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My Go-To Nutrition Plan For Six Pack ABS

December 15th, 2016


By Aaron Baker,MS, ATC, SCCC, CSCS, Hive Ambassador

As a sports performance coach and a personal trainer, I can easily say the #1 question I get asked is “What should I be eating.”

Undoubtedly my answer is the same to every person, “if your looking for a nutrition plan read “The ABS DIET,” written by David Zinczenko.”

There are many important topics and concepts The “ABS DIET” delves into, but for the purposes of this blog there are three key concepts a person who reads this book should understand. Why eating 5 to 6 times a day is important for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, the importance of exercise, and what healthy food actually is.

First, the concept of multiple feedings in a day or grazing is nothing new. Basically it states by eating 5 or 6 times a day you are not allowing your resting metabolism to dip, which in turn burns more calories at rest, and burns more fat.

While the actual science of this has come under scrutiny over the years, I’ve seen this strategy work for many people. Whether you believe in this strategy or not one thing cannot be denied, the human body is a highly efficient organism and if you provide it with enough calories for your given activity level it will shed any unnecessary body fat.

Grazing also becomes important when talking about the concept of the thermogenic effect of food. Which states, there is an increase in metabolic activity in order to digest food consumed. So if you are eating multiple times a day, you are burning more calories through digestion than a person who eats twice a day. While the amount of calories burned here may be small, over a 3 month period it adds up.

Now, these concepts are very useful but only if your exercising and eating the right things. I may not agree with all of the things he recommends for exercise, but I do agree with him on the importance adhering to a routine and eating the proper foods.

Foods that are only low in calories and fat or sugar free should not by default be considered healthy food.

They are however a healthier option than their respective counterparts, so given the choice the right decision is obvious.

Instead healthy foods should provide the body with the proper vitamins and nutrients that assist in healthy weight loss, weight maintenance, boosting your immune system and promoting general health.

“The ABS DIET” provides a list of what the author believes are the best foods to eat. The book refers to these foods as “The Power 12.”

While these certainly aren’t the only pro healthy foods out there, they are a good start.

These are “The Power 12:”

Almonds and other nuts – Builds muscle, fights against obesity, heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure

Beans and other legumes – Builds muscle, fights against obesity, colon cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure

Spinach and other green vegetables – neutralizes free radicals, fights against cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity and osteoporosis

Dairy (Fat Free or Low fat) – Builds strong bones, fights against osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, and cancer

Instant Oatmeal – Boosts energy, reduces cholesterol, maintains blood sugar levels, fights against heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and obesity

Eggs – Builds muscle, fights against obesity

Turkey and other lean meats – Builds muscle, improves immune system, fights against, obesity

Peanut butter (Natural) – Builds muscle, fights against, obesity, muscle loss, and cardiovascular disease

Olive Oil – Lowers cholesterol, boosts immune system, fights against, obesity, cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure

Wholegrain breads – Fights against obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease

Extra protein (Whey) – Builds muscle, burns fat, fights against obesity

Raspberries and other berries – Fights against, heart disease, cancer and obesity

Obviously, not all nutrition plans are going to work for every body, but I do believe that the plan laid out in “The ABS DIET” provides a great nutritional foundation that can help most people achieve their goals.

So the next time you pick up something to eat, you should ask yourself, “how is this food helping me?”

What’s The Ultimate Resistance Training?

November 8th, 2016

img_5214-1Anyone who knows Kathleen knows she was born to run.

She has the build for it, the temperament for it and the passion for it. When she’s pounding the pavement or the treadmill, she’s utterly in her element.

But lately, you might have noticed that Kathleen has moved beyond her comfort zone — to the weight room floor, specifically, where she can be found working through a set of deadlifts.

At last check, she was lifting 165 pounds.

Her goal?


It’s time to redefine resistance training. We’re not talking about the textbook definition here — exercising your muscles using an opposing force — though deadlifting certainly qualifies.

Simply put, in Kathleen’s case, “resistance training” refers to the exercise that you resist doing.

