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Created on Tuesday, 08 July 2014


  When I come across a product I like I enjoy sharing and spreading the word.
I first heard about JAVAPRO at the Fitfluential website. JAVAPRO is a "whey protein complex drink mix with real coffee."
I like coffee. I drink it just about every morning, and occasionally I'll have iced coffee in the afternoon after a workout. Caffeine has been proven to help reduce muscle soreness so that is a plus. I drink it because I like the taste.
Well when I read about JAVAPRO I though it would be convenient to have my morning cup of coffee complement the protein I get from my usual sources of peanut butter and/or eggs. Each serving has a label claim of 20 grams of protein. That's more than 3 whole eggs, and almost as much as six tablespoons of peanut butter. Not too shabby.
The label also claims a serving provides 13% of the daily value of 18 vitamins and minerals, 15% of the daily value of niacin, and a small amount of phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. And for those of you wondering, a serving is 110 calories. So far so good.


I received a Caramel sample packet of JAVAPRO which contained a half serving. The directions state to mix 14 grams, which is the size of the sample by the way, with 6 fluid ounces of water in a shaker or blender for a rich, thick shake. Hmm, I was looking forward to a cup of coffee- hot coffee, not a thick rich shake, or a skinny, poor shake for that matter. So now I'm wondering, can it be added to hot water the same way Folgers instant coffee can be made or will I end up with a cup of dark liquid with globs of whey floating around like deformed marshmallows? I don't know.

The label also said it "can be stirred into solution with a spoon. Drink one serving daily."
Is that an order? What if I like it and want more than one? And can I stir it into a solution with a fork, in case all the spoons are dirty? (I have teenagers in my house!)

At this point you're probably wanting to know whether I liked it or not.

I don't. I didn't even open the sample packet. Like I do with all new foods, supplements, and now over the counter
thumbs downmedicine I read the list of ingredients. Second to last on the list was sucralose. And that was all it took for me to decide that not only will I not try it, I don't like it, and in the best interest of everyone I will not recommend it.




Will Tomatidine be the Next Effective Supplement?

Created on Tuesday, 15 April 2014


 Whey protein, branched chain amino acids, and creatine are some of the most popular and effective supplements to aid with building muscle. One more item might soon be added to that list. Scientists have discovered a natural compound from green tomatoes called tomatidine. Tomatidine is proving to be beneficial in protecting against muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy is muscle wasting, or loss from illness, inactivity or aging. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent muscle atrophy but for people bedridden from illness or injury exercise might not be an option.

green tomatoes

If tomatidine helps prevent muscle loss there's also the possibility it will promote muscle growth in humans, which, if it does, will make it a very popular supplement. Add to that there's some evidence that the compound might have obesity reversing properties too.
Studies using mice showed that supplementing their diets with tomatidine resulted in larger, stronger muscles, and increased exercise capacity.

The researcher being credited with discovering tomatidine also discovered ursolic acid. Ursolic acid comes from green apples and promotes muscle growth, however not as effectively as tomatidine.

If an effective dose is found to be safe for humans I'm betting we'll be seeing ads for Tomatidine or Tomatidine/Ursolic Acid supplements in the near future.

"Green Tomatoes" by Scott Robinson (CC BY 2.0)

Aaron Harris offers personal fitness training in San Marcos, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Encinitas California. To schedule a free in-home fitness consultation call Aaron at 760-295-4206.

Fitness Surrogates

Created on Tuesday, 01 April 2014


 Ever wish you could partner up with someone fit that loves to workout and reap some of the benefits of their working out? Without you needing to do any exercise yourself!

I'm about to share with you some ground breaking research, stuff you could only dream about. That is until 2016 when it is scheduled to be available to the public.

I was fortunate enough to have research scientist Dr. Josephine Kester as a client years ago. Dr. Kester (Jo as she insists I call her) knows the importance of leading an active lifestyle but admits she'd rather be researching in a lab or relaxing using her laptop. She's dedicated most of her research finding ways around her aversion to exercise. Dr. Kester is in San Diego speaking at a conference this week and I got a chance to catch up with her yesterday. She shared some exciting information with me about her latest project. After hearing about it I asked if I could share it on my blog and she gave me the go ahead. So you get to hear about it here first, before USA Today, The Huffingtom Post, WSJ or ANY other news source!

Dr. Kester has been leading a team of researchers at the Advanced Physiology Research Institute Laboratory in Fitness SurrogatesSpringfield. She's developed a process that basically allows someone wanting the benefits of fitness to be able to directly receive those benefits from their fitness donor without having to do a single second of exercise.

