Are you having "No Progress?"

Think of your journey into a healthier, happier, better moving you much like building a house. If the foundation of your house is cobbled together, has cracks in it, and is deteriorating then you are starting from a place of weakness. Why then would you spend lots of money and time building that beautiful kitchen you always wanted, and that master bedroom that has amazing views when in a few years the whole thing is going to collapse? You wouldn’t right?

We all want to rush to the end of the project. We want everything yesterday. If there was only a magic pill that would do that… The truth is that all levels of health and fitness are a process you have to be patient with. That is how getting healthier, stronger, and leaner works. You have to start with the right building blocks.

Are you having "No Progress?"Stage 1: Groundwork
We start with a lot of personal attention. Which means teaching you how to move correctly. When to fire the right muscles and how so as to keep you safe and move in an effective way. This is done in an individual basis, or in a small group of other people just like you. So you never feel self conscious that you don’t belong, or are holding people back. We want to help you get to that place that you want to be. That takes time, patience, and understanding.Are you having "No Progress?"

Stage 2: Framing
If you can’t squat, hinge, push, pull, or plank why would you try to load up a bar full of weights, or swing a kettlebell the size of your head through the air on your first day? That is just silly. Here at Contemporary Athlete, everything is a process of learning, then applying that knowledge. Making strides forward. Then learning some new things. This can happen in a larger class where you can have the support of others, and develop along side a small group of peers in a similar place that you are.

Are you having "No Progress?"Stage 3: Roofing
The barbell is like a PHD program. It removes a whole lot of ability to move. So until you are an exceptional mover we won’t use a barbell. We have them, we use them, but not until you are ready. If we are being completely honest, some people don’t ever want to or need to use one in order to get to your personal fitness goals. That being said you should always be preparing for that day because it makes you feel, move, and look better.


Coffee + Training = Gains (The unknown facts to unlocking your gym potential.)

My coffee addiction has a workout problem. Or some variable of that statement is appropriate for this post. I recently found myself sitting in the office drinking a pot of Death Wish Coffee for the better part of 5 hours the other day. Working incessantly on a very exciting, but necessary overhaul of the Contemporary Athlete website. As this community grows and changes I find myself taking occasional observatory steps back so as to see if this crazy awesome ship is traveling in the direction I would like it to; and if not how do I correct that.

Soooooooo a short story long, COFFEE, I love it. It is good for you. (So is a glass of red wine but that is for another post) I drink my coffee generally as a dark roast, black, in a 12 oz. cup. All in all, boring, uncomplicated and I am pretty sure makes me a sociopath. (Thanks random Facebook post)


Quick disclaimer: I am not a certified nutritionist, dietitian, or anything of the like (yet) so this is strictly my OPINION, based on my personal food intake and a ridiculous amount of reading.


So here are couple quick things:


  • Potential for Genius! (Ok not quite) but an earth shattering effect, coffee is a stimulant. It has caffeine in it. Which blocks a neurotransmitter inhibitor called Adenosine. By stopping this inhibitor it increases neuronal firing and releases dopamine and norepinephrine. Also it is proven through controlled experimentation that caffeine improves mood, reaction time, memory, and general cognitive function.


  • Superhero strength and skinny! (<- A freaking gold plated unicorn says what?) It raises your metabolism and the oxidation of fatty acids. This is due to it being a stimulant and the effect it has on the central nervous system. It has been proven through different meta-analyses that it increases exercise performance by an average of 11-12% this is due to it’s affects on several biological mechanisms, one of them being the mobilization of fatty acids from fat tissue.


  • Type II Diabetes can suck a doughnut! (But, but, can I still have a doughnut? NO, no you cannot) in observational studies, coffee is frequently associated with a lower risk of diabetes. The range of this is anywhere from 25% to as high as 65%. A recent review article I read with close to half a million participants showed that with every extra cup of coffee people had, it lowered their risk by 7%.


  • If Mayan gods are doing it… (The Mayan people originally made Coffee as a soup, or porridge. They also ate people’s hearts [<- I think, that could be a lie though…]) Many of the nutrients in coffee beans make it into the drink.


  1. 11% of the RDA for Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).
  2. 6% of RDA for Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5).
  3. 2% of the RDA for Niacin (Vitamin B3) and Thiamine (B1).
  4. 3% of the RDA for Potassium and Manganese.


Coffee is the largest source of antioxidants in the western diet; this outranks both fruits and veggies.


Last thing I have to say though. Great facts here but… once you start filling it with 37 sugars, or artificial sweeteners, a half a gallon of milk or creamer, you have then eradicated all that awesomeness with a whole bunch of not goodness.

