The kid in you.

Quick story.

Today in my boot camp, two clients raced each other to the water fountain. One, a women in her 30’s and the other, a man in his 20’s. “So what?”, you might say. Well, #1, they were were having fun. #2 it was 6:30 in the morning, when most people are still sleeping with crust in their eyes and drool on their pillow, #3 they were exercising, #4 they had just finished a grueling 8 set exercise of legs, no less, in which they had to set personal records on each set and #5, they did this willingly without having to be asked.

Let me tell you. It was pretty inspiring to the rest of the class and to me as well.

Here’s how it happened and it might even remind you of your youth.

The gent put his weights down and immediately turned to head for the fountain, thinking he was thirsty and that he needed a drink. Coincidentally the women next to him, had also just put her weights down and must have been thinking the same thing, but didn’t see him, and quickly turned toward the fountain. He did see her, and sensed her quick turn, so he took a subconscious, quick step forward. She, having not seen him, sensed his quick step and took a quick step herself. Then, they both realized each person was thirsty and heading to the fountain, and as if someone shouted, “GO”, they broke out into a full sprint to the fountain. I believe they were tied in their hot pursuit of water, when the gent pulled up to let the lady go first and they both broke into giggles.

Funnier thing was after the next circuit, they intentionally raced to the fountain.

Who said exercise wasn’t fun?

Shame on them.

If you want to get in shape, feel younger and have fun then sign up for a free personal training consult in Newton or Boston or wherever you live East of 128 or test drive a free week of my Newton boot camp.

Cheers from your personal coach,

Mike Alves

Click here to feel younger today or don’t click to just feel a day older. O.K., O.K., I’m just playing with words, but it is a bit true. No?

Do you know your body?

Do you know what it needs at certain points during the day or when you feel certain ways?

Here are some questions I ask myself and I ask of my clients, when I or they appear off.

How do you feel? How many hours did you sleep last night? Did you eat dinner last night? Did you eat breakfast today? Are you thirsty? What’s going on at work? What’s going on at home? When was the last time you exercised? What do you think your body needs? What doesn’t it want to do right now? Did you drink alcohol last night/are you hung over?

When you’re off, you’re usually tired. What to do when you feel tired is a little trick that many people don’t know.

Here are some situations you may find yourself in and things you can do to correct it.

Sometimes your tired and you need sleep or a nap. Sometimes your tired and you need exercise.

Sometimes your tired and you need to eat (veggies, protein & fat). Sometimes your tired and you need to hydrate (water is best).

Sometimes your tired and you need to sweat and sometimes your tired and you need to stretch.

How do you know you which you need?

Let’s see if we can answer that question for you today.

  • If you haven’t slept in a while (days), and you feel tired, you may need to sleep.
  • If you didn’t sleep well last night, you may need a power nap (cool name for adults).
  • If you’ve missed meals, you probably need to eat.
  • If you’ve been on the go for a while, you probably need to eat more.
  • If you just ate and you feel tired, you either overate, are carbohydrate sensitive or are allergic to something you ate.
  • If you’re mouth is dry and your urine is non-clear, you probably need to drink a lot of water (shoot for a minimum of .5oz/lb of body weight/day).
  • If it’s midday or late afternoon and you feel a yawn come on or a nodding head bob and you’ve been getting o.k. sleep of late, you probably need to exercise.
  • If you’ve been abusing your body, either with stress, alcohol, drugs, travel or just plain bad food and you feel kind of gross and you feel tired, you may need to sweat.

Similar to exercise, but the sole purpose here is sweating. It can be strength based, but interval strength training would be best if you did choose strength. Otherwise, interval conditioning (sprints with short recovery), high intensity conditioning (running, hard bike, hard row, hard elliptical or swimming) or low intensity conditioning (walking, slow jog, elliptical, bike or rower) would be good options to sweat out any toxins you may have and get you feeling better. This is also good for when your sick and starting to come out of it or at the onset of getting sick. (note: sweating when you’re getting sick or as you’re recovering from being sick is good. be sure to focus on sweating and not training too hard. Too hard will result in a setback)

If you’ve been traveling a lot, sleeping on different pillows, in different time zones or even just out of your routine for a few days to an extended period of time, you may need to stretch. I’m talking a good static stretch (think high school gym class) mixed in with some easy mobility exercises (arm circles, leg swings, etc…), corrective exercises (individual specific), planks, and shoulder pre-hab (exercises pulling your shoulders down & back).

