7 Tips To Sleep Your Way To Weight Loss


As a college student I enjoyed youthful excess and ‘endless’ nights. But now matured, I have learned that ample and quality sleep is absolutely crucial to a healthy, long life. Then I had kids.

Mainstream weight-loss advice typically revolves around exercise and nutrition.

However, the fact that sleep is one of the most important factors to attaining a healthy weight is often left out of the mix.  Which is why I dedicated an entire chapter in my book, Power of 10 called “Rest and Recovery”.  Being well rested can help control appetite, prevent weight gain, and will give you more energy for exercise and meal planning.

Symptoms you might be experiencing and telling you that you may not be getting enough rest include fatigue, low energy levels, nodding off easily, and irritability. When you’re tired, stress can lead you right to the refrigerator for your favorite ‘comfort foods’.  Even worse, it might set into motion engaging in the ill-fated late night snacking.

“When you don’t get enough sleep, your body experiences physiological stress and, biochemically, you store fat more efficiently,” says Michelle May, MD, author of Am I Hungry? What to Do When Diets Don’t Work.

Research shows that inadequate sleep can torpedo your weight loss efforts, impair your concentration, and even mimic the symptoms of impaired glucose tolerance, which can lead to diabetes and hypertension.

Other hazards of fatigue include a blah mood, or worse, a cranky disposition. Cranky negatively affects your work, your relationships, and your life. Sometimes I think that’s why so many New Yorkers I come across are grumpy. They live fast-paced, highly stressed and achievement-driven lives, and they’re probably not getting enough quality sleep as a result.

Fortunately, this problem can be remedied. Beginning with an increased appreciation for how sleep impacts your weight-loss efforts, the quality of your life, and your overall health. Here are seven tips that can help you more easily enter the Land of Nod:

1.  Create the right environment. Get your body and mind in the habit of using your bedroom for sleeping. If you frequently sit in bed to pay bills, do your homework, eat, talk on the phone, etc., your mind will expect that the bedroom is for daytime activities. I thank my wife for curing me of the watching-television-until-I-fall-asleep habit. Now our bedroom is furnished with soft lighting, comfortable bedding, relaxing music and the random Matchbox™ car. Other tricks include turning the temperature down a few notches and turning the clock away from your view.

2.  Get into a routine. This may be hard for people with wavering, active schedules, like students and parents. On busy days it is difficult—but crucial—to be firm with a routine. If you normally don’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning, or if you don’t have a sleep schedule at all, try going to bed a half an hour earlier each week, or set a time to get in bed and stick with it to train your body.

3.  Limit food and beverage intake before going to bed. As you lie down to sleep, acids in the stomach level out, making heartburn and indigestion more likely to occur. Also, your metabolism increases slightly to digest food, which can also raise your energy level. Stop eating at least three hours before your scheduled bedtime. If you must snack on something, keep it small and avoid high-fat foods, which take longer to digest. Alcohol, as you may have discovered, also damages sleep quality. After its sedative effects wear off, your sleep patterns will suffer. I recently read this interesting piece in Scientific American regarding alcohol and sleep.

4.  Consider a natural approach. Certain herbal teas can help you relax and fall asleep. Chamomile, for example, is a popular herb that slows the nervous system and promotes relaxation. Other liquids, such as a small glass of warm milk, may also help. Unfortunately, I loathe tea and warm milk so this is not an option for me.

5.  Know when and how to nap. Most sleep counselors recommend napping for no longer than 20 minutes. Exceeding 20 minutes could leave you feeling groggier and make it harder for you to fall asleep at bedtime. If you know you have to stay up late, or if you have an erratic sleep schedule (especially new moms), take a 20-minute nap during the day. You’ll be more productive and in a better mood. I know, easier said then done.

6.  Take control of your worries. Stress, surprises, and changes can take a toll on your sleep habits. Schedule some downtime each day for meditative activities like stretching or a hot bath – or actual meditation. If thinking keeps you up at night, get out of bed and try to be productive. Deal with those thoughts (pay the bill that you are worried about, make a to-do list, etc.) in a positive way, and come back to bed when you’re ready to sleep.

