To lift, or not to lift: That is the question

There are so many people who go to the gym on a regular basis, but often ignore some important aspects of their training. Not sure what I mean? Let me pose this hypothetical question to you:

If you had just 30 minutes to get a workout in? What are you going to do? Cardio, or weight lifting?

For me this answer is a no-brainer. I’m running to the dumbbells to blast out a lifting session, but I know there are those who would do the complete opposite. I asked this question on the Fit Dad Revolution Facebook page (give us a LIKE by clicking HERE), and was shocked how many said they would hop onto a treadmill or stationary bike to get a quick sweat going.

This made me start to become more cognizant of my surroundings when I was in the gym, and I noticed a lot of people who I NEVER see in the weight room area. They come in, do their cardio workout, and leave.

I understand exercise is exercise, and everyone should aim to get their bodies moving at least an hour a day regardless of what particular exercise you are doing, but to answer the question which is the title of this article, “To lift, or not to lift”, the answer is to lift.

Before you start to think of all the reasons why you shouldn’t lift, injury, getting bulky, not knowing what you are doing, etc., you should also look at the benefits of weight training. Benefits like strengthening your joints, helping to prevent injury, strengthening your bones and helping to make your body stronger…just to name a few.

The benefits far outweigh the negatives, when it comes to weight training, but before you start wondering how in the world you could pass on your usual 3 mile workout on the track, what if I told you there was a way you can boost your cardiovascular training, as well as improve your overall strength with weight training?

It is called circuit training.

What is circuit training? It is simply a series of exercises which you do one after the other without any rest. Doing this will give you a cardiovascular benefit, while also working your muscles. Now, depending on your fitness goals, this type of training is good for a couple workouts a week, but not as your main way of weight training. For instance, I use circuit training two out of my four days of lifting a week.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Circuit training can be the ideal fit for someone who loves cardio, and getting their heart rate up, but doesn’t really care for weight lifting. Even the weight lifter who loves pumping iron can benefit from this style of training, getting a cardiovascular benefit to their own training.

What would a circuit training session look like? Here is an example of a very basic dumbbell circuit:

  • Dumbbell Squats – 15 Repetitions
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Presses – 15 Repetitions
  • Dumbbell Back Lunges – 15 Reps
  • Dumbbell Bent Over Rows – 15 Reps
  • Dumbbell Push Ups – 15 Reps

You would hit every major muscle group in the body with this workout, and would certainly get your heart rate up! You would go from squats to presses and on down the list without rest, but after the push ups you could give yourself time to rest and recover.

Give circuit training a try, because when the question “Lift, or don’t lift” is posed, the answer should always be a resounding YES!

Join the revolution today!


Are organic and non-GMO foods really worth it?

Let’s be honest, in our country it is hard to tell between what are actual facts, and what someone is wanting you to hear. When I think about today’s food industry, the one thing which constantly comes to mind is the age-old saying “Ignorance is bliss”, because the majority of our country just wants to put their fingers in their ears and do this:

Meanwhile, the food industry is raping the earth, and giving us food which is absolutely horrible for our bodies.

It isn’t just adult food either, do some research on the “gems” of quality companies that make baby food put out for your young children to consume. Everything from formula to snack foods.

Just look at the big companies who bully their way into purchasing smaller, better quality, companies so they can absolutely demolish any competition. Monopoly at it’s finest, but that is the world we live in.

While I step off my soap box, I want you to realize this isn’t the true meaning of this article. The true meaning of this article is asking, “Is it worth it to eat organic, non-GMO foods?” You hear a lot about this online, and sometimes on the news, but is the benefit of the product worth the extra money, because this stuff can be expensive!

When the term “organic” started to become a mainstream term, the theory was you didn’t have to purchase organic foods which have a thick skin on them. Bananas, watermelons, canteloupes, and other foods with a dense skin. The thought was the pesticides and chemicals used on the plants wouldn’t penetrate that skin and make the non-organic product as good as the organic variety.

Well, anymore that isn’t the case. Studies on non-organic bananas are showing chemicals are leaching their way through the skin of the bananas, and therefore into the food which is then entering your body. Welcome to the pathway for chemicals to get into your body.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Are you reading this wondering if I, and my family, purchase only organic products? The answer is no, we don’t. But, what we try to do is be smart with the non-organic produce we purchase. If we are going to buy non-organic produce, we will try to purchase it at our local farmer’s market. The place where the actual farmer can tell us what he/she used on the products, etc. so there is 100-percent transparency with the purchase.

Organic foods are worth it, in my opinion, but buying local can save you money and give you a better product than that bell pepper which came from Mexico and was doused with nasty chemicals.