Visualize it- two pods side by side connected by tubes and wires. Flashing lights, high technology equipment and world renowned scientists fill the room. Inside one pod, dressed in a sleek silver jumpsuit is your exercise surrogate. Inside the other is you, being intravenously supplied with a weekly dose of healthy fitness. Okay, I added all the flash and glitz, and the popular attire seen in most older sci-fi movies.

As Dr. Kester explained to me-

"Actually it's a set of two or three recliners, one for the donor and one the the donees. You can donate to one or two recipients at a time. So it would be like you having a personal training session with two people that have the same goals. Only instead of you having to put together an exercise program for them and making them workout you relax for about 15 minutes with a tiny needle in your arm and a sensor on one finger. You can watch a video, read, take a nap or chat with the donees during the transfer."

I asked what is the process for those on the receiving end. She told me they have a little thicker needle and a chest monitor and they also get to enjoy an ice cold amino acid solution. Grape, raspberry or lemon lime flavored.

She explained the process (Fibril Organelle Optimization) that "extracts messenger RNA from the donor which passes through our patented translation process and then intravenously into the donees."

The team has successfully proven their process with rats, Rhesus macaques, and chimpanzees. The first trial with 500 human subjects has been completed in Serbia, ending just last month. Dr. Kester told me "the results have been amazing!" She said the only noted side effect is accelerated growth of the fingernails and toenails. Other details she shared is that the donors and recipients must have the same blood type and the best results occur when the donor and donees have similar somatotypes. The team plans to set up Optimization Lounges in several cities in California, Washington, Minnesota, Chicago, Massachusetts and New York starting in early 2016. For more info on the project watch the following video.

Planet Foolishness Strikes Again

Created on Thursday, 20 March 2014

planet foolishness

 According to the knuckleheads at the Richmond California Planet Fitness you can be too fit. And they'll have none of that in their... for lack of a better term "establishment." Remember they aren't a gym, or fitness center, or health club as far as I can tell. I guess they are a social club decorated with exercise equipment. But if you use the equipment please do so quietly and don't disturb others.
And let's not forget they still claim to be "The Judgement Free Zone." Unless you take or appear to take your fitness seriously, then they have no problem judging you!

The latest member to feel the wrath of the Planet is Tiffany Austin. 15 minutes into her first workout at the franchise's Richmond California club she was told she was intimidating people with her toned body. To me that doesn't sound like a judgement free zone.

There are a few things I don't understand about Planet Fitless, I mean Fitness, and some, but not all of its members. First if you want to be a judgement free zone then DON'T JUDGE anyone.
Why not get rid of that tag line? It just doesn't fit and makes you seem hypocritical by continuing to declare it.

planet fitless
Second, if someone doesn't like what someone is wearing, as long as it isn't offensive or against club policies then the offended member should just not look! It's a place (well supposed to be) to exercise. That should mean comfortable fitting clothes and in some situations less than average to prevent overheating. Not everyone is comfortable working out in long sleeves and sweat pants all year like me.
Any trainer will tell you that a major reason lots of people who want to exercise won't join a gym is the worry that people will be looking at and watching them. Trainers have to work at getting people to overcome that fear. Unfortunately P.F. staff and some members are not helping!

Third, if you are going to equip your establishment with exercise and fitness equipment don't be surprised if people decide to use the equipment to get fit, as in working out, not lounging about. Why not just supply only super quiet treadmills that go no higher than 2 miles per hour and the thinnest lightest elastic tubing? It's quiet, won't make much noise if dropped, and nobody will have to worry and getting or looking too fit from continued use.

For the members that take issue with people joining a gym and exercising with some gusto I have a few no intensity exercise programs that might fit your agenda:
Try lifting paperback books at the library. It's nice and quiet and most of the paperbacks are light enough that no more than 5 percent of your muscle fibers will fire when you lift them. Well actually 5% for the normal exerciser, but for PF patrons it might be more like 60 percent. Just make sure to stay away from the reference section. Don't want you to strain yourself.

Or you could try pushing a shopping cart through Whole Foods. But watch out! There might be some lunk showing off their fit body while shopping for some healthful foods. How Dare They!!

Or, since we know that pets are good for your health you could get yourself a pet turtle and take it for a walk. Maybe petition your city to develop a turtle park so you and all your fellow former Planet Fitless friends could meet up and complain about the noisy dogs running and exercising at the nearby dog park. Lunks!

My advice to Tiffany Austin is to find a real gym. Too bad she had to learn the hard way that PF is not the place to join if you want to focus on working out.

My advice for everyone is to not make anyone feel bad when they are working on improving themselves. And speaking of improving, how about giving it a try Planet Fitness!!