7.  Get a check-up. If you toss and turn most nights, it may be time to see a physician. You could be suffering from one or more sleep disorders, including insomnia or sleep apnea. The sooner you find out what’s wrong, the sooner you can fix it. Sleep disorders are dangerous to your health, so if you suspect something is wrong, please tend to it immediately.

Have a get to sleep tip? Share with us how you get to the Land of Nod.


Excuses Don’t Count


Here at InForm Fitness we are committed to the long-term well being of our clients. It’s an expression of love – tough love – often stern, but with the intent of helping you to achieve what’s best for you.

So when Karen called to let us know she had a broken hand and therefore an entirely valid excuse to cancel her weekly Power-of-10 workout appointment, we thought otherwise. While naturally sympathetic of her plight, we knew a broken hand was a surmountable obstacle, if she still wanted a full-body workout in minimal time.

Really, we’re not sadists (although I’m sure some of our clients would beg to differ), but we do take our tagline – Safe Efficient Exercise” – to heart. And that means that in most cases our amazing instructors can modify your routine and work around that broken bone, sprained ankle, sore knee or aching tennis elbow. That’s our expertise, our job.

Now back to poor, unsuspecting Karen. Her reasoning for cancelling her appointment was logical. Typically, to work out your upper-body, your hands must be used to either pull or push. To workout the muscles of the back, most people utilize the Pull Down or Seated Row machines; for the chest, the Chest Press; and the shoulders, the Overhead Press. All of these machines involve the hands. But as our photos evidence, Karen was able to work out her back, chest and shoulders, without ever putting her hand at risk.

Here is how we adjusted the workout for Karen:

  • Back: We used a pullover machine where Karen pushed through using her elbows.
  • Chest: Mission accomplished with a chest fly where the effort comes through the upper arms.
  • Shoulders: A lateral raise where, again, the upper arms do the work.

Look Ma, no hands!

Always keep in mind, despite a nagging ailment or injury, that you have options. Talk to our instructors and discover adjustments to your routine that will enable you to work around those pesky pains and keep your strength building on track.

Oh, and if you are wondering why it is important to keep up your routine – allow me to share words of wisdom from Arthur Jones, the father of high intensity exercise, the inventor of Nautilus equipment, and author of the Nautilus Bulletins.

back-278x300 chest-258x300 lateral-262x300

“Throw a stone into a pool of water, and it will make a splash – and a wave will run to the far end of the pool; the larger the stone, the larger the splash – and the larger the wave. A very similar effect results from any form of exercise – I have named this “indirect effect”. When one muscle grows in response to exercise, the entire muscular structure of the body grows to a lesser degree – even muscles that are not being exercised at all; and the larger the muscle that is growing – or the greater the degree of growth – the greater this indirect effect will be.”

Even if we take the scenario to an extreme and assume you are in a complete upper-body cast – you should still exercise your lower body, because due to “indirect effect,” your upper body will atrophy less than if you did nothing at all.

We would like to give Karen a big high five (on her uninjured hand) for sticking with her program. May her dedication and perseverance be an inspiration to us all! Remember, no excuses.

P.S. For those of you interested in the history of exercise, the Arthur Jones’ Nautilus Bulletins are to exercise what the Beatles’ White Album is to music. His bulletins rocked the exercise world over 40 years ago and today are still well worth the read.


My Drop Dead Healthy Cameo and How A.J. Jacobs Got it Wrong!


Hilarious, New York Times best-selling author of The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-it-All, A. J. Jacobs documents his hands-on attempts at utterly quixotic tasks and then lives to write about them. Jacobs records in Drop Dead Healthy, “one man’s humble quest for bodily perfection,” as he indiscriminately subjects himself to countless workouts, diets, devices, and health advice, some bordering on the absurd.

