Happy New Rear! -Free Running App by James Leath

Free Running App for iPhone and Android

Running is great for weight loss. Add in some resistance training, some solid nutrition, and you will drop a few dress sizes before you can say Boston Marathon. Of course, you don't have to run that race to lose weight, but hitting the open road with nothing but some sneakers and your favorite tunes is a very inexpensive, productive way to start up a fitness routine.

Don't worry if you can't run very far. Start with running a block. That is what my bride did. In May of this past year, she could barely run to the end of the block. Six months later, she crossed the finish line of her first marathon. (You can visit her journey blog here)

I do a lot of running, too. She loves the open road and I love a great trail run. We live in the hills of San Luis Obispo so an early morning trail run with my two dogs is a staple in my world. Before we finally went out and bought Garmin GPS watches we both used RunKeeper Pro for iPhone to keep track of all of our runs and long rides. I LOVE this app. For the month of January, it is free. I highly recommend it for any kind of endurance training.

RunKeeper Pro for iPhone

RunKeeper Pro for Android

This is a great app, so click on one of the links and add it to your arsenal of apps. As long as you have a connection it will record your entire workout and even upload it to the website so you can see your progress. Make 2011 YOUR year and if I can help, you know where to find me! Now go and SWEAT IT OUT!

Private Online Coaching by James Leath

Now you can have all the accountability and direction of a personal trainer without having to meet me at the gym. Do you need workouts, direct communication with a trainer, and accountability to stick to your fitness and health goals? Sticking to program is hard. Life gets busy, the weather changes, work becomes more stressful, good eating eating habits go astray, and all of a sudden you a stuck and don't know what to do. This is when a personal trainer is the best thing to bring on to your team. Except, we are not going to meet at the gym. Our sessions will be via Skype, email, and the cell phone.

With me as your Fitness Coach, you will get:

Weekly 30-minute phone calls Encouragement and accountability Exercise prescription Help with setting goals and creating strategy to stay on track with those goals Nutritional analysis and food planning (we create this plan together so it is something you can actually stick to!) Contact through email and text

What more do you need? Now let's go and sweat it out!

First Steps to Weight Loss by James Leath

Recently, an former professor of mine asked me what he could tell his "friend" about maybe losing 20 or 30 pounds. Specifically, he asked what would the the first steps be. Read on for my response: "Ha! Please tell you "friend" to start with food. Most people have an unhealthy relationship to food. Women are usually addicted to the unhealthy food, and men just straight don't pay attention. You would do well to first get familiar with the type and amount of food you consume, including beverages. Write them down or plug it into your phone (If you have an iPhone, I suggest the Lose It! Application) Do that for about a week, being TOTALLY honest, then step back and observe patterns you have. Did you eat because of an emotion like boredom or stress, or did a situation where you felt inferior lead you to “take control” and eat because at least you can always dominate food?

Once you start eating for health, excess weight tends to start falling off, if only because your body is working better with a higher nutrient density. I hear people all the time blame their metabolism for their weight gain. "My metabolism slowed down!" they claim. When really, it was THEM who slowed down- that and a severe nutrient deficiency problem. It is biologically impossible to eat processed crap and not enough fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and think your body is going to run efficiently. Add in a daily walk/jog and some resistance training, and you will soon have incredible amounts of energy and a great feeling when that shirt comes off and you see that look in your bride’s eyes. You know the look I am talking about…

Here is what you do to start losing weight:





  1. Log your food for a week
  2. Look for patterns and habits you have control of changing
  3. Replace bad habits with good ones.
  4. Repeat.
  5. Move your body.
  6. Repeat.

Do you see a pattern here? Keep it going.

Also, be careful not to get to held up on the "how" to workout. Go for a walk, do some pushups, hire me to send you weekly workouts... whatever it is, just MOVE!

So, to recap, start with your relationship with food. Do you control it, or does it control you? Once you establish patterns that inhibit weight loss, create some new habits and stick with them. Know that whatever you do to lose the weight will be the thing you have to do to keep it off. Remember, your body does not want to be overweight. It is only reacting to what you do to it!"

Merry Fitness and a Happy New Rear! by James Leath

A resolution that lasts goes beyond Jan 2.

Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, New Year's...oh my!...How does one survive without gaining weight during these times? Our culture is a culture of eating. Every social event is riddled with high fat, high sugar, high guilt foods that leave you feeling terrible. And who has time for the gym? With the kids, the crazy boss demanding your soul, and your spouse feeling the same way, where does one find time for self? Forget resolutions- it's time to set some real GOALS. Click here to go straight to the sign up form.

When an athlete wants to raise his or her game, they go to the coach. The coach is the person that spends their time thinking of strategies in how to help the athlete perform better. In my many years of coaching, I have seen that the number-one thing that helps a person be successful is a plan. Second, is accountability and motivation to stick to that plan. Once an athlete has a plan, the coach makes sure the athlete follows through with that plan and finds ways to alter it when it needs to be changed. This does not just apply to those about to play a game, but these same principles can be applied to your life. After all, life is a sport, and a contact sport at that!

Here is the problem: What we lack is motivation. We lack direction in our private lives. If we had a moment to balance ourselves and realign our life with the things we value, how much more valuable would we be to those around us? How much easier would it be to stick to our resolutions if a coach was there every time we messed up to get us back in line with what we want?

Here is the solution: When was the last time you sat down and wrote out a strategy to get the things you want? It's a goal writing session-not a blanket thought

of wants and then name them resolutions. Athletes hire a coach to bring out the best in themselves. Whether you call yourself an athlete or not, a coach is something everyone needs.

Here is where I come in. I have many years of experience helping those who want to accomplish more. Whether it is to lose weight, gain muscle, create a nutrition plan that fits into what you already eat, or just accountability in achieving your life goals, I want to help you get there. I am offering a free 30 minute session to help you create a goal sheet for 2011. Then, we will discuss way for you to actually achieve those goals. With a solid plan, you will succeed.

Take this opportunity to make 2011 the milestone in your life. You can do this, I want to help.

NOTE: Do to the nature of this offer, I am only offering this to the first 10 people to click here and  fill out the form.  I am excited!!! You should be too! This is going to be an amazing year!

Self talk and a black eye by James Leath

Would you let someone say to your face the same things you say to your mirror? Sometimes we forget how important self talk is. We forget how the scripts we repeat in our head dictate the way we perceive the world. Why is it that the world can look at a woman and see how beautiful she is but that same woman constantly reminds herself of how ugly and fat she is?

Are you overweight? Really? I am not talking about the I-wish-I-could-drop-5-pounds-before-bikini-season overweight. I am talking about the I-am-going-to-literally-die-if-I-don’t-drop-80-pounds overweight.

If the latter is you, then do something about it! Look in the mirror and commit. Take a breath, then plan your first step.

When you catch yourself punching you in the face with self degrading words, stop. Realize it is a big part of how you got there in the first place, then replace it with something positive. I am not advocating old school positive thought theology, but the studies are clear that positive people are just more pleasant to be around! And, you’ll find it is a lot easier to like yourself if you are not always beating yourself up!

Here’s what you can do to start: Look for foods that are not processed. Look at your schedule and put you on it. Label it like my best man used to label his workout sessions: “Obesity Reduction Session.” it’s funny, but 3 months and 50 pounds later, it was no longer a joke.

What do you say to yourself that beats you up?

Working out is not for quitters by James Leath

There are a lot of great reasons to hire a personal trainer. I think the two I hear most often are:

1. It keeps things interesting

2. We don't let you quit just because you are "tired"

You push through a workout when you are tired or "just not feeling it". You do it because you KNOW you will feel better afterwards. You KNOW your clothes will fit better. And you KNOW...well, you paid for it!

Watch Christie Johnson beat the crap out of my hands, then do it again after she tries to quit. (This is after an hour workout, so yes, she is tired!)

Moving to the California Central Coast by James Leath

Being a personal trainer in Fresno, Ca has been an amazing experience. My journey has taken me everywhere from bootcamps in local parks to strength trainer at a major university to doing what I love most: one on one personal training. Yesterday it was brought to my attention that I was voted #2 fitness instructor in all of Fresno, according to Fresno Magazine. I have some incredible clients whom I brag about all the time. They continue to surpass the goals we set together.

