5 reasons I’m obsessed with body-weight training.

No gym? No problem.

In the Park, at the beach — perfect. As soon as you roll out of bed, no problem. It’s definitely hard to come up with a good excuse not to workout if you do not need a gym with equipment or machines. Example, “the gym closed early today for the holiday, what do I do now?”. You really do not need machines or heavy equipment to achieve your gains. You can achieve size, strength, power, mobility and balance with only gravity and your body. The following are five reasons why bodyweight training is awesome and the core focus of my training:

1) Trains the brain and body

In kinesiology this is called kinesthetic intelligence, people who have a high level of kinesthetic intelligence generally have excellent motor skills and coordination. They are often very physical and are keenly aware of their bodies.  Kinesthetic intelligence is something that can be improved with a good bodyweight training program. When training your body to perform exercises that will help improve your gross motor skills, you will ultimately learn to move more effectively while bringing more awareness to your body and its position in immediate space. Put it this way, if you are more aware of your body in it’s space while let’s say dancing, chances are you will feel a little more comfortable and look more fluid at the same time. Bodyweight exercises that demand more muscle control and balance will help your body move more intelligently.

2) Healthy joints

Let’s talk about staying far away from knee braces slings and wraps. Body-weight training takes your joints through full rang of motion with common movements like full hanging pull-ups or deep bench dips. This kind of training strengthens joints at the end ranges of full flexion or extension (where injury usually occurs). What I’m saying is let’s try to bulletproof your body and joints while strengthening your smaller stabilizing joints so that you can train hard and come back for more. Being sidelined from overstressed joints and structural imbalance will only produce a bad mood and eventually weight gain — one of my personal favorite exercises to maintain strong and healthy joints is Dive to Hollow Body.  (demo here)

3) Get stronger, leaner and look better

Since You can use your own body resistance by doing push ups, squats and more to develop longer, leaner muscle instead of the bulky muscle that comes with heavy lifting. Instead of just burning fat with cardio, body-weight training helps you build muscle to replace fat with lean tissue. The more muscle to fat ratio, the faster your metabolism becomes. A faster metabolism means you burn fat more effectively. Bodyweight training is incredibly effective for building muscle. … However, there are still those who argue that bodyweight training isn’t as effective as weight lifting when it comes to building muscle. Since bodyweight Training is often a military style, endurance oriented workout, is should not be mistaken for its muscle building capabilities. For instance your ever see a gymnasts physique? Enough said.

4) Never get bored

I like to compare it more to a sport like skiing or tennis. I know, how do you compare push-ups and crunches to skiing? Well if you where to think of the skill levels of skier like beginners (green circles), intermediate (blue squares), and experts (black diamonds) you can compare it to an exercise progression. For instance, you can perform a basic strict push-up (green circle), you can do a “delt tap” push-up (blue square) or an Explosive “chest clap” push-up (black diamond). All three progressions have a skill, strength and ability level. Over time as your ability, strength and skill level increases, you can perform more and challenge yourself to do more dynamic movements that will keep you far from boredom.

5) It builds balance and prevents injury

Consistent bodyweight training builds structural balance, meaning you have balanced muscles front and back as well as side to side. Many people train what only they see in the mirror, while neglecting some of the most critical areas for pillar movements like pushing and pulling as well as squatting and lunging. This can affect our posture and lead to structural imbalances. One of the things I reinforce when working with clients is “its all about hips and glutes”. This is where most athletic movements are driven from. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body. It is large and powerful because it has the job of keeping the trunk of the body in an erect posture along with acting as the chief antigravity muscle. 

Chris Vlaun performing a walking prisoner lunge.

There are many more great reasons to incorporate body-weight training to not only achieve your fitness, but to prepare you for life. It’s functional, it’s athletic and gets you ready for your sport, occupation or activity that you will use on a daily basis.

**Bonus: A study posted in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that cadets at the US Military Academy who performed bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-up and lunges sprinted faster and jumped higher than those who did a static warm-up routine.

For information about our online bodyweight training program visit us here.

Christopher Vlaun – ©2019

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

By Dr. Mercola

It’s long been known that calorie restriction can increase the lifespan of certain animals. More recent studies suggest that intermittent fasting can provide the same health benefits as constant calorie restriction, which may be helpful for those who cannot successfully reduce their everyday calorie intake. “Undernutrition without malnutrition” is the only experimental approach that consistently improves survival in animals with cancer, and extends overall lifespan by about 30 percent.

Both intermittent fasting and continuous calorie restriction have been shown to produce weight loss and improve metabolic disease risk markers. However, intermittent fasting tends to be slightly more effective for reversing insulin resistance. Besides turning you into an efficient fat burner, intermittent fasting can boost your human growth hormone production (aka HGH, the “fitness hormone”) by as much as 1,200 percent for women and 2,000 percent for men.

Intermittent fasting can also improve your brain function by boosting your production of a protein called  brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which protects your brain from the changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and  helps prevent neuromuscular degradation.


Natural Sun Protection From the Inside Out

April 13, 2012 by Katie@wellnessmama

As summer approaches, sun-protection is definitely something that must be considered, but as with many other things Paleo, the best solution may not always be the conventional one.

