Back to Basics



We are what we eat, right?  We’ve all heard the saying, but the statement is true.  Just think about it.  Everything that we ingest gets absorbed into our bloodstream and serves as the basis for nourishing our cells, building our tissues, boosting our immune system, and maintaining a healthy metabolism.  So, it just stands to reason that our food choices can make all the difference when it comes to defining our health.  But, unfortunately, making healthy choices has become an increasingly difficult task in today’s world.  It seems we are assaulted on all sides by the temptation and convenience of highly processed foods that are largely devoid of nutritional value and saturated with unhealthy fats, refined carbohydrates, and a chemical cocktail of artificial dyes, flavors, and preservatives.  In truth, the Standard American Diet (aptly known by its acronym “SAD”) is slowly, but surely, killing us.  In the last 30 years, obesity rates in the United States have skyrocketed.  Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases are also on the rise, as are neurodegenerative diseases and mood disorders.  And much of this can be blamed on our diet.

The multi-million-dollar diet industry certainly capitalizes on this national dysfunction.  As more Americans have become obese and disease-ridden, quick-fix diets and self-help books have become all the rage.  So many of us are looking for that “silver bullet” panacea that we hope will resolve all our problems.  But there are so many conflicting options to choose from.  Do we eat low-carb, low-fat, paleo, ketogenic, do a juice cleanse, or follow some other program of pharmaceutical or herbal intervention?  It’s enough to make your head spin.  It’s true that some of these programs do work for certain individuals, but most often, people try something out for a short period of time, but then resort back to their old eating habits.  And in the process, they often regain whatever weight they might have lost, returning to an unhealthy physical state.


It’s quite simple — we get back to the basics.  Author and food expert Michael Pollan probably stated it best when he advised us to, “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”  What this means is that we need to get back to eating whole foods that look and taste the way nature intended.  Or as Pollan puts it, only eat foods your great-grandmother would recognize.  That’s it.  Our fruits and vegetables should come fresh from the farm, orchard, or garden.  Our food animals should be raised without stress and unreasonable confinement, and they should be fed natural diets without added antibiotics, chemicals, or hormones.  Similarly, our grains and legumes should be unrefined, and not subjected to genetic alteration and toxic applications of pesticides and herbicides.  If we follow these simple guidelines, chances are that our bodies will soon heal themselves, our weight will naturally regulate, and our systems will return to a healthy condition of homeostasis.


Here are some general suggestions for optimizing our diet and health:

  • Eat a variety of produce in its natural form, direct from the farm or garden.
  • Choose foods that are organic and locally grown, whenever possible.
  • Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).
  • Eliminate refined sugar and flours, as well as excess sodium.
  • Eat grass-fed, pasture-raised meats, but keep meat consumption to a minimum.
  • Eat fish that are wild caught, opting for smaller varieties that are less susceptible to mercury contamination.
  • Include modest amounts of healthy, plant-based fats in your diet, such as those derived from nuts, olives, and avocados.
  • Avoid processed foods.
  • Cook your own food and experiment in the kitchen. It’s a wonderfully creative activity, and you’ll have the added benefit of knowing what’s in your food.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your body well hydrated.

This is not to say that you can’t partake in a favorite food indulgence from time to time.  In fact, I would encourage that.  Occasional treats are part of what makes life enjoyable and keeps you from feeling deprived.  But I prefer to follow the “90/10 Rule”, striving to eat clean and healthy 90 percent of the time, with 10 percent left to delicious discretion.  No guilt, and no obsession.  It’s all about moderation.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates famously said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.  He believed that correcting imbalances or dis-ease in the body could primarily be accomplished through diet.  In truth, I believe that Hippocrates had it right.  Achieving good health is not rocket science.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  It’s about getting back to the basics and tuning in to what our bodies have been telling us all along.  Let’s return to some ancient wisdom.  Let’s get back to our roots — quite literally.  We will all be healthier for it.