This was another rant but feel free to comment below. Your opinions are always welcome, even if you do like Planet Fitness.

When not browsing the shelves of the San Marcos city library personal trainer Aaron Harris can be found grunting and acting like a lunk at a real gym in San Marcos California. When training his clients in their homes in the north San Diego county area he does not judge and does not sound a lunk alarm.





5 Simple Diet Tweaks to Help Control Over Eating

Created on Sunday, 09 March 2014


 Has this ever happened to you? You sit down to eat a meal and the next thing you know you are sitting at the table wishing you hadn't ate so much? Or what about this- you haven't even taken the first bite of your meal and you know for sure you're going to have seconds?
If you are the slightest bit over-fat and you're attempting to shed some fat and inches you know, hopefully that your food consumption plays the biggest role. Well I'm going to share some simple steps you can use at your very next meal to help you minimize the chance of over eating. None of these tips or suggestions require you to make a costly investment, (they're free) or perform any major diet overhaul. And like I said, you can and should start them immediately and start developing these habits. Here they are:

First, take up some space. Your stomach can hold only so much food, comfortably. Drink a full glass of water before you start to eat. I'm not going to tell you an exact amount but obviously the more zero calorie water you put in your stomach the less room you will have for food. Less food means less calories. One other thing you might like to know is that it's not unusual to confuse your body's request for water with hunger.

Second, slow down. Unless you're standing at a table alongside Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi there's no reason for you to be eating fast. And if you are standing at that table losing fat inches probably isn't your top priority. Your hands, and mouth can sometimes beat your nervous system in a race. Eat too fast and you can wind up eating way more than needed. Before you know it you've distended your stomach and consumed too many calories. You're eating for nourishment, not sport.
Here's my advice, take a small mouthful of food. Go hands free- return your utensil to the table, or if it's finger foods, set it back onto the plate. Chew slowly and fully. Mastication, which is the fancy schmancy technical term for chewing is the first phase of digestion. So fully chewing your food is going to help your body digest the food. Before taking the next bite have a sip of water.
If you are drinking something else I hope you've already taken into consideration the nutritional benefits over plain water and how it is going to help or hinder your fat loss efforts. That's not the focus of this post so on to the next suggestion.

Third, be a part of your own dining experience. Focus on what you are doing which is providing nourishment to yourself. Keep in mind this can be as much mental as physical. Think about what you are about to eat and why. Not everyone eats an entirely clean diet, which is completely fine as far as I'm concerned. Some of your diet might be more about pleasure than simple nutrition. These pure pleasure foods are usually the easiest to over indulge in. Pay attention to how big a mouthful you're taking in. Pay attention to how fast you are chewing, remember slower is better.
Are you distracted? Eating while watching television, socializing on Facebook, playing a game, or doing any other task that divides your attention can cause you to eat too much too fast. Concentrate on your meal. Enjoy every bite. Focus on the fullness your belly is feeling.

You'll enjoy your meal more when you slow down and savor the foods' flavor!

Fourth, stop at satisfaction. If you've been disciplined enough to be successful with the first three steps this one might happen before you've finished your meal. Your stomach shouldn't be distended at the end of your meal. You should feel comfortable, not stuffed and miserable.

Fifth and finally, leave some behind. It might be odd if you were raised under the mealtime rule to 'clean your plate' but remember the entire mental aspect involved with nutrition, eating, and satiety. If you've convinced yourself that you need to eat everything on your plate to be satisfied you need to retrain your brain. Get in the habit of being full and satisfied with less than you're served, and stopping there. Even if it is a fraction of a bite, break the habit of cleaning your plate.

Hopefully these five simple tips will assist your fat loss by overcoming overeating goals. Remember the importance of getting your nutrients through real food, eat a variety of foods, and keep pleasure in your diet. And most important when I refer to diet I'm talking about the way you eat and drink, not a prescribed temporary restriction on what you can consume.

Do you have any tips or advice that you'd like to share that has helped you control your eating habits? If so please comment below and please share this with anyone you know that could benefit from these tips.

Aaron Harris provides in home personal training in the following north San Diego county cities: Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista. Call Aaron at 760-295-4206 for your free fitness consultation.


The Fitness Industry's Favorite Marathon Runner

Created on Tuesday, 25 February 2014

 Does anyone reading this post(Is anyone reading this post?) recognize the runner in the picture below?

Anyone know his name? It seems to me that I, along with just about everyone else involved with fitness should. Chances are if you've searched online for fitness, especially a phrase pertaining to 'cardio' you might have stumbled upon his image.
His name should be as popular as Lance Armstrong, or as...umm... well as popular as any athlete famous for their physical endurance. Instead this nameless representative of Finland has become the poster child for the fitness marketers and trainers that bash some forms of cardio while hyping their preferred method or their fitness program.
Usually, almost always, his photo is beside a sprinter. And there's always a caption that refers to the differences in their physical appearances.