Now for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and non-GMO products. There is a new logo from the Non-GMO Project which has a butterfly on it and it says “Non-GMO Project Verified”.

Image result for non-gmo project verified logo

If you see this on a product it means the product has undergone strict testing to ensure there are no GMOs in the product. The thing with this is, the company has to approach the GMO Project for them to give them the verification logo. However, there is good news on this front, and that is you are seeing this more and more in grocery stores, which means even large companies are ponying up the money to get this logo on their product, because they realize there is a large group of people who will purchase a product with the logo, compared to without the Non-GMO label emblazoned on the front.

So, are organic and non-GMO foods really worth purchasing? They do cost more money, but can you really put a price tag on your health? This doesn’t mean every item you consume has to be organic and non-GMO, but the fact of the matter is our food system has made this our new reality. The foods just sitting on the shelves in grocery stores are NOT safe anymore. Therefore, we have to go above and beyond to ensure foods we are buying are safe for ourselves, and our families.

With that said, is it worth it? Damn straight they are worth it!

Join the revolution TODAY!

Yoga: Not just for girls anymore

If you are like me, and by that I mean a dude who loves to lift weights, you have laughed at any person with a ‘Y’ chromosome who has taken a yoga class before. However, it really shouldn’t be that way anymore.

About 5 years ago my wife talked me into taking a hot yoga class. Come to find out, the ‘Hot’ wasn’t referencing the attractiveness of the women in class (I’m kidding), but the temperature of the room. My first yoga class was spent in front of a heater in a room which had to be near 90-degrees with everyone crammed into a small space in the middle of winter.

There was sweat, and lots of it, but about midway through the class I reached the point where I wasn’t fighting the class, thinking how stupid it was, but decided to buy-in. To truly give the class a chance, and to improve me from a mental and physical standpoint.

Lo and behold, it worked.

I’m no yogi, probably the furthest thing from it, but if my wife asks me to go to a class, I don’t hesitate to say yes.

What caused the change? Most importantly was probably watching so many older men in my life struggle with flexibility and overall stiffness. I am 34-years-old, and I don’t want to struggle to get out of bed when I am 50. I want to be able to continue to play softball, golf, and train at a high level, and flexibility is a large part of that equation.

Also, I have learned to use the time in a yoga class to better myself from the inside out. As a father of four small children, quiet time is at a minimum, and, if you are going to a legitimate yoga class, there will be plenty of time to reflect on the class, your body and especially your spirit.

Lastly, the class freaking works! I was as skeptical as the next male taking yoga, but what yoga does is work muscles you never touch in the gym. Sure, your shoulders, triceps and chest will get a workout, but the stabilizer muscles, core muscles and smaller muscles will be in for a heavy workload, something they aren’t used to.

I honestly can say I wish I could take more yoga classes, but time, and life, simply doesn’t always allow it. However, if you are faced with the chance to take a yoga class, whether you are a man or woman, I strongly encourage you to do it. Talk to the instructor before the class starts, and they will help you out. Stay in the back of the class and just take your time getting into the poses. Don’t try to compete with the regulars in the room, this class is about you…not them. Lastly, just enjoy the experience!

Be like me…join the revolution, even if it means taking a yoga class!

Gym Etiquette 101: Do you really need all that baggage?

Throughout this series of how to properly compose yourself in a gym setting, I have tackled everything from where you put your weights, to what you wear to the gym. In this week’s Gym Etiquette article, the focus will be not on what you do, or what you wear, but what many are bringing to the gym.

Do you really need all that baggage?

For some, I feel like asking if you need all that luggage?

So, if you didn’t know what I’m talking about, I’m referring to the gym goers who love to carry their gym bag with them as they go through the motions at the gym, but this isn’t just any gym bag. This is an assault on space due to their carry-on size bag which houses all of their “necessities”.

What would those necessities be? Let’s go through some of the basics:

  • Wrist wraps – Because you never know just when you will need to bust out the wrist wraps when your own wrists are too damn weak to hold a weight or pull something.
  • Weight Belt – When your lower back can’t handle the 135-pound squat you do, you need to look tough with a weight belt.
  • Change of clothes – Sometimes you sweat so much you have to change clothes mid-way through the workout…I guess.
  • Pre-workout mix – What would you do without the cocaine-like effects from your pre-workout shake?
  • Shaker Bottles – Your pre-workout mix, and post-workout protein shake, don’t shake themselves!!
  • Protein powder – If you don’t get your protein intake immediately after your workout you will lose some of your “gains”…hence why you keep that 10-pound jug of protein powder in your bag for all to see.
  • Gallon jug of water – Because a 12 ounce water bottle, or even a 24 ounce bottle of water, isn’t enough…you need to carry around a giant jug of water so your creatine monohydrate has plenty of fluid to bond to throughout your workouts.

