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Active Metabolic Assessment

I’ve been a Metabolic Tech for Life Time Fitness for 5 years and over the course of sitting with over 4,000 members, I’ve collected alot of questions from them prior to purchasing their assessment. Today I’m going to share those questions and my answers so that you can understand completely how important this assessment is IF, IF, results its what you are looking for. I structured the Q & A in a conversational order to paint a better picture and to make it easier to follow.

Max Reynoso’s Top 10 Questions and Answers About Metabolic:

1.   Why do we do active metabolic assessments? We do active metabolic assessments to measure where a person best utilizes fat as a fuel source.  

2.     Why should I care about burning fat? The average male has about 1800 calories of sugar stored (glycogen) in their body and 100k plus  calories of fat. We want to teach people how to bypass their sugar storage and tap into the endless supply of fat that they carry.
3.     But if I work very hard I burn a ton of calories. Isn’t weight loss burning as many calories as you can? No, it is not only about the calories. When you are working hard you are using large amounts of sugar. You empty the sugar from your muscle and liver, you eat something and you put the sugar right back. So you find yourself  training hard, high heart rate, burning a lot of calories but never learning to tap into your fat storage.
4.     What happens when I train in my fat burning zones? Your body adapts to whatever it does. If you are always training at high heart rate you are using sugar and whatever you do your body wants to make it easier so over time you start storing more sugar and enzymes to better breakdown the sugar. You become a better sugar burner when you exercise about fifteen percent of your life and you also become a better sugar burner for the eighty-five percent of your life you are not exercising. Sugar becomes the fuel of choice.
5.     Were you not listening! I asked what happens when I train in my fat burning zones? Sorry. When you train in your fat burning zones you are using oxygen. Yes you are always breathing, at high heart rate or low heart rate but it is at low heart rate you are able to process the oxygen and because you’re body always wants to make things easier you start making metabolic changes to your body to burn more fat.
6.     What kind of changes? Mitochondrial and capillary density and size and fat burning enzymes too.
7.     What does that mean? For every pump of blood you send to your working muscles you will be able to grab more oxygen out of it. If you can grab more oxygen per beat then you can bypass sugar and burn more fat.
8.     How does it help me outside of the gym? The cellular changes you make stay with you 24/7 so your ability to utilize fat is greater 24/7. Fat becomes the fuel of choice.
9.     Can you sum it up? Your body adapts to whatever it does. You lift heavy weights your body adapts by making the muscle bigger. Train at high heart rate using sugar as your main fuel you become better at that. Train where you burn fat you become better at burning fat.
10. To burn fat can’t I just train at 65% of my max heart rate? I know my max heart rate is 220 minus my age. An active metabolic test takes the guess work out of the equation by finding out exactly where you burn fat. If you took a 20 year old he would have a max heart rate of 200bpr (220-20) but who is the 20 year old? Is he a marathoner or 80lbs overweight?
11.    Can I use the Karvonen formula which takes into consideration resting heart rate? Still a big guess. The person can be on a medication that lowers heart rate.
12. What do you mean by training smarter and not harder? There is a better way to do things. If you think about a marathon, people train for years to run a 26.2 miles race. It is a lot of work but if look closely at the race there’s a large amount of people that are training very hard, completing a race and STILL fat. They never learned how to tap their fat stores.
13.   So active metabolic assessments are only good for people who want to lose fat? No. We have data to prescribe cardiovascular training based off the members goals. There are five zones and those zones can be used to design a sport specific  program (sprinting, soccer, etc., ) or any other aerobic or anaerobic goal.
14.  What else does an Active Metabolic Assessment tell you?  The test gives a clear picture of cardiovascular fitness. We look at relative and absolute work and cool down.
15.   What do you do with my data? Your data is programmed into your heart rate monitor and your trainer will prescribe cardiovascular workouts for you.
16.    So I need a heart rate monitor?  Absolutely! We took the first step by getting you tested and finding your zones. Now we want to make sure that you are working out correctly.
17.    A heart rate monitor can do that? Your monitor not only shows you your zones but it records your workout (what zones you worked in, how long, calories burned, etc). I can look at this data and follow your progress.
18.   I had a few trainers in the past and they never did this. What’s the story? Think about it, we strength train two to three times  a week but what about the other  days? I could just say…walk or run on the treadmill but that would be just guessing. I don’t guess on your strength training program why would I guess on this?  I want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. If I track your strength training workouts why wouldn’t I track your cardio workouts too?
19.   So I meet you twice a week for strength training and then you prescribe cardio? Correct! That’s metabolic coaching. I give you homework. I want you to train a certain amount of days in a certain place for a certain duration. I train you based off your data and change your workouts as you change.
20.  What else do you want me to do to reach my goal? Walk! Your normal day is 20 to 25% of your metabolism. You need to move more in your normal day. If you can increase your steps you will lose more weight and reduce the risk of several preventable diseases. A FitBit Zip is a great tool for that. It measures how many steps you take and you try to up it a little each day.
It’s RBC — a Results Based Culture! We measure. We take the guesswork out of the equation. We find out where a person is and then we prescribe for results. We test. prescribe and test again.  We follow and track strength training programs and chart progress. Why not treat the cardiovascular system, daily activity and sleep the same way?
If you are interested in getting your Active Metabolic Assessment done, please don’t hesitate to contact me below!

