How To Measure Your Progress by Stephen Cooper

To move forward towards your goals you need someway to measure your progress.

For my Boot Camp and personal training clients, there are basically 3 areas that I want you to pay attention to:

  1. Exercise

  2. Sleep

  3. Nutrition

To move forward towards your goals you need some way to measure your progress.

My own system tends to be very simple.

It's very rare that I measure my calories. I'm used to what portion sizes are appropriate for me, and I have a daily goal of eating 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables. (If you need an idea of which portion sizes are appropriate for your goals, I encourage you to check out this infographic from Precision Nutrition.)

For tracking sleep, once again there are many options. You can use an app, or you can use a device like a FitBit or an Oura Ring. I've used apps from time to time, but my general habit is to just get to bed early enough (8:50 PM), so I get 8 hours of sleep on most nights. Do what works best for you, but the main thing is to create your lifestyle that makes getting enough quality sleep a habit.

Lastly, exercise. You can Google to see if there is an app you like. My own approach is to just keep a Google document. It simply shows what I did, weights used, and some quick notes like how I felt (strong, tired, etc) It's fast for me as I can pull it up on my phone, and add and edit it as I train.

 Note, there is a break here between dates as I was running for awhile.

Note, there is a break here between dates as I was running for awhile.

Keep it simple, and find what works best for you. The important part is making progress towards your goals, and not spending a lot of time fussing with tracking apps and complexity.





Quick Fix, or Lifelong Lessons? by Stephen Cooper

I was watching an interview the other day (link here) where a well know university Ph.D. professor and scientist, Dominic D’Agostino was discussing his results with the Keto diet and it's affects on Alzheimer's and the reduction of seizures. Most of this interview was heavy on the science of the brain and dove deep into the micro...but...

The host asked him, "what is the ideal protocol for longevity?" And to my surprise, the scientist answered, "probably work on relationships, and your support network.  Decrease your stress, allow yourself more downtime...surround yourself with people who are supporting you...nutrition, exercise, getting outdoors."

It was a reminder to me to focus on the basics.  To put the work in.  It's not the latest diet, or new exercise that will bring lasting and important changes, it's focusing on the basics.

Don't be fooled by slick marketing and bikini-clad models on Instagram.  

If you're ready to put in the work, join me in November, for our next Boot Camp. 

No classes on Thanksgiving Day, nor the Friday after.

Nov 1 - Tuesday/Thursday Camps begin, and the cost is $125 for (8 classes)
Nov 2 - Monday/Wednesday/Friday Camps begin, and the cost is $165 (12 classes) 
(Venmo, @stephencooper is my preferred method of payment these days.)

Please email me with questions.

Best,
Coop

P.S.  Current clients, if I haven't heard from you already, please let me know if you'll be continuing in the November  Camp.  

Advice on How to Tackle Your Midsection by Stephen Cooper

 Some of my kettlebell collection…

Some of my kettlebell collection…

A client comments and asks…

“Good workout today.  I appreciate these switches between cardio + muscles.

I've been training with you for about 1.5 months now.  And I think I'm making progress:  I feel like I'm getting stronger, can even feel some muscle development.  I feel that I get less sore now as compared to when I started out.  I'm trying to mostly eat home cooked meals (with the occasional falling off the wagon) and keep an eye out on portion size.  I mostly replaced white rice, bread, and pasta with other things (farro, bulgur, quinoa) and try to eat a lot of veggies and simply cooked chicken and fish.  But I am wondering if you could give me some advice on how to tackle my midsection, which I hear is, in general, a difficult part to trim.  Any specific guidance that I should follow to make maximum progress there?  I plan to do 2 workouts with you per week, although the next 2 weeks have room for 3 workouts as I won't be traveling.  Are there any workouts you recommend I add?  Or perhaps a spinning class for some extra cardio?  Any specific guidance on eating?”

“Good questions.

Reducing the midsection brings up many paths.  Two things to consider are, how fast do you want to reduce that area and how much time are you committed to it?  (Sleep and recovery too!)