Revise Resolutions Into Goals


Crowding Out in 2018

We’ve all made those grandiose New Year’s promises, even knowing their fateful doom from the outset. Notwithstanding, most of us start the year off with genuine sincerity and an intent for better bodies, minds, and careers in the year ahead. How then do we so quickly lose motivation to maintain our “resolutions” and then settle back into old routines?

We know the pattern well: gym crowds surge in January, only to start waning thin again mid-February. Whatever the resolution be, either the sense of urgency goes away or its magnitude overwhelms, and the behavioral change we once sought gets shelved either indefinitely, or until next January. The Winter Season is especially tough, when many of us struggle most to maintain any resolve, no less get out of bed.

Our strides for personal progress succeed when we make ourselves the priority, period. Even still, no real success is gained on sheer optimism alone. A common pitfall is that we have too restrictive a focus on what we can’t have, can no longer do, or want to exclude, rather than what we can have more of, want to do and want to attract more of into our lives.

Let’s examine one of the most-common New Year’s resolutions – to lose weight. In this effort, most everyone has a long list of foods in their heads of what they are not allowed to eat. What if instead, we focused on just a list of beneficial foods to incorporate into our diets? ‘Crowding out,’ a term coined by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, refers to the natural process that happens when you add more of the good stuff in first: the more healthy foods you add to your existing diet, the less room you’ll have for junk. Literally, we can crowd out the bad by just focusing on what we want more of, until we reach a balanced diet that is sustainable. This strategy need not only apply to what we eat.

Take this one step further and examine the life-giving foods that are not on our plates, such as healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice. Ask whether these ‘foods’ are in enough abundance to fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. Again, when we feel satiated and in balance, we supplement less, and what no longer serves us will lose ground.

It’s not too late to revise our 2018 ‘resolutions’ into personal goals to ‘crowd out’ the unwanted with more of the wanted. Rather than lofty resolutions, set goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely. Most importantly, as you progress towards your goals, continuallyR re-evaluate them for relevance, make adjustments when necessary, and recognize and reward the smaller successes along the way.

Ultimately, the question we need ask ourselves is whether our personal goals truly inspire us, or whether they are items best kept for a ‘to-do’ list. Long-term success of any goal depends on the formation of positive and sustainable habits that bring enjoyment and enrichment into our lives. Another key determinant of our success is how do we react when we slip up? Whatever the misstep, what matters most is how we handle it. Don’t let your own humanity derail you – accept the hiccup and get right back on track.


Chronic Inflammation And How To Tame It


Chronic Inflammation and How To Tame It

A stressful life, poor diet, and toxic people, we would all happily trade with a more balanced existence filled with nourishment, inner growth and conscious living. Sure, why not? But it’s not always so easy, when our go-go lifestyles encompass a daily barrage of toxins, infectious agents and stress, seen and unseen. The connection between diet and lifestyle, chronic inflammation and disease, is very real and our daily choices all have either a pro- or anti-inflammatory effect.

Immune System Response

Chronic inflammation arises from an immune system response that’s out of control. When inflammation as an immune response is never “shut off,” so to speak, the constant production of immune cells can do permanent damage.

What we eat, drink, and think can create a cascade of inflammation in our bodies. When our body hits an inflammatory overload, our defense system gets so overwhelmed and confused that our well-meaning immune system turns on itself, destroying healthy cells, tissue, and, well, everything else too.

Over time, chronic inflammation wears out your immune system, leading to chronic diseases and other health issues, including cancer, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, asthma, autoimmune diseases (i.e., Crohn’s), allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, osteoporosis, and premature aging.

Inflammatory Agents

 Causes of chronic inflammation are countless and numerous factors trigger them. But we are not helpless. Major risk to long-term health and wellbeing remains within our control.

First, we can crowd out inflammatory foods by adding a variety of plant- based whole foods to your diet. These foods will flood your body with the vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting phytochemicals, antioxidants and fiber it needs to recover from chronic inflammation. Meanwhile, foods to avoid like the plague include: Common Vegetable Oils and Trans Fats; Refined Grains; and Refined Sugar (and other foods with high glycemic values).