Have access to this blog and much more by downloading my iPhone or Android App Max - Fitness Expert AppMax - Fitness Expert App

Max Reynoso NASM-CPT, PES, CES, Physical Therapist Aide, Kettlebell Cert, Power Plate Cert. Metabolic Tech, is the Training Asst. Department Head at Life Time Fitness in Gilbert, AZ. He’s been in the fitness field for 17 years helping people take control of the way they look and feel. If you wish to set up a Training Solution Consultation with him so he can review your current fitness status and help you design a plan of action for 2015, contact him at or call 530-522-8483

The debate over how much carbohydrate and fat people should eat often overshadows the importance of protein intake. This is unfortunate, since protein plays such a hugely important role in health, fitness, and performance.

One of protein’s most important roles is in the maintenance of lean body mass, or muscle. There’s no doubt that muscle improves overall function and performance, and helps improve body composition. Even more important, muscle mass is a major factor in long-term health and quality of life.

Protein is key to maintaining lean body mass. But how much is really necessary?


If you’re young, you might be surprised to find out that you don’t need as much as you may think. If you’re in the second half of life, you might also be surprised to find out that you need more than you probably eat.

This article scratches the surface of the value of higher protein intakes and addresses a few common myths. Protein is a meaty topic. It would take far more space than a single blog post to cover the topic, so I’ll cover other aspects of the protein discussion in future articles.

Also, to limit the scope of the discussion, we’re talking specifically about protein and not focusing on the sources other than the difference between animal and plant-based protein, or different animal proteins like conventional vs. grass-fed or wild caught.

What Are We Talking About?

When we talk about protein, we’re generally referring high-quality protein sources, including meat, eggs, fish, poultry, wild game, whey and other dairy proteins.

We can also include a few plant-based sources of protein such as a mix of pea and rice protein powder, or protein from soy. However, we tend to steer people away from soy due to it being highly allergenic, commonly being genetically modified and still controversial surrounding soy’s effects on hormones.

To keep things simple, we’ll talk about intact proteins rather than getting into the details of specific amino acids. I’ll reserve that topic for another time.

Unlike fat and carbohydrate, the human body cannot store extra protein for use at a later time. It must continually be supplied through the diet, in order to make available all the essential amino acids the body needs each day.

That makes daily protein intake pretty important.

Effects of Protein On Lean Mass


Protein consumption does three things related to lean mass.

First, protein breaks down to amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks for virtually every tissue in the body, including muscle. If you don’t provide enough essential amino acids (EAAs) through your diet, your body won’t have what it needs to maintain health and support the maintenance of bone and muscle tissue.

Certain diseases increase amino acid needs, which is why it’s difficult to maintain muscle when one is sick. Though muscle is not an intended storage space for amino acids, in extreme circumstances, the body will break down its own muscle tissue to supply amino acids to other areas of the body.

Second, protein consumption stimulates protein synthesis. Third, it reduces protein breakdown.

Protein synthesis is the process of assembling amino acids and building tissue, like muscle. At the same time as the body is building up proteins and tissues, it also breaks them down.

When the rate of protein synthesis is greater than protein breakdown, the body produces a net increase in lean body mass. When protein breakdown exceeds synthesis, the body loses lean body mass.

Protein Synthesis and Anabolic Resistance

Protein Synthesis - AEA

One of the most fascinating aspects of protein research in recent years has been the finding of “anabolic resistance.” Anabolic resistance is a reduction in the body’s response to protein synthesis stimulus.

To get the same positive effect from protein intake, individuals with anabolic resistance require a greater stimulus – larger amounts of protein or a greater relative intensity of exercise – to get the same effect.

Aging, insulin resistance and obesity can contribute to anabolic resistance.

In healthy, young adults, a meal containing 20-30 grams of quality protein maximally stimulates protein synthesis. Later in life, a much higher amount of protein is required to achieve the same effect.

In healthy young adults, 20 grams of whey protein was sufficient to maximally stimulate protein synthesis following exercise. However, in older adults, 40 grams was required to maximally stimulate protein synthesis..[ii]

Older adults may benefit from more frequent feedings as well. By eating a sufficient level of protein, multiple times each day, they can increase the overall anabolic effect on the body.

Basically, as we age, we need more protein, more often.

It sounds simple enough, but older adults have less of an appetite, so they easily miss meals. When they do eat, they may not eat a protein amount large enough to fully stimulate protein synthesis. Supplementing with extra protein can be especially beneficial for older adults.

As mentioned, obesity and insulin resistance may also lead to anabolic resistance. To maintain lean mass, these individuals may need higher protein intakes than normally as well.

Reducing Protein Breakdown

Caloric restriction or starvation, chronically high cortisol levels, certain drug therapies, reduced activity levels and other nutrient deficiencies can also trigger protein breakdown.

Typical weight loss programs are a common cause of protein breakdown. During weight loss, 20% or more of body weight reduction can come from the loss of lean mass. Higher protein intakes help to lessen the loss of lean mass and help to preserve normal metabolic rate.

Just as protein intake stimulates protein synthesis, it can also slow the rate of protein breakdown at rest or during exercise.

Where protein intake seems to reach a cap with 20-40 grams of high-quality protein, rates of protein breakdown continues to be reduced with increasing protein intake.

A 2013 study showed that when individuals consumed 80% of their protein intake for the day in a single meal, the overall anabolic effect from the day’s protein consumption was greater than when they were divided over evenly throughout the day. This flies in the face of the idea that you can only benefit from 20-40 grams of protein in a single sitting.