This week I saw 2 clients I hadn’t seen in a while. They both were very much looking forward to training, but when I saw them, they looked off. I asked each what was up and they sheepishly said they really wanted to exercise, but weren’t feeling tough enough to do the normal strength routine (if you haven’t trained with me before, just know that you have to be “up” and “ready” to train b/c when we start the intensity goes up rather quickly). So after asking them a few questions, like the one’s posted above, I quickly realized they needed to stretch. A yoga day if you will.

Here’s the routine we did:

5min foam rolling (soft tissue)

5min mobility:

10 min static stretch (~30 positions, 20 sec hold each)

10 min corrective exercises

5min core stability

5 min shoulder prehab

Did it work?

Here’s an e-mail, I received later that day:

“Hey Mike,

THANK YOU! The workout you took us through this morning was just what I needed. Honestly, if I had to do strength I probably would have felt like a “failure” because…that would have just crushed me. What we did this morning was mentally and physically perfect. Thank you so much for being the type of trainer that can recognize when we’re not where we should be and not push us when we shouldn’t be, or more accurately can’t be, pushed. Also thanks for being the kind of trainer that can think on the fly and modify our workout in an instant…”

Pretty nice e-mail for just doing what they hire me for.

And, when you learn to know your body, be careful because you might start speaking like this:

“I hope you have a super spectacular day!”

Super spectacular day, huh. Wow! I’d ask her if she was a cheerleader, but I already know she wasn’t.

Anyways, the next time you feel tired, ask yourself what you think you need. It might be a nap, it might be food/water, but it also might be some exercise.


Mike Alves

p.s. click here to start increasing your energy

Sunday Food Prep

Here’s a blog post I just wrote for my members only site and decided to share here with you.

It talks about preparing your meals in advance, so you always have nutritious and balanced meals ready to eat and you save time during the week.


Prepping your meals or fueling opportunities in advance is one of the best ways to make sure you eat balanced meals, you never miss a meal and that healthful food is always at your fingertips.

Here’s my strategy for success. Read it, adopt it and modify it to fit your schedule.

Sunday Morning, after sleeping in, I jump out of bed, make a meal replacement shake and head to the grocery store. The shelves are full and the isles empty. The big rush of people hasn’t arrived yet. I hit the produce section first, then the fish, meats, dairy and any miscellaneous items I need (cooking spray, oils, legumes, peanut butter, paper, etc…) and check out.

I head home and set up for my big food prep for the week. I take out the cutting boards and place them on the counter. I set up all of my tupperware, containers on top of covers, get my pots out, measuring cups, frying pans, cooking sheets, aluminum foil, etc…

First I start with my breakfast meals. I cook my oatmeal and eggs at the same time (separate pans of course) and make enough for 5 days (1 meal for each item). Measure the milk, pour it into the pot. Measure the water, pour it into the pot. Turn the heat on high. Get it to boil, add the oats, return to boil and then simmer on low heat until liquid is pretty much absorbed. While this is going on I’ve pre-heated the oven to cook my chicken, started my eggs and started my veggie prep for lunch & dinner (i.e. washing the veggies and chopping them).

Eggs. Spray the pan with olive oil cooking spray, turn the heat on medium-high, put in my veggies, this week it was garlic (minced garlic in bottle, found in produce section), frozen spinach, frozen chopped onions and frozen chopped peppers. Pushed it around with my wooden spoon until everything was thawed and then I added the eggs. 1 whole omega 3-egg for each day and a measured amount of egg whites from a carton for each day. Push this around like you would any scrambled egg concoction.