Secondly, listen to your GUT! With your gut holding approximately 60- 70 percent of your immune system, it’s a great place to start reducing inflammation. The promotion of healthy gut flora with probiotics is an excellent start.

Third, as we get older, foods that never bothered us before, like dairy and wheat, may trigger chronic low-grade indigestion or other seemingly minor symptoms that put our immune system on guard — with additional inflammatory concerns to follow. Common allergens like casein and gluten (proteins found in dairy and wheat) are quick to spark the inflammatory cascade.

Rest and Recovery

Your body is hard at work repairing and restoring you on a cellular level while you sleep. If you’re exhausted, you’re cheating your immune system, which means it needs to kick into high gear — chronic inflammation.

Psychological Stress

Persistent stress takes a steady toll on your immune system, your adrenals, and your central nervous system. Stress also produces more of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol directly influences your insulin levels and metabolism, also playing a role in chronic inflammation. With inflammation, painful emotional baggage, negative thoughts and internalized feelings are as harmful as physical stress, but often overlooked. Focusing on stress reduction and safe care, whether it’s through more sleep, yoga, meditation, long walks, less technology or a much-needed vacation could save you!


Reduce toxins in your food, home and personal care products. Cut down your exposure by eating organic foods whenever possible and choosing non-toxic personal care and cleaning products.

Bottom Line

Chronic inflammation can lead to disease, yes. But the great news is that an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can bring optimal health and well-being. Nutrition, strength training, adequate rest, can yield many benefits, including reduced symptoms of arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, lupus and other autoimmune disorders, and decreased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, cancer and other diseases. Not to mention, a tremendous improvement in energy and mood.


InForm Fitness Podcast Recap


InForm Fitness Has A Podcast?

In contemplating the relative success of the InForm Fitness Podcast – 20 Minutes with Adam Zickerman & Friends  – I was struck by both the daring of it and its underlying commitment to InForm’s Vision, Mission and Core Values. InForm Fitness took on the podcast project, considering how it aligned with our core values – to respect the value of time, honor the genius of simplicity, while using information to motivate and encourage. Those values represent who we are and, well, the Podcasts themselves tell the story of why we do what we do.

Build Muscle Safely and Efficiently

For over 20 years, InForm Fitness has been bucking convention. We believe in only one singular purpose of exercise – to build muscle safely and efficiently. But, why? And how is it that we promise optimal strength and physical potential throughout a Client’s lifetime, without compromising their health or risking injury? Hmmm. Well, much of the Podcasts’ content explain the precise how, and why.

Twenty Minutes of Fitness Science

Adam is an educator and sets the tone for the entire, extended InForm Fitness Team. Despite some initial and natural misgivings – I think his exact words were “like having a party that no one shows up to” – Adam has led the charge to deliver the perfect 20-minute weekly cocktail of science and sass to a rapidly growing audience – complete with real talk, related to your exercise and nutrition.

Having just completed Season 3, we are not only relieved, but thrilled that it’s been a resounding success! Season 3 concluded with Episode 32 and 9,030 episode downloads, so we’re smirking… just a little.

VIP’s of Fitness

Who are the usual suspects in each episode? The technical ring leader is Tim Edwards – Founder of InBound Films and InBound Podcasting Network. For Tim, capturing the stories of small businesses and their owners through video and podcasts is his true passion. Also noteworthy, Tim is a Client.

There’s always Adam Zickerman – the Adam Zickerman – behind it all. But he’s not the star. Nor are his sidekicks Sheila Melody, General Manager at the Toluca Lake, CA Studio, or General Manager at the NYC flagship Studio, Mike Rogers. The real VIPs are all the special guests and they’ve put out quite the line-up.

Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project

Among the most popular episodes are the very first, “Adam, you look like crap!”  Well, you’ve got to listen to that one. Also, there’s interviews with best-selling authors like Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project and biochemist Sylvia Tara of The Secret Life of Fat. And, some testimony from the likes of biomechanics expert Bill DeSimone. These are some seriously heavy hitters!