If you’ve read this blog or others like it, I’m sure you are well aware that diet plays a pivotal role in overall health, energy levels, digestive health and weight. Logically, diet also is an influencing factor in skin health and sun protection.

The conventional method of sun protection is much like the conventional method of many types of illness: Treat the symptoms or prevent the symptoms from occurring.

In the case of sun exposure, the general idea is to prevent the sunburn (or all sun exposure) rather than address why the skin is burning in the first place.

In the paleo-sphere, we are well-aware of the importance of Vitamin D, and we are capable of producing the amounts our bodies need through our skin. Unfortunately, even low-SPF sunscreens can block almost all Vitamin D production.

As links have been found between low-vitamin D and skin cancer (among others), the cure may be more dangerous than the disease in this case!

It’s also interesting to note that while rates of sun exposure are decreasing, skin cancer rates are steadily rising and melanoma rates are getting worrisome.

There are theories that the chemicals in most sunscreens can be as damaging or more so than sun damage itself. Either way, I use the same rule with sunscreens as I do with foods and beauty products: If I can’t pronounce an ingredient or buy it without a chemical license, I don’t use it.

The Role of Diet:

Sunburn is a type of inflammation. It is caused by an external factor, but a lot of internal factors come into play as well.

Inflammatory foods like grains, sugars and vegetable oils (especially those!) can cause inflammation in the body and make the skin more prone to inflammation (burning) as well.

In the same way, anti-inflammatory foods can help prevent inflammation in the body or on the skin from sun exposure.

If you’ve been Paleo for a while, you might have already noticed an increased sun tolerance, or that you are tanning better. It isn’t your imagination. In fact, Mark’s Daily Apple addressed natural ways to prevent sunburn, and all of the suggestions were diet/supplement related.

The most problematic foods for your skin when it comes to sun-exposure are: processed foods, processed grains, sugars and vegetable oils (no surprise there!).

The most beneficial foods for your skin when it comes to sun exposure are: healthy saturated fats, green leafy vegetables, omega-3 rich foods like fish, and antioxidant containing foods like berries (and dark chocolate). No surprises there either!

I’ve also found that some key supplements can increase sun tolerance even more. The combination of these supplements (which I’d recommend anyway) and a Paleo diet let me go to the beach all day last summer without burning (a first) and come away with a golden tan (also a first!).

The Supplements:

Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Butter Oil Blend (also great for remineralizing teeth)-Probably the most important supplement for sun protection. I take double doses during the summer and the kids take it too. Since adding this and the coconut oil daily, none of us have burned. It’s also great for digestive and oral health. (Amazon finally has the capsules back in stock)
Vitamin D3 (I take about 5,000 IU/day)- Emerging evidence shows that optimizing blood levels of Vitamin D can have a protective effect against sunburn and skin cancer. I highly recommend getting your blood levels tested prior to beginning Vitamin D supplementation and talking to your doctor, as too much can also be a bad thing. Also, not needed if you are getting at least 30 minutes of sun a day.
Vitamin C (I take about 2,000 mg/day)- A potent anti-inflammatory, and it is good for the immune system too.
1/4 cup coconut oil melted in a cup of herbal tea per day- the Medium Chain Fatty Acids and saturated fat are easily utilized by the body for new skin formation and are protective against burning.
Astaxanthin- A highly potent antioxidant which research shows acts as an internal sunscreen. It’s also supposedly an anti-aging supplement. I don’t give this one to the kids though.

Natural Homemade Sunscreen:

I’m definitely not suggesting that you do anything that could lead to sunburn, which is harmful! For prolonged sun exposure past your sun-tolerance, protective clothing is best, but for times you’ll be out in the sun for long times and don’t want to wear long sleeves (the beach), you can make a natural homemade sunscreen that doesn’t have the chemicals of most sunscreens.

Here’s the recipe I use. You can also use plain coconut oil on the skin for shorter times, especially if you’ve already built up a tan.

Your skin, like the rest of your body, will benefit from a healthy diet and a few key supplements. Rather than turning to chemical laden sunscreens- give the natural versions a try! You might be pleasantly surprised!

June 2014 BeFit Method™ Challenge: “Seal Test”

June 2014 BeFit Method™ Challenge: “Seal Test”
Challenge date and time. Monday, June 30th 6:15am
St Regis Bal Harbour Beach

The BeFit Method™ Monthly Challenge is a series of Natural physical fitness events challenging our trainers to maximize their performance in individual tests of “SPEM” Strength, Power/Power Endurance, Endurance and Mobility. It is based on the Befit Method™ training principles. Consider the challenge a personal physical and mental screening.
*** Note *** You can now enter the challenge in pairs. This means you and a Friend have the option to split the WO agenda in 1/2 as a team of two.

– 5 minute warm-up

– 50 man makers in as few sets as possible Run 1/4 mile in 90 seconds in between sets of M-M

– 150 squats in as few sets as possible Run 1/4 mile in 90 seconds in between sets of squats

– 200 pushups in as few sets as possible Run 1/4 mile in 90 seconds in between sets of push-ups

– 300 sit-ups in as few sets as possible Run 1/4 mile in 90 seconds in between sets of sit-ups

This is a tough workout that can take 30-60 minutes to complete – if you can complete it.