Some trainers love him. At least they love his image and how it suits their message.
I can get what they are getting at but it's not a fair comparison. It's like comparing a tractor trailer to a dragster. They are designed for different purposes and each has its advantage over the other.
To say marathon runners in general are unhealthy looking and frail is unfair. He doesn't represent them all, just like the sprinter in the second image isn't a rep for all short distance racers.
Marathoners can sprint. They might not win against a sprinter but they will finish. The same might not apply to a sprinter in a full marathon.
Also ones' body type influences how well they'll perform in certain events. How well someone does at something can have a major impact on the activities they participate in. Which is why we need to consider individual preferences and how it relates to exercise participation. Don't bash the guy because he's skinny and a photographer happened to take his picture at a point during the race when he's tired.

Frankly I feel for the guy. I'm sure he probably spent some time training for the race, possibly even qualifying for it by placing well in previous events, and now his claim to fame is being the sickly, weak marathoner that does LSD. And by LSD I'm referring to the acronym for Long Slow Distance which refers to a style of cardio respiratory training, not d-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide.

Personally I'm not a fan of marathons. I have no interest in running or walking in one and never had. The last time I went 26.2 miles at a time I was driving. But I do believe long slow distance (LSD) cardiovascular exercise is optimum for some people.
I am definitely not a fan of bashing one form of exercise to make another look superior. All exercise has its merits. If someone enjoys running marathons good for them. If someone exercising for fat loss takes up walking which progresses into jogging and decides to do a marathon great for them, as long as they've developed the appropriate level of fitness.

Let's remember that marathons are competitions, with individuals competing against each other or themselves. Running a marathon is not a well suited exercise for someone requiring a great deal of fat loss. For a beginner it makes sense to do LSD and then progress to a more intense form if they desire to do so.

Don't believe the nonsense that if you start doing a form of cardio your muscles will waste away to skin and bone. And do not let it prevent you from starting a cardiovascular exercise program. Start with fitness which should be approached with common sense. Work on improving all the components, not just one. Include exercises that develop muscular strength, and ones that improve muscular endurance. Eat healthfully and exercise consistently to maintain a healthy body composition. Work on improving or maintaining flexibility and agility. Perform sensible cardiovascular exercise that suits your goals and that you enjoy. And if that means running 26.2 miles, well good for you. Just don't ask me to go with you! And if you do enter a race, be careful. Someone might take your picture and make you famous for all the wrong reasons.

What's your take on marathons, or LSD? Do you know who the Finnish racer is? Comments are always welcome.

Aaron Harris provides in home personal training in San Marcos, Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Escondido California and other cities in north San Diego county. Aaron completed his most recent marathon in February of 2014, which was multiple episodes of House of Cards on Netflix.


Aaron's Superbowl Snack Advice

Created on Sunday, 02 February 2014

 It amazes me what a major food holiday the Superbowl has become. It's the busiest delivery day for United States' second largest pizza chain, and I'm sure it probably applies to the largest chain too. And then there's the chicken wings, all 90+ million pounds. Why it's the most popular Superbowl snack I'll never understand. 

I realize that for some people the closest thing to physical activity they'll get today will be a long duration jaw workout and possibly too many 12 ounce curls. For most the only way of increasing their heart rate is going to be from screaming at the TV screen.

Never fear, I'm here to help.

Since I was gracious enough to provide the nation's best Thanksgiving Advice (don't google it, I admit it is self proclaimed but many others agree) I'm going to do the same for Superbowl Sunday. So here it goes.

1. No chips. That's right, no chips. Unless you could care less about the game and there's no concern of getting too excited. If you are a raving fan, the kind that's jumping up hollering at the TV, high fiving constantly, and just plain acting like a fool No Chips for You! The choking hazard is too high a risk.

Soup Nazi No Chips for You

2. No wings! Again, if you treat the game with the same enthusiasm as an episode of Jeopardy fine, go ahead. But again for the die-hard fanatics those tiny bones are serious choking hazards when inhaled. Plus no one wants to be cleaning up the buffalo sauce from the couch or chair arms or high fiving you with slimy, saucy fingers. So no wings.