The aspect of this silliness is are these bags even necessary? If you even ponder this question, the answer is NO!

You want wrist wraps? Just carry them into the gym.

You want a shaker bottle? That is fine, but you can wait until you get home to have your protein shake.

And for crying-out-loud, a trip to the water fountain, or a Nalgene bottle, will suffice for your workouts.

A lot of this is about people trying to impress others, not about needing these items. There is nothing wrong with a gym bag, many use these to carry clothes and necessities for them before, or after, work, but some just carry a bag to carry their crap around. It doesn’t bother me other than it takes up space in the gym. Many of these “bags” find their ways onto vacant benches, or benches which could be used by other members.

So, if you are one of these people, leave the bag in the locker room, or at home, and take only what you need to the gym. You won’t look like a clown, and the other patrons in the gym will appreciate it!

Join the revolution today!

How to get back on the fitness track after a holiday

Everyone experiences this in different ways, and a lot depends on the specific holiday, and our travel plans, but there is the constant complaint about falling off the fitness “horse” when a holiday sneaks up on the calendar.

Most Americans believe they put on over 5-pounds over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but the reality of the situation is the average citizen only gains 1-2 pounds over the most popular holidays of the year. The problem is how these holidays don’t make us necessarily gain weight, but they change our habits which leads to more weight gain.


People stop going to the gym because they are too busy, have to shop or travel, and getting back into their routine is a struggle. This can be the case with almost any holiday, including the 4th of July, but there is good news!!

This is all preventable, if you follow these simple steps:

Know what is coming

Have you ever been sitting there, and the phone rings, and someone calls to tell you about the surprise Labor Day picnic they are throwing in an hour? Of course that hasn’t happened, because it doesn’t happen. Holiday parties are planned ahead of time, so there is no real reason for anything like this to sneak up on anyone. You know what is coming, and that can help you prepare yourself.

Plan accordingly

I’ve written this before on this blog, and will say it again, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Let’s talk scenarios here. If you have a 4th of July picnic, and you know the party starts at 3:00 p.m., do something active that morning. It doesn’t have to be an intense hour of weight lifting in the gym, although it could be, but a nice walk could suffice. This will help you burn calories, and get your body in a calorie-burning mode, prior to heading to the party.

When at the party, don’t get stuck eating whatever everyone else brings. Bring a dish, or two, which is healthy and you will enjoy eating. Take a huge salad, with fixings like raw vegetables, and some cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese. If you are thinking you might be the only person to eat these items, then fine! At least you know what you are consuming.

Be smart with your consumption

Speaking of consumption, you have to be smart with what you eat, and drink. Alcohol doesn’t necessarily make you gain weight by consuming liquid calories, but the impact it has on your body as a depressant can slow down your fat-burning system, causing the other calories you eat to not be utilized as they should. If you want to indulge in an adult beverage, stick to distilled liquors (think Gin and Vodka), which don’t pack the additives and sugar of most drinks. My favorite? The Gin Ricky. Shot of Gin, ice, lemon and lime wedge, and sparkling water. Perfect summer beverage.

As for eating, focus on the protein and vegetables. If someone brought a veggie tray, attack that sucker with a fervor! Go ahead and have a burger, and load the rest of your plate with the salad you brought and some vegetables. If you want to splurge, splurge on fruit and not the carb-loaded pastas and desserts which can derail your work you did earlier in the day.

This may sound strict, but you will thank me the next day when you wake up and actually feel great!

Stick with the plan

This may sound silly, but if your parties are anything like mine, you will have some backlash to your dietary decisions. Comments like:

“Why aren’t you eating a bun?”

“What are you a rabbit? Why are you eating salad?”

“You aren’t going to eat my casserole? What? You don’t like my cooking?”

You have to be able to withstand this barrage and have your reasons in place to counteract these comments. Here are some easy ones to remember for the questions above:

“Why aren’t you eating a bun?”

Answer: “No, just trying to watch what I eat.”

“What are you a rabbit? Why are you eating salad?”

Answer: “Haha, no, just want to watch what I eat.”

“You aren’t going to eat my casserole? What? You don’t like my cooking?”

Answer: “No, your cooking is great, just want to watch what I eat.”

See a trend there? You don’t have to make up excuses, just tell people you are watching what you eat, and if they can’t get over that then that is their fault. If you are reading this you at least acknowledge that fitness, and living a healthy life, is important. If it is that important, then act like it in all situations.

Allow yourself to indulge (a bit)

One of the biggest comments I get is how people think I don’t ever eat food which tastes amazing, but isn’t the best for you. I have one of the worst sweet tooths imaginable, but have learned how to curtail that due to my fitness and physique being more important than that Blizzard at Dairy Queen I love so much.

