September 2011 Issue


Fitness Article:

The Pitfalls of Sport Specific Training
By Kent McCurdy

Over time we have seen an increase in the size and speed of our athletes, but we have also seen a decrease in overall athleticism as well as an increase in the incidence of injuries particularly among youth athletes. This is can be attributed to multiple factors but the two that I feel are the biggest culprits are early specialization in sports and unbalanced training that does not blend all the components of fitness(cardio, strength, flexibility, speed, agility, quickness, coordination, balance, and power). Early Specialization in sports decreases the range of learned movement skills an athlete possesses and is a limiting factor in their overall athleticism. The goal should be to create the best athletes through exposure to multiple sports and a wide range of movement skills.

For coaches and trainers the term sport specific training is right up there in popularity with core training or functional training. Most trainers/coaches, myself included, freely use sport specific training when talking shop with athletes, parents and other coaches in an effort to ensure them that their athletes will be trained in a manner specific to the demands of their sport. As a result it is very common to see trainers developing programs and new exercises that mimic the demands of the sport but neglecting some of the more fundamental movement skills needed for a well rounded athlete.

There are fundamental movement skills that are crucial to the development of all athletes regardless of sport and if we as trainers and coaches neglect to teach one of these aspects because they are not specific to an athlete’s particular sport then we are doing that athlete a disservice. Sports are inherently unpredictable and regardless of the particular demands of a sport athletes will get beaten or make mistakes that will put them in a position that will require them to improvise and adapt. The player that is more athletic and more proficient in a larger number of movement skills will be in a better position to make the needed movement, be successful and ultimately win.

Because of the nature of the sports environment today I believe Early Specialization is here to stay, which means it is up to us as the trainers and coaches to create a well balanced training regimen that blends all the components of fitness and provides our athletes with the largest toolbox of movement skills possible that bridge multiple sports. In short, if the athletes are not going to gain these skills from playing multiple sports then they need to get these skills through their training. A good training program will not only address the specific demands of the athlete’s sport and position but will also address the demands needed for that individual to be a better overall athlete.

Health Article:

WOW! What a Great Inspirational Story about Peter Ajello!

Sometimes a weight loss story just simply breaks through new barriers. If weight loss was an Olympic sport then Peter Ajello would certainly be a contender for a gold medal. Peter Ajello lost 200 pounds in 16 months. Not only did he lose a lot of fat, he also trained hard and has built a pretty good physique, certainly something to be proud of on a beach. Peter was so overweight that his life was in serious danger. At his maximum he reached 425 pounds. He was suffering from diabetes, had dangerously high cholesterol levels, was suffering from gout attacks that literally disabled him temporarily. He was morbidly obese and had at the time less than a year to live. He was on 14 different medications for the problems caused by his obesity, and ultimately suffered a near fatal diabetic stroke.

When CBS heard about his weight loss they got him on The Doctors Show. He was soon called “The Weight Loss King of South Florida” and CBS put him in contact with plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Pozner who would later carry out his skin removal operation.

How Did He Put On Weight?
He just started eating too much of the wrong thing, like most people do these days. He ate lots of pizza, started drinking beer. He spent a year guzzling sugar drinks and eating junk food. Things came to a head when he woke up one morning after suffering from a diabetic stroke.

How Did He Lose Weight?
Peter started out by himself. He realized he has to take immediate action – in fact his doctor told him too, or he’d die – and he started his own walking program. Just walking around his block, a little further each time. Most importantly he stopped eating pizza and drinking beer.
Very soon Peter lost 50 pounds, just from cutting the junk food and walking.

The Weight Loss Bet:
But he was still very overweight. It was then that his friends came to the rescue. Two close friends made a friendly bet with him. If he could lose 100 pounds in 5 months (it was August 1st 2008 and the bet was to lose weight by New Year) they would give him a total of $15,000.

The Real Motivation – One Inch at a Time
The thought of winning made him more determined, but the real motivation came from an unusual direction. He sat at home watching the film Any Given Sunday. He caught Al Pacino’s motivational locker room speech, and that was what he really needed to make him get up and take real action to win his challenge.

Al Pacino’s Motivational Locker Room Speech
We’re in Hell right now …. we can fight our way back, climb out of hell, one inch at time. We claw for all those inches. I am willing to fight and die for that inch. That is what living is. After watching this Peter really started working hard. In just two months he increased his fitness enough to go from a 7 minute treadmill workout to a 60 minute workout.

