Trading Places

Today I was training one of my private clients and during my initial subjective questioning, “how do you feel today?”,

the client replied, “tired!”.

I asked, “which tired?” “Tired like you’re still sleeping, tired like you haven’t recovered from a tough workout/day/week or tired like you’re chronically fatigued?”

The client replied, “general tiredness”.

“O.K.”, I replied.

The client then asked me, “how do you feel today?”

To which I replied, “fired up”.

The client smiled and asked, “why?”

I said, “I guess it’s because, I feel good. I had a great workout yesterday, had a good good breakfast (added some chick peas for extra calories as I was feeling a bit low in my workout recovery) and…”

The client responded, “I’d like to be you for 1 day”

I responded, “I’d like to be you for 1 day”.

We both got quiet, seemingly because we were both thinking about what that would be like.

Imagine having an occupation where you provide a service to difference makers, the people who excel at 1 thing or many things greatly, who get the job done as either producers or leaders and are responsible, dependable hustlers who just lack a bit of knowledge, motivation and desire in the health department.

This is what I get to do for a living. I get to help people change their lives and their bodies by giving them the love for an active lifestyle. And in return, I make a fair living, but get to learn from them. It’s like a paid private internship.

So, trading places with my client. I imagine the client would like to experience my energy and my outlook and who knows what else. I would like to experience choices they make and don’t make, what it feels like to make those choices both short and long term and how they feel (energy-wise) day to day, so that I can better understand them and help them.

Remember the Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroid movie, Trading places. Dan Akroid was a wealthy somebody and Eddie Murphy was a poor nobody. Bam! They traded places and Eddie Murphy now had options, respect and could go anywhere anytime. Dan Akroid on the other hand, lost the respect of his peers, couldn’t get into buildings and his options were limited. Both their lives changed.

Well.., as I said, I’m happy, but not satisfied, and it would be cool to trade places for a day.

Imagine that. Don’t you just love a good daydream?

Cheers, living the active life,

Mike Alves

p.s. if you’d like to experience my energy and hire your own, private, high value health & fitness intern (wink), click here. 🙂

6 BIG …and 6 SUNNY…

In honor of 2 clients whose birthdays it is today, here are 6 “BIG” reasons you’re not losing fat quick enough and 6 “Sunny” tricks to break through the plateau.

6 “BIG” Reasons You’ve Stopped Losing Fat

  1. You’re not getting enough sleep to allow your body to recover from the previous day.
  2. You’re eating starchy carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, oatmeal, pasta, quinoa, rice, etc…) on non-workout days and/or during meals not following a workout.
  3. You’re drinking beverages containing calories of more than zero.
  4. You’re overeating or under eating which is causing your body to gain weight or hold its weight.
  5. You’re not moving enough. There are 7 days in a week and you should move during each of them. Some days you train hard, some days you train moderate and some days you train easy.
  6. You’re too comfortable with your routine. Remember Hans Selye and his General Adaptation? Prolonged exposure to the same stimulus leads to exhaustion or in non-technical terms plateauing.

6 “Sunny” Tricks to Break Through the Fat Loss Plateau.

  1. Sweat 60 minutes per day. You can still have hard, medium and easy days (an hour brisk walk on a Sunday, will get you to perspire)
  2. Shake up your routine and start a new program. Brian Tracey, a NY Times Best Selling author says, “Eat That Frog”. Start doing what you know and think you should do, not what you want to do.
  3. If you think you’re starving yourself and still not losing weight, then eat more food, more frequently. If you know you overeat, cut your meal in half and eat the rest 2.5 – 3 hours later.
  4. Substitute veggie and fruit carbohydrates for starchy carbohydrates. Starches are rocket fuel and if your overweight or over fat you have plenty of rocket fuel.
  5. Eat starchy carbs 1-2 hours after a workout.
  6. Sleep more. Yeah, it’s easier said than done, but if you really want something, you’ll do whatever it takes. Right?

So, figure out how many hours of sleep you need to jump out of bed in the morning. Then subtract that number from when you need to wake up. That’s your lights out time. Then subtract 1 more hour and that is the time you need to start winding down. Brush your teeth, wash up, change your clothes, tuck your kids in, read a book, stretch, you can even eat a last meal, etc… Skip anything that is going to get you overly excited or stimulated (caffeine, emotional programs, e-mail, etc…)

Here’s a little something I just came across. A new study, published in July of ’08 out of Denmark says,

“short sleep appears to be strongly associated with obesity and altered metabolic function, and sleep and growth hormone (GH) secretion seems interlinked.” (Rasmussen, 2008)

So not only could your obesity be a cause of poor sleep, but it also affects growth hormone which contributes to decreased body fat. The study did conclude that after subjects lost weight, their growth hormone secretion returned to normal, but they didn’t sleep any better. Go figure.

Here’s my anecdotal 2 cents. If you train hard and move a lot, you sleep great, like a log actually. Hit the pillow and down for the count.

Cheers and Happy Birthday to “Big” and “Sunny” Suzanne.

Your personal coach,

Mike Alves

p.s. I realized after writing this blog post I gave you the “fish”. Would you prefer, the how to as well as the answers? Let me know.