An extremely engaging writer (and editor for Esquire magazine), Jacobs weaves his “maximum health” experiences – reporting what practices he learns, implements and adopts – around stories about his extended family, including his long-suffering wife, Julie.

Although most health advice can be summed up with ‘eat less, move more, and relax’ just a few of the more-entertaining highlights of Jacobs’ quest to being as healthy as possible are:

  • using a treadmill desk, because prolonged sitting is bad for our health;
  • carrying his own small plate and mini utensils, because eating slowly encourages us to consume less;
  • making liberal use of cayenne pepper, because spicy foods decrease hunger;
  • wearing noise-cancelling headphones several hours a day, because noise affects our stress levels; and
  • squatting in the bathroom, because sitting puts too much pressure on the bowels.

Included in this literary, real-life adventure is Jacobs’ visit to InForm Fitness NYC and his brush with the Power-of-10 ultimate workout. Jacobs’ recount of the initial consultation and his proceeding workout include quoting me as saying:

“When we look back, I believe we will know Jane Fonda and her ilk as the people who destroyed America’s knees….Why would you spend six to twelve hours on cardio, when you can get the same exact thing in twenty minutes a week?”

“Your goal is to reach muscle failure. You’ll be out of this freakin’ torturous machine in a minute and a half.”

After a few workouts, Jacobs decides, in defeat, that he’d “have to continue cardio” and moves on to explore dozens of other workouts. Above all others, however, Jacobs implements and adopts HIIT – what he coined the “aerobic cousin of the slow-cadence weights workout [he] did with Adam Zickerman” – and claims there are more studies with empirical evidence to back it up.

Jacobs was referring to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), where instead of jogging at 60% of your ability for 45 minutes, for example, you sprint at 100% of your ability for a mere 30 seconds. The workout cycles through sprint, stop, rest and repeat, for a reduced total period of say 12 minutes.

It is my opinion that while Jacobs’ observation that HIIT has more supporting empirical evidence may be true, why I suggested in the title that he Got It Wrong is because I believe his conclusion that HIIT has more merit than resistance exercise, such as in the Power of 10, is misguided. And this is not aimed at Jacobs alone – millions of people misinterpret this.

Jacobs did not make the connection that the studies he refers to support that the results were from the level of intensity of the exercise and not the means, which in turn supports the Power of 10 program. While both the Power-of-10 and HIIT require efforts being dialed up to “10” to achieve the maximum gains in the minimal times recorded – the common denominator between the two workouts’ correlated success is the shared intensity level. Intensity is the key to stimulating our bodies to produce the adaptive responses we desire.

Your muscles don’t know if you are on a bicycle or on a weight machine, it knows only the energy requirements being demanded – and then responds accordingly. High-intensity exertion, whether performed on an aerobic machine such as the treadmill, or a weight machine such as a leg press, ignites the same metabolic response to our body’s energy systems. The harder and more intensely your muscles are made to work, the harder and more intensely the energy systems that support them are made to work. This is the stimulus that brings about the results!

Intense resistance exercise, is in fact scientifically supported. On May 23, 2007 researchers Simon Melov et al, concluded that healthy older adults showed evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness being partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following six months of resistance exercise training. Virtually discovering a ‘fountain of youth’ they stated, “The important and novel finding is that resistance exercise training reverses many aspects of the aging transcriptome signature. This implies that a functional improvement in aging muscle due to resistance exercise is associated with a global improvement in the molecular signature of aging particularly for transcripts related to mitochondrial function.”

So to my point, and the point of the Power of 10 program, I call upon McMaster University professor (and a leading HIIT proponent) Martin Gibala’s analogy to the Band-Aid Removal Preference Dilemma: Would you rather rip the band aid off quickly and endure a relatively brief flash of intense pain, or pull it off slowly, dragging on the slighter pain for much longer?

The time commitment to even attempt to achieve the same results of a Power-of-10 or HIIT workout with steady-state activity is staggering and that’s not even saying it’s possible! So, I repeat my challenge — why would anyone waste six to twelve hours a week on cardio when they can achieve results more safely and efficiently with 20 minutes once a week?