What the study showed was that there was a more powerful anabolic effect from a very high protein intake in a single meal as opposed to more moderate intakes at multiple times. What it did not show was whether there was benefit to eat multiple very high-protein meals. Is it possible that multiple, high-protein meals would be even better? Would a much higher protein intake of for the day have an even greater anabolic effect?

A recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition used a protein intake of 4.4 g/kg body weight, or 2 g/lb body weight. This is a huge amount of protein, and led to a significant calorie surplus. The comparison group in the study ate just under 2 g/kg of protein.

The high protein group consumed an extra 800 calories per day. Based on the idea that all calories are the same, consuming an extra 800 calories per day should have led to body fat gain. However, the high protein group gained no fat. In fact, the high protein group didn’t gain any weight at all.

Besides helping to refute the idea that weight management is simply about calories in and calories out, this study also showed that at a certain point, there’s no benefit to additional protein intake for increasing lean body mass.

After around 1 g/lb body weight of protein intake each day, there isn’t a muscle-building benefit to more protein, assuming calorie needs are met and an individual isn’t using anabolic steroids.

Protein Quality


Protein quality is determined by the concentration of essential amino acids. Much of the research on protein intake has been done on dairy proteins, and more specifically on whey protein.

Whey is unique because of its very high concentration of EAAs. In the research, it appears that most protein source have a similar effect, provided enough is consumed to reach a certain threshold of essential amino acids. This would suggest that even plant-based protein sources could provide enough amino acids to stimulate muscle growth. It’s just more challenging to achieve the same volume of essential amino acids found in 20-30 grams of whey, eggs or beef, from eating rice and beans or other plant proteins.

That’s not to say it can’t be done. It just requires much more planning for those who want to optimize lean mass and bone density while following a vegan diet.

How Much Protein?


Protein requirements vary dramatically based on one’s genetics, age, activity level and more. The standard recommendation for protein has been 0.8 g/kg body weight (0.36 g/lb). This amount was determined decades ago and was thought to be an amount sufficient to avoid significant tissue breakdown in healthy individuals.

Although many dietitians still use this low level of protein as a recommendation for clients or patients, in most cases, it is woefully inadequate.

Studies show that protein intakes of between 1.6-2.4 g/kg provide better benefits than lower protein intakes, but there is likely a point at which higher protein intakes no longer provide lean mass improvements. That doesn’t mean intakes beyond 2.4 g/kg are detrimental, only that they may be unnecessary for maximizing lean body mass.

The timing of meals affects the body’s response to protein as well.

The anabolic effects of protein consumption seem to last for 3-6 hours. If someone eats again before their protein synthesis levels return to normal, the meal will not have the same kind of stimulus as when meals are properly spaced apart. This means for most people, eating 3-4 times per day is sufficient.

Protein requirements tend to go up during fat loss programs, which makes a percentage-based protein requirement difficult. A 150-lb female attempting to lose weight may maintain body fat levels at 2200 calories per day. If she takes in 150 grams of protein per day, that is 27% of her diet. If she follows a fat loss program and ends up consuming 1700 calories per day, her 150 grams of protein become 35% of her diet. Dietitians who limit their clients to protein intakes of 25-30% of calories can create nutrition plans with plans that don’t provide enough protein.

Because protein requirements influence body weight or lean mass so much, it makes more sense to use body weight or lean mass weight as a marker to determine protein needs.

Using body weight, 1.6-2.4 g/kg body weight per day would probably be ideal. To simplify it, aiming for 1 g/lb body weight (or target body weight for overweight individuals) makes sense.

One last point on the protein topic. Inevitably, every time higher protein intakes are discussed, someone asks about the effects on the kidneys.

This is one of those myths that keeps getting repeated. High protein intakes are not good for someone with kidney disease, just like water consumption is detrimental for someone who is drowning. That doesn’t mean protein, or water, are bad for someone who is healthy.

There is no indication that higher protein intakes are bad for the kidneys in healthy individuals. Of course, you should never assume you’re healthy without a blood test to confirm it.

To summarize the information above, and make it practical:
•In young adults, 20-30 grams of an EAA-rich protein like whey, is sufficient to maximally stimulate protein synthesis in a meal. Older adults need larger amounts in a meal for the same benefit.
•Protein intakes beyond 20-30 grams may not further increase protein synthesis, but they may further reduce protein breakdown compared to lesser amounts.
•Protein should be consumed at least 3-4 times per day, in amounts that meet or exceed the minimum amount for optimal protein synthesis to get the most anabolic benefit.
•The ideal amount of protein for the average, healthy, not-exercising at extreme volumes, getting-enough-sleep, middle-aged person is probably somewhere between 1.6-2.4 g/kg. One gram per pound body weight is a reasonable amount to target, provided it’s spread over at least 3-4 relatively even meals.
•Excess protein is unlikely to contribute to body fat gain, but won’t further increase muscle mass once optimal intakes have been achieved.

Thanks for reading. If you liked it and learned something new, please share it.

