute walk-of-doom on the treadmill? Me too. So why don’t we do some sled drags instead? They take less time, burn more fat, get you in better cardio-vascular shape and, best of all, they’ll make you feel like you can move a truck with your bare hands!

No one has ever finished a good workout and said, “Wow. I’m sorry I did that.” When you finish a workout you should feel like you’ve accomplished something. Like you’ve improved yourself. Even just a little bit. Do you feel like that when you’re done? If you haven’t, you probably haven’t had a good workout. (And by the way, just because you’re tired or sore doesn’t mean you’ve had a good workout.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Have some fun! We all know how important exercise is, so let’s put some effort into having a good time while we’re doing it. If you don’t know how, that’s fine. Talk to a trainer and tell them what’s going on and they should be able to get you on the right track. Remember, this is important! You only have one body and, save for a few noses, it’s the only one you’ll ever have. Let’s have fun with it, and please remember to consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

Mitch Rothbardt Fitness
Now In Two Locations!
Discover Your Strength!

An Apple A Day, Part 3

Hello, everyone! In my last two articles I introduced some ideas about nutrition and talked about how and why people let their diet stop, or even reverse, their progress. This week I will continue to give you a few guidelines on how to improve your diet. Without further procrastination, here we go:
4. Eat 5-6 smaller meals a day instead of 3 big ones.

While this is not necessarily a must it can be a huge help in controlling insulin spikes (which can lead to fat gain), and hunger. It is also much easier to control caloric intake and maintain consistent energy throughout the day when eating this way.

By the way, a mid-morning or mid-afternoon meal can consist of a protein shake and a handful of nuts or an orange. I’m not talking about eating a steak six times a day.

5. Don’t drink beverages with more than zero calories.

People just don’t realize how many calories they drink. The main reason for this is that most beverages simply don’t make you feel very full and it usually doesn’t take very long to drink them. You can very easily take in 500-600 calories in a day with drinks and not notice a thing. If you do this 5 days a week (and those of you who get your fancy Starbucks drinks before work absolutely do) that adds up to about a pound a week. That’s 52 pounds a year. From a drink with no nutritional value. That takes 5 minutes to consume.

Stick to water or green tea. If you need more taste to your water get some of those little Crystal Light packets. Many people looking to lose weight can drop a quick ten pounds on this advice alone.

6. Eat breakfast.

This is kind of an offshoot from number 4, but we’ve all heard the expression that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s true for many reasons. It gets fuel in our system, it stabilizes our energy, it jump-starts our metabolism. I think it’s important because simply getting some healthy food in us to start our day makes it much less likely that we’ll binge on unhealthy foods later on.

Many times people say they can’t get up early to fix something. I say it takes less than 10 minutes to make and eat a bowl of oatmeal with a handful of nuts and a scoop of protein powder mixed in.

In my next article I’ll finish up this series. If you have any questions about this topic or any other, please drop me a line. I promise I will get back to you, and maybe your question will get answered in this very column! Have a great week!

-from the Castro Valley Forum, March 10, 2010

Mitch Rothbardt
Discover Your Strength!


Well, how are you all doing? I hope you had a great weekend. Just to let y’all know I hit my goal plus 35 more pounds at the meet. I wanted to hit 1100 and I hit 1135 and actually won my weight class. That was a surprise and probably has more to do with the experience level that entered as a lightweight raw than anything else, but I am pretty darn happy and proud of how it went.

The first lift was the squat. I opened very light at about 330. I went that light because I wanted to make sure to hit my first lift at my first meet. I didn’t know how nervous I would be. It turned out I wasn’t really all that nervous and I hit that pretty easily. I then went up to 385 and hit that as well. I came up a touch early but still hit the lift and it wasn’t too hard. I was thinking about going up to about 425, but Jesse wanted to keep it a bit lower seeing as how I was a touch high at 385. He set it at 413 and here’s how it went:

I was happy with that, as it bested my previous PR by about 8 pounds.

Next up was bench. While this has always been my favorite lift, it’s also always been my worst lift. I opened at 225. Hit that pretty easily. Went up to 248 and hit that pretty easily. I wanted to go to about 265 but in Kilos that worked out to either about 270 or 260. I went for 270. Here’s how it went:

“Way to go, spotters,” is not what you want to hear after your lift.

The good news about my bench is that it really didn’t feel heavy at all until it stopped moving. I know that sounds funny, but it’s true. I think I’m getting stronger at bench, but it’s not really showing in the lift yet. Needs more work, but I’ll get there. At this point I was annoyed, but I knew that I was still on track for my goal of an 1100 total.

Also, surprisingly I was the leader in my weight class. I noticed that my squat beat second place by about 25 kilos and my bench was behind by about 10 kilos putting me about 15 kilos in the lead. I also noticed that the second place lifter was opening the deadlift about 25 kilos heavier than me.