Our audience has also heard from Exercise Physiologist and Certified Master Trainer, Ryan A. Hall, Dr. Martin Gibala, author of The One-Minute Workout (ahem…that’s a whole 19 minutes shorter than ours). We’ve got Joanie Pimentel, from the Los Angeles based rock band No Small Children, sharing about her 2-year, 118-pound weight-loss journey with InForm Fitness.

And, of course, more on the importance of building muscle, our definition of “high-intensity,” the cardio myth, stretching, and burning fat.

Adam himself shares about both his 90-day physical transformation strictly following the Ketogenic Diet and confessions how he aggravated an old back injury doing his very own workout!

And in typical tribute fashion, Adam provides a very descriptive and detailed definition of a high-intensity workout from Ken Hutchins, one of the pioneers of this slow motion, high-intensity strength training system.

More InForm Fitness Podcasts to Come

Over the course of several forthcoming articles, I will delve into a few of the podcasts; both touching on the highlights and identifying the parallels which tie it all together. For now, just the broad strokes.

So, there’s nothing like a little success and validation to get the tracks greased. So … what’s up for Season 4, you ask? We are going to have ‘the Ladies of InForm Fitness,’

rock-star Client testimonials and real stories of dramatic life change, plus more experts on nutrition and exercise science. Be sure to catch up on all you’ve missed and tune in for Season 4.

Where to Find InForm Fitness Podcasts?

For reference, our podcast platforms include: iTunes, SoundCloud, Acast, TuneIn, OverCast. Stitcher & iHeart Radio soon.


Bone Broth: Miracle Food?


As you know, the InForm Fitness Team is certainly passionate about high-intensity strength training and helping our Clients reach their peak physical condition. Yet, we never lose sight of the critical role excellent nutrition plays – without it, achieving our goals is impossible.

But what is excellent nutrition? I can’t count the times people have asked me, “Which is better for me, broccoli or cauliflower?” Or, “Is this vegetable or that protein a cure-all?”

My answer is a resounding “NO” each time. It’s not just one thing that you eat; it’s the culmination of all the individual choices. Asparagus is great, don’t get me wrong, but eating only asparagus won’t get you to where you want to be.

Enter Bone Broth – the newest super-food on the scene, said to be the magical elixir for every and all ailments. While bone broth is a traditional food, long renowned across the globe for its curative properties, the list of its healing and restorative benefits seems to be growing lately. Indeed, reported to possess an exhaustive list of transformative properties, bone broth is said to cure everything from digestive disorders and psoriasis, as well as improve joint function and modulate the immune system.

Can it cure cancer? Will it give you six-pack abs and bring your sexy back? No, no, and sadly, no. But, as I always tell my friends and Clients alike, bone broth can be a key ingredient to a healthy life, as it’s both extremely nourishing and hydrating for the body. The vitamins, minerals and diversity of amino acids that you’ll get from bone broth make it equivalent to drinking a multivitamin. It’s not the miracle cure, but that “liquid gold” is still really good stuff!

While there seems to be some validity to the claim that bone broth supports immune function and digestion, very little science supports many of the other claims. For example, the claim that the collagen provides the amino acid building blocks to improve our connective tissue, while in truth, the body will use the amino acids wherever they are needed. Just because they come from connective tissue, doesn’t mean they’ll go to connective tissue.

Now, I should add here that I love bone broth and I love to cook! I come from a long lineage of eastern European relatives that have passed along their recipes for “Jewish Penicillin.” While homemade bone broth gives recipes that amazing umami, I also like to have a cup handy just to sip on, especially when intermittent fasting.

That said, I don’t always want a simmering stock pot on the stove. While relatively easy to make, and even with my Grandmother’s tried and tested recipe, I just don’t always want to deal with all the rigmarole. Yet, despite its recent popularity, it turns out buying good quality chicken or beef bone broth is not so simple.