Have access to this blog and much more by downloading my iPhone or Android App Max - Fitness Expert AppMax - Fitness Expert App

Max Reynoso NASM-CPT, PES, CES, Physical Therapist Aide, Kettlebell Cert, Power Plate Cert. Metabolic Tech, is the Training Asst. Department Head at Life Time Fitness in Gilbert, AZ. He’s been in the fitness field for 17 years helping people take control of the way the look and feel. If you wish to setup a Training Solution Consultation with him so he can review your current fitness status and help you design a plan of action for 2015, contact him at or call 530-522-8483


Are you eating enough healthy fat? Losing body fat is a tricky dance that involves creating a slight but consistent energy deficit while achieving more adequate intake of nutrients to maintain or increase metabolic rate – all while controlling hunger and willpower in an unfriendly food world. It’s a choreography that many try but few truly master. If only they used more butter… Does it sound too good to be true? Let’s take apart what really happens when we incorporate more healthy fats into our diets and why it becomes easier to shed the body fat we want to lose.

First off, let’s note that dietary fat and body fat are two very different substances. Eating the former does not automatically cause the latter to accumulate. To be clear, eating dietary fat does not determine your fatness. In fact, restricting dietary fat often doesn’t produce as much weight loss as diets that allow more liberal amounts of fat. Maybe you’ve figured that out in your own transformation experience.

If you’re eating a low fat diet, you’re probably hungrier and more sluggish than you should be. 

We’ve been eating less fat in this country for almost 40 years now, and we’ve never seen such debilitating metabolic problems plague so many people. When fat is reduced or removed from our food, it’s often replaced with refined sugars, salt, or non-food substances to make it somewhat palatable. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, these alterations set in motion a host of hormonal shifts that negatively affect health and weight regulation.

Our bodies needs dietary fat to thrive. Without certain dietary fats, the brain will become a less powerful and less efficient operating system. Our learning capacity and ability to form new memories can be compromised. Without dietary fats, it’s nearly impossible to maintain sufficient sex hormone levels. Each and every cell in our bodies is covered by a membrane, which is supposed to allow nutrients into cells and waste products out – vital functions tooverall metabolic health. The integrity and functionality of these membranes require (you guessed it) healthy fats.

Unfortunately, eating edible food-like substances pumped full of fat-replacing carbs and additives isn’t especially good for hunger control.

Sure, we can get plenty of energy (calories) for our bodies to burn (or store), but without fat we fail to trigger satiety signals and suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin.

You see, when we eat fat, our small intestine releases a hormone called cholesystokinin (CCK) which is supposed to stimulate gall-bladder emptying and suppress ghrelin. No or low fat means weaker hunger suppression, which leads to more frequent hunger/eating.

Some even suspect the weight loss benefits of higher fat, lower carbohydrate diets is directly a result of this hunger-dampening effect – a sort of intuitive calorie reduction leading to decreases in weight and body fat.

Eating more fat can help more than just hunger.

You know the saying, “You are what you eat”? It could also be, “You burn what you eat.” Our bodies really hate to burn protein but really like burning either fat or carbs (in the form of glucose).

When we increase our fat intake (and correspondingly reduce sugar or total carb intake), internal fuel control switches get flipped in a way that makes it harder to store fat and easier to release it to be burned. We see a slower and lower rise in blood sugar compared to meals containing mostly carbohydrates, which results in steadier energy levels from meal to meal.

Mildly restricting carbohydrates and incorporating more fat (or protein) leads to lower insulin loads. 

Lower insulin levels are an important step in allowing fat to be released from adipose tissue and taken up by working muscles or organs. Hormone sensitive lipase (HSL) is more easily activated, which signals our fat cells to break triglycerides into free fatty acids (FFA’s), which are then carried through the bloodstream and readily burned by the brain, heart, and muscles (especially during aerobic activity). In fact, shifting to a higher fat diet even shows promise for directly increasing the amount of fat burned during exercise!

You may be wondering how these higher fat diets affect cholesterol or cardiovascular disease risk. Well, it appears every time researchers pit low-carb (higher fat) diets against low-fat diets, nearly all health indicators appear better in the higher fat (lower carb) groups. To boot, the lower carb folks almost always lose more total weight, always maintain more muscle, and see more frequent blood pressure or diabetes medication reductions than those following standard lower or moderate fat recommendations.

Some medical professionals are more excited than ever at the prospect of using a liberalized fat, lower starch/sugar diet as a first-line therapy for those with diabetes and possibly for those at risk for developing diabetes (which, quite honestly, includes the majority of us).

Eating lower carb is not to be confused with no-carb, however. In fact, the metabolic benefits I’ve mentioned above can be seen even if relatively active people adopt Healthy Way of Eating habits 80% of the time.

As you increase the fat in your diet, it’s important to make sure you’re cutting out the high-glycemic, processed carbohydrates. (More on this in an upcoming post…) Additionally, take note of which fat sources are genuinely healthy fats. While there are benefits to every type of naturally occurring dietary fat (mono-unsaturated, poly-unsaturated and saturated fats), processed fats (e.g. trans fats, interesterified fats, refined oils) or inappropriately heated or stored fats can be counterproductive to both your health and weight loss goals.

Finally, shifting dietary balance is a highly individualized process that should take into account several lifestyle, activity, and nutritional status factors. Everyone in the research studies I mentioned worked regularly with nutrition experts throughout their programs, and you should too!

If you’re considering a change or are trying to figure out your next nutritional move, talk to me either by email or phone. I would love to help you. 