The final lift is the Deadlift. This has always been my best lift. I opened at about 385 and smashed it. I went up to 439 which is about a 4 pound PR and I really smashed that. I was thinking about about maybe 450 when Jesse told me to go up about 50 pounds. I figured OK although I hedged a bit and went up 35 pounds to 474. Also, at this point I was 7 kilos ahead of second place and I knew that if I hit my lift I would win.

I’ve got to say I was pretty darned ecstatic about this lift. I thought I maybe had 450 in me, but I didn’t think I had this. It went up pretty easy, too. 500 next time!

All in all it was a great day and I can’t wait for the next meet! In closing here’s a great pic that Kate took of my 413 squat.

P.S. Sorry for the video quality. I accidentally left the battery on in my video camera and I had to use my phone for the videos. I’ll get that right next time.

I have a new article coming up tomorrow. Enjoy!

Mitchell Rothbardt, CPT
Discover Your Strength!

Ready for Tomorrow

Hello all. Just a quick note from the magic phone. Tomorrow is the meet. 1100 is the goal. I feel ready. I am up to about 190 pounds. I've been able to put on about 17 pounds in the past few months, and I feel great. Have you done anything about your goals?
I hope so. I've worked hard and I'm ready to go. I'll let you know how it goes. Keep an eye on my Facebook profile page tomorrow. I'll try to update as I go. I'll try to have video next week, as well.
Talk to you soon. Work your goal!

Mitchell Rothbardt, CPT ACE
Mitch Rothbardt Training
Discover Your Strength

An Apple A Day: Part 2

Hello, everyone! In my last article I introduced some ideas about nutrition and talked about how and why people let their diet stop or even reverse their progress. This week I am going to give you a few guidelines on how to start improving your diet. Without further procrastination, here we go:

1. Prepare!

The absolute number one key to good nutrition is preparation. You know that eating grilled chicken with roasted vegetables is a better choice then stopping by the McDonald’s drive-thru, but you don’t have that choice if you haven’t prepared for the fact that little Johnny has soccer practice and you’re not going to have time to make dinner tonight. Look at your schedule honestly and take the time to prepare for those instances where you know that making good choices will be difficult. Make a little extra while preparing dinner and have it for lunch tomorrow or just put the extra in the refrigerator and save it for that night that you just don’t feel like cooking, for example.

If you take the time to think and prepare in advance, good nutrition and great results will be much easier than you thought.

2. Have lean protein at every meal.
Protein is the building block of muscle. Without adequate protein, recovery from exercise or even normal activities takes longer and is not nearly as effective. This leads to less effective workouts, which can dramatically slow down or even stop your progress. This can end up leading to slower muscle gain, which means a slower metabolism. That’s not a part of any one’s goals.

Protein has also been shown to increase the feeling of satiety in people, which helps control caloric intake. Plan your diet around protein and good things will happen.

3. Eat your fruits and vegetables.

I simply don’t have the room or time to expound on why vegetables are good for you. If you don’t know that by now, there’s not much I can do. Eat as many vegetables as you want. Carry a bag of baby carrots around with you so you don’t feel tempted to pick up a bag of chips if you get hungry. This gets back to preparation. Have fruit or vegetables with every meal.

Fruits and vegetables are very high in vitamins, minerals, and one thing that we really don’t get enough of: fiber.

Also, for those of you worried about the sugar in fruit, keep in mind that fruit sugar is not processed. The body doesn’t treat it like the sugar in those chocolate chip cookies. And when was the last time you heard about someone getting fat by eating too many apples.

Next week, Part 3.

-from the Castro Valley Forum, March 3, 2010

Mitch Rothbardt
Discover Your Strength!

Updates and Facebook

Hello! Well, I’ve finally done it. I’m up on Facebook. If you’d like to go to my page, just do a search for Mitch Rothbardt Fitness and it will come up. I can’t figure out how to post a direct link to there, so if anyone has any idea how that works, please let me know. It seems like Facebook is pretty amazing when it comes to some things, but is a bit lacking in certain other things that seem pretty basic to me. What is more likely is that I just haven’t figured out a way to do some of the stuff yet.
In other news, I am almost all set to move into my new facility. It’s called The Inner Athlete and it’s located in San Leandro. It is a small private facility and I really think it’s going to be a great move for both me and my clients. I think it’s going to be a huge benefit for people that really want to make fitness a part of their life. I can’t wait.
I also can’t wait for March 14th and my meet in Sacramento. My lifts are going up and I’m very excited. 1100 is the goal. I know I can hit it.
Let me know what your goals are for the next month and I’ll see if I can help you hit them. Let’s do this together! Get pumped!

Mitchell Rothbardt
Discover Your Strength!