To get the weight off the fastest, your calories and macros would need to be set, and your daily intake would have to be adhered to very closely.  Some people like to use an app such as My Fitness Pal, and track each thing they eat and drink.   Yes, the weight will most likely come off quickly, but is the tracking worth it to you?  Only you can decide.

A simple and usually effective path is that of just eating protein and vegetables.  Notice, this means no bread, no sweets, no ice cream, no sugar, it literally means proteins and vegetables, period.

When you say that your diet has "mostly" or you occasionally "fall off the wagon" this will alter your progress.  But once again, you'll have to make the decision...do you want to enjoy "treats" now and then, or do you want to the midsection area tightened up faster?  There is no right or wrong, it depends on you.  If the progress is slower than you'd like, know that you'll have to sacrifice more often.

As far as exercise, I stick to the quickest path I know.  Tabata based cardio training, http://www.ritsumei.ac.jp/rs/category/tokushu/150715/

I feel that this is the best use of one's time.  A short, intense, all-out workout that can be done at home, gets the job done.  Longer duration classes may be "fun", but I prefer quick and effective.

(ask me in class for examples if you like)

My second choice is a program called "Simple and Sinister".  I know, intimidating title (marketing), but like the Tabata protocol, this is about getting the most calorie bang for your buck...and once again this can be done at home.  No traveling, no driving...just knocking out the workout.

Here's a link, https://www.strongfirst.com/achieve/sinister/

This workout includes "get-ups" which will need some instruction, but the kettlebell swings can be done alone.  The workout usually consists of either 5 or 10 sets of 10 swings - done with full concentration and with a challenging weight.

I hope this helps.  We can talk more about it when I see you in class.

What Did You Miss Today? by Stephen Cooper

 Morning Workout…

Morning Workout…

It’s now 11:35 in the morning, and I am going through my daily process.

Before noon I try to send out a copy of the workout we did along with notes and things we may have discussed in class to those who missed. I also check in to see why clients missed…it’s part of the accountability that I provide.

These classes are more like personal training.

Clients are expected to show up on time, and on their planned workout days.

Of course clients may be traveling, and sometimes out sick, but I still check in.

Results don’t come from haphazard attempts…they come through strategic and consistent efforts.

Here’s what we did today, in case you are interested or would like to have a free workout. Enjoy!

October 3, 2018 Class # 2

Equipment needed: jump rope and band/s

Focus: Cardio, upper body, abs

Warm Up: 60 sec

  1. Jump rope

  2. Broad jump

  3. Standing hypertension

  4. One leg pistol

Work: (2x - 30 sec each)

  1. Jump rope/ band chest press

  2. Jump rope/push up

  3. Jump rope/push up from wall

  4. Jump rope/1 arm row with band

  5. Jump rope/other arm row

  6. 5x squat with 5x band biceps curl

  7. 5x broad jump with 5x biceps curl (other arm)

  8. Jump rope/plank hold

  9. Jump rope/crunch

  10. Jump rope/Plank with alternating thigh touches

  11. Jump rope/pike

  12. 60-sec jump rope

Abs: (60 sec)

  1. Cross knee crunch

  2. Flutter kicks, last 10-sec hold

Stretches:

  1. Chest

  2. Back

  3. Shoulders

Notes:

We talked about a few running related items...

Cute/inspiring Disney movie with Kevin Costner, “McFarland” - https://youtu.be/74eJaVQFybI

Nike's “Breaking2” Documentary, https://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/running/breaking2

Book, “The Running Revolution Deluxe: How to Run Faster, Farther, and Injury-Free” by Nicholas Romanov, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K0U6MSE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

How to Plan Out One Month of Training (A few helpful tips...) by Stephen Cooper

Do you have a plan to reach your fitness goals?

Is it detailed and well thought out, or do you just kinda do things whenever you feel like it?

I'm going to share with you my personal plan, and some suggestions on how to build your own plan.