The Exercise to Lose Weight Conundrum


Relationships generally interest me, but none more so than those where correlation is misunderstood as causation. This logical fallacy, known as false cause, can be especially misleading when navigating the ‘exercise-to-lose-weight’ conundrum.

It was not all that long ago when it was considered naïve by health practitioners to believe that increased activity contributed to fat loss. Louis Newburgh of the University of Michigan determined in 1942 that a 250-pound man would only burn three calories by walking up a flight of stairs. Newburgh calculated that “He will have to climb twenty flights of stairs to rid himself of the energy contained in one slice of bread!” The only thing Newburgh could say of exercise was that it would make that same man hungrier.

Then, during the sixties, nutritionist Jean Mayer, the future president of Tufts University, contradicted that mainstream thinking arguing that a ‘sedentary lifestyle’ was the primary cause of our Nation’s obesity problem. Mayer and other physicians of the time were shocked to learn that obese patients often ate less food than their leaner counterparts. They also observed that obese people were much less active. Mayer therefore concluded (and heavily promoted) that low levels of activity were the cause of obesity.

It surprises me that today’s medical community still believes that inactivity causes obesity. We frequently hear that as an industrialized and modern nation, we are drastically less active, expend significantly fewer calories, and therefore are overweight.

Our advancements as a society have afforded us convenience and accessibility. True, but this is a perfect example of when a correlation does not realize causation!

Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College, Dr. Herman Pontzer recently put the ‘sedentary lifestyle’ theory to the test. Dr. Pontzer and his colleagues measured the high daily energy expenditure among the Hadza people of Tanzania, one of the few remaining traditional hunter-gatherer populations. Would the Hadza, whose lifestyle is exceptionally non-sedentary, expend more energy than we do?

Unexpectedly, Pontzer and his team found that they don’t expend more energy than us – suggesting that inactivity is not the source of today’s obesity problems. Their findings were published in a study last July.

In a New York Times article (August 24, 2012), Pontzer wrote:

“How can the Hadza be more active than we are without burning more calories? It’s not that their bodies are more efficient, allowing them to do more with less: separate measurements showed that the Hadza burn just as many calories while walking or resting as Westerners do…

We think that the Hadzas’ bodies have adjusted to the higher activity levels required for hunting and gathering by spending less energy elsewhere. Even for very active people, physical activity accounts for only a small portion of daily energy expenditure; most energy is spent behind the scenes on the myriad unseen tasks that keep our cells humming and our support systems working. If the Hadza’s bodies somehow manage to spend less energy in those areas, they could easily accommodate the elevated energy demands of hunting and gathering. And indeed, studies reporting differences in metabolic-hormone profiles between traditional and Western populations support this idea (though more work is needed).”

Asserting that inactivity is not the source of today’s obesity problems, Dr. Pontzer surmises that “the Hadza’s bodies somehow manage to spend less energy” at other times of their daily life in order to compensate for the high “energy demands of hunting and gathering.”

Pontzer is referring to ‘homeostasis’ – the physiological mechanisms that regulate and stabilize all of our biological functions, including energy expenditure. As Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon put it back in the thirties, “Somehow the unstable stuff of which we are composed had learned the trick of maintaining stability”. It is possible that the Hadza slept more in order to maintain an energy balance.

Here’s the kicker folks – most homeostatic regulation is controlled by the release of hormones into the bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone and the primary regulator of how we store fat, is secreted into our bloodstream in response to the carbohydrates in our diets – when our insulin levels are elevated, fat accumulates in our fat cells.

Put simply, insulin can increase the fat our bodies store and decrease the fat we burn, irrespective of our activity levels. Eliminating grains and sugar from our diets is more critical than increasing activity to lose fat because they raise our blood sugar and therefore raise our insulin levels.