Rasmussen, MH, Wildschiodtz, G, Juul A, Hilssted J. Polysomnographic sleep, growth horomone insulin-like growth factor-I axis, leptin, and weight loss. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Jul; 16(7): 1516-21.

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?

Systems for Holiday Success

Show of hands.

Anyone feeling a bit of a time crunch and some holiday stress.

Yeah, me too, sort of.

I actually haven’t felt the stress, because I haven’t thought
about the gift giving part, but I know its coming.

In fact. I’m going to start and ideally finish this week.

Here’s my plan.

I cooked the majority of my meals this weekend, so I could
keep my energy high, keep my body fat low and have food
readily available for when I need it.

I arranged my schedule to allow some midday shopping when the lines are small and roads are clear. This will make my days longer, due to later & earlier training schedules, but more efficient.

My exercise programs are pre-written, so I just follow the plan. Escape from reality, train hard and have some fun.

Then review/rewrite my plan for the following day, being sure to roll with the punches.

Would you like to know what I cooked for the week?

*I made 5 days of Nutty Apple, Eggalicious Oatmeal

  • 3/4c old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c of milk, 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 c of egg whites (for the protein)
  • 1 medium apple or 1 cup of frozen fruit
  • 1/4 c of mixed nuts (for the fat)
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

* I made 3 Chicken Berry post workout shakes.

  • 2c milk
  • 1/2c egg whites (protein)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted, crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 c frozen fruit (mixed berry)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • this recipe equals 2 servings

*Dr. John’s Homemade Chili from Precision Nutrition

  • 4lbs of ground turkey
  • 4 peppers (1 of each: red, yellow, orange & green)
  • 4 cans of kidney beans (I did 2 chick peas & 2 red kidney beans)
  • 2, 46oz V-8 spicy hot juices
  • 2lbs of slide carrots
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 6 diced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of cashew meal (grind cashews in blender; short bursts until powder)
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • Serves 10 and is awesome. Which for me should be, I hope, 3 meals.

Then I’ll make some other meals like egg omelets or grilled entrees, salads & side dishes as need be, but this should get me to if not through Wednesday, keeping my energy high and my body fat low.

Wish me luck on the shopping.


Mike Alves

p.s. Do you have a proven system for maximizing efficiency, getting the best deals or staying healthy during the holiday season? Comment below if you’d like to share.

p.p.s. Did you notice the balance of my meals. Each one has a protein, fat & carb.


Good morning!

I just got back from a walk to the beach. It was a great morning. Truly special. Why? Because I live in the city and it was suburban quiet. No hustle and bustle, no traffic, less cars parked, different people (less commuters, more run/walkers), simply a treasure of a morning. You could even hear the seagulls before you got to the beach AND I saw a Turkey flying. Just kidding it was an eagle, which was weird to see. Do they even stick around for the winter?

Well with all the quiet I began thinking about all the things I am grateful for and thought I’d share my thanks with you.

It’s been a great 2008 even though it hasn’t been an easy one.

My thanks are in no particular order.

I’m thank for…

  • getting to live with my brother and cousin. Two great and different guys who are fun to be around.
  • my parents. For unconditional love, “free advice” and always giving. Thank you for being there.
  • my new neighbors. Two awesome guys, who are good people and have great stories to share. Lucky to have you both.
  • my friends. You can never have enough friends and I’m grateful for all my lifelong friends and all my new friends.
  • my health. You read, see or hear about poor health all the time and I’m grateful to be healthy and for egg white omelets. Had a spinach, ground beef, zucchini and squash omelet today. Hmmm.
  • my sisters. It’s a pleasure to be your big bro and watch you grow. Armpit alert anyone?
  • my clients who followed me. Thank you for your business, your confidence and your loyalty. I feel lucky to be a part of your lives and help to make them better.
  • my new clients. Thank you also for your business. I look forward to exceeding your expectations, delivering you fast results and becoming your go to ACE for Health & Fitness.
  • the boys & girls club of Newton. You provided your gym free of charge and I was able to host 3 events and meet a lot of great people and help out local charities. Today, 208lbs of turkey is being served because you allowed me to use your gym. Giving feels good.
  • pumpkin workout/turkey toss participants. You provided the donations and made the charity workouts a success. It was a huge adrenaline rush to take you through the fat loss workouts. Hope you received your free copy of the Pumpkin Workout. It’s ready. Anyone can contact me if you’d like a copy.
  • relationships. They make life more full. I am grateful for all of them.
  • invitations. I was very lucky to be invited to 3 different dinners and if you know me, I hate to say no to an invite, especially to food. Thank you for thinking of me, and I wish you a memorable Thanksgiving.
  • BSC. It didn’t work out in the end, but you did provide a home for me the last 7 years and an environment for me to develop and grow my talents.
  • mistakes. I used to hate making them and sometimes still do, but it can be one of the best ways to learn fast. Things have always come easy to me b/c I’ve worked hard, been lucky or had natural talents and now being a businessman I learn a lot faster. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, especially to the cooks that make today probably the greatest holiday of them all.


Mike Alves