I've learned through trial and error what works best for me.  As I've aged, my training is still strong and the weights lifted are the same or better, but my recovery time has increased.  I usually lift heavy weights, with low reps, and low sets only 3 days a week...usually Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

A typical day is:
Barbell deadlift, 2 sets of 6 reps with 5 min rest periods
Overhead heaxbar shoulder press 3 sets of 8 reps
Calf raises 1 set of, 20 sec., 30 sec, 40 sec, and 50 sec for each leg

On my off days, I usually do a little Tabata style cardio, and maybe some ab work.  

That's it.  Week after week.

 For your plan, I'm going to assume that your goal is fat loss.  For those who have a specific goal, like run a  half marathon, or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro...you will need more specific programming.

First, look at the upcoming month.  Will you be traveling?  How about upcoming stresses at work?  Family obligations, parties, anniversaries?  How about any social events, concerts, games?

Put these into your calendar, and realize that these events may derail you.  Plan if you'll need to bring equipment while on the road, or have routines that you can do with bodyweight only.

My suggestion is to get in at least 3 strength training sessions per week.  In my opinion, these provide the biggest bang for your buck.  You'll build muscle which will burn calories during exercise, as well as when you are not exercising.  Remember that resistance training should take priority over cardio.

If you can fit in cardio on other days, then mix it up.  One day try high-intensity interval training (like alternating sprinting and walking for 7-10 minutes), or maybe a long bike ride or hike with your family or friends on the weekend.

If you need to, mark your calendar with your planned workouts.  Most importantly, execute and stick to your plan.

If you need more suggestions or have questions, contact me.

If you'd like to take advantage of the Boot Camp classes that I offer Monday-Friday, here are the details for October.

Oct 1 - Monday/Wednesday/Friday Camps Start, Cost is $175 (14 classes) 

Oct 2 - Tuesday/Thursday Camps Start, Cost is $135 (9 classes) Email me with questions.

Best,
Coop

P.S.  Current clients, if I haven't heard from you already, please let me know if you'll be continuing in the October  Camp. 

Stick to The Path by Stephen Cooper

 1974

1974

I wrote to a client this morning coaching her and letting her know that it will take time to see results. Here’s what I wrote…

You are on the right path.

Know that I've been working out since I was about 13 years old.  I can say that I've trained at least 3 days, up to 7 days a week during this time.

I just turned 53 last week...so that's 40 years of training.

I've learned to "judge" myself on the effort and consistency of work that I put in.  My effort may vary from day to day, but for the most part, I give it 100%.

Results will come over time, but to set a specific goal of pounds lost, or inches lost, is often a setup for failure.

Be committed to yourself.  Dig in, and do the work.  You'll get stronger, and your body will thank you.  It will appreciate that you are training it, and improving it.

Enjoy today!

P.S. I tried to find a pic from 40 years ago, but only came across a few from 45 plus years, thought you’d get a laugh.”


Starting Today... by Stephen Cooper

 Muir Grove, Sequoia Park

Muir Grove, Sequoia Park

I’m always looking for ways to give you the best training experience possible.

Starting today, if you are a full time client, and miss your class, I’m going to send out (via email) the workout that we did, and also what we discussed in class. I sometimes share helpful books, articles, etc. with clients, but don’t always share with the entire class. I will add these in a “notes” section.

Please let me know if you find this helpful.

P.S. Don’t forget, if you miss your regular class - email me why you missed. I want to know. Did you sleep in, traveling, injury, etc.? I can work with you if I know what’s going on.

What is the Perfect Diet While Doing Boot Camp? by Stephen Cooper

 While you were sleeping, boot camp clients were warm up to this.

While you were sleeping, boot camp clients were warm up to this.

Where do I start?

There is no perfect diet for everyone.  I smile when I see other Boot Camps and trainers in the Pasadena area that pretend they have "the" diet for you.

From the New York Times bestseller, "Faster, Higher, Stronger: How Sports Science is Creating a New Generations of Superathletes and What We Can Learn From Them" by Mark McClusky...