Have access to this blog and much more by downloading my iPhone or Android App Max - Fitness Expert AppMax - Fitness Expert App

Max Reynoso NASM-CPT, PES, CES, Physical Therapist Aide, Kettlebell Cert, Power Plate Cert. Metabolic Tech, is the Training Asst. Department Head at Life Time Fitness in Gilbert, AZ. He’s been in the fitness field for 17 years helping people take control of the way the look and feel. If you wish to setup a Training Solution Consultation with him so he can review your current fitness status and help you design a plan of action for 2015, contact him at or call 530-522-8483

 annual physical

  1. Annual physical – having an annual physical exam is the easiest way for adults and kids alike to prevent and catch serious illnesses while they’re still treatable. During a physical, your doctor will review your medical history, screen for diseases, determine your risk for future medical problems, recommend helpful vaccines and answer general questions about your health. (if you are a Life Time Fitness member you can schedule a MyHealthScore and in 5 min. we can review your basic lipid profiles: Cholesterol, fasting glucose, triglycerides, HDL/LDL, and much more)


  2. Mammogram – for women, a mammogram can identify abnormalities and detect breast cancer at its earliest stages. During this x-ray, the breast is compressed and examined from multiple angles for clear and accurate results. Every woman should begin regularly scheduled mammogram at age 40, but if your family has a history of breast cancer, your doctor may recommend a baseline mammogram as early as age 20.


  3. Prostate Exam – prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, but survival rates are over 90 percent when the disease is caught early. This quick exam includes a blood test and a digital rectal test that can be completed in about 60 seconds. Most doctors recommend regular prostate exams beginning at age 50, but if you are at higher risk due to family history, your doctor may advise that you start getting regular prostate exams as early as age 40.

    lab report for cholesterol with pencil

  4. Cholesterol Test – High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, but the good news is it’s 100 percent preventable. The only way to detect it and avoid irreversible damage is by having your cholesterol tested, which your doctor can do with a simple blood test. Life Time Fitness as well can perform the basic procedure with a small finger stick and within 5 min. get the results. Risk factors for high cholesterol include being overweight, smoking, regularly consuming alcohol or eating a high-fat diet. Everyone with high cholesterol needs treatment, although for many that can be as simple as changing your diet or exercise habits. Life Time Fitness recommends everyone should have their cholesterol levels tested every year, beginning at age 20. You can schedule a MyHealthScore by contacting me.

    HHP Monitor

  5. Glucose Monitoring – Diabetes affects more people than you might think. According to the Center for Disease Control more than 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes and nearly 57 million don’t even know they have it. And an additional 57 million Americans are pre-diabetic or at high-risk for the disease. This debilitating illness affects your body’s ability to produce or process insulin, causing your blood sugar levels to climb. The disease can have few (if any) noticeable initial side effects and many people can get diabetes later in life which means many people who should be tested often aren’t.

If you haven’t been diagnosed, ask your doctor for a quick blood sugar test during your annual exam. You can also schedule a MyHealthScore at Life Time Fitness with me. MyHealthScore also covers fasting Glucose.
If you have been diagnosed, whether you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, most doctors recommend regular screenings every three months to test glucose, kidney function, organ health and other important parts of your body that can be affected by the disease.


  1. Cardiovascular Test – Over 70 million Americans (almost one-fourth of the population) have some form of cardiovascular disease with the most common forms being high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. An Electrocardiogram, better known as EKG, checks for inconsistencies with the electrical activity of your heart. During your EKG, your doctor will attach electrodes to your arms, legs and chest that will communicate with a machine that traces your heart activity. By checking your heart’s electrical impulses, your doctor can find the cause of unexplained chest pain, understand the root of your heart disease, determine whether your heart chamber wall are too thick, evaluate how well your medications are working and test the overall health of your heart. We here at Life Time offer an Active Metabolic Assessment that can tell us your VO2 max plus other valuable information to help you design a cardiovascular workout to reach your personal goals.


  2. Safe Skin Exam – Arizona has the highest skin cancer rate in the nation and the second highest in the world, and is the most common form of cancer in the world, resulting in one death per hour. Early detection is the only way to prevent and treat melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Adults should get a head-to-toe skin check every year, regardless of age or skin type. The most effective skin cancer exams are performed using dermoscopy, a hyper-accurate technique that magnifies lesions and removes surface reflections so your doctor can have an unobstructed view of your skin.


  3. Bone Density Scan – Think osteoporosis is just for older ladies? Fact is, even men can start losing bone mass at age 30. That’s why it’s important to assess the state of your skeleton now, no matter your gender. DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) bone density scanning is an enhanced form of low-radiation X-ray technology that gauges bone mineral density and measures the overall health of your bones. The scans are quick, painless and instrumental for preventing fractures before they happen. Doctors recommend a DEXA scan for anyone who shows signs of even one osteoporosis risk factor; inactivity, smoking, family history of osteoporosis or osteopenia.


  4. Spine Health Screening – The 26 bones in your spine provide structure and support to your muscles, allowing your body to move freely and with flexibility. Your backbones also protects your spinal cord; a column of nerves that connects your brain to the rest of your body, allowing you to control your movements and help your organs function properly. If your spine isn’t functioning properly, you can be at risk for painful infections, tumors, injuries and conditions such as scoliosis, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis. A quick exam with a musculoskeletal specialist can prevent disease and the need for back surgery.