I eat ice cream. I eat brownies. I eat cake.

The difference between me and those who struggle with their weight is I am able to pick and choose when, how and how much I consume. The cake would be a small piece to most’s standards. The ice cream is often a kids, or small, cone.

Eat well, and enjoy life, but be responsible about it.

Do all of these things to stay on track and get through the holidays without the bulge which often accompanies these holidays.

Share this to get more people to join the revolution!

Fight back Father Time by kicking him square in the teeth

Everyone knows someone who claims they can no longer do the things they used to. Sometimes it is as simple as picking up a heavy object, or running as far as they once could.

Either way, I call Bull Sh!t on these excuses.

I realize Father Time never loses a battle, and the bell eventually tolls for all of us, but it doesn’t mean you have to go down without a fight.

Jack Lalanne – The Godfather of Fitness

When you age, whether it is starting your 30s, or entering your 60s, you have to realize your body is still an amazing piece of machinery. Like a car, when the car ages you have to take special care of the vehicle. Sometimes things need checked more frequently, but you want to keep this high performance vehicle running as smooth as the day you bought it. To keep with the car analogy, the vehicle will never run like it did when it left the showroom floor, but it doesn’t mean it is going to be placed in a garage with a cover on it just because it is now an older vehicle.

The same can be said about the aging process. You need to take special care of your body as you age, but it doesn’t mean the body is breaking down on you.

I’m 34-years-old, and can still remember the first time I realized I needed to take time to properly warm up before an athletic event. I used to walk to the field, lace up the cleats and go play. Then came a pulled hamstring which sidelined me for a few weeks. From that moment on, I realized I needed to show up early and warm up properly to prevent injury.

I didn’t quit playing sports, just realized my body needed more time to get ready for those endeavors.

It pains me to see people aging to the point of inactivity. The usual excuses abound:

“I would love to play, but this body isn’t what is used to be.”

“I remember when I used to be able to do that…those were the days.”

“Getting older sucks…you just wait!”

I look at people like Jack LaLanne, Gary Player and countless others who have not succumbed to Father Time, but have given the bastard a swift kick in the teeth to show they aren’t going down without a fight.

This is the precise point of the message today. We are all going to die one day, and Father Time will certainly always get the last laugh, but let’s not make things easy on him. Don’t just sit back and watch as your body deteriorates, but get up and move to help your body become rejuvenated! Be the person you want to be. If that means you start to walk everyday to get more energy, or you train your body to get back on the adult softball field, you do what you have to do to get the job done.

If you need help, ask for help. Whether that is in the comment section of this article (I will always answer any questions people may have), or finding a quality personal trainer near you to assist you, but sitting back and doing nothing is a death sentence for your body.

Don’t make Father Time’s job easy…instead kick him square in the teeth showing just how serious you are about your health. Let the revolution rage on…

Fit Dad’s Must-Have Recipe: Buckwheat Pancakes

There are few things in this world that are better than some pancakes first thing in the morning. However, when most people who are even remotely conscious about their health think pancakes, they think “BAAAAAAD”.

They aren’t the best option for those trying to tighten up their waistline, but there are options out there which are a hell of a lot healthier than your traditional pancakes, and easier on the body too.

This is where the Fit Dad’s Must-Have Recipes come in. Periodically, or whenever I feel like it, I will share a recipe our family enjoys which is healthier than the usual alternative.

Quick side note: Our oldest child, and only son, has Type 1 Diabetes, so when it comes to tracking carbohydrates and macronutrients, it is a way of life in our household.

Today’s Recipe: Organic Buckwheat Pancakes



  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 TSP Backing Powder
  • 1/4 TSP Baking Soda
  • 1/4 TSP Salt
  • 1 TSP Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Milk of Choice (We use Almond Milk)
  • 1 Egg – Separated (Add egg yolks to milk to mix. Whip egg whites, adding gently to mix to help keep pancakes fluffly)
  • 2 Packs Stevia
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 2 TBSP Melted Butter, ghee or coconut oil

This recipe sports a pancake which yields 8.4 carbohydrates per pancake (makes about 20 pancakes…we have 4 kids, we need to make a lot…stop judging.) and plenty of protein to boot.

These pancakes are organic and gluten free, and could have more protein punch to them by simply adding some protein powder to the mix, but be careful with the flavor as it can certainly change the overall taste of the pancakes.

Lastly, I can’t take credit for these pancakes. My wife found, created, mastered and shared the recipe with me, to share with you! So, next time you want to treat yourself to some pancakes, try these Buckwheat pancakes!