So, I found a place to make it for me!

My local butcher, Center Cuts, in Roslyn, New York, where I’ve been going for years, didn’t make bone broth…but they do now! But being the loyal and charming patron that I am, they agreed to make it for me.

Now enter our very own LABEL, Bad to the Bone Broth, currently available at our New York metro area studios! Grandma would be so proud.

Bone broth has so many different iterations and potential ingredients that to list them here would include all the bones of the different animals we eat, vegetables we devour and spices that we adore. If you want to have a go at making your own brew, I’d suggest starting with a simple, nutrient-dense recipe, like the Broth for Long Life from the New York Times, as your base framework.

And, of course, if you don’t want to take the time to make it yourself, stop by one of our metro New York studios and grab some of our Bad to the Bone Broth. You’ll love it.


Free Weights Vs Machines


In this so called scientific age, the 40-year old debate still rages: is it free weights or exercise machines that deliver the best results?

Proponents in the free-weight camp often contend, ‘Machines are inefficient —targeting only one or two muscle groups at a time’ or ‘Only free weights can improve coordination by working stabilizer muscles.’

Machine advocates aren’t without their sweeping generalizations either. They contend ‘Machines allow you to focus your mind on the effort, as opposed to the mechanics of the movement.’ How about this doozy from the  internet marketer, Dr. Mercola who claims, “One advantage of machines is they allow you to lift heavier weights.” Huh? That’s like saying you like the Celsius scale better than Fahrenheit because it rarely goes over 30 degrees in the summer. What Dr. Mercola failed to point out is that the body perceives a 150-pound barbell bench press the same as a 300-pound MedX machine chest Press. Although the weights are clearly different, the resistance measured in foot-pounds is the same. But I digress.Continue reading “Free Weights Vs Machines”

Back Spasms from Exercise

Just recently I lost several days of my active life to back spasms.

Back spasms are sudden involuntary contractions of any muscle in your back. Spasms are caused by either a weakness or injury to the muscles, tendons or ligaments. Not everyone experiences back spasms, but almost everyone’s back gets more vulnerable with age. My sincere hope is that yours never does. Breathtakingly painful and often debilitating, muscle spasms can knock you out of the game.

We Baby Boomers now find ourselves in a Catch 22 situation. We know we need to exercise to gain muscle mass and improve our body composition as we age. Yet, as we get older we nurse those nagging injuries and physical problems that accumulate over time, such as bad knees, stiff shoulders, and tricky backs. We walk around with life wounds while we continue to lose muscle at an alarming rate. Baby Boomers face two equally undesirable alternatives:

  • Either workout out to prevent muscle loss and get hurt, or
  • Don’t work out and suffer the dismal effects of age-related muscle loss and atrophy.

Even though we know the key to optimal health as we age is to gain muscle mass and improve our body composition, the fear of exacerbating our war wounds keeps many of us sedentary.

My own experience is a good example. I have back problems and have spent my life strengthening my back while trying to avoid reinjuring it. I suffered a back injury when I was barely a teenager, which required back surgery. I had made my condition worse by improperly lifting weights, overtraining, horseplay, and competitive sports leaving me vulnerable ever since.

I use the InForm Fitness model of slow and intense. Exercise has to be intense in order to strengthen, and that can be challenging. Intense exercise can exacerbate old wounds. As the Founder of InForm Fitness’ Power-of-10 Workout, I make the claim every day that we offer the safest, most efficient strength training program. Yet, I suffered an injury while exercising that resulted in acute, knock-you-on-your-ass, back muscle spasms. You can imagine my dilemma as to whether or not I should fess up or cover up my recent injury.

The truth is, accidents happen, even to pros.

My mistake was simple – I lost focus as I was self-training. My mind was racing in several directions during my workout. So, there I was, half way through my leg press routine and my mind took a hike into the “what-if” future. As my hips lifted slightly, SNAP – I tweaked something in my lower back. I reassessed, put my hips back down, checked my posture and position, and carried on.