Summer Flab to Summer Fab

Right now is the time when everybody starts asking me (that don’t come to the CA) What they should be doing to “mix” it up to break up the monotony of their classes so they are ready for that great black summer cocktail dress, or bikini. Yep, I said it, bikini season is right around the corner. Want to look good for June, July, and August? Here are the easy answers. Kind of, it takes about 4 weeks to feel different, 8 weeks to see changes, and 12 weeks to make “them” ask what you are doing.


So here is my:

If this, then do that


Nice to meet you! You look delicious!

            Are you really hungry, all the time? STOP trying to eat 1000 calories a day or less. Yes, eating less is a good thing if your trying to shed some weight but are if your now considering having your friends for dinner instead of inviting them over to join you you might have a problem. Hopefully it hasn’t come to that point in time that cannibalism is an option, or that the next time you see a ho-ho or ding-dong your going to own them like the factory just closed (Wait? Didn’t it?) Skinny-fat, is out. Fit is in, eat better calories, and lift. You’ll feel better, be more confident, and hell you can carry your own groceries to the car. (Granted I generally let them do it for me, because it makes me feel special.)


Are there vegetables in these vegetables?

            So remember that food pyramid? Take a chainsaw to it. Veggies go on the bottom, you can never have enough of them, they are delicious, they are carbs and did I say you can never have enough of them? Meats are small portions. About the size of the ball of your fist is a good guess-tamate. We tend to over eat our portion sizes proteins here in America. Breads and pastas are not the devil, but when you wrap them fatty goodness they just became the devil. Make your fatty carbs a big fat 0 and your golden (mostly because you just cut 600 calories a day out of your diet). Six-pack abs here we come.


Cardio, Cardio, Cardio

            If you started-in full force with your NYE resolution, and you have now taken “ownership” of a spin bike at your gym’s evening class, or treadmill #5 is yours for 15-50 miles a week between the hours of 5am to 7am. Way to get after it like a champ! Change isn’t easy but you might throat punch somebody that is on your kit during “your” hours. (Keep reading if you want more from your training!)

I’m sorry am I sweating on you?

            This conversation starts with. “I’m sorry that you had to be jogging on the treadmill next to me while I do my 12 x 200 meter sprints at a 5% incline. It’s not that I am better than you, it’s that I don’t like this machine, and the sooner I can get off of it the better. Also is there anything interesting in that Cosmo your reading? It’s hard to read when I’m running this fast, and my vision gets a little blurry right before my legs feel like they might instantaneously combust. Whoops, back at it!” Sprint you get more for it, no matter if you feel you look like a fool, you’ll be the last one laughing the pool this summer.


Lean, Mean, Machine

            Don’t be angry, be better, and up your cardio with a bodyweight high intensity interval training (HIIT) class. These are all the “rage” right now. Interesting fact is that, any boot camp class or sports style interval training is generally HIIT. The fitness industry moves from fad to fad. Just make sure the fundamentals are sound and your going to rock that dress, and better yet rock your body. (Ever heard of LIIT? No? you should read this next.)


Where are the 5# dumbbells?

Want better results from your strength program? Lose the high rep. soup can workout that will “tone” you and pick up some stuff that might make your soul scream a little bit. Unless you have lots of time to do isolated work and your weight lifting is actually a cardio routine in front of the mirrors. Your not doing yourself any favors.


Why won’t the guys at the gym stop staring at me when I do squats?

Simple, you upped your game and decided to actually get something for all that hard work. By lifting heavy in sets of 3 to 5 reps. You are getting more for all that muscle burn, like getting strong, and toned (fit). Also those guys that creep you out. The next time you see them squat anything, ask if they need a spot, because they are likely sitting on the bench press bench while they are freaking you out (mostly because they all skip leg day!). It’s an easy nut check for them and you can strut your spandex all you want as you walk out the door.


Is there any fruit in this strawberry-coconut daiquiri?

This is really what you’re saying, when you have cleaned up so much stuff already. “Can I have some sugar, with my sugar, wrapped in a diuretic, then garnished with some sugar? Ill have 3 of those thanks.” -> no, just NO!


If it’s clear you’re probably in the clear.

Vodka and tequila are probably safe spirits if you’re going to drink. Soda water is a good additive to stay away from a sugary mixer, or one with high salt content. That is if your not just an on the rocks kinda girl. Tequila or vodka on the rocks, will keep your calories in check while not allowing you to unintentionally eat a whole loaf of bread while you are out with your peeps (insert bottle of wine here).