“Weights aren’t my thing.”

“I’m not a runner.”

“I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.”

“I don’t have the stamina to cycle.”

We could go on, but you get the picture. We all have at least one “I’m not/”I can’t”/I don’t” excuse in our arsenal. These convenient fallbacks keep us compartmentalized in our traditional workout silos.

Isn’t it enough that I’m exercising? You think.

Sorry to burst your bubble: No.

By human nature, we gravitate toward our strengths. But there are risks to doing so at the exclusion of all else.

For one, you’re in danger of becoming complacent. Complacency breeds boredom. And boredom makes you vulnerable to hitting an exercise plateau, which is certain buzzkill for any workout.

Another problem?

When you tax the same muscles again and again, you’re bound to succumb to overuse injuries.

The antidote is to flex and stretch underused muscle groups, bringing your body into balance. Like Kathleen, who resisted weight training for years, you’ll convert your weaknesses into strengths. And those strengths will serve you in your preferred exercise or sport.

So, what are you waiting for?

Check out our team training schedule, and pick a class you’d typically shy away from.

If you have the tightest quads on the block, reach for a foam roll and “get to stretching”.

Ask one of our trainers to demonstrate the proper form for deadlifting.

When you engage in this – the ultimate form of resistance training — you may discover that you are, in fact, a runner, a yogi, a weightlifter…

You fill in the blank.

The Skinny On Fat Burning

June 8th, 2016

Processed with VSCO with j5 preset

If you were given the option of a high-intensity workout or a fat-burning workout, which one would you choose?

If you’re like most people, it’s a no-brainer. A high-intensity workout sounds grueling and unrelenting; a fat-burning workout conjures up images of the sculpted, svelte results we long to achieve.

Of course we want to work out in our fat-burning zone!

The problem?

The fat-burning zone is as legit as the Twilight Zone.

And yet, there persists a nagging misconception that slow, steady-state aerobics leads to fat loss. This myth has spread far and wide in the exercise world. Some cardio equipment even features fat-burning settings, essentially encouraging us to ratchet down our pace with the empty promise that doing so will melt fat from our frame.

The truth is that you don’t burn a greater amount of fat exercising at a lower intensity. You burn a greater percentage of fat exercising at a lower intensity.

That distinction has major implications. If you work out at, say, 65 percent of your max, you might burn 50 percent of calories from fat. If you go at it more rigorously, you might burn 35 percent of calories from fat.

However, with the more challenging workout, you’re burning far more total calories — and more fat calories overall.

And with the 65 percent workout?

You don’t get any better at what you’re doing.

Nor do you see results in the mirror.

The takeaway: Forget you ever heard the term “fat-burning zone.” Banish it from your vocabulary.

To maximize your fat loss, work out at the highest intensity you can comfortably maintain. You’ll become stronger and more capable. You’ll sleep better, feel less stressed, have a lower resting heart rate and a higher energy level.

When you focus on improving your performance, everything else falls into place – and, ultimately, off your waist.

Knocked out by HIIT? Try This Instead

March 9th, 2016

IMG_5431 (1)

When it comes to exercise trends, nothing’s more hip than HIIT these days. Exercisers are flocking to High Intensity Interval Training in record numbers, and for good reason: When done effectively, it burns more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.


But like all forms of exercise, you can do too much of a good thing.


HIIT is designed to push you near your max capacity — essentially, to make your body scream “Uncle!” Exercising that intensely more than twice a week without proper programming and scheduled recovery could lead to injury. Conversely, if you’re breezing through multiple HIIT classes, you’re not actually HIIT training at all. Keep in mind, fifty percent intensity for twice the duration does not add up to one hundred percent when it comes to HIIT.


To avoid both pitfalls, follow a balanced workout routine that produces results while staving off boredom and burnout.


To simplify things, we’ve devised an easy-to-follow, SEVEN-DAY PLAN below. Try it out, and let us know how it works!