3. No greasy foods for the same reason why I say no wings. Plus there's the fact that all that fat & grease plus whatever else is making your taste buds override common sense is going to eventually start to wreak havoc on your innards. Then probably around the early fourth quarter one of two things is bound to happen- You're going to need to sprint to the restroom, hopefully in time, and miss the best play of the game. Or you're going to pause live TV with your remote only to return and find out that your DVR picked today to act stupid and change the channel to QVC when you hit the play button. Now you've either pissed off everyone that was waiting for you to return or you've ordered a stupid ab machine you know you're never going to use, or both.

4. Limit your beer intake. First, just like I told you in November there's the risk of you getting drunk and beligerent but Superbowl fans might not be as civil towards you today as they were at Thanksgiving dinner.
Second, keep in mind that the Superbowl is also famous for the multi-million dollar ads. Do you really want to be running to the bathroom during every commercial break? You'll be missing half the entertainment.
Well what about wine? you may ask in a nasally, whiny voice. To which I say <start sarcastic font> Oh, that's right, and everyone talks about the memorable wine ads from the Superbowl <end sarcastic font>. If the games excites you and gets you on your feet, no red wine. Unless you have a spray bottle of stain remover and rag with you. Otherwise stick to white wine.

5. Nothing in a bowl that requires a spoon. Again this is only for those that can't contain their excitement. If your only exercise today is going to be jump squats that you perform by hopping out of your seat during every play or from every flag thrown, think about the mess you're going to make sloshing food all over the place. Save it for later.

Soup Nazi No Soup for You

So there you have it. To sum it up if you are a raving, die-hard fan it's completely fine to have water and something safe like maybe a slice of bread, untoasted of course. If you're like me and don't get worked up over the game go ahead and enjoy your snacks. Remember the everything (and anything) in moderation rule. Eat like you're watching the game, not like you just finished playing in it.
 After all it's just the Superbowl, and it is only a game, no big deal.
Now let's see how long before Homeland Security contacts me about making such an Anti-American terrorist comment.

Aaron Harris is a personal trainer in north San Diego county California. He will be viewing the Superbowl for the commercials as well as the game. Aaron is not any kind of terrorist, no matter what some of his clients may tell you.

16 More Reasons to Train at Home

Created on Monday, 13 January 2014

 Not everyone wants to join a gym. I'm lucky to be a member of a very small facility with an even smaller member base, and a very, very small membership fee. It fits me much better than working out someplace crowded.

Even though my specialty is providing in-home personal fitness training I've posted articles about the benefits of joining a gym. I've also written about an exercise center organization that makes fun of some of its members, and also about a creepy gym dweller. Until now I hadn't thought much about the many stereotypical members that can cause some people to dislike going to the gym. While reading Athletic Business' article 'Women-Only Fitness Zones Perpetuate Stereotypes' I saw the video below. I counted 16 offenders that can make working out around others a less than pleasant experience.

How many did you count? If your count was less than mine then which stereotype are you guilty of?

Athletic Business dot com: Women-Only Fitness Zones Perpetuate Stereotypes

National Apricot Day in January?

Created on Friday, 10 January 2014

 Yesterday, January 9th was National Apricot Day. I missed it. And I'm kind of upset about it. I've been a fan of apricots for a long, long time. Apricots are one of my favorites- right up there with fresh, ripe mangoes and ripe, juicy, sweet nectarines.

Lucky for me one of my clients has a champ of an apricot tree. Year after year it impresses us with an abundance of fruit that his family, my family, the smartest birds in San Marcos, and who knows how many colonies of ants can't keep up with.

fresh apricots
Apricots are not just delicious but the small tasty treats are a great source of vitamins A & E and potassium. They're also a good source of fiber, calcium, and iron.

Finding out after the fact that National Apricot Day is Jan 9th left me feeling a bit dejected, like not being invited to a best buddies birthday get together, but mostly baffled. Why observe and celebrate this precious drupe in January, a month when they're not in season? Now keep in mind it's "National Apricot Day" so I don't want to hear about how they might be ripe and in season somewhere else on this planet. They're not in season in January in this nation. And don't tell me I could've celebrated with canned apricots or dried apricots(I'm regular enough), neither is as good as the fresh variety to me.

Most of the apricots you find in the supermarket are grown here in California, so I have a pretty good idea that I'm correct by saying they are ripe between May and July, not in January.

So making Jan 9th to me makes no sense. I don't blame the apricots. It's the work of whatever secret society of apricot aficionados who must've been drunk off apricot wine to come up with January 9th. They should've given it more thought so we could have it during a month when they're in season and celebrate by enjoying a ripe, fresh apricot, or two. Or maybe four or five.


photo courtesy of lagrandefarmersmarket (CC BY 2.0

Happy New Year

Created on Wednesday, 01 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Merry Christmas

Created on Tuesday, 24 December 2013



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