I knew that I would be sore for a few days, but if I don’t challenge myself, nothing changes.

A few days later, while at home, and after having spent hours at my desk and even longer behind the wheel of my car, I reached to open the refrigerator door when I felt a sudden and severe jolt of pain. I went down on the kitchen floor and felt as if I were being tortured with jolts of electric shocks as though some evil antagonist was attempting to extract a confession.

I promise…I am not exaggerating.

As I lay on the kitchen floor with the breath knocked out of me from painful contractions, I wondered about my life’s mission: to create the safest and most efficient workout possible. Were these muscle spasms a wake-up call that something is wrong with the workout?

No, nothing is wrong with the InForm Fitness workout. While I have never claimed that this is the Perfect Workout, I remain steadfast that we offer the best workout available. Our Strength Training Instructors undergo rigorous preparation, our equipment is customized to meet exacting standards, and the protocol has been developed over years of research and trials, and has been successful for countless clients.

I got hurt because I lost focus. That’s one of the reasons workouts at InForm Fitness are one-on-one. Our instructors make sure you are working out with good form and they keep you in the moment, concentrating on what you are doing. There is nothing wrong with in the InForm protocol or our equipment.

I hate to think of what condition I could have been in if my seconds-long lapse of concentration from perfect form and control occurred during a workout like CrossFit, which is already fraught with potential injury. That ‘tweak’ could have been my last!

So the moral of this story is to not to give up. Continue to exercise with intensity, stay focused and be safe! Here’s to your good health, safe and efficient workouts and all the benefits they reap!

Introducing The New Power of 10 Spine & Core Workout


Many of you have asked for a little something extra, so we have come up with a program that fits the  bill. At InForm Fitness, we strive to serve your needs, while honoring our ‘once‐a‐week is all you need’  workout. We want to focus on strengthening the spine and core without sacrificing the compound  movements you are familiar with, or risking over‐training and injury. Our solution is

  • a comprehensive spine and core routine
  • that can be done the same week as your regular workout
  • or every other week.

Spine and core movements are not as metabolically demanding as compound movements.  If the routine is done on its own, a second workout would not lead to over‐training. The second workout  remains in harmony with our core values of: safetytime efficiency, and simplicity.

Our standard intense, once‐a‐week workout is comprised of six or seven compound movement exercises, which target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This routine works your entire body efficiently. In twenty minutes, your workout is complete – ‘see ya next week!” Working those large muscle groups to muscular failure is all your body needs to trigger the metabolic response to grow lean muscle.

We tried integrating specialized spine and core exercises into the standard weekly workout but found that most of our clients were too fatigued to execute the exercises in good form after completing the  fundamental full‐body routine of compound movement exercises.

We are confident you will share our excitement for this new program, designed to give you the edge you have been looking for. Talk to your Strength Training Instructor about incorporating the spine and core  workout into your weekly schedule. The InForm Fitness Team, at your Service.



The number of women clients who express their fear of “bulking up” from doing strength training with me grows every day. I rarely come across a woman who wants to build a lot of muscle, almost all the people who train with me want to ‘tone up’ and create “long and lean” muscles- you’ve undoubtedly heard the same claims. The fact is most women won’t “bulk up” from weight lifting. You can’t change the length of your muscles, and certain exercises will not “tone” more than others.

All you’ve heard to the contrary in countless fitness magazines, on social media pages, and on every daytime talk show on air is wrong. Marketers in the fitness world know how to use buzz words to their advantage. That’s right, ‘toned, long, and lean’ muscles are just the same as those scary, “big, bulky, and manly” muscles that most women shy away from.

Debunking the Myths

Let’s start with the word “toned.” The dictionary tells us that the term toned “implies leanness in the body, noticeable muscle definition and shape, but not significant muscle size.”

By popular definition, muscle tone equals defined musculature, but not significant muscle size. We want our muscles to show, but we don’t want them to be big. We achieve that by removing the substance that covers our muscles; body fat. The only way to allow your muscles to show without increasing their size is to reduce our body fat level.