MONDAY: Burn 500 or Boot Camp

WHY NOW? You’re refreshed and energized from the weekend. It’s the ideal time to HIIT it hard. Remember, the operative word here is “intensity”: If you’re not draining your tank during these classes, you’re shorting yourself.


TUESDAY: Active recovery (1 hour or less)

WHY NOW? High-intensity exercise builds up lactic acid in your system, inhibiting athletic performance. The best way to clear it is through low-intensity aerobic activity. Walk, jog, bike or engage in any other form of cardio at an intensity that is just high enough to get your blood pumping. If, on a perceived exertion scale from 0-10, “0” is binge-watching Netflix and “10” is scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro, your perceived exertion should be a “3.”


WEDNESDAY: HumanSport, TRX, Gravity Truform, personal training, yoga or barre

WHY NOW? Yesterday’s recovery reduced the residual muscle fatigue you were experiencing from Monday’s high-intensity workout. In short, the time’s ripe for strength training.



WHY NOW? Unless you’re prepping for the Olympic trials, there’s no reason — or benefit — to work out four days in a row. Remember, rest helps you recover, get stronger and perform better.


FRIDAY: Burn 500 or Boot Camp.

WHY NOW? After a day off, your recuperated self will seize the challenge of a second high-intensity workout.


SATURDAY: Tempo cardio

WHY NOW? On the heels of HIIT, your body can handle this exercise: 4-6 10-minute intervals at a perceived exertion of 6-7, with a 90-second rest between intervals. Tempo cardio enhances your performance for future HIIT workouts, because it’s designed to increase your fitness level. Maintain a hard but sustainable pace. You should be able to speak a few sentences but not, say, debate politics.


SUNDAY: Day off

WHY NOW? If you follow our schedule faithfully, you don’t need to work out more than five days a week. Nor will you do your body any favors by pushing it. Kick back and enjoy your day off. You’ve earned it.

Long, Lean, Strong…Learn The GRAVITY Secret

February 8th, 2016


By Dane Robinson – BS,PES,NASM-CPT

It’s 2016 people! Strength is the new Sexy!

Let’s finally knock the myth (ladies specifically) that if you so much as look at a heavy weight, let alone pick it up, you will “bulk” into some unappealing version of Arnold Scharwzenegger. Muscle is what cranks up your fat-burning furnace. Turning on that furnace will help create a new, long, lean, and defined version of yourself.

One of the premier classes that centers on developing this is right underneath your nose and you probably don’t even know it!
Your new secret weapon…GRAVITY

GRAVITY is a strength based class session based on everyone in session utilizing the Total Gym.
Chuck Norris. Christie Brinkley. Saturday morning infomercial…yeah that machine! GRAVITY sessions combines the muscle defining work your body craves with a full body focus where no part is ever left out.

By using only your body-weight with constant resistance tension the Total Gym places on you, GRAVITY creates a demand on your muscles like nothing you’ve felt before. Muscle that burns fat. Muscle that changes your composition. That “I’m going to find every excuse to flex my arm to show off my biceps” kind of muscle.

Plus let’s remember that if you’re not enjoying what you are doing (…after class is over that is) you’re probably not going to stick with it. GRAVITY is not just a workout. It’s an atmosphere you’re placed in that almost guarantees your success each session. The fact that you are with others enduring around you and with your GRAVITY coach that has that unique way of safely kicking you into another gear with a devilish, yet motivating smile.

The Total Gym is just that…a total gym experience condensed in one machine. GRAVITY is dedicated to you. The sculpted, toned, defined you. Pair your new BEST kept secret class with Western New York’s LEAST kept fitness secret. GRAVITY at Hive Lifespan Center is your combo for an incredible and STRONG 2016.

GRAVITY: Your new secret weapon. See why people are hooked on GRAVITY …click that mouse HERE

Dane Robinson is a Hive Ambassador and the Fitness Director at Gravity Studio Atlanta.  Dane can be reached at dane@gravitystudio.com.

