Athletes up

The question I ask a lot is “What are you training for?”  While most of us are not pro athletes and never will be, training like an athlete is an amazing way to vary your workouts, make them fun and get an incredible results. I like to think of myself as a jack of many sports, some of my clients are athletes and some are just very good hobby players and I like to keep up with each in their respective sport. My training regiment is vast and has a lot of change, for basketball I do weighted plyos and agility drills, for surfing I do a lot of core and balance exorcises and for tennis, I do core and drills that increase my ability to have quick movements. I train so I can stay athletic. This week I will break down some workouts for specific sports but today I am going to talk about what every Athletic person should be able to do. When you get stuck in the gym rut, the body does not tend to reach it’s full potential, while you will get stronger and more developed the true athlete in you will not be brought out!

Body weight exercises are a great way to test your strength, an athlete should be able to 15-20 pull ups, 80-100 push ups and 100 sit ups in 2 minutes.

Explosive movements are an important element in any sport, short bursts of speed lateral and horizontal. As you know I love the sprints, also set yourself up a course and do side to side bursts. If you have a workout partner, grab a band and do resistance drills such as sprints and cone drills. Plyos are also effective in improving bursts of speed such as side bench hoppers and Russian lunges. An athlete needs strong and developed white fibrous muscles.

I gauge my endurance at 3 mile runs, if you can run 3 miles in 18 minutes or less you are doing extremely well. If you are at 18 to 25 that’s still pretty good and 25 to 30 is satisfactory, 30 and above — it is time to get to work!  The jump rope is also a great way to measure without blasting the knees, 12 minutes straight ( about the length of 3 of your favorite work out songs) is a the time to shoot for with 1 minute speed bursts every 3 minutes.

Strength training is still the foundation for me and bench, squats, dead lifts and cleans are my foundation. Benching your body weight at least 12 times is a must and the same with squats. For an athlete these to should be your foundation too and work the curls and tricep push downs around these lifts.

The core is what will give your body control, be able to stop on a dime and switch directions or give you the balance and strength needed in every sport. Plyo medicine ball exercises are a great way to develop the core (Kaos to the core has some examples). All athletes need a strong core.

This is for those of you who consider yourself to be athletes or extremely fit, most have to work up to this point. The gym is great, but add some more athletic workouts into your program and see the results. Bring some weights to the track and field, hills, stairs, soft sand, parks or even your back yard and do some new workouts. I will have some more sport specific workouts this week but to get you started test yourself on the above and improve on these movements. I promise that if you do you will be more fit and ready for any sport thrown your way!


10 tips to rev up your workout

1. Eat one hour before your workout- To maximize your workouts you need to eat for fuel, the key is finding foods that will sustain your workouts and not make you crash and burn. Foods high  in sugar will give you instant gratification but then will make you fall short of the finish line.  Here  is a list of my favorite pre workout foods:

Morning workouts: If I have time I will whip up some steel cut oatmeal (The complex carbs give me sustained energy) and a banana( The potassium in bananas will help muscles contract) or blueberries. If I am running out the door, I will have whole wheat toast and almond butter with a banana.

Afternoon workouts: Brown rice or whole wheat pasta (Complex carbs), salmon (high in omega-3 fats and vitamin B)

Beans(Packed with protein, fiber and minerals – they give you sustained energy)

In a pinch: Almonds and yogurt.

2. Drink H2O: This sounds simple but so many of my workouts lack energy because I am dehydrated, if you work out in the morning have water before you go to sleep and again when you wake up. If you work out in the afternoon, drink water through out the day. Men on average should get 3 liters a day and women should get 2.2 liters a day.

3. Set mini goals: We all set those long term goals like, I want to lose 30 pounds or I want a to fit in my old jeans, but don’t forget the little victories t0o. Whether it is lifting 5 pounds more, shaving 30 seconds off your run or making it through an intense workout, set yourself mini goals for each workout.