We all seem to be looking for something to help us feel better and perform our best, and as a species, we seem to have a limitless credulity for new ways to do so.

Diets, and the way our bodies deal the food and nutrients they give it are intensely personal and individual. I think part of why we see so many fads and swings in the popular literature about diet is that we forget this fact, and look for one way of eating that works for everyone in the world. And there simply isn’t one.

The only way to know for sure is to have your blood work done with a sports medicine doc, or at a sports specific place such as InsideTracker.

I had my own blood work many years ago from a sports med doc who worked with a lot of MMA fighters.  He wrote up the instructions for the blood draw, and the results were sent to him.  Then we looked over the results over a phone consultation.  It was very eye-opening.  I remember him saying that just taking supplements without the results from a blood test was "just guessing, and a way to have expensive urine."

So what do you do if you can't afford or don't want to have your blood drawn?

From Mark McClusky again... “Bill Wagner and his team at Sparta Performance Science in California I’ve seen this with their athletes. Rather than giving them a laundry list of dietary guidelines, they boil down their advice for pro athletes to just two things:

Make sure that you eat 1 g of protein daily for every pound of body weight to support muscle growth, and eat at least eight fist-sized servings of vegetables a day. “You need to get rid of all other advice to make sure you do the most important things,” says Wagner. 

August Boot Camp Details by Stephen Cooper

How is 2018 progressing for you?  

How would you rate your effort towards exercise, etc. 1 being no effort, and 10 being spot on with your training, eating, and recovery?

Getting results comes from consistent effort.  Not intentions, not good plans...but showing up day in and day out, and putting in your best effort.

Just like this morning, a certain boot camper, "CN", pushed and pushed until she was red in the face and dripping with sweat.  I completely admire this type of work.  (I know others put in the hard work, this is just the most recent example.)

So, having said that...where do you stand?

Do you need to refine your habits?
Are you choosing to do things that are bringing you closer to better health and fat loss?

Live each day deliberately.

I can help with online coaching via Skype, personal training, and Boot Camp classes.

Aug 1 Monday/Wednesday/Friday Camps Start, Cost is $175 (14 classes in Aug) Discount for current clients.

Aug 2 - Tuesday/Thursday Camps Start, Cost is $135 (9 classes in Aug) Discount for current clients.

Email me with questions.

Best,
Coop

P.S.  Current clients, if I haven't heard from you, let me know if you'll be continuing in the August Camp.  Also current clients, your discounted rate still applies. - Thanks

July Boot Camps by Stephen Cooper

Pause and think to yourself how exercise could benefit you.

  • Coping with stress
  • Giving you more energy to do things with loved ones
  • Improving your mood
  • Boosting confidence

Clients often share with me how the boot camp classes "pay off".  I'm grateful and quite happy to hear their stories.

Please look honestly at how you are treating yourself.  If your life is out of balance, and lacking physical movement, come and join us.

July Boot Camps start Monday, July 2.  
$175 for 3x a week (12 classes)
$135 for 2x a week (9 classes)

Days/Times
Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday
Morning classes 5:45 AM - 6:30 AM
Evening classes 6:00 PM - 6:45 PM

No classes on July 4.

Contact me with questions,
Coop

P.S.  Current Boot Camp clients, if you haven't already...please let me know if you'll be continuing in July. Thanks. (Your discounted rates apply.)

Are you up for the challenge? by Stephen Cooper

What challenge you ask?

The challenge to choose exercise over excuses.

The challenge to stop fidgeting with social media, and instead, spend that time prepping healthy meals, or getting in some physical activity.

The challenge to turn off the phone and get to sleep at a reasonable time.

Invest your time in actions that bring you closer to your goals.

Commit to training at least 2-3 times a week.

If you need help committing, join us tomorrow, or next week for the June Boot Camps. 

$175 for 3x a week (13 classes)
$135 for 2x a week (10 classes)

Contact me with questions,
Coop

P.S.  Current Boot Camp clients, if you haven't already...please let me know if you'll be continuing in June. Thanks. (Your discounted rates apply.)
 