While not offering scientific proof, we did however demonstrate in last week’s blog post, The ‘Lose Fat and Get Strong’ Challenge’, the case of Inform Fitness client David Restrepo, who dropped 40 pounds in only eight months and has since maintained his weight. David’s success was attributable to two things: (1) performing the Power-of-10 workout a mere 40 minutes a week at our prescribed level of intensity; and (2) eliminating grains and sugars from 80 percent of his diet. With absolutely no additional cardio, David’s results belie the cardinal rule of conventional weight-loss ‘wisdom,’ that a high level of activity is necessary for sustained fat loss.

It is more likely that by keeping his insulin levels low, David not only decreased the amount of fat he stored, he also increased the amount of fat he mobilized and utilized for fuel (fat burned during his workouts).

We are all different and have different sensitivities to insulin based on aspects of our diet and lifestyle, as well as our genetic predispositions and age. Given the same food and the same amount of carbohydrates, some people will secrete more insulin than others, and that insulin’s exponential effect on our overall level of insulin resistance will vary. In addition, we all have different sensitivities to foods that may or may not stimulate insulin secretion, such as dairy, nuts, diet sodas and coffee.

So we can be fat and sedentary, or fat and active. The hormone insulin and not our activity level is what governs our body-fat percentage. The positive correlations that can be drawn between physical activity and our health, and even our weight, are many! But, it is more than likely that our physical activity levels are not the primary cause of body fat either being stored or burned. The food that we put into our mouths and its effect on the secretion of insulin will determine our state of fatness.

Once again, it’s those darned hormones that are the blame for everything.


The ‘Lose Fat and Get Strong’ Challenge


The Challenge: Exercise once or no more than twice a week using the Power-of-10 workout program, and follow the InForm Fitness recommended nutritional plan.

The Goal: Lose 40 pounds.

The Purse: A stronger, healthier, and slimmer physique, enhanced energy and stamina, and 12 free Power-of-10 workout sessions at the Inform Fitness NYC Headquarters.

The InForm Fitness ‘Lose Weight and Get Strong’ Challenge has another victor! And another victor means another undeniable demonstration of our core beliefs: You can lose substantial fat without steady-state exercise, also known as ‘cardio’. Dramatic fat loss can occur by simply adhering to the InForm Fitness Power-of-10 workout and avoiding grains and processed carbohydrates.

Meet the challenger, David Restrepo, a successful, 36-year-young integrated pharmacist who owns two successful NYC pharmacies, VitaHealth.

A strong silent type, with an impressive work ethic, David accepted my challenge and succeeded over a year ago. Today, the real report is that David has kept the weight off, still works out, and eats as recommended.

Here’s David’s amazing “before and after” story, with his permission of course.

David lost 40 pounds, dropping to a sleek 193 lbs from 233 lbs. He also built substantial muscle mass while performing the Power-of-10 workout at Inform Fitness only twice a week and following a few, incredibly simple, dietary suggestions.

Well… if David was to be entirely honest, and we will out him here, he really only followed our recommended diet during the work-week, and ate whatever he pleased on weekends (apparently there are too many restaurants and too little time).

Notwithstanding, David reached his weight loss goal in 8 months!

The key, you’ll be happy to hear, is to never be hungry because once we deprive ourselves of food, failure is triggered! We encouraged David to eat as much protein and fat from humanely raised animals, fruit, and non-starchy vegetables as he wanted, so that he never reached a state of feeling hungry. Imagine – dieting without measuring cups or portion control.

David confesses that he missed his grains and processed carbohydrates, but made up for it on weekends – so he never ‘went without’ satisfying his cravings for too long. David’s success – aside from listening to me – was that he had the discipline to indulge on weekends and get back to a diet during the week of no grains or complex carbohydrates. These weekend indulgences and several family vacations away from his regular exercise workouts no doubt slowed down his weight loss efforts, but as you can see from the results, they didn’t deter him from reaching his goal.

Also, while David worked out only two times a week – mostly for the added benefit of stress release – once a week would have proved sufficient. To accommodate David’s desire for an added weekly workout session, we modified his program to avoid over-training.