4. Grab a workout partner: I have a few different people I workout with, that way I am always doing different exercises and I get motivated in different ways. Some of my friends are great runners, some are innovative in the gym and some are great at sports. Pick someone who challenges you for that workout.

5. Use some new gear: Try using a kettlebell, medicine ball, bosu ball or a physio ball in your next workout. By stimulating your mind and body in different ways you will push yourself in a little more each workout.

6. Get going out of the gate: Pick up a jump rope or hop on the treadmill for a light 5 minute run before you hit the weights. Get the music going and pump yourself up, the first few minutes of a workout can dictate how the rest will go.

7. Sleep: It is hard enough to get a good workout when you are awake, but close to impossible when you are tired. Your body heals itself during sleep and if you don’t get enough, you risk injury and definitely compromising your workouts.

8. Get some new workout clothes: I know I mentioned this before but here it is again. Working out is such a mental game and when you look pro you tend to workout a little more pro.

9. Mentally get there before you get there: It is easy to psyche yourself out before you even get to the gym, if you go there with a plan on what you are going to do and set yourself up by getting your weights and space ready, you won’t waste time in the gym and you will get a better workout.

10. Change your scenery: I have said it before and I will say it again, when you change your surroundings your workouts will improve and your body will get a better work out.

I know changing your lifstyle is not easy, I want to give you as many options as possible to make the transition easier and educate you on getting it right. One of the many things I learned in the marines is that the biggest hurdle in all physical activities is your mind, however your mind is a lot stronger than you think. If you only use one of those tips — it is a mini victory for me.   Happy workouts all!


Lana Antonova

Lana Antonova

When you want to lose weight, are you quick to run to the latest fad diet?  Often a quick 5 to 10 pounds will come off quite fast, then your old eating habits return. If you stick with it to attain your weight goal, you may still find yourself back at the same weight or higher in a few months.  The market is filled with all kinds of gimmicks and promising diets. They’re always made to sound easy and fast; like the “pickle diet”, “Miami diet”, “Hollywood Diet”, and the list goes on.  Who do you think profits from these made-up diets??? Definitely NOT you. You end up spending your hard earned cash and at the end of the day, you’re at where you’ve started in no time. I’ll share with you as to why diets don’t work.

A Diet Should become a Lifestyle, Not an Event

On many diets, you are eating the foods you may not like very much and don’t find satisfying. If you are determined enough, you may stick with it until you reach your goal. But as soon as you go back to eating normally, you will quickly gain those pounds right back.  Why diets rather than finding healthier foods you enjoy in amounts that don’t cause weight gain.

Diets Can Be Downers

The very word “diet” is depressing to many of us. We think of giving up foods that are comforting and enjoyable.  We feel deprived, alienated and alone, except for others who are dieting. Eventually we give up and enter back into the world of happy uncontrolled eating, carrying negative feelings toward healthier “diet foods.”

The Dangers of the Yo-Yo Diet Cycle

Studies are finding dangers in the yo-yo diet cycle of losing weight, gaining it back plus a little more, losing, and gaining again. It is stressful on the body systems to have wide swings in body weight.  Plus Yo-Yo Dieting May Weaken Immune System.

Control Issues

At first a diet can give you a sense of control. You are taking charge of your eating patterns. You may see success as the scale drops. But soon you are fighting cravings for forbidden foods, as well as hunger pangs and a lack of energy from the lower calorie level. Eventually you rebel against the diet and start “cheating.”

Diets Slow Your Metabolism

Your body reacts to fewer calories by slowing down your metabolism — burning fewer calories each day just to maintain your body functions. If you don’t add exercise along with the diet, you will lose lean muscle mass as well as fat and water weight. When you lose muscle, your metabolism slows down even further and you would have to eat even fewer calories per day to continue to lose weight.