So, my Bride, who is running in her first marathon next week (click here to see her journey in blog form) was promoted in her job as a marketer at REC Solar. REC Solar is located in San Luis Obispo, Ca. Part of the agreement of her accepting the position is to live in SLO and work out of their headquarters. (I'll be honest, it did not take much convincing for me to agree to move to the coast!)

Sadly, I have to say goodbye to some amazing clients at the end of November at One on One Fitness and Pilates. Gil Roberts has created an amazing place for an independent trainer to work and any trainer there should feel very lucky to be there. I highly recommend him and another trainer there, Deja LaMoure. Speaking of trainers, some of my clients will start training with Tanner Munro, a trainer at GB3 on Fowler and Herndon, and my brother-in-law.

Lastly, and dearest to my heart, was saying goodbye to coaching at Saroyan Elementary.

Sumer Avila-Jackson is an INCREDIBLE principalwhom I deeply respect. In the last 10 years, I have coached almost every team they have, and even acted as the athletic director. When the district went to tackle football, I was there to take 3 teams to the last game of the year, winning twice. I even got to teach with my friend Char Graham, my best man, Chris Epperley and one of my favorite former students, Manny Gomez. It was a great 3 years.

So that is it! We are moving as soon as we find a place in SLO. Good times, huh?

Molding Men by James Leath

"The idea of molding men means a lot to me." Coach Bear Bryant said that. When coaching football, that is reality what we are doing. These young men look to us for guidance on the field and subsequently will use those same strategies off the field. We teach how to have a sense pride, how to handle winning and losing, to believe in themselves, to "finish the block" and how to communicate with others. Ask yourself, who on your team looks at you like a father? Remember, you don't have to be a good father to be looked at like a father. There are PLENTY of bad fathers out there...

You are going back to the gym, now what? by James Leath

My advice, start slow! The race is long and it is only with yourself. There is no use in hurting yourself because you used to go at a certain intensity. In the beginning, focus more on your nutrition than your workouts, but be faithful in getting your sweat on. As the pounds start coming off, then up the intensity. Remember, killing yourself at the gym without curbing your eating habits is a futile endeavor. Good luck to you!

26point2miles: A marathon journey by a non-runner by James Leath

A few months ago, my bride would have laughed at you if you told her she would be running a marathon in November.
Then one day, she signed up for one.

Then she joined a team.

Now she is not only rocking those group runs, but she is doing some on her own! Lucky for us, she stared a Wordpress blog so others may get inspired to do what she is doing. If you have a second, please check it out. It just tickles her to death when people leave comments. Have a great week!

Amanda's marathon blog: http://26point2miles.wordpress.com

I Can’t Believe its not Butter: the lies in it’s advertising campaign by James Leath

Recently, I came across the new I Can't Believe It's Not Butter advertising campaign promoting their "Turn the Tub Around" video competition. The videos include a "cute" little song featuring the product I Can't Believe It's Not Butter as a "healthy" alternative to real butter. The company declares that their product has less saturated fat than real butter and that it contains no hydrogenated oils. Quick background information regarding hydrogenated oils: these are man-made oils, also known as trans fats, which deliver absolutely no good nutritional value; in fact, they increase risk of obesity and heart disease exponentially. They do nothing but horrible things to our bodies and were only invented very recently. They only exist in processed foods. Trans fats also include partially hydrogenated oils; not just the hydrogenated kind. We should avoid anyfood that includes trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or partially hydrogenated oils. Consuming products with these ingredients is no different than deliberately injecting poison into your bloodstream.

Now let's take a look at the ingredient list for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter:

i can't believe it's not butter

The second item on that ingredient list says "Vegetable oil blend (liquid soybean oil, partially hydrogenated* soybean oil)". That's right; I Can't Believe It's Not Butter blatantly lies about the ingredients in their product! Artificial flavours are also prevalent in this product, which are also an unnecessary and toxic ingredient in any food product.