David’s story is not scientific proof, but neither is it magic. David worked hard, efficiently, safely and effectively, and his experience should open you to the possibilities of our rather unconventional approach to exercise and nutrition.

Results will vary, yes, but they will be terrific nonetheless.

How curious are you? Consider the very same ‘Lose Weight and Get Strong’ Challenge officially extended to you. If you’re up for it, and willing to let us show the before and after pictures, let’s talk today!


You Must Be Insane


The overly commercialized fitness industry is forever trying to accommodate society’s never-ending quest to get fit, be healthy and to live forever. Without fail, the body of our dreams is always just one next ‘big thing,’ celebrity diet secret, or magic pill away.

The Insanity Workout is yet another promise for the delivery of miraculous results. Claiming to burn an astonishing (and convenient) 1,000 calories per hour, this 60-day, “max-interval training” uses a technique of “long bursts of maximum-intensity exercises with short periods of rest.” In my opinion, no matter how the workout is packaged and marketed, it’s just another gimmick.

First of all, rarely is anything genuinely new, just discovered, or for the first time being revealed to the general public. At best, it is a spin-off from something that has been around for a while, been tried and tested, and if you read their fine print, “yield results that are not typical.”

P90X, a workout similar to the Insanity Workout (and coincidentally owned by the same company, Beachbody LLC), in 2003 bombarded the market. P90X is a 90-day program that combines a variety of exercise techniques, including various calisthenics, cardio, yoga, plyometrics and stretching. Both the Insanity Workout and P90X emphasize the unproven training method known as ‘muscle confusion.’ The theory behind ‘muscle confusion’ is that by continually varying exercises, the muscles in your body are prevented from adapting to a predictable routine over time and thus hitting the ill-fated plateau.

Nonsense! Muscles can’t be ‘confused,’ duped or even bewildered. Muscles don’t predict, anticipate or get bored.

Every muscle in the body can do two things, and two things only; contract and relax. That’s what muscles do. When you flex your elbow, your bicep contracts, and when you straighten your elbow, your bicep relaxes. So it makes more sense that if you want to avoid that dreaded plateau, simply lift the heaviest weight you can to reach muscle failure for each muscle group and then rest long enough to allow the muscles to rebuild.

Now which theory seems more plausible – muscle confusion or muscle building?

Additionally, P90X and the Insanity Workout claim to burn a thousand calories an hour. Think about that – it just doesn’t make sense. We were never meant to burn calories at that rate – if we were then we would have never survived as a species! Even if we could expend calories at such a magnificent rate, our hunger would be insatiable and our ravenous appetites would replace those lost calories. And, if the calories weren’t replaced, our bodies would compensate for the calorie deficiency with drastically lower metabolisms. The low carbohydrate diets endorsed by these programs and recommended in conjunction with the training regimes are more likely the responsible component for the fat loss reported rather than the insane workout.

That said, what is truly insane about these workout programs are their recommendations to work out six consecutive days a week. That’s six hours a week – or nearly a full working day every week.  And with only one day of rest!

Although I agree that an exercise program should be intense, I maintain that rest and recovery are essential for results. The five to seven days of rest recommended by the Power-of-10 protocol is the minimum time required for the body to grow stronger. The building of muscle is the desired adaptive response to the exercise stimulus. Following the correct application of intensity level, the real ‘magic’ takes place during the recovery time.

The frequency, duration and high-force nature of the Insanity Workout and P90X, as well as countless other training methods, often result in injury. These injuries will not only prevent you from being consistent with your workouts, but also from living your life with ease, without injury-related pain, on a day-to-day basis.

The Power of 10 is a safe, efficient, once-a-week exercise program. You’ll achieve the same results safely, while gaining an extra five plus hours each week to do things you actually enjoy!

And there’s nothing insane about that!


Sharing in Mother Nature’s Bounty


As often as possible, I peruse my local Farmers Market in search of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. And, yes, as often as possible, I capitalize on those excursions as opportunities to observe my fellow health-conscious shoppers. My wife calls it staring. Regardless, I think people are fascinating.