Run For The Right Reasons

November 20th, 2015

2015-10-30 11.18.53 HDR (1)Runners, stop in your tracks. It’s time for a gut check.

Why do you run?

If you answered “to get thin ” — or some variation on that theme — you’re going the distance for the wrong reason.

Like all fitness regimens, losing weight is a desirable byproduct of running. But it shouldn’t drive you to lace up.

When it does, running becomes, well, run-of-the-mill. Rather than experiencing the endorphin-high of hitting your stride, you’ll hit a plateau and risk ditching your routine altogether.

To avoid burnout, run for the right reasons. What are they? Everyone has their own. If you’re stuck, here are a five legit reasons to lace up:

  1. For the community. Running with neighbors or an organized club is a great way to keep in touch, strengthen bonds and create new friendships.
  2. For the competition. Maybe you’re trying to run faster or longer. Perhaps you’d like to attempt your first 5K, 10K or marathon. Creating a challenging goal helps you discover your physical potential and inspire yourself.
  3. For your mood. Choose a scenic route and disconnect from the stress. Thirty minutes later, you’ll march through your front door a new person.
  4. For your heart. Running is one of the most heart-healthy exercises around. Just an hour a week can reduce your risk of heart disease by almost half compared to non-runners.
  5. For the energy boost. Even a short run keeps sluggishness at bay, increasing energy, reducing fatigue and helping you sleep like a rock.

Once you’ve committed to running for the right reasons, you’re one step closer to making the most of your run.

Next up? Improving your form.

First, invest in a quality pair of running sneakers. Shoe cushioning and shock absorption degrade with time and use, putting you at risk for injury. Most runners swap out their kicks every 400-500 miles.

If you hold on to a cell phone, water bottle or other accessories when you run, you’re compromising your gait. Stay dialed in during your runs by investing in a shirt with a phone pocket. And unless you’re a competitive distance runner, you shouldn’t need to hydrate, especially if you’ve been drinking water during the day.

Now that you’re hands-free, take a moment to scan your arms. Do they sway side to side when you run? If so, you’re wasting valuable energy stores and preventing your body from propelling forward. Concentrate on swaying your arms forward and back instead, with your elbows at 90-degrees angles. Need a visual? Imagine yourself popping potato chips — OK, kale chips — into your mouth.

Finally, determine your cadence. On your next run, count the number of times each foot strikes the ground in a minute; optimal running cadence is about 160-170 steps. Maintaining that will reduce loading on your knee and hip joints, and may ward off common running injuries. Use a pedometer or Spotify’s running cadence mixes to keep you on track.

OMG… Calories! 5 Reasons to Rethink Your Workout Focus

September 16th, 2015

CAP_1515It’s often said that the numbers don’t lie. But when it comes to exercise, they don’t tell the whole story.

Take our current obsession with calories. Fitness enthusiasts haven’t been so singularly focused on this unit of energy since Jane Fonda led the leg-warmer-clad masses through their paces.

Back then, counting the calories we consumed was all the rage.

Today, it’s all about keeping tabs on the calories we burn.

Thanks to wristband fitness trackers, this data is literally at arm’s length. What’s more, classes that claim to torch a staggeringly high number of calories are the hot ticket at health clubs, and attendance continues to climb.

Although monitoring our caloric output sounds like a healthy habit, we risk developing an unhealthy attitude toward fitness when we do.

How? Let us count the ways.

1. We lose sight of real fitness

When we chart our progress with the calories we burn, we look toward just one goal: losing weight. But weight loss does not equal overall health. A slim physique can be a byproduct of fitness, but we have to consider a whole host of factors— our heart rate, muscle mass, energy levels and blood pressure, to name a few.

2. It leads to overeating

Each time you complete a high-intensity workout, your fitness tracker calculates the number of calories you’ve expended. For some, this triple-digit figure serves as a license to chow. Rather than considering food as the fuel we need to sustain ourselves, it becomes a reward for a killer workout. In these circumstances, we’re likely to overestimate how much we can eat. So we indulge and then wonder why we can’t shed pounds.