Real butter is not going to kill you. It is a real food, and as long as you don't consume large quantities of it, it will not have any major negative effects on your health (by which I mean, only consume small quantities of it, and try to reserve it for special occasions). If you are vegan, or if you prefer not to eat butter, an excellent alternative is Earth Balance (not to be confused with Smart Balance, which contains artificial flavours and other unhealthy ingredients). If the reason that you prefer margarine to butter is that it is more spreadable, simply leave your butter in a dish on the counter rather than the fridge. It will easily spread on your toast. Besides, I should think that trading in a spreadable substance for a poison-free substance is worth it.

The rhetoric that food manufacturers use is incredibly misleading. The only way to counter it is to do the work ourselves and read the ingredient lists: looks on these packages can be deceiving.

*Article written by Sagan Morrow, fellow Communication Major

Friend or Enemy? by James Leath

Do you consider yourself a friend, or an enemy?

I am not talking about what people think about you, I am talking about YOU! Are you an enemy of yourself? Do you punch yourself in the face with negative comments that would bring you to tears of someone said those same things to you?

While creating and maintaining a lifestyle of health and wellness, it is important to remember to get our "heads" in the game. If you spend 60 minutes at the gym thinking positive about yourself, excited that you made it and are burning calories, then go home only to discount yourself the other 23 hours, how much good did you do? Why not decide to accept how unhealthy and out of shape you are and move forward? Does telling yourself you are fat make you feel better? Does it make you skinny? No! It only hurts you.  Decide today to be your best friend, to be the loudest cheerleader and most encouraging friend.

ALl day long we chat with ourselves in our heads. We spend time criticizing ourselves, being demeaning, judging others, and saying things we would never say out loud (well, most of us anyway). We say things like: why try? I’m a failure.” This negative self-talk grinds us down emotionally and mentally. It affects the way we feel and how we perceive ourselves, and ultimately, how others see us. You see, we all fulfill the prophecies we make in our heads. "I am no good and no one likes me." If you are wrong now, eventually you will be right! Stop today. Pick up a copy of Jon Gordon's "The Energy Bus". He is one of my favorite authors and is an amazing man.

Here are some things you can say to yourself that will help, not hurt:

  • I can do this.
  • I have friends/support that care about me and will help me.
  • I am taking one day at a time. I did my best for today.
  • I am going to give 100% in this fitness activity for 3 more minutes.
  • My successes for today are….

So, what is it going to be: Friend or Foe? Leave me a comment and tell me what kind of friend you are to yourself.

Throw out the scale or throw out calorie counting? by James Leath

Don't throw the scale out- throw the calorie counting out. Sounds crazy, right? Well, tell me, has calorie counting worked for you? What would happen if instead of trying to eat the right amount of calories you decided to only let things in your mouth that are good for you and you exercised everyday? What if you ate fruits, veggies, nuts, grains and lean meats without counting calories- and all your macronutrient needs were met?

One, you wouldn't be hungry. Two, your body would be able to heal itself. And three, YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT.

This way of eating is not popular because it is simple and many think anything done "old school" means there is a new and improved way of doing it. Nope, sorry. Grandma was thin because she ate raw veggies and lean meats 3 times a day. Do you really need to snack all day long, or can you eat 3 nutritious meals and let your body shed the weight? People have been eating 3 meals a day since I don't know when and now over the last few years almost everyone I know swears you have to eat 6 meals a day. That's crap. It obviously isn't working because the obesity rate is not going down! Besides, who has time to eat 6 meals? I know I don't.

Maybe you try it out and stop driving yourself mad with calorie counting. If calorie counting works for you, fine. I know some people that absolutely love it, and I love them so it's cool. :) If it hasn't worked for you, why not give your body the food it craves instead of the food your tastebuds crave? (read that last sentence again-I want to make sure you got it!)

To be healthy, you need to eat healthily. What do you think about the "6 meals a day" fad going around these days?

Add a Side of Exercise! by James Leath

With all the honey-roasted and sugarcoated temptations that come with the holidays, even those with the strongest of wills are bound to nibble a little here and there. That's okay as long as you keep your calorie balance under control. The easiest way to do that is ..... Add more exercise to your day!

Here are a few tips to help you squeeze in a little extra activity:

Make an appointment with yourself to go to the gym, hiking trail, or to do an exercise video. If exercise is scheduled into your day, you are more likely to make the time to