Peter Was Taught How To Eat
Peter soon hit a plateau. He was tired and stopped losing weight. He did not know why. But a personal trainer in his gym came to his aid after seeing his amazing progress. He then learned how to eat healthy food, what type of carbohydrates and proteins he should eat to increase his energy levels so that he could train harder.

6 Pound a Week Weight Loss Success
In the last few weeks of 2008 he worked incredibly hard and by January 1st 2009 he weighed in at 248 pounds. That was 157 pounds lighter than he was 6 months previously. He lost an average of 6 pounds per week over a 6 month period.

Peter Has Lost Diabetes
Peter still has a 36 inch waist, there is little doubt that he plans to carry on working out though. But the most important change is that Peter has actually lost diabetes. He no longer suffers from Type 2 Diabetes. Proof that it is caused by being overweight and poor diet, and that diabetes is reversible.

Kari Williams – Pete’s Personal Trainer
Pete employed personal trainer Kari Williams to help move his fitness to the next level. To ensure that he kept the weight off he knew he had to start getting fitter too. Also he wanted to have skin removal surgery after he lost weight, and before plastic surgeon Dr. Pozner would allow this he had to lose a significant amount of weight and show that he was going to keep the weight off. Kari Williams had Pete performing all sorts of exercises, such as stair climbs with dumbbells, walking lunges, bicep curls and dumbbell presses.

Pascal Durand – Pete’s Nutritionist
Pete also had a nutritionist that helped him improve his diet. Pascal got Pete eating high fibre and low GI foods. This again help stabilize his blood sugar levels, control his appetite, make his body work hard to digest food and start to improve the health of his digestive system.

Pete’s Diet and TRU Chocolate
Pete ate TRU Chocolate to help him control his cravings. He believes that TRU Chocolate actually helped get over his diabetes as it helped him control his blood sugar levels. This is what Pete said about his diet:
I also had a secret weapon which was TRU Chocolate which a lot of people misconceive, but they should not, because these chocolates whatever is in them, cut my portions in half, and what it boils down to is: CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT. REST, DIET, THEN EXERCISE.
This is what TRU Chocolate say about their product:
• TRU Chocolate assists with weight loss programs
• TRU Chocolate is a great source of Antioxidants for kids by enjoying it as healthy snack
• TRU Chocolate is great for late night snacking anytime after meals
• TRU Chocolate is Diabetic, Gluten, Vegan and Celiac friendly
You can order TRU Chocolates at

Pete and his Family Tell His Story
This is one of those truly amazing weight loss stories. Peter is proof to the World that you can reverse obesity. You can win back your life. Inch by inch you can claw your way out of the pits of hell and live again. He did not take any drugs, no pills, no diet fads. He followed a healthy diet and workout program to lose weight.
What is most amazing, is the excellent tried and tested weight loss program Peter developed with the help of his friends and personal trainer. You too can lose weight and get fit again, but most importantly, take full control of your life again.

He also shares his story on his website. Not only that, he is now helping others to learn how to lose weight. His first publication Mind Over Body is due out late 2011 just in time for the new year and new you.
Peter is an inspiration to all. Every overweight or obese American should read his story.

Peter Ajello

Professional of the Month:

Kristin McGee (Celebrity Yoga & Pilates Instructor)

Kristin believes in using all forms of exercise to maintain true fitness in mind and body. As a student at New York University, Kristin discovered the profound effects of yoga, Pilates, fitness and healthy eating while completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts. She was inspired to share this empowering experience with others. Although she is a formally trained actor and model, she chose to pursue a career in fitness where she could share her passion with as many people as possible. Kristin is a certified yoga and Pilates instructor as well as an ACE certified personal trainer. She is originally from Pocatello, Idaho and currently resides in New York City.

Kristin's career as a fitness professional has led her to teach group classes and private clients, conduct retreats, make television appearances, contribute to magazines and develop incredible DVDs, giving you the chance to benefit from her knowledge and experience. She also regularly donates her time to teach yoga in schools across New York city because she values community and is truly dedicated to sharing the gifts of yoga, Pilates, fitness and healthy eating.

As a fitness expert , Kristin has appeared on CNN, FOX, the CBS Morning Show, ABC's Good Morning America, The Tyra Banks Show, and the Isaac Mizrahi Show. She has contributed to magazines such as Pilates Style, Fit Yoga, Health, Shape, Fitness, Self, In Style, Women's Health, Body & Soul, and Prevention. She is a Contributing Editor for Health Magazine. Kristin has graced many magazine covers including Pilates Style and Fit Yoga. Kristin is an avid spokesperson for companies and causes that promote health and wellness. She is also Fila's Yoga Ambassador.

Kristin's approach to fitness is truly innovative and she has proven her effectiveness as a teacher; She has trained elite athletes, celebrities and models. Her instruction is highly sought after because she delivers results and invites you to enjoy the journey. Kristin thrives when she gets to be creative and develop customized strategies for committed individuals. She is highly knowledgable, friendly and incredibly down to earth. Kristin has taught at Reebok/Sports Club LA, Yoga Works, Clay, and Equinox Fitness. She has led retreats to Mexico, Italy, Morocco, Central and South America and throughout the United States.

Kristin's DVDs are like nothing else in the marketplace. She sets herself apart with a unique teaching style, impressive knowledge base and an unparalleled dedication to helping others meet their goals and enjoy improved fitness and health. Kristin demystifies the disciples of yoga and Pilates without losing sight of their origins and strives to create a program that is truly available to everyone. Kristin is a confidante, friend, and fan of your success who cheers you on to attain goals that might otherwise be out of reach. Kristin will show you how to surprise yourself and help you to become more fit, have fun, and live a fuller life.

Vvisit Kristin's Website:

Workout of the Month

Nathan Blake's Great Cardio Workout in Under 10 Minutes:

Nathan Blake (Nate) has been dancing and playing sports all his life. He played basketball, track, x-country and earned a Dance degree at Hofstra University. He's been dancing professionally for 13yrs and has been into fitness 16 yrs. Nate's first rule in class is allways have FUN and everything else will fall in place. Passion & Energy are his G-d given talents. He tries to pass it on to who ever takes his class. So if you love to "shake yo Thang" then come holla!!! as he likes to say.

Kids Health & Fitness Article:

Building Confidence and Self-Esteem Via Sport
by Darrell Morris

Building Confidence and Self-Esteem thru Sports Having confidence within yourself is an important attribute to have. If you have a healthy dose of it, you are more likely to effectively navigate life’s twists and turns and to cope better with new situations, confident in your abilities to handle what is thrown at you.

You realize your self-worth, and embrace life with a willingness to take more risks and accomplish more. Performance psychologist and author Jim Loehr summed it up best when he said, “With confidence, you can reach truly amazing heights without confidence, even the simplest accomplishments are beyond your grasp.”

Starting at an early age, we attempt to find ways in which we can encourage our children to build their own self-confidence and self-esteem because we know just how vital it will be to them throughout life. There is a wide range of ways in which you can build self-confidence in children. They range from actively listening and encouraging them in their endeavors, to supporting them in making their own decisions, to simply providing unconditional love and support. For some, self-confidence will come naturally. For others, it will take time and nurturing in order to fully develop.

One popular platform that has consistently been shown to assist children in building their self-esteem and confidence is organized sports. Studies have shown that a child’s involvement in a sport can:

• Promote general good health and fitness which
leads to a strong self-image.
• Provide achievable, realistic challenges which
develop their “can do” attitude that in turn supports
the building of self-confidence.
• Introduce them to other children with similar interests
facilitating friendships and boosting self-esteem
and confidence.
• Assist in the natural release of endorphins and
adrenalin which creates a flow of positive energy
counterbalancing those lows we often experience in life.

Participating in a sport is not for every child and a child should not be forced to join a sport if they do not enjoy it. If a child does however express an interest in organized sports, be sure that they choose one for which they show an aptitude. Otherwise, the results could prove far more destructive to their self-confidence and sense of worth.

Also, select a program that emphasizes enjoyment as well as setting and achieving goals. Programs that focus on these positive aspects are more likely to allow your child to succeed and thrive. Finally, always provide your child with praise and encouragement for all their efforts no matter how small it may seem to you. The greater reward of nurturing a child with a healthy self-confidence and self-esteem by far outweighs the little effort it takes to say, “Great job!” or “I’m proud of you.”
Phone: 720-298-0281
- B.A. Human Performance, Exercise Science and Sport
- NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer
- NASM-Performance Enhancement Specialist
- First Aid and CPR certified

Recipe of the Month:

Grandma's Easy & Delicious Fresh Peas & Eggs
By: Grandma Mary Pitaccio

• 3 lbs of Fresh Shelled Peas
• 1 Large Can of Crushed Italian Plum Tomatoes
• Parmesean Cheese
• 2 to 3 TBSP of Olive Oil
• 2 Cloves of Garlic
• 1/2 Dozen Eggs
• Salt and Pepper (to Taste)
• Fresh Basil (to taste)

Saute garlic in olive oil till slightly browned. Add crushed tomatoes, cover and bring to a boil. Add shelled peas, basil, salt and pepper. Cover and cook slowly until peas are tender. When peas are tender, bring to a vigorous boil, then crack each egg and add to the pot one at a time. Eggs will poach in the liquid. Cover and cook long enough so when the eggs are served the yolks will appear just about hard boiled. Serve with parmesean cheese and italian bread.

Bowls of the peas and eggs can also be served with pasta.

Campus Corner:

Fitness 101: What a personal trainer's weekly workout routine looks like
by Allan Zimmerer

Many people out there neglect exercising simply because they have the wrong impression about how much commitment it takes to live a healthy life and have healthy body that resists aging and provides high levels of energy for other aspects of your life. We're going to take a look at a personal trainer's exercise routine for each day over the past 8 days. This was a randomly selected week, and we will look at a high level, the types of workouts that were done on each day, and the aggregate time spent on each workout to give you a sense of the total weekly commitment required to be in peak condition. What many don't realize is that one can achieve great results by committing to regular, moderate to strenuous, activities for just 30-45 minutes 4-5 days a week. It's all about consistency.

What was done:
Saturday: 90 Minutes: Tennis
Sunday: No exercise
Monday: 50 Minutes: Upper body weight training + abdominals
Tuesday: 45 Minutes: Ran for 35 minutes, 10 minutes of cool-down and stretching
Wednesday: 50 Minutes: Upper body weight training + abdominals
Thursday: 35 Minutes: Lower body weight training + obliques
Friday: 90 Minutes: Tennis
Saturday: No exercise
Total workout time over 8 days: 6 hours.

In the same amount of time, most Americans sleep for 56-64 hours and spend 33 hours watching TV on average (NY Times). Drop the extended tennis for a quicker, more intense workout and you can be in amazing shape for 4-5 hours a week. That's not so bad, is it?
Key Points: The routine above works because it has balance; it involves high intensity physical activity on most days of the week, and involves activities enjoyed by the person (tennis).

The Takeaway: Don't feel that you have to match this routine; everyone needs their own routine and enjoys different things. Do your best to do moderate to strenuous activity most days of the week from 30-45 minutes and your body will start to change to adjust to its new environment, why exercise works.

We're all busy, and don't have time to figure out what the right combination of activities are to reach our goals with the rest of life's demands. You may also not know how to properly balance the activities you love with an exercise program to give you the balance your body needs. In fact, an unbalanced workout can wreak havoc on your body down the road.

About the Author: Alan Zimmerer, founder of LeanDream, a company that provides custom online personal training with a Certified Personal Trainer, has over 8 years of experience designing custom workout plans. LeanDream takes all the thinking out, gives you a routine that saves time, and delivers results while incorporating the activities you love.

Alan Zimmerer
Cetrified Personal Trainer
LeanDream LLC.

Health & Fitness Business:

Attn Commercial Property Owners – How Does Solar Power Work?
by Steven Schwartz

The sun is the hottest thing for Commercial Properties (Fitness Centers, Schools, Office Buildings, etc). Solar PV Systems are an excellent investment and long-term hedge against rising electricity prices. The historical cost of energy has increased over 5.5% annually, and in the last decade alone, the price of energy has doubled in many areas of the U.S.

With a tough economy, many business owners and property owners are looking to insulate and protect their budgets from high levels of energy inflation. More and more property owners are turning to Solar power to boost the value of their buildings and also take advantage of significant City, State and Federal incentives for installing solar power systems on commercial buildings. Payback periods are between two and six years and in some cases the Internal Rates of Return are in excess of 26%.

How Does Solar Power Work?
Usually you’ll find solar panels mounted on roofs to maximize space and exposure to the sun. Solar Water panels comprise of a tubular water containment system. Solar electric panels have a flat glass surface protecting a number of photovoltaic crystalline cells. When sunlight strikes the solar panels, electricity is produced.

1. Solar Water Heating. The sun can heat the solar panels that are filled with water, in turn raising the temperature of flowing water to either your pool or hot water heater in your home. This keeps the energy cost of heating water to a minimal.

2, Grid-tied electric power. Sometimes solar electric panels can be connected through an electric meter to the local electric company’s power grid. This allows the property owner to gain a flexible way to draw and off-load power. When more power is produced than needed, excess electricity flows into the local grid, turning the electric-meter backwards to earn credits. When a property owner needs additional power, they draw power back from the grid, turning the electric meter forward and utilizing credits.
By using solar power, property owners can increase property values and insulate properties from rising electricity rates.

Article provided by OnForce Solar. OnForce Solar is ranked the 4th Fastest Growing Energy Company in the Nation by Inc. 500 and services NJ, NY, CT, MA, PA, and DE .

Contact Steven; 201.362.1306 or

Newsletter Q & A Section:

I'm interested in Pilates and would like to know more about scooping?
(Cheryl - New York, NY)
Answered by Frankie Puglisi

Tips for Better Scooping! By Frankie Puglisi

Even those of us who have been practicing Pilates for several years need to revisit the scoop every once in a while. Certainly for the “newbies” amongst us we can never be reminded of the scoop enough times as we diligently try to learn the Pilates techniques. I would like to take this opportunity to look at the scooping muscles and biomechanics of a good scoop so that we may all benefit from our Pilates lessons even more by scooping better.

Anatomy of the scoop……
The pelvic floor muscles, transverse abdominal muscles and external obliques must contract in order for us to scoop. Below are pictures of these muscles to help you understand the various layers of contraction we are seeking to attain.

Step 1: contract the pelvic floor in and up (close the elevator doors from side to side and then pull up inside the pelvis)

Step 2: contract the transverse abs inwards by pulling the navel towards the spine (narrow the elevator shaft as the elevator goes up towards the penthouse)

Step 3: pull the ribs down towards the pelvis by contracting the external obliques (as if putting the roof on the elevator)

Practicing the scoop…..
There are many ways and places to practice scooping and all of them are good. It does not matter so much where and when you scoop but rather that you do it and do it well! Perhaps the following suggestions will help you get better:
Standing on line at the grocery store—get taller and skinnier by pulling in and up with your pelvic floor and transverse abs—people will comment on your posture and friends will ask you how much weight you have lost!
Driving the car—pull away from the seatbelt and grow taller—your back will feel better when you get out of the seat!
While doing cardio—whether walking, running or riding remember to zip up the abs while exercising—you will find you can go longer and harder with a lot less effort (therefore burning more calories!!)
During any everyday exertions!—I was thinking of lifting children and laundry but I will leave this one to your imagination!
Whatever you do on a regular basis, practice scooping while you do it and you will most definitely reap the rewards!!

Scoop and breathe…..
Pulling in and up is not that difficult on an exhale, but you need to practice scooping on an inhale as well. A good breathing exercises is to lie down on your bed and breathe as deeply as you can without losing your scoop and allow the back ribcage to expand into the mattress i.e. send the breath backwards. This is not easy but it helps if you practice on a mattress because of the softness. After a few nights of “at home” breathing and scooping practice, try the same breathing technique next time you have your Pilates lesson. It is a little bit harder to do on the reformer carriage or mat but with practice anything is possible. And remember: no matter where your breath goes you must not lose your scoop. The elevator needs to always be going up to the penthouse floor and certainly not crashing down to the basement.

Frankie Puglisi is a sought after presenter for fitness, yoga and Pilates. She has been working in the health & wellness field for over 20 years and holds 18 certifications along with a masters degree in psychology and physiology. Frankie owns the Pilates Institute of America which trains and certifies Pilates instructors worldwide. She has authored over 15 training manuals, developed numerous certification programs and starred in 12 Pilates DVDs including 2 with her friend and mentor, Lolita San Miguel, the only living person certified by the late Joseph Pilates. Frankie is available for workshops, seminars or private lessons by calling 561-784-9613 or visiting

NOTE: please remember that without scooping Pilates does not work and may even hurt your back. Scooping is simply a muscular contraction of the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles and can be done in ANY position including face down, sitting, standing, kneeling, bent forwards, backwards or sideways.

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