3. We’re vulnerable to injuries

When a high-intensity workout no longer yields the caloric burn it once did, it leads to frustration. In fact, we should be thrilled to see those numbers dip. Why? If you’re burning fewer calories working out at the same relative intensity, it’s a sign that your body is becoming fitter. But if we’re consumed by numbers, we’re likely to ratchet up our workouts — a strategy that puts us on the fast track to injuries.

4. We lose variety in our workouts

When we prioritize calorie burning, we turn our back on lower-intensity forms of exercises. That’s a costly trade-off to make. If, for example, we scratch yoga from our workout schedule, we lose flexibility and balance — two essential components of a fit physique. If we abandon strength training, we lose muscle mass. Remember, a muscular body burns calories more effectively all day, not just when you’re in the thick of a workout.

5. We don’t give ourselves permission to rest

Our bodies were not built to exercise strenuously every day. At most, you should engage in three such workouts a week, allowing at least 48 hours of recovery time between each session. If you’re constantly crushing it at the gym, you don’t allow your body to rest, recover and replace lost energy stores. The most effective exercise schedules alternate among high-, moderate- and low-intensity workouts. This way, you avoid injury and burnout while performing at your peak.

The big takeaway? If you’ve grown attached to monitoring the calories you burn, it’s time to explore the other features on your fitness tracker. You should also consider reviewing your exercise regimen with a certified trainer to make sure that you’re on the path to optimal health rather than just working out “by the numbers.”

The Other 23 Hours

July 18th, 2015

_DLC4738 (1)Several years ago, Time magazine ran a provocative cover story titled, “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin.”

The premise was as simple as it was unsettling: Active individuals are lulled into a false sense of security because of their exercise regimens. Consequently, they overeat and gain weight.

It’s true that many of us sabotage our workouts with poor dietary choices. What we eat — and what we don’t eat — helps determine whether we reap the full benefits of an active lifestyle.

But it’s hardly the only factor in the equation.

At every turn, we face choices that affect how we look and feel. If we make sound choices when we’re not working out, we look refreshed and feel energized. That, in turn, inspires us to keep exercising.

When we make bad choices, we feel tired, tapped and cranky. In this condition, it’s hard to motivate yourself to hoist barbells or hop on a treadmill.

If you work out an hour a day, its time you asked yourself this question:

How am I spending the other 23?

Here, five steps you can take to make the most of your down time.

1. Drink more

Water, that is. It energizes muscles, makes your skin glow, helps you shed toxins and prevents constipation. So why aren’t we getting enough? Experts recommend we drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Remember it as the “8 by 8” rule. Then, make it a fun habit by investing in a high-quality, personalized water bottle that reflects your style. Sigg, Tervis, bkr and S’well are a few of the brands we reach for.

2. Get enough z’s

If you’re staying up late to catch Jimmy Fallon, you may not be laughing the next morning. Lack of sleep causes us to overeat, gives us sallow skin, impairs our memory and darkens our mood. The good news? Gadgets can help us slumber soundly. DVR or stream your favorite late-night program. Use a Fitbit tracker to see how many hours you sleep, and better understand the quality of your sleep. Download an app that plays white noise as you drift off. Most importantly, know when to say when to screen time: At least a half-hour before hitting the sheets, power down all electronics.

3. Sweat, then nosh

To stimulate muscle repair, strength and growth, eat after you exercise. You’ll feel better today and ready yourself for tomorrow’s workout. Just make sure you nosh sensibly. Select low- or no-fat snacks that are rich in protein and carbohydrates. Hummus and pita slices work. So does a 250-calorie protein shake. Chocolate milk serves as surprisingly effective post-workout fuel: A cup contains double the carbohydrates of plain milk and between eight and 11 grams of protein.

