Build a Lean Machine

A truly lean body consists of firm, sculpted muscles, a tight core, strong limbs, and zero storage fat.  To get this type of body—and maintain it—apply the age-old combination of Diet and Exercise, with a little bit of Supplementation thrown in. In spite of all the hype out there, this is still the only way to achieve results!

Diet

Just as every body is different, so is every metabolism, and hence everyone’s optimal diet. Nonetheless, the goal of your dietary focus should be to build lean muscle mass while eliminating fat deposits.  The best way to achieve this is by eating lean proteins and complex carbohydrates, while eliminating saturated and hydrogenated fats and simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar, white flour and processed foods. Lean protein effectively builds muscle mass while complex carbohydrates provide energy. Healthy fats such as those derived from olive oil, coconut, tree nuts, and avocado nourish healthy hair, nails, and skin, while lubricating the organs and stabilizing hormone levels to burn fat.

Supplements

Supplementation should be specific to each individual body and supervised by a health professional after careful evaluation of your needs.  Supplements should also be rotated so the body does not grow dependent on them.  In many cases, proper supplementation may assist in losing weight and building muscle by supplying more nutrients to the body, making for quicker results. Amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fish oils provide anti-oxidant protection to protect against disease and aging, and also provide strength and fuel for your workout.

Exercise

Your ideal exercise regimen should combine daily aerobics with one hour of strength training at least twice a week for best results. Once you experience how this will transform both your energy and your appearance, your own body will motivate you to continue!

6 Reasons to Love Circuit Training

Circuit training is a form of total body toning and conditioning that consists of a series of sequential short bursts of resistance training exercises where each set of repetitions targets a difference muscle group in the body.  A “circuit” refers to the set of exercises included in the training session. Typically, the switch between exercises (or “stations”) happens quickly to enhance the cardiovascular benefits of the rotation.  By quickly switching from working one group of muscles to another, the body does not require a rest in metabolic rate between exercises; this continuity helps to accelerate and maintain increased heart rate, oxygen consumption and caloric burning.  Resistance training exercises are often combined with aerobics to further increase these benefits.  Many of my clients at Morphe notice that circuit training accelerates their metabolism, gets them to perspire more profusely, and promotes rapid weight loss and body sculpting.

Why We Love Circuits

  1. Circuit training targets different muscle groups individually, providing a focused conditioning and toning workout that sculpts and defines the entire body.
  2. Circuit training increases heart rate, oxygen consumption and combines the benefits of resistance training with the increased caloric burning power of aerobics!
  3. Circuits can consist of any variety of exercises, and may be adapted to any environment, such as an outdoor obstacle course where you do reps at each station.
  4. Circuit training is lively, challenging and FUN! It gets your adrenalin and endorphins flowing and helps your body detox through increased perspiration.
  5. Circuit training accelerates weight loss and body sculpting by increasing metabolic rate and stimulating caloric burning.
    And most importantly: Results! Circuit training delivers fast and dramatic results that mean you’ll look better this evening than you did when you got up this morning!

Maintaining Proper Posture and Balance

Your sense of balance functions through a dynamic process in which your brain and body assimilate and respond to physical information using your eyes, muscles and nervous system as a means of relating physically to the world.

Proper posture is an integral part of human balance. The way in which you hold up your body actually makes a huge difference in your ability to maintain proper balance. By improving your posture and thus your sense of balance, you improve your physical stability and increase your overall mobility, as well as preventing many injuries and pain in the back, neck and joints.  Overall, proper posture and a healthy sense of balance can mean the difference between feeling the years creeping up on you and maintaining your youthful energy and vigor.

Your sense of balance begins to deteriorate at around age 40. Poor posture and lack of balance is often associated with an increase in falls and injuries, such as wrist and hip fractures, even in younger adults.  To prevent this deterioration, it is important to practice proper posture and perform simple balancing exercises every day.

How can you improve your posture?

  1. Book it. Walk around for five minutes each day with a book balanced on your head.
  2. Sit Up. Make sure that your computer monitor and chair are ergonomically arranged so that your back remains straight and relaxed, with elbows comfortably bent at a 45° angle and feet planted firmly on the ground while you are working on your computer.
  3. Stretch.  Remember to take frequent breaks during which you stretch your back and shoulders by gently bending from side to side with one arm extended over your head.
  4. Step in Line.  When walking, always shift your body weight from heel to toe, using the entire foot to support your weight.  Place one foot in front of the other and direct your body weight in a straight line.

How can you maintain your sense of balance?