Have access to this blog and much more by downloading my iPhone or Android App Max - Fitness Expert AppMax - Fitness Expert App

Max Reynoso NASM-CPT, PES, CES, Physical Therapist Aide, Kettlebell Cert, Power Plate Cert. Metabolic Tech, is the Training Asst. Department Head at Life Time Fitness in Gilbert, AZ. He’s been in the fitness field for 17 years helping people take control of the way the look and feel. If you wish to setup a Training Solution Consultation with him so he can review your current fitness status and help you design a plan of action for 2014, contact him at or call 530-522-8483

Full body

1. Bear Crawl: Embrace that inner grizzly. Starting on the hands and knees, rise up onto the toes, tighten the core, and slowly reach forward with the right arm and right knee, followed by the left side. Continue the crawl for 8-10 reps (or until you scare your roommates off).


2. Mountain Climber: Starting on your hands and knees, bring the left foot forward directly under the chest while straightening the right leg. Keeping the hands on the ground and core tight, jump and switch legs. The left leg should now be extended behind the body with the right knee forward. Next up? Everest.

mountain climber


3. Wall Sit: Who needs a chair when there’s a wall? Slowly slide your back down a wall until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure the knees are directly above the ankles and keep the back straight. Go for 60 seconds per set (or however long it takes to turn those legs to jelly). Need more fire? Add some bicep curls.


4. Squat: Stand with the feet parallel or turned out 15 degrees—whatever is most comfortable. Slowly start to crouch by bending the hips and knees until the thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Make sure the heels do not rise off the floor. Press through the heels to return to a standing position.


Chest and Back:

5. Standard Push-Up: There’s a reason this one’s a classic. With hands shoulder-width apart, keep the feet flexed at hip distance, and tighten the core. Bend the elbows until the chest reaches the ground, and then push back up (make sure to keep the elbows tucked close to the body). That’s one!


6. Donkey Kick: It’s time to embrace that wild side. Start in a push-up position, with the legs together. Tighten the core and kick both legs into the air with knees bent, reaching the feet back toward the glutes. Just try to land gently when reversing back to the starting position.


Shoulders and Arms:

7. Triceps Dip: Get seated near a step or bench. Sit on the floor with knees slightly bent, and grab the edge of the elevated surface and straighten the arms. Bend them to a 90-degree angle, and straighten again while the heels push towards the floor. For some extra fire, reach the right arm out while lifting the left leg.


8. Boxer: Time to make Muhammad Ali proud. Starting with feet hip-width apart and knees bent, keep the elbows in and extend one arm forward and the other armback. Hug the arms back in and switch arms—like you’re in the ring!



9. L Seat: Take a load off (well not exactly). Seated with the legs extended and feet flexed, place the hands on the floor and slightly round the torso. Then, lift the hips off the ground, hold for five seconds and release. Repeat!

L Seat

10. Crunch: Before anyone’s crowned Cap’n Crunch, remember form is key. Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With hands behind the head, place the chin down slightly and peel the head and shoulders off the mat while engaging the core. Continue curling up until the upper back is off the mat. Hold briefly, then lower the torso back toward the mat slowly.


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Max Reynoso NASM-CPT, PES, CES, Physical Therapist Aide, Kettlebell Cert, Power Plate Cert. Metabolic Tech, is the Training Asst. Department Head at Life Time Fitness in Gilbert, AZ. He’s been in the fitness field for 17 years helping people take control of the way the look and feel. If you wish to setup a Training Solution Consultation with him so he can review your current fitness status and help you design a plan of action for 2014, contact him at or call 530-522-8483

It sometimes seems as if the internal politics of the Middle East are easier to understand than the latest thinking on nutrition. With EAT THIS, NOT THAT!,you’re armed with the info you need to make smart choices. But how can you crank it up a notch? How can you make good nutrition as certain as death, taxes, and The Fast and the Furious spinoffs? Here’s the simple answer: Just eat these eight foods–along with a little protein such as salmon, turkey, or lean beef–every day. And relax.


It may be green and leafy, but spinach is no nutritional wallflower. This noted muscle builder is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Bonus: Folate also increases blood flow to the nether regions, helping to protect you against age-related sexual issues. And spinach is packed with lutein, a compound that fights macular degeneration. Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/2 cup cooked per day.


Various cultures claim yogurt as their own creation, but the 2,000-year-old food’s health benefits are not disputed: Fermentation spawns hundreds of millions of probiotic organisms that serve as reinforcements to the battalions of beneficial bacteria in your body. That helps boost your immune system and provides protection against cancer. Not all yogurts are probiotic, though, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures.” Aim for 1 cup of the calcium and protein-rich goop a day.

There are two things you need to know about tomatoes: Red are the best, because they’re packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene, and processed tomatoes are just as potent as fresh ones, because it’s easier for the body to absorb the lycopene. Studies show that a diet rich in lycopene can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Aim for 22 mg of lycopene a day, which is about eight red cherry tomatoes or a glass of tomato juice.
Most red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits are spiked with carotenoids–fat-soluble compounds that are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis–but none are as easy to prepare, or have as low a caloric density, as carrots. Aim for 1/2 cup a day.
Host to more antioxidants than any other North American fruit, blueberries help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory changes (hence the nickname “brain berry”). Studies show that blueberries, which are rich in fiber and vitamins A and C, also boost cardiovascular health. Aim for 1 cup fresh blueberries a day, or 1/2 cup frozen or dried.
Black Beans
All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brain power like black beans. That’s because they’re full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. A daily 1/2-cup serving provides 8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber. It’s also low in calories and free of saturated fat.
Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken, the walnut sounds like a Frankenfood, but it grows on trees. Other nuts combine only one or two of these features, not all three. A serving of walnuts–about 1 ounce, or 7 nuts–is good anytime, but especially as a postworkout recovery snack.
The éminence grise of health food, oats garnered the FDA’s first seal of approval. They are packed with soluble fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease. Yes, oats are loaded with carbs, but the release of those sugars is slowed by the fiber, and because oats also have 10 grams of protein per 1/2-cup serving, they deliver steady, muscle-friendly energy.