4. Supplement — first thing

Take vitamins first thing in the morning, with your breakfast. When you do, it’s like cueing yourself to have a healthy day. Supplementing in the morning also ups the odds that the vitamins will be absorbed into your system with the food you eat throughout the day. If you tend to forget this ritual in the a.m. rush, leave your vitamin bottle on the counter as a visual reminder.

5. Roll with it

A massage is more than just relaxing. It helps increase our flexibility, improve our circulation and alleviate muscle pain, priming us for more productive workouts. But regular massages can get pricey. To reap the benefits at a fraction of the cost, buy a foam roller and do it yourself. You can find them at sporting goods and department stores; prices typically range between $15 and $45. Online tutorials can teach you how to use your roller to release muscle tension and knots.

Being Fit is Back in Fashion

May 20th, 2015

_DLC3854Living the “sweat life” is the new black; high fashion work out gear, whole foods, and regular exercise have officially gone mainstream. Don’t believe us, just check out the awesome Instagram action of celebrities like Miranda Kerr, Christy Turlington, Khloe Kardashian and Miley Cyrus you will see snaps of them hitting their favorite gyms and studios sporting toned tummies, strong shapely legs and defined arms. If healthy isn’t a part of your lifestyle, you’re behind the times. Check out our list of what’s In, what’s Out & what’s here to stay.

Trending Now – What’s In

1. Small Group Personal Training
2. Fitness Trackers with Heart Rate
3. Clean Eating
4. High Waisted Yoga Tights
5. HIIT Training
6. Group Cycling
7. Gourmet Beef Jerky
8. Fitness Apps
9. Booty Work
10. Game Meat

Yesterday’s Fitness – What’s Out

1. Skinny
2. P90X & Insanity
3. Neon Colored Sneakers
4. Weight Belts
5. Sports Drinks
6. Fat Free
7. Body Wraps
8. Large Aerobic Classes
9. Cleanses
10. Skipping Leg Day

Timeless – Here To Stay

1. Law of Thermodynamics (calories in calories out)
2. Kettlebells
3. Multivitamins
4. Converse Sneakers
5. Bodyweight Exercise
6. Olympic Lifts
7. Rest & Hydration
8. Wearing Your Hair In A Bun
9. The Color Black
10. Keeping A Food Diary

The Bubble of Consumption

May 9th, 2015

bubble“Eat like a king at breakfast,a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner.”

Remember that old chestnut?

Well, modern science has shaken up conventional wisdom about when it’s best to eat — particularly for those of us who exercise.

It turns out that we get more bang for our workout buck if we consume most of our calories during the periods before and after we hit the gym.

Call it “the bubble of consumption.” It surrounds us roughly two to three hours pre- and post-workout. When you’re in that bubble, you should consume roughly 65 to 75 percent of your daily caloric allotment.

And what happens if you skip healthy meals or snacks when you’re in the bubble?

Simply put, you don’t reap all the benefits of your hard work.

Eating for Performance and Recovery

Fueling your muscles before a workout gives you energy to get through it. It improves your performance, lessening the risk of injury and increasing your ability to recover quicker.

What’s more, if you’ve eaten before exercising you won’t feel depleted once you’re done, so you avoid the temptation to overeat or make poor food choices.

You’re just as wise to eat after a workout. During that period, your muscles are primed for nutrients that stimulate their repair, strength and growth.

When you consume low- or no-fat meals and snacks that are rich in protein and carbohydrates, you’ll find that you’re less sore after working out and better able to maintain — and build — muscle.

Timing Your Meals and Snacks for Best Results

Although we all have different workout regimens and fitness goals, here are a couple of basic principles for when to eat in your personal bubble:

1. Have a meal two to three hours before training and a snack 10 to 40 minutes before.
2. Have a snack immediately after training and a meal within one to two hours.

Of course, you may feel like you’re already putting enough effort into what you eat.

Now you have to time your calories, too?

If it seems like too much effort, consider this:

The most common excuse people make for not exercising is that they just don’t have time for it.

You’ve set aside time to exercise. When you also plan to eat right — at the right time —
you’ll take your fitness to the next level, with results you can see.

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