So, in a collective pursuit of superior health and nutrition, we, for all appearances, are engaged in a discerning search for chemical- and pesticide-free produce, while at the same time supporting the local farming community. Wonderful! But, why then do some people seem so disapproving of the head of leafy greens riddled with holes?

The irony is that we simply can’t afford to be so picky.

Supermarket conglomerates dazzle the consumer with rows of completely intact, waxy, perfectly symmetrical and vibrantly colored produce, at an enormous cost to our health. Sadly, though, we have grown aesthetically conditioned to desire that still life, picture-perfect bowl of fruits and vegetables, and are thus prone to dismiss the less “attractive” cornucopia of offerings we find at the open market.

Produce will grow strong and beautiful in the absence of heavy pesticide sprays and chemical-rich soils, but the sometimes ugly truth is that insects will also thrive and most likely be the first to partake.

Those little holes in the lettuce leaf – that is the evidence that insects have lavishly fed there before – and is exactly the proof I am looking for to authenticate the organic labeling! Logically, hole-free skin and or leaves tell me that my fruits and vegetables were most likely treated with poisons designed to kill life – a notion I find far less appetizing than a few remnant signs of insect feedings, or even the darned insects themselves.

So, I encourage my fellow organic shoppers to relish the opportunity to share in Mother Nature’s Bounty, and reap the pleasures and benefits of contaminate-free produce. And, as the old joke would assure you, they won’t eat much.


Breaking Down Barriers and Crossing Borders


We’ve entered into a new era here at InForm Fitness.

Let me share some background first so that you can understand why NOW is such a pivotal time at InForm Fitness.

I was a science geek – not your typical profile for an exercise maniac. I followed strenuous exercise programs and was dedicated to being fit. Some would say that I was an arrogant evangelist about it as well, and I just couldn’t understand why my fellow lab technicians didn’t want to get with the program. Then, one day, my boss told me the truth: “Adam, you are always nursing injuries and you look like crap – so why would I want to exercise the way you do?”

That was the moment. You know – that ah ha moment. So I set a new course to discover a safer, more efficient way to exercise. That’s when I discovered the work of Ken Hutchins on slow resistance weight training. While I wasn’t in agreement with all of Hutchins’ work, I did see the premise as being sound. I dug deeper to learn more, found studios that were practicing slow resistance weight training, and became a convert. I believed that this would change the whole fitness industry.

Fast-forward a few years after more research, practice and testing, and with absolutely no business experience; I started InForm Fitness in a Massapequa basement. The business began to take off and so we expanded to a studio in midtown Manhattan- our headquarters today. I also co-authored the book The Power of Ten with my good friend Bill Schley, and it hit the New York Times Best Seller list. I was now getting closer to my dream of being interviewed by Oprah and changing the way the world looked at exercise.

Well, the whole industry didn’t change, and I didn’t get invited to speak to Oprah. But I haven’t wavered one inch from my mission. While Oprah didn’t call, Leslie Stahl and Barbara Walters did. There have been several news programs and articles about The Power of 10 and InForm Fitness so I know it is catching on – but it seems that when we say ‘this workout isn’t for everyone’ – it really isn’t. Not because it can’t or won’t work for them, but because people become very invested in their beliefs – right or wrong, scientifically sound or mystically based – they oppose change.

So back to the point I started with – Breaking Down Barriers and Crossing the Border.

The first barrier: getting found. With several lackluster attempts at a website, we finally found the team to work with that delivered a new website that is already improving our ‘findability’ on the web and delivering a better experience. We’ve also begun a new marketing and communications program – so stay tuned!

The next barrier: getting our vacationing clients back in the gym. While we recognized that many of our New York City clients spend their summers in the Hamptons, coming back to the city for their workout was inconvenient. This sparked my idea of taking the gym to them – in a custom-designed, full-workout gym-on-a-bus! We rolled out InForm Mobile in the Hamptons this past summer. And we’ll be making ‘fit stops’ throughout Long Island and New Jersey all year long.