Have access to this blog and much more by downloading my iPhone or Android App Max - Fitness Expert AppMax - Fitness Expert App

Max Reynoso NASM-CPT, PES, CES, Physical Therapist Aide, Kettlebell Cert, Power Plate Cert. Metabolic Tech, is the Training Asst. Department Head at Life Time Fitness in Gilbert, AZ. He’s been in the fitness field for 17 years helping people take control of the way the look and feel. If you wish to setup a Training Solution Consultation with him so he can review your current fitness status and help you design a plan of action for 2014, contact him at or call 530-522-8483


People are beginning to understand the virtues of what I’ve termed Supportive Nutrition which asks them to put nutrient complete meals into their mouths every 3 – 3 ½ hours. Gone are the days when I faced the “you’re crazy” accusation on a daily basis. The word is spreading. Supportive nutrition “works.” Now there are some new challenges.

Once the concept of frequent eating becomes ingrained, the question of “how” arises. “Yes, I understand I should eat every three hours . . . but how?!?!?” For most people, the answer is, “you probably can’t,” which is why the idea of the meal replacement becomes so valuable. Of course, with each realization comes yet a new question, and once it’s clear there’s a place for meal replacements in the life of anyone seeking positive physical change, the question of “which is better, bars or powders” is inevitable. We’ll address that and put it to rest right now.

Sports Bars

Protein Bars

Can those delicious sports bars replace meals? Sure, but they’re far from optimal. Labelers use tricks, deception, and labeling loopholes to promote bars as “sugar free” or “low carb,” but the reality is, without some sugar a bar is not a bar. There’s also a bit of a trade-off. As you lessen the sugar content, you have to increase fat content to maintain consistency and mouth feel. Some use words such as corn syrup solids or high fructose corn syrup which plainly translates into “sugar.” Scan the labels on the low carb bars, and you’ll find malitol, glycerine, or glycerol. These are sugar alcohols that can impact blood sugar and stimulate an insulin response that is antagonistic to fat release. If the goal, at any level, involves leanness or fat reduction, bars will not be ideal. They can act as a substitute for a meal when they are in fact the best substitute available, but there is a hierarchy of supportive nutrition and today’s line of sports bars is not at the top. The rule of thumb is as follows. A supportive meal (food) is better than a powder. A supportive meal replacement powder is better than a bar.

Because powders are not concerned with maintaining a solid consistency, they can be produced without fat or sugar. Before I get into what to look for in a powder, let’s first understand why a meal is best. Aside from the fact that many protein foods are high in vital minerals and essential fats, and many of the supportive carbohydrate foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, anti-carcinogens, and other wonderful micronutrients, the fiber in fiber-rich foods aids in efficiently moving food through the digestive tract. In addition, there is a scientific concept nutrition experts refer to as TEF, the Thermic Effect of Food. Meals actually require your body to perform work in the act of digestion, thus when more activity is required, the thermic or calorie-burning effect is enhanced. In plain English, that means meals burn more calories.

If we could all spend our days cooking, preparing, and eating, six meals per day would be a simple task, but few of us have that option. In the event that a supportive meal is not accessible or convenient, a meal replacement powder can be an ideal substitute. Here’s where a new challenge emerges. How do we know which one to choose?

When you begin exploring the labels of all of the “hottest new” meal replacement formulas, and move beyond the CP3’s, the andro-stacks, and all of the other trendy nonsensical throw-ins making the formulas more saleable, explore the primary ingredients. Typically, ingredients are listed in descending order of abundance, meaning whatever a product contains the most of is listed first. It would be nice if this “rule” were really observed, but as in the case of most label laws, there are ways around it.

Be wary of ingredient labels that give a trademarked name to a “proprietary blend” of ingredients. This allows the manufacturer to group the ingredients together within parenthesis and make it appear that this blend is in fact superior. In reality this allows them to take an ingredient within the blend that might be included only in token amounts and list it first on the label, creating the illusion that this is the most abundant ingredient within the package. In this way, products can be built around inexpensive and inferior proteins and the “blend” can put “whey protein” first on the label. As a hypothetical example, if I were to trademark a scientific sounding blend that was 90% cattle carcass, 8% ash, 1% soy protein, ½ of 1% whey protein, and ½ of 1% casein, I could get away with listing whey protein first on the ingredient list.



Another area in which product sellers have little actual regulation is in the carbohydrate source they use. Most meal replacement powders use maltodextrin. Here’s a good question. What is maltodextrin? Being that maltose and dextrose are both sugars, perhaps it should be suspect? Allow me to clear up the mystery.

Maltodextrin is a mild sweetening agent, a nutritional additive with four calories per gram, and a texture building agent made from natural corn starch. The corn starch is cooked and then in a process using enzymes or acidic compounds, broken down into chains of sugar (glucose polymers). The more expensive grades of maltodextrin act much like a starchy carbohydrate, but the less expensive grades are not very different than ingesting plain old ordinary simple sugar. Maltodextrin grades can be measured by their Dextrose Equivalent (DE). The great opportunity for supplement sellers to save money lies in the fact that regardless of the grade used, the label reads the same. “Maltodextrin.” Period. No mention of grade. No mention of DE.