A question from a client..." Do you have suggestions for meal planning to align with bootcamp? What are your recommendations for healthy eating besides fruit and veg?" by Stephen Cooper

A client writes...

" Do you have suggestions for meal planning to align with bootcamp? What are your recommendations for healthy eating besides fruit and veg?"

And my response...

Meal planning...so many options.

If you have a specific goal to lose a certain amount of weight in a short period of time, then more specific numbers need to be implemented.  Meaning a certain number of calories, certain grams or protein, etc..

Here's a link to Precision Nutrition.  I've been reading their stuff for as long as I've been a trainer.  You can dig deeper into various topics there...https://www.precisionnutrition.com/nutrition-guide-best-diet

Basically, it comes down to eating as natural as possible, meaning least processed meats/fish, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and healthy oils and fats.

And recording (notebook, etc.) what works best for you.  Note what you ate, and how you slept/felt/train.

Try the different "diets" and see where you best perform.  Don't let someone else tell you their miracle program is the best...or that it is best for you.

Couple books I've been reading lately...

The Longevity Diet, https://amzn.to/2EOV9tP

Wired to Eat, https://amzn.to/2EOV9tP

And one of the doc's I like Dr Rhonda Patrick...https://www.youtube.com/user/FoundMyFitness/videos

Not a simple answer, but I hope it helps.

April Boot Camp Details by Stephen Cooper

Do what needs to be done to bring you closer to better health and achieving your fat loss goals. 

Eliminate and simplify.  

Don't overthink things.

Execute. 

If you'd like to join us, see the details below...

Thanks, Coop

P.S. Current Boot Campers, if you haven't already, please confirm if you'll be continuing.

Location: Pasadena-Altadena Border

Days: Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday

Morning Classes: 

5:45 am - 6:30 am

Evening Classes: 

6:00 pm - 6:45 pm

Class: Each class is 45 minutes in length.

Cost:  $165.00 for three times per week, or $135 for twice a week

(Price is for the entire month)

IKIGAI - Why I do what I do by Stephen Cooper

 Mountains above Altadena, CA

Mountains above Altadena, CA

Ikigai is a Japanese term that for me loosely translates to "what I do to make a difference in the lives of others, or what I value in living"

These days when I train and coach clients it's not about a quick fix, or superficial gains.  Training and dieting to unhealthy extremes to produce those type of results have no part in my plan.  I just read on social media yesterday of a male fitness model who spends 2 hours a day boxing, and another 2 hours working out.  (I'm assuming that he spends at least another hour posing for and posting pictures of himself on social media.)

In contrast, I'd rather share lifelong techniques and disciplines that will pay off over a lifetime.

If you are looking for a loud/Chucky Cheese like gym experience, then we won't be a good fit. 

If you are committed to digging deep and want to learn how to create more discipline and learn what it really takes to see long lasting results, then I encourage you to contact me.

Our next Boot Camp starts tomorrow.

MWF Camp is $165 for the month of March and

Tu/Thur Camp is $135

Contact me with any questions.

 

 

When is the Best Time of the Day to Workout? by Stephen Cooper

Best selling author Daniel Pink in his latest book, "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing", notes the best time of the day to exercise.

He says the science is pretty clear...but it depends on your goal.

You are better off exercising in the morning if...

  • You want to lose weight
  • You want to stick to a routine
  • You want a longer mood boost

You are better off exercising in the late afternoon or evening if...

  • You want to avoid injury
  • You want to enjoy your workout a little more
  • You want to improve your performance

From my own experience with clients, I've definitely seen that those who workout first thing in the morning (5:45 am - 6:30 am) seem to attend more consistently. 

For those in my evening classes, working late, traffic, after work parties at the bar, seem to throw off many from keeping to a consistent program.

And when it comes to fat loss, it's those who put in the consistent work day after day, who see results.

Ultimately you have to make it happen.  Cultivate the discipline, and execute.

P.S.  If you'd like to know when and how I workout, sign up for my newsletter here.