  1. Stand on one leg.  Try this at first for 10 seconds, then close your eyes and continue for an additional 5 seconds.  Repeat with the alternate leg.  Practice this exercise at least once daily.  You may need to hold on to a table or wall for the first 3-4 seconds before letting go.  As you become accustomed to doing this exercise every day, your balance will improve drastically and you will be able to hold the position for longer periods.
  2. Balance Beam. Try walking on top of a straight and narrow surface, such as the curb of the sidewalk, a wall or a real balance beam.  This exercise strengthens the coordination between your eyes, muscles and nervous system, and will greatly improve your balance when practiced regularly.
  3. Walk backwards. Walk backwards for a stretch of 10-15 feet using a wall to guide yourself. Try not to turn around and look behind you, and maintain an even distance from the wall while walking.
  4. Get out in Nature. Nature is strategically designed to help humans improve all of our physical and psychological capabilities.  While walking along a dirt road or trail, your sense of balance naturally kicks in to keep you from stumbling over obstacles on the uneven ground, and from bumping into trees and branches in your path.  A weekly nature walk goes a long way toward improving your navigation skills in the physical world, and your sense of balance will be among the first to reap the benefits!

10 Reasons To Train With The Gravity System

Many people have asked me about my preference for the EFI Gravity System over any other exercise equipment when training my clients. The Gravity System is a fun and innovative exercise system that consists of an adjustable glideboard with versatile handles and pulleys.  After years of seeing optimal results and personal satisfaction in clients, both young and old, I know I’ve made the best choice in training equipment.  Here are the top 10 reasons why I made this choice—and stick with it.

  1. Full Body Conditioning: The Gravity system provides total body conditioning using Pilates or resistance training.  This system increases lean muscle mass, decreases body fat, improves circulation and posture, releases endorphins, expedites weight loss, and promotes overall physical strength. The Gravity System builds a rock solid core, while elongating and toning every muscle group in the body.
  2. Awesome Results (aka Satisfied Clients): All of Morphe’s regular clients are seeing consistent, sustainable, awesome results, and each is progressing at his or her own pace.  In the words of one female client, age 54: “I’ve developed strength in areas of my body where I had always been weak.  I look and feel younger now than I did 10 or even 15 years ago!”
  3. Safety: The Gravity System offers low-compression back support, designed to reduce and eliminate chronic back pain and guard against injury.
  4. Natural Body Weight Resistance: The Gravity System uses your own body weight as resistance against the natural and consistent pull of gravity. Using body weight resistance prevents the compression usually associated with the use of free weights or machines.  The glideboard rolls up and down on an adjustable track, and you literally pull or push your own weight at variable inclines.
  5. Versatility: Personal and Athletic Trainers, Physical Therapists and all kinds of fitness professionals use The Gravity System.  It is useful for Pilates, high-performance sports training, physical rehabilitation and body sculpting.  No matter what your fitness goals, this system delivers the results you’re after!
  6. Award-Winning Design: The Gravity system has won three innovation awards within the health club industry, and is designed to support intense total body workouts without the need for additional accessories or machines.  This single, natural, gravity-based total system offers everything you need for full body conditioning.
  7. Easy to Use: During your very first session, you will learn to love and feel comfortable with the Gravity System.  Gravity allows for simple and easy transitions between individual exercises as well as the ability to combine and intensify specific movements, strengthening various muscle groups at the same time.
  8. Easy On The Joints: The Gravity System is designed to strengthen and support joints, and is often used by Physical Therapists to recondition the joints after surgery or injury.
  9. Universal: The Gravity System is packed with features that allow it to be specifically adjusted to individual needs based on size, weight and general physical condition. Because of this, Gravity is safe and easy to use by all kinds of people – no matter how “out of shape” you might be, and is safe for use during and after pregnancy.
  10. It’s Fun: Clients return because the workout is fun and leaves you feeling full of energy.  Many first-timers find it a lot easier than they had expected.  Training sessions are intimate and personal, with a maximum of six participants.  I get to know everybody’s personality and body issues, and target the session to each group individually.  Everybody feels a little bit transformed after each session – mind, body and spirit.

Morphe’s Simple Formula for Success

 

The difference between people who are living their dream life and those who are stuck in a rut waiting for change to just happen is very simple:  successful people set goals – and furthermore, they achieve them!

Why does this work out so well for some of us and not for others?  Do successful people know some kind of secret that helps them fulfill their life goals?  How can the rest of us get in on this act?

The secret lies in a simple formula:

PASSION + DISCIPLINE = RESULTS

Let’s look at the first variable in this equation:  Passion.  What exactly is passion?  We usually think of passion as that powerful, mysterious and magnetic force that makes people fall in love with other people.  But isn’t it also true that this same force can make people fall in love with things, places, projects, dreams and goals as well?

Passion is the force that propels everything in life, and that is why it’s so important to recognize your true Passion and use it as the seed from which to grow your dream life.  If you set goals that respond to your personal Passion and desires, your goals will inspire you to move forward.  If you set goals based on what you think others expect of you, it will become very difficult for you to muster up the Discipline required to achieve the goal.