Getting back to food for a moment, while I do, for the most part, advocate meals that are pretty equally balanced in terms of a mix of proteins and carbs, when you do opt for that meal replacement shake you might want to choose one that is significantly higher in protein than in carbs. Protein is the most thermic of the nutrients, thus what you miss out on by sacrificing the digestive caloric burn of a meal for a powder mixed with water, you can re-gain by shifting to a bit of a shift in nutrient percentages.


Got Protein?

If we are analyzing the majority of the sports nutrition powders that are in fact high in protein, we’d have to put on our boots and wade deep into the mysteries and wonders of whey. When I ask in seminar what the best type of protein is, there’s always agreement. WHEY! Then I ask a simple question. What’s whey? Few people have a clue. Little Miss Muffet comes to mind. Whey is the left-over stuff from the manufacture of cheese, and both the dairy industry and the protein sellers have done an A-1 marketing job in leading people to believe it is in fact miraculous. It’s protein. Good protein, but in the real world, certainly not miraculous. As a matter of fact, if whey protein is consumed by itself, due to its rapid gastric emptying properties it leaves the stomach extremely quickly causing a quick release of amino acids into the bloodstream. A spike in serum amino acid levels causes the liver to spike enzyme production in order to metabolize many of the amino acids that could have been used for cell growth or repair.

Why the concern for protein usage? Well, if muscle’s a concern, and it should be, we must not only take in, but must take in and use enough of the amino acids to preserve muscle tissue, and if desired, to add some. Some amino acids will be metabolized to meet energy demand so we want to ensure we get as much of the protein we ingest into the bloodstream as possible at a gradual enough pace to ensure optimal usage. I know many mainstream nutritionists have downplayed the value of protein for those seeking lean bodies, but the research seems to back up the theory that muscle activating athletes have greater protein needs as a result of their enhanced activity.

Is this confusing? Of course it is, and in that lies the challenge! Over hyped marketing, deceptive labeling, and manufacturing shortcuts have made supplement selection a project fit for a detective. My intention is not to put down any of the products on the market. There are some very good ones, although to be sold commercially there is always a concern for saving dollars in the process of manufacture. You see, manufacturers sell to wholesalers. Wholesalers tack on their profits and then they sell to distributors. Distributors jack up the prices and they sell to retailers. Retailers add in their profit and sell to the consumer. In order to be profitable, commercial sellers of these products are almost forced to cut corners.

Life Time Fitness’ Whey Protein Isolate stands up against anything on the market, and although we don’t manufacture it in massive volume, we also don’t have any of the distribution costs. It goes right from the warehouse to the consumer. That allows us to use the highest quality proteins, the highest grades of maltodextrin, and to add in some valuable compounds such as added L-glutamine, phosphatidylserine, and L-tyrosine. It allows us to test each batch to make sure the ingredients meet label claims. Best of all, it allows me the confidence to sell our Douglas Lab supplements with a guarantee of satisfaction. In future articles I will be sharing what my supplement cabinet looks like!


Biological Value (BV) – BV is probably the most relied upon way to judge a protein’s value in terms of its cellular activity potential. It answers the question, how much of the nitrogen (a component of protein) ingested is actually retained. A BV of 100 would indicate that all of the protein consumed has been utilized. Eggs have a perfect BV score. The ads for protein products sometimes quote BV’s greater than 100, but that is based on an exaggeration of the science or a twisted variation of the formula. Because you can’t possibly retain more of something than you’ve ingested, 100 would be the highest possible biological value.

Hydrolyzed – this refers to a protein that has gone through a process where an enzyme acts to break the amino acid chains into smaller chains which make for greater immediately availability.

Hydrolysate – a protein hydrolysate is a complete protein which, through the act of being hyodrolyzed, is included in a formula, not in its complete form but in assemblages of dipeptides and tripeptides, amino acid chains that are ready to be transported through the wall of the digestive tract and into the bloodstream.

BCAAs – the Branched Chain Amino Acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are important amino acid structures metabolized in muscle. They can be converted into glucose and burned as fuel and when ingested can play a role in preventing muscle loss if the body opts to turn to protein as a fuel source.

Nitrogen Balance – in order to build muscle you want to be in a state referred to as a positive nitrogen balance which simply means you are storing and retaining more nitrogen than you are excreting.

Microfiltration – microfiltration is a process of removing fat from raw whey in formulating a high quality whey protein concentrate

Big words aside, here’s the bottom line. You need protein. In order to preserve or build muscle you quite likely need far more than the standard RDA’s. You also need energy substrates which would be complex carbs and essential fats, both of which are protein sparing. You can get all of these nutrients from food, but in the real world, supportive nutrition isn’t always easy. If you understand your options, you can make the best possible choices and be certain your body remains nutritionally primed for excellence.

Have access to this blog and much more by downloading my iPhone or Android App Max - Fitness Expert AppMax - Fitness Expert App

Max Reynoso NASM-CPT, PES, CES, Physical Therapist Aide, Kettlebell Cert, Power Plate Cert. Metabolic Tech, is the Training Asst. Department Head at Life Time Fitness in Gilbert, AZ. He’s been in the fitness field for 17 years helping people take control of the way the look and feel. If you wish to setup a Training Solution Consultation with him so he can review your current fitness status and help you design a plan of action for 2014, contact him at or call 530-522-8483