While this is going on, I prepped the chicken. Placed the chicken breast on the aluminum foil & cooking spray covered, cooking sheet about 1 inch apart from each other. Squeezed lemon juice on top and sprinkled salt and pepper on each breast. Placed in oven on 425 for 20-25minutes.

While this is going on and in between managing the oatmeal and stirring the eggs, I started my veggie prep. First was putting 1 cup of fruit in each of the 5 tupperware containers for my oatmeal. This week was frozen mangoes, last week was fresh apples. 1 cup = 2 servings of veggies or fruits, so you’ll hit your veggie/fruit quota for this meal if you can do a cup, though be the judge for yourself. Next I would add my mixed nuts to the oatmeal (the fat for the meal), but I chose to have ground flax seeds or flax meal instead. I tried it sprinkled on top the previous week, but it didn’t taste too good (too dry), so I stirred it into the oatmeal, once done cooking.

I also cut up tomatoes to add to each of the scramble eggs. A trick I like is 1 plum tomato for each day. Chop it into cubes and keep it on the cutting board for now.

Back to the oatmeal & eggs.

They’re both done now, so I turn off the heat and get my flax meal and stir it into the oatmeal pot. Then because every meal should have a lean, complete protein, a veggie/fruit and a fat, I add egg whites (from a carton). The egg whites provide a complete protein source without the extra calories or fat from a whole egg. Currently I use the egg whites because I needed an alternative protein source besides protein powder for clients that didn’t have protein powders yet. It tastes good and gives a “vanilla” flavor (weird, I know). One key is to only add the egg whites after cooking the oatmeal. If you add it while cooking, you’ll have to clean up a volcano explosion. It makes a huge mess, so just add it after you turn off the heat.

Stir it up and divvy it out into the 5 tupperware containers.


Chop these up, so they’re scrambled and not clumped. Divvy them up into the 5 containers, put the chopped plum tomatoes on top and you’ve just made 10 meals.

Next its time for the remainder of the veggies. First, wash the oatmeal pot, put broccoli and cauliflower into it and then put green beans into a second pot. I fill them both with 1/4″ to 1/2″ of water squeeze some lemon on top for flavor and vitamin c, cover and turn the heat on high until the water boils. Then reduce heat to low and
simmer/steam until veggies can be easily poked with a fork.

The chicken is close to being done, so I start to clean up my mess. Wash, rinse, dry, wipe, etc…

Now the chicken is done, so I take it out and let sit for 10-15 minutes to cool.

Now’s a good time to make a bunch of shakes for later. You can make post workout shakes (protein & carbs only) or meal replacement shakes (protein, fat & carb).

If you have protein powder already its pretty easy. Take a cup of frozen, mixed berries, dump into blender, add frozen banana, 2 cups of water or 2 cups of milk or 1 of each (its a calorie decision for you to choose), your protein powder and then blend. Makes about 24-26 ounces. Divvy this up into 3, 8ounce portions or 2, 12 ounce portions. I weigh about 180 and am looking to add muscle and weight so I’d drink it all. If I was looking to maintain or lose as a 180lb male, I drink the 12oz. If you weigh less, start with the 8oz. Test the amounts you consume. The main outcome you want is to replenish your energy quickly. This is not a meal replacement, your starchy meal is coming soon.

Now the chicken is cooled, so I place 1 breast at a time on a cutting board, cut it into 1″ slices and place in tupperware. When all the chicken has been cut and placed, I add the broccoli, cauliflower and green beans to the tupperware. I now have lunch and dinner for the next couple of days as well as breakfast for the week and protein shakes for however many days I made.

With the grocery shopping, the lugging the food, the chopping, cooking, washing veggies and dishes and making everything nice it takes about 4 hours. Maybe its a lot to you, maybe it isn’t, but, you save sooooooo much time during the week (grab, heat & go or like I do, grab & go) and this Sunday prep is actually quite fun. Plus, your body is going to look better sooner.

Hope you enjoy the article and I welcome your comments and please share your food prep tips and success strategies.


Your personal coach,

Mike Alves

personal training, semi-private training, boot camp classes and online coaching available in Boston (Newton), MA