What exactly is Discipline?  Dictionary.com defines Discipline as: activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training. So how do you remain motivated enough to stick to this activity or regimen long enough to successfully achieve your goal?

What’s really going to keep you disciplined is the Passion, or desire, to achieve your goal, but this Passion needs to be rekindled every so often, in order for you to really feel the excitement, energy and motivation to stick to the Discipline.  The secret to keeping this Passion alive is to constantly remind yourself of why you want to achieve this particular goal.

For example, let’s say your goal is to quit smoking.  It’s not enough to want to do it just because it will make you feel healthier.  You can fuel the Passion for quitting by taking the time to write down all the reasons why you want to quit, and posting them around your home or office as gentle reminders.  You may write:  Smoking makes my breath smell bad; I don’t want to support evil Tobacco companies; I don’t want my clothes to smell bad; Smoking makes my skin more wrinkled, etc.

With this kind of daily motivation, it’s much easier for you to stay focused on the Passion and in turn, to muster up daily Discipline.   Also, one slip doesn’t mean that your entire Passion is gone and that the goal is totally out of your reach.  Simple motivational messages will help you get back on track by reconnecting your thoughts with the original Passion that made you set your goal in the first place.

Positive Thinking for Positive Results

I have a sign in my office that says:  “Your thoughts lead to your actions, your actions become your habits, and your habits become your character.”  This is why your thoughts, and the commitment to continuous positive thinking are so important. If you want to change what you’re attracting, change the way you think!  If you focus on what you don’t want, that’s exactly what you will get, because that is how the Law of Attraction works.  Your thoughts are controlling every detail of your life, so use them to get positive results!

Thoughts are kind of like the weather.  They are there whether you pay attention to them or not.  And in fact, the ones that you don’t pay attention to, which are happening on a sub-conscious level, are the ones that are affecting you the most.

Your thoughts attract and create your external reality, so they must always reflect the life you are aiming to have.  Make a commitment to turn every negative thought into a positive one, and remember that everything in life happens for a good reason. Instead of thinking “I am stuck here in this dead-end job forever,” replace the thought with “I am here preparing myself for my dream career.” Focus on what you DO want, and know that it’s coming!

Listen carefully and consciously to your inner thoughts.  Are you putting yourself down, expressing fear or insecurity, harboring resentment, laying blame, or being just plain pessimistic?  The first step to improving your thinking patterns is to listen to your inner thoughts and discover exactly which of your repetitive thought patterns are attracting the negative energy in your life.

Make a list of all of the negative thoughts that plague you on a regular basis (and believe me, unless you are living the life you’ve always dreamed of, you have these!) and write down a positive affirmation to replace each one.  Print the list out and carry it in your wallet.  Whenever a negative thought strikes, use your list of positive affirmations to beat down the negative energy!

After only a few days of practicing this, you will notice that your life is heading in a much more positive direction, that you feel healthier and happier, and that suddenly your goals seem within reach.  The more you practice the Power of Positive Thinking, the more you will see Positive Results!  This is the beginning of getting everything you want in life.

Five Essentials for Transforming Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Welcome to Morphe. I’m Roberto Santamarina, CSCS. Through my rigorous training as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, I am qualified to design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs, and to provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention for my clients who come in all shapes and sizes.

In my current professional practice as a Lifestyle Coach, Strength Coach and Personal Trainer at Morphe, I am passionate about educating my clients on my philosophy of transforming the mind, body and spirit in order to achieve the life they dream of.

My five essential recommendations for people who seek a true metamorphosis in their mind, body and spirit are these:

  1. Positive Thinking: Everything originates in the mind, so this is the first thing you have to work on. Thoughts produce the spiritual energy that manifests everything in your life, so it is important to practice this at all times.
  2. Goals: Don’t be afraid to dream big, and don’t shortchange yourself by settling for less than what you really aspire to. Things may take time, but the clearer your personal goals are, and the more you realize why you want them, the closer you are to achieving them!
  3. Discipline: Discipline is an amazing skill that you acquire by facing your own self-sabotaging resistance and making a firm commitment to conquer it. Discipline means that you honor yourself enough to go after what you really want.
  4. Listen to Your Body: The human body is a perfect instrument, and we are all capable of enjoying absolute fitness and health. All serious exercise training should be supported by the guidance of a well-trained, intuitive professional, but achieving perfect health and fitness requires a total focus on YOU, and your own physical energy.
  5. Meditation and Energy Work: Therapeutic energy practices such as Pranic Healing and Meditation take your health and fitness program, as well as your entire life, to another level. This is where the deepest transformation really takes place. Learn to use breathing techniques as a tool to energize as well as relax and heal your body. At Morphe we are proud to offer Pranic Healing Therapy to support your total life transformation.

In my upcoming posts, I will offer detailed tips to help you strengthen each of these five areas. Keep visiting my blog to learn more about these essential recommendations and how to put them into practice in your life!