The third barrier: Crossing the Border. As you probably have picked on up by now, I believe that the Power of 10 workout should be the norm. And to make that happen, we have to aim beyond New York. We are excited to announce that in addition to our New York City, Massapequa, Lehigh Valley locations, and our bus, we now have a new location in Los Angeles, California. We are close to adding another location in Santiago, Chile – and another in Virginia!

After much delay, we are at a point in our journey where we have a great team and the right platform to consistently share our ideas and information that I believe will help improve your quality of life.

If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, I invite you to do so. You might also want to check out our new Tumblr site and to join us on Facebook, where we plan on having some lively discussions. See you online!


Clean Water – Bottle or Tap?


So many of us rely on bottled water while others who have become more eco friendly have given up buying bottled water and are using reusable water carriers. This encourages the use of tap water. So the question is which is cleaner water – bottled or tap?

Two independent studies have confirmed that tap water is cleaner than most bottled water.

As a matter of fact, Case Western Reserve University found that 18% of bottled water contained more bacteria than allowable by the EPA, in addition to other chemicals found.

Cardiac Damage From Endurance Exercise


From MedPage Today, Dec 6, 2011:

Intense endurance exercise — such as running a marathon — may induce cardiac damage confined to the right ventricle, a small study showed.

Highly trained endurance athletes had reductions in right ventricular function immediately after a race, although it mostly returned to normal about a week later, according to André La Gerche, MBBS, PhD, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues.

However, a handful of the athletes had signs of subclinical myocardial scarring on cardiac MRI, “suggesting that repetitive ultra-endurance exercise may lead to more extensive right ventricular change and possible myocardial fibrosis,” the researchers reported online in the European Heart Journal.

Action Points:
* This study of 40 endurance athletes found evidence of right ventricular effects after an endurance event that largely resolved by six to 11 days later.

* Also, no concomitant left ventricular effects were observed.

There were no changes in left ventricular function, which “provides further circumstantial evidence for the emerging concept that the right ventricle may be more susceptible to exercise-induced injury [than the left],” they wrote.

The study included 40 athletes (mean age 37) who were participating in a marathon, an endurance triathlon, an alpine cycling race, or an ultra triathlon. All trained for more than 10 hours a week and had finished in the top quarter of a recent endurance race. None had cardiac symptoms or risk factors.

The researchers evaluated the athletes two to three weeks before the race, immediately after the race, and six to 11 days after the race.

Compared with baseline, right ventricular volumes increased, and all measures of right ventricular function worsened immediately post race. Left ventricular function was unaffected.

Levels of two biomarkers of myocardial injury — cardiac troponin I and B-type natriuretic peptide — significantly increased following the race (P≤0.003 for both). The changes were associated with reductions in right ventricular ejection fraction (P≤0.002 for both), but were unrelated to left ventricular ejection fraction.

Lower right ventricular ejection fraction was significantly associated with longer race duration and increasing peak oxygen uptake (P≤0.011 for both).

By six to 11 days after the race, most measures of right ventricular function had returned to normal, with the exception of right ventricular strain rates, which remained lower.

In the 39 athletes who underwent cardiac MRI, five had delayed gadolinium enhancement confined to the interventricular septum, indicative of subclinical myocardial fibrosis. These athletes had been competing in endurance sports longer and had lower right ventricular ejection fractions compared with those with normal MRI findings.

Because the study was not powered to assess clinical outcomes, the significance of the MRI findings requires further study, according to the authors.

The study “begs the hypothetical question whether repetitive longstanding bouts of arduous exercise result in the development of an acquired form of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy,” Sanjay Sharma, MD, and Abbas Zaidi, MBBS, of St. George’s University of London, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

“The results provide food for thought and the data should be embraced to galvanize more detailed and longitudinal assessment of large groups of endurance athletes,” they wrote. “The potential for such projects is enormous considering the colossal increase in participation rates in endurance events such as the marathon.”