Tone is the fitness buzz word that refuses to leave the vocabulary of millions of Lulu Lemon wearers everywhere. There is not one type of exercise that will “tone” your muscles. Lifting light weights at high repetitions is not a proven method of specifically lowering body fat, nor is lifting heavy weights. The amount of weight you use does not matter.

“But what about cardio?” you might ask. That is a whole other topic on its own. In short one pound of fat is made up of 3,500 calories. According to myriad fitness websites, here are a few ways to burn 500 calories per day, which will amount to a one pound loss after 7 days:

You can jog for one hour every day.
You can swim for one hour every day.
You can mow the lawn for 2 hours every day (side business?).
You can cycle for 75 minutes every day.
You can climb stairs for 50 minutes every day.

You get the point. Losing a pound of fat with any of those methods is a lot of work. And then you’re really hungry, which is even worse.

To circle back around, toning really means a loss in body fat. How do you achieve this? Take a careful look at your diet. What you do in the gym to promote fat loss does not even come close to what you can do in the kitchen to achieve the same results. Try cutting out sugar, processed carbohydrates, and pre-made/packaged foods for a few weeks. You’ll be amazed at the amount of ‘toning that occurs.


I often hear of Pilates and yoga enthusiasts aiming for a “longer” look. Women deserve to know how to weed through false claims that certain exercise methods lengthen muscles.

The bad news is that you cannot change the length of your muscles. Every muscle in your body has a point of origin and a point of insertion. They start and they stop at very fixed points. This is something that cannot change unless you surgically detach your tendons and reset them a little differently.

The good news is that you can sort of look longer if you stop slouching and stand up straighter. Trust me, being mindful of your posture does wonders to your overall appearance. Try it for a day. I bet people will notice the difference.

My advice is to stop slouching.


Ah, yes. My favorite. I have never met a female client who has not made it clear that she does not want to “bulk up.” Most actually spend the first few months of their strength training fearing the bulk before they realize that it’s just not going to happen. There are a few main reasons why.

First and foremost, women do not have nearly enough testosterone in their bodies to ‘bulk up’. In fact, the average female has about 15-20 times less testosterone than men do. Testosterone aids in muscle building. Since men have more of this hormone, they build muscle at a quicker and easier rate than women do. Just as women do not have the same amount of body hair or the same Adam’s apple as men, they do not have the same amount of musculature.

Many women also tell tales of other female friends who have lifted weights before and “gotten bigger.” My initial response is to ask if they looked like female body builders, or did they simply look bigger? If the latter is more accurate, I advised them to ask about their friend’s diet? Did she start lifting weights and use it as an excuse to eat more? That would put on additional body fat. This is probably more likely. To produce aesthetic results weight lifting and healthy eating go hand in hand. One without the other is not likely to give you the results you’re looking for.

Women with aesthetically large muscles do exist. Let me reassure you that this does not happen by accident. Female body builders or aesthetic competitors have the rare genetic profiles that predispose them for large bulky muscles regardless of the type of workout they use. It’s also typical for an athlete like this to weigh every bite of food that she eats and dehydrate herself to the point of visible muscle striation right before a competition or photo shoot. The fitness models you see on the cover of Shape did not stumble out of bed and onto set. They spent months preparing, measuring, and calculating every minute aspect of their lives for it.

Since you are not about to turn weight lifting into your job, I strongly suggest that you push those “I might become a female body-builder” fears out of your mind. It absolutely will not happen unless you are among the .001 percent of the world’s female population that possesses the body-builder genes.

Proper, high-intensity strength training, safely applied, is one of the most important things that a woman can do to ensure an overall better quality of life. You will absolutely reap the benefits of increased lean muscle mass, improved bone density and cardiovascular health, better insulin control, fat loss, and better athletic performance. Rest assured, the notorious bulk will not happen, and remember – anyone touting claims of being able to “tone and lengthen” are simply misleading you.