 

In case you missed this morning... by Stephen Cooper

In case you missed today's workout...

Equipment needed: kettlebell/Bands

Warm Up:

  1. Skips to fence and back
  2. Jog to fence, then lat stretch
  3. Jog back, sumo squat
  4. Bowlers stretch, walk-cross reach towards toes
  5. Alternating knee grab from standing position

Work: ( for 6 minutes, 1-3 reps-keep mouth closed-breathe through nose only-steady pace)

  1. KB goblet squat
  2. Bodyweight push ups

Work: (60 sec)

  1. KB pullover
  2. Prone “Y” raises
  3. Bird dog

Core:

  1. Standing Pallof Press with partner or band
  2. Walking out plank (hold 30 sec) - 3x

Have You Begun? by Stephen Cooper

 Planning a Training Session

Planning a Training Session

Today is the third of January, 2018.  Have you begun your training?  Do you have a plan?

In designing the programming for my Boot Camp classes, I'm always planning, reviewing, and trying to improve.

The picture above is kind of a "final draft" of one of our workouts this week.

My overall goal in program design is to be safe first of all...then in this particular class we focused on the core and hamstrings (TRX), triceps/chest/shoulders (New dip stations), ab work, and stretches to open the shoulders and chest.

I hope you guys enjoyed the new equipment this morning.  I like to keep the sessions "simple" yet effective.  (Let me know what you thought about the workout - in the comment section below.)

As 2017 Comes to an End, It's Time to Review and Reflect... by Stephen Cooper

 Morning view from Altadena, CA

Morning view from Altadena, CA

How was 2017 for you?  Really reflect. 

Did you follow through with your commitments to improving your health and fitness? And how do you track your results?  No need to overwhelm yourself with apps and other digital tracking, but you do need a simple way to measure and track your commitment and your results. 

How much time was wasted on social media?  Measure your time on social media vs time spent actually exercising.  How's it look?

And your eating/diet?  Did you stick to the healthy basics, things like proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats?  Once again, don't overthink this.  Reasonable portions of healthy foods will get you a long way in reaching your fat loss goals.  Unless you have to lose weight fast, or can't quite seem to get those last few pounds off, don't stress about the latest diets (Keto/Paleo, etc).

And what are your plans for 2018?

Look at the big pieces of the puzzle that you can improve... 

  • Better eating
  • Sleep/recovery
  • Movement


 2018 will be filled with tons of distractions, pulling you in all different directions.

Take charge, and execute. 

Live deliberately.

I can help with online coaching, Skype video sessions, and Boot Camp classes.

Jan 2 - Tuesday/Thursday Camps Start, Cost is $135 (9 classes in Jan)

Jan 3 - Monday/Wednesday/Friday Camps Start, Cost is $175 (13 classes in Jan)

Contact me with questions.

I wish you a very healthy and happy New Year!
Coop

P.S.  Current clients, if I haven't heard from you, let me know if you'll be continuing in the January Camp.  Also current clients, your discounted rate still applies. - Thanks

Just Do by Stephen Cooper

IMG_2378.jpg
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IMG_2373.JPG

It's very rare that I share pictures of my family online.  I posted these the other day on Facebook just to show that I do my best to walk my talk.  For me walking my talk is getting in exercise, and encouraging my family to do the same...day in and day out, hot or cold.  Just get it done.

I encourage clients to do the same.  I realize that some clients have some serious challenges, be it cancer, or similar tough situations...but for most who are just tired or putting off working out, I encourage you to get after it.  Opportunity passes, and skipped days add up.

You only have two months remaining in this year.  I challenge you to make the most of each day.  Appreciate the day you've been given.  Do not waste it on Social Media.  Spend it on improving you, your health, and your family.

The November Camps begin Thursday, Nov 2.  (No classes Nov 23,24)

Cost is $165 for the MWF Camp, and $125 for the Tu/Thur Camp.

Times:  5:45 AM - 6:30 AM or 6:00 PM - 6:45 PM

Contact me with questions.