If you don’t exercise and then you fall off of the diet, the weight will come back on even faster, as your body is burning fewer calories per day. Even worse, the weight will come back on as fat rather than as the muscle you lost. Your body will look even less lean and healthy.

Solution: Get Active for at least 30 min to an Hour a Day, per Tim Trost’s recommendations

Your first step to improve your health and appearance is to begin daily exercise.  And if you’re new to exercising of haven’t done it in a while, please read Tim’s following post – Back to basics.  The exercise doesn’t have to be intense — you can even pick activities you enjoy such as walking, biking, or swimming. Get your body moving most days of the week.

Solution: Make Simple Eating Changes

Start thinking of how to implement healthy eating into your lifestyle.  Don’t forget — SMMO [smaller meals more often].  That’s the key.  And watch your portions, if it doesn’t fit on your palm, it’s too much for you, referring to the protein in your life.  And don’t make any drastic cuts, like cutting out bread or pasta at once.  The drastic changes will almost always cause the yo-yo effect.  To simplify – find a 100-calorie change you can make for this week. Perhaps it is drinking one less can of cola each day, or having non-fat milk in your coffee instead of cream. Substitute string cheese or an apple instead of a bag of potato chips. Make a 100-calorie change each week for the next six weeks and you will have made a significant change in your eating habits. Don’t think in terms of depriving yourself of foods you love, but eliminate empty calories you don’t really like and find substitutes that you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

And the most important thing – eat when you’re NOT hungry.  People always think that you have to eat only when you’re hungry, when your eating patterns are healthy, you should NEVER be hungry.  Hunger means something is out of balance.  You shouldn’t let more than 4 hours go by without food/snack.  This is very important! If you need ideas for snacking or want to read more about healthy reading, please refer to this post.

By making these changes, you can tip your energy balance to building and maintaining lean muscle while burning and losing fat. This will probably be gradual rather than dramatic, but you will eventually notice clothes fitting looser, your waistline shrinking, and your energy level higher.  For example, my father came to town, he was here for only 10 days.  He’s was under an impression that you should only eat twice a day.  So he gained a little weight around his belly.  Today he put his favorite jeans on and they fell off his waist.  He couldn’t believe it.  And this was even without any exercise.  He simply experienced healthy eating.  He now understands the effects of healthy eating, and will adjust his habits accordingly.

I’ve always struggled with weight myself, but NO MORE!  I eat what I want today, I don’t DIET, I don’t deprive myself from any foods.  I eat small meals, 6 times per day, two of them are snacks, of course.  I even eat pizza, ice cream, and cakes!!! But I exercise at least 4 times per week and I drink a lot of water and green tea.  My metabolism is faster in my 30’s than it was in my 20’s.

Just incorporating healthy eating and understanding that your eating habits should become your lifestyle – rather than gaining a few pounds each year, you will be losing a little weight each year. Friends who haven’t seen you in awhile will be impressed by the difference. Best of all, you will not have shocked your body with a deprivation diet, but instead have been feeding it appropriate amounts of better food while giving it the exercise it needs for health.

Are your surroundings motivating you?

Weather it’s a movie like  Rocky, Chariots of fire, 300 or Fight Club — find something that motivates you. I talked about my music but I also find that the surroundings really affects my work outs.  As I mentioned before, I work out at Gold’s gym in Venice, CA and for all its flaws, it is a great place to workout. I mean where else can you be doing bench presses next to Lou Ferrigno, Russian lunges next to the half of the NFL or squats next to the UCLA track team — you’ve got to admit, it’s motivating!

So my question is: are your surroundings motivate or demotivate you?

If you feel like you need a change, it’s as easy as trying out a new gym, or taking your friend up on that offer to try a new class. I also love the outdoors, there is something very calming about running on the beach, or going for a hike. The beautiful thing about working out is that there is always something new to do and you can make it what ever you want! If it’s not motivating or it’s not fun, try something new because there is something very satisfying about trying new things and getting better at them and feeling that sense of accomplishment!