I Need Your Opinion


I was a little disheartened by an email I got from an ‘ex’.

I say ‘ex’ because she’s now an ‘ex-reader’.  She probably has some of her own issues unrelated to me, but it still tends to hurt my feelings when I get this sort of thing.

hate mail

*Read from the bottom up on the string of emails


I think it’s a little cowardly to sit behind a keyboard and spew this sort of venom, but that’s just me. I’d appreciate any thoughts you have on the subject. My purpose is to provide helpful tips and advice. My assumption is that’s why you’re here. Any advice you can offer me to support YOU further is much appreciated.

I’ll go ahead and post the tips that I sent in that email despite the fact that I offended that person. In fact, I was flattered that a different reader asked me to post these tips on my Facebook page and on my blog too.  Sometimes I wonder if the info I share is a little TMI, but if anyone can benefit from even one tip, then I’m happy.

Here was the email that I sent out:

I returned from a week in NYC with my almost 20-year-old daughter Hannah. This was a trip that mother’s dream of having with their girl. Further to this, I was happy that Hannah asked me how I manage to stay lean and fit while traveling. I do a lot of it and she realized while traveling with me that it’s not always easy.

Here are a few things off the top of my head that we discussed:
A workout – A short 20 min bodyweight hotel workout is fine in a pinch. Getting a workout done in the NYC Lion Kingmorning is best so that the day doesn’t get away and excuses don’t pop up. It takes NO time at all and keeps the metabolism revved up.

Drink up – Water that is. For me it’s the cure for headaches and dehydration. Although difficult at times I have no liquid calories pretty much EVER (except the odd glass of Malbec).

No bread - This isn’t due to gluten intolerance, it’s just an intolerance to a ‘muffin top’ ;) This really works as hard as it is to do at some places especially, but passing on bread saves massive amounts of calories.

Cut out evening starchy carbs – Keep it to protein and veggies at dinner 99% of the time. Of course being in NYC, my ONE time break in this rule was a treat of cheesecake after the Lion King performance on Thursday. This leads to the next big idea…

Plan a cheat meal – It’s easy to pass on tempting foods when I know I can have them (eventually), Nothing is on the never never list. Here’s how I planned my NYC cheat: we didn’t have dessert all week, we had sushi with no rice and sashimi for dinner (low carb) and I did a metabolic workout with Kate Vidulich mid afternoon (filming for videos). Simple things to set up the perfect storm for a big treat. Oh, and I fasted until after my workout the next morning.
Regular sleep – Going to bed and waking at a similar time daily is key for me. We pretty much stayed on schedule with our own time zone (not always possible I know).

Step out of the comfort zone – Every day was an adventure. Did we know where we were going and what to expect? Not always. We didn’t risk life and limb, but we were definitely out of our element in the big city. Doing something scary makes you feel alive.

NYC times sq H and me

Do a good deed – I found a wallet and could only imagine the panic I’d feel had it been me that lost mine. I turned it into the doorman and was thrilled that I made some strangers day who came back for it 5 minutes later. I never found out who it was but, man, it felt good to know some one had a good day because of that small gesture.

These are only a few things off the top of my head: small things that over time add up to better health.


Make sure to let me know how you feel about the comments from ‘Barb’. And like my Facebook page here too.

Never Sit Down Never Grow Old

No one really plans on getting old.

Of course we all know it’s a reality, but it’s something that happens to others and it’s difficult to see in ourselves. Often it hits us in the face when we see a photograph or when we see someone that we haven’t seen in years. It’s either a pleasant surprise or a dose of a little too much reality (often served up with a dose of mortality on the side).

I just turned 51.

Fitness008This is a recent photo that I had taken and evidence that years of doing sweaty workouts are definitely time well spent. I’ve been a gym rat for over thirty years. I want to encourage all of you who hit the gym on a regular basis now to NEVER stop or sit down.

Life has a funny way of putting obstacles in the way of training. You might find that you’re super dedicated now, but then you may get a big job, you have a family, you go on holiday or may find any number of valid reasons to have an interruption in your training schedule and then it happens: you get out of your routine and your workouts are shelved. You may think it’s temporarily, but too often it’s longer than you plan.

I know you may say it ‘won’t happen to ME’, but seriously, I tend to be the exception and not the rule when it comes to the ‘super fit and over 50’ category. All my ‘gym buddies’ from past training days have long since found a comfortable chair while I have not. I don’t rely on stories of my ‘glory days’ as an athlete from the past; I continue to live the ‘glory days’ with personal challenges now.

Do you want to have visible abs when you’re 50? Do you want to be able to do pull ups, human flags, and have strength like you do now? I’m here to say it’s not only possible, it’s probable if you play your cards right. I’m as strong as I’ve EVER been and probably even leaner than I was in my 30’s. You can be too.

It’s the 10,000 hour rule: This is the idea that it takes approximately 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master something. The ‘something’ in this case, is your body. Sadly many people spend more time and money on their car than their body.

Here are ten tips to keep in mind so that years will be more of a friend than a foe:

- Consistent short workouts trump longer sporadic ones. Often times I get asked how long I spend training each day; more important is the consistent commitment of a short amount of training time over the long haul.

-Take notes. Training journals are helpful accountability tools. I can compare performance from 20 years ago. I know what my body is capable of and I can push my limits. I can log an ache or pain so I can track what caused it, what things to avoid, when to get treatment when needed and what treatments worked.challenge workout journals

-Small smart nutritional choices add up BIG TIME in the long run. You don’t have to be a total food freak, but making hard choices 80% of the time makes a huge difference in your physique over time.

-Beauty sleep is important. Having consistent sleep patterns help recovery and keep cortisol levels low. We know that a high cortisol level is associated with increased belly fat and adrenal fatigue.

-It may sound too motherly to say ‘moderation in all things’ however that’s what works when it comes to lifestyle.

-Training need not be ‘moderate’ though. In fact, ‘pedal to the metal’ is more like it. Train with passion, intensity and intelligence.

-Train heavy. Lift as much weight as you safely can to increase and maintain as much metabolically active muscle as possible. Muscle is the fountain of youth: it keeps your metabolism fired up and helps staying lean that much easier.

-Continue to setgoals goals and give yourself physical challenges.

-You may require more recovery between workouts. Listen to your body. Sometimes less is more, as long as less is part of a deliberate plan and doesn’t become ‘nothing’ when it comes to intense workouts.

-Pay attention, your body is an incredible machine, learn how it reacts to life: training, eating, stress, sleep, etc. The great thing about aging is it gives you more time in your own skin to really get to know yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.
I hope that you’re passionate about your physique right now. I hope that this is something that only grows in intensity. Your passion for training is hopefully as ingrained in your daily lifestyle as brushing your teeth. The challenge of maintaining a kick ass body as you age is really the epitome of all challenges where YOU become the ultimate winner with great health to live life to the fullest.


I never use age as an excuse and neither should you. I can help you with your fitness through my blog and challenging workout plans. I know some of the workouts I post are a little too aggressive. Some of you may be very intimidated by the workouts I have on the here.

If this is you, I have good news.

I was lucky enough to be included in the videos for a program called Functional Fitness.


If you are:

  • new to fitness or at all intimidated by fitness
  • recovering from an injury
  • 50+ and need a ‘gentle’ approach
  • looking for ‘follow along’ videos
  • need ‘coaching’ along the way

This is an at home fitness solution for you.

Here I discuss the program with the creators, Dr. Cody Sipes and Dr. Dan Ritchie:

Here’s a sample workout:

Level 2 Workout #1

Equipment: Tubing anchored chest level, dumbbells

Time: 17 min

  • Split Squat–12 reps each leg
  • Sleeping Dog front and back–3 reps each leg
  • Two arm standing dumbbell lateral raises–12 reps


  • Standing alternating tubing rows–12 reps each arm
  • Sleeping Dog side to side–5 reps
  • Standing alternating chest press–12 reps each arm


  • Standing alternating lat pull down–12 reps each arm
  • Heel Toe Rocks–30 seconds
  • Side Step Ups–12 reps each leg


  • Bridge with arms together–3 reps (5 sec hold)
  • Bird Dog with limb movement to side–2 reps each limb


dan r functional fit 3 Never Too Old

This is a fantastic program to get you moving safely.  If you need a place to get started with your return to fitness, this is the one.

Check out Functional Fitness

dan r functional fit 4 Never Too Old

OR, if you’re ready for more of a challenge, you can check out my various workout programs:

Challenge Fat Loss

Challenge Jump Rope

Challenge Burpee

Challenge Complexes

Pull Up Challenge

Female Fat Loss Over 40

Do YOU have any ‘look and feel young’ strategies? I’d sure like to know. I can use any and all advice since I plan on living to be at least 150 years old ;)

(This is your cue to comment below!)



One set of DB’s? Pushing Workout

Here’s a fun workout for you….
What do you do when you have only one set of LIGHT dumb bells but you want a ‘heavy’ workout? The answer is to ‘pre-fatigue’ your body with an exercise that hits the desired muscle LONG before you get to the loaded movement. For example, if you wanted to hit your chest/shoulders/triceps but only had one set of dumb bells, here’s a good one:

Do 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 reps. Rest as little as possible.db's

  • Push ups
  • DB chest flies
  • DB chest press
  • DB very narrow chest press

Take a look at the video demo:

This type of workout will really blast all your pushing muscles. It’s the kind of workout that you want to do when you want to TARGET your chest, shoulders and triceps if these are lagging muscle groups or areas of strength you need.

In fact, this is such a short workout, that it’s perfect to do after a Challenge Fat Loss, Challenge Burpee or Challenge Jump Rope workout that exhausts your entire body.

Turkey & Veggie Soup

This soup has everything going for it. The base is broth, not cream. It doesn’t have any added carbohydrates in the form of rice or noodles. And it’s filled with lean ground turkey.

Servings: 12

Turkey & Veggie Soup

Here’s what you need…

  •     1 teaspoon olive oil
  •     2 garlic cloves, minced
  •     1 bunch of carrots, chopped
  •     2 onions, chopped
  •     1 bunch of celery
  •     1 fennel bulb
  •     1.3 lbs lean ground turkey
  •     4 cups veggie broth
  •     1 (14.5oz) can stewed tomatoes
  •     1 (15oz) can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  •     4 ears of corn, kernels sliced off
  •     3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  •     2 teaspoons dried basil
  •     dash of salt and freshly ground pepper
  1.     In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add garlic.
  2.     Add chopped carrots, cover for 5 minutes.
  3.     Add onions, celery and fennel. Sauté until soft.
  4.     In another skillet cook the ground turkey over medium heat until fully cooked, stirring often. Drain off excess fat.
  5.     Transfer the veggies to large soup pot and add the remaining ingredients, and the cooked turkey. Cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Add extra water as desired.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 119 calories, 1 fat, 336mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 15g protein.

Bodyweight STRENGTH Workout

Guest Post

Body Weight STRENGTH Workout
by Forest Vance, author, Body Weight Strong 2.0

I want to talk to you today about how to use body weight training to gain strength.

You probably think of body weight training when thinking about conditioning and fat loss. That’s how I used to think about it too.

I’ve been in the fitness industry training, doing boot camps, and blogging for almost the last ten years.  But before that I played pro football for a couple of years. I was a 310 pound offensive lineman and a strength athlete. I was relatively strong back in my peak days. Back then we would go to the weight room and lift heavy weights and that’s how we trained to get strong. Then we would do the body weight training for conditioning and calisthenics.exercise funny

That’s still a good way to do it. However, maybe you train at home and don’t have access to a lot of equipment, or maybe your body is a little beat up from years of heavy lifting and you want to take it easy on your joints.

I’m here to tell you that you CAN use body weight training to get stronger, you just have to make sure you’re setting up your workouts properly. Today, I’ll give you a few tips and examples on how to do that – and a sample workout :)

Here’s a Body Weight STRENGTH Workout

Make sure you properly warm up first. Do some stretching, joint mobility, and get your heart rate up a little bit – this is going to be specific to you.

The main “meat” of the workout is going to be two pairs of exercises.

The first exercise is going to be some type of push up variation. One principle you want to make sure and follow is to work in lower rep ranges when you’re training for strength. That means picking exercises that are more challenging for you and your fitness level. So if I was doing this, regular push ups wouldn’t cut it. But if you are doing 6-8 reps of push ups and that’s really hard for you, than stick with those. Just don’t go to failure, the goal is not to get smoked out doing these exercises.

If the regular push ups are too easy for you, we might shift to a foot elevated push up. The next step up would be a variation of a one arm push, called a shifting lever push up where more of your weight is on one arm. Then you could try an elevated one arm push up where your hands are elevated on a tire or box. And finally, you can work up to doing a few reps of the regular one arm push up on the floor. That’s a pretty challenging exercise. It’s high load, high resistance, and you can actually gain strength using your own body weight.

So, do 5-8 reps of a push up variation that’s challenging for you and super set it with a jump variation. Start with a regular vertical jump. If you can get 5 to 8 really good jumps with good landings, the next progression would be a tuck jump. That’s where you tuck your knees up at the top of the jump. So that’s your first superset. Do 4 sets each of those exercises and then take a little break.

exercise funny 2The second pair of exercises is going to be an upper body pulling progression super set with some type of one leg squat variation.  So to start with the pull up: you can use a suspension trainer doing a row. If that’s challenging for you to do those with perfect form for 8-10 reps, stick with that. From there you can go to some pull up progressions. You can try boosting yourself up while doing chin ups. Then you can do no boost, regular pull ups, chest to bar pull ups, even hand release pull ups. I’ll show you all of the progressions in the full Body Weight Strong program.

For the squat variation, you want to be doing some type of one leg variation. This is because a regular two leg squat probably won’t be hard enough to get you down in a low rep range. So try starting with a Bulgarian split squat where your back leg is elevated on a tire or box. From there you can work your way up to doing a pistol squat. Again, there are several progressions to work up to doing these. The pistol is a great challenging exercise for gaining strength using your own body weight.

There you have a basic template for a body weight workout, geared towards gaining strength. Keep in mind – you’re not going to be getting totally smoked out with this workout.  It’s more about developing your skill on challenging exercises and building strength.  And that is PERFECTLY fine.  But, if you want, at the very end you can to do some type of cardio finisher to get your heart rate up and finish off strong.

And – if you liked this workout, make sure to check out the full 12 week Body Weight Strong 2.0 program, here:

=> Body Weight Strong 2.0

forest bw strong prdt grp

That’s it for now!  Thanks so much, and talk soon -


Stop That! (Do This Instead)

Yesterday was Easter and whether you celebrate this holiday or not, there’s a meaningful message of new beginnings associated with it.

With that in mind, I want to call you out on a few things you NEED TO STOP and encourage you on a few other things you NEED TO START.

Fair enough?

So with every suggestion on what to STOP, I’ll give a doable suggestion on what to START.

Let’s get going…

 #1 STOP BUYING SH#T (and saying it’s for the ‘kids’) workouts to get lean

You know what I’m talking about. I see you in the grocery store with your cart full of boxed and processed food saying to me: ‘it’s for the kids lunches’.


If you know that if this crap isn’t good for you, you know your kids shouldn’t eat it either. And chances are, if it’s in the house, it will fall down your throat too.


Shop on the outside of the store where all the food with expiry dates are found. Shop often. Yes, I know it’s a bit of a hassle, but make sure your fridge is full of fresh food so the likelihood of eating it over boxed and processed food is greater. Take a little more time with meal planning on the weekend so that you’re you’re prepared during the week with healthy meals for you and your family.

It may sound like a lot to ask, but for anyone who’s ever paid attention to eating and weight loss, performance, overall energy levels and even sleep quality you know it’s worthwhile.

As far as the kids go, they may protest at first when they don’t get Fruit Loops or whatever they’re asking for, but they’ll get hungry eventually. They can have ‘treats’ too, but it’s not a bad lesson for kids to learn what to eat so they feel energized and can think straight. I wasn’t a food Nazi with my children, but I did focus on why we eat the way we do. It’s not about weight loss for kids, it’s about growing up healthy.

This is the BEST resource I can recommend for all things food related. I highly recommend even just reading Nick’s article on this page since the trick you’ll learn about reading food labels is well worth it.

  #2 STOP SAYING YOU ‘HAVE NO TIME’ clock smashed 2

Sorry, I don’t buy this one. Yes, we live in a time strapped world, everything is going at mach speed, but would you honestly say you don’t have time to shower and brush your teeth? Your workout can take less time than this and it’s just as necessary.

#2 START SHORT INTENSE WORKOUTS (if you already haven’t)

Gone are the days of marathon workouts. Effective fat loss muscle toning workouts can take under 30 minutes (less time than one TV sitcom).

Here’s a sample:

Use as heavy a DB as possible for the weighted movements, ensuring that you have good form.

5 rounds of 40 seconds work with a 8 second transition
-Burpee pull ups (OR do a set of burpees followed by a set of band assisted pull ups or other pull up alternative)
-Renegade rows (with push up optional)
-Front DB 1.5 squat
-Alternate single leg RDL recovery

There’s no excuse to NOT exercise when you can do short full body workouts (and even have me coach you the entire time). Find out how here. You’ll find 16 follow along videos that you can get DONE in no time at all in your living room with a minimal amount of space and equipment.

Time should never be an issue where your training is concerned. Write it in your day-timer in ink, get it done at home and get on with your day.


ch diet judy hillMe too! Yes, if I look at my chronological age, I could convince myself that it’s time to go sit on the couch. But that’s not a healthy option. Age is just NOT an excuse for inactivity.

Take a look at my client Judy ==========>

She turned 51 this year. Wow, I doubt she’s chosen to go sit on the couch.

#3 START TO MOVE (but take it slow if you haven’t moved since grade school)

Not everyone is an elite athlete.

It’s okay.

The whole concept of ‘challenge workouts’ is to challenge YOURSELF where EVER you’re at. If you can’t do a push up from your toes, your challenge is to get there. Can’t do one pull up? Start with a body hang, then band pull up, assisted pull up, etc. Can’t do a burpee? Do a full body extension, then a burpee walk out , then a full on burpee, then add a push up and a double jump.

See what I mean? Start slowly. But just START! procrastinateDon’t put off exercising if you don’t know where to begin.


This is a progressive plan that will get you moving and challenge you at YOUR level. There are 4 in this plan and from there you can move onto anything.

The key is not to put off your fitness any longer if you’ve been procrastinating OR if you’ve sustained an injury and don’t know how to get back into things, OR even if you’re not getting results doing what you’re doing. A change is as good as a rest.


I’ve heard a few people tell me that they’re sugar junkies and so frustrated with their weight loss endeavors that they just feel like giving up. I understand the frustration, I’ve felt it myself. It’s especially difficult as we age, but trust me, it’s possible.

Take a look at my friend Catherine =====>sugar freedom catherine gordan

She’s turning 50 this year and FINALLY got on top of her weight loss. She was a sugar addict and found it everywhere because the food industry wants it hidden from you.

Here’s a short list of just a few of the places where you’ll find added sugar lurking:

  • Sugar sweetened beverages
  • Grain based desserts
  • Dairy desserts
  • Granola bars
  • Ready to eat cereals
  • Breads, rolls, and muffins
  • Fruit flavored yogurts
  • Coffee creamer
  • Spaghetti sauce

The list goes on and on.  Sugar is a tough habit to break.

#5 SAY ‘YES’ TO A NO-SUGAR DIET ;) (Tricky how I did that eh?)

Catherine said NO to sugar and YES to a ton of other healthy choices and it really only took her 3 days to stop the need for her sugar ‘fix’. She’s maintained her weight for over 6 years now and feels empowered, energetic and better than ever.

If you’re frustrated with your weight loss and know that sugar is a big issue. Take a look at Catherine’s solution and see all the other people that have said ‘no’ to sugar and ‘yes’ to their skinny jeans (or whatever they’re trying to fit into).

Studies show that it’s difficult to STOP a habit cold turkey, but by REPLACING or STARTING something else, you’ll have more success in meeting your fitness and fat loss goals.

You’ll feel better all around.

Let’s use the message of Easter (at any time of year) and to start a NEW BEGINNING to a healthier you.



Easy Baked Salmon

Salmon is filled with quality protein and omega-3 benefits, making it the perfect center of your healthy dinner. Serve your salmon on a bed of fresh or braised greens.

Servings: 4

Easy Baked Salmon

Here’s what you need:

  •     1/2 cup Greek yogurt, fat free
  •     1 lime, juiced
  •     3 garlic cloves, minced
  •     1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  •     1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  •     4 (3oz) wild caught salmon fillets


  1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2.     In a small bowl combine the yogurt, lime juice, and garlic. Put half of the yogurt mixture aside in the fridge. Coat the salmon with the other half of the yogurt mixture and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3.     Place the salmon on prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Turn on the high broil for an additional 5 minutes until the top of the salmon has browned.
  4.     Serve the salmon on a bed of kale with a dollop of the reserved yogurt.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 172 calories, 6.9g fat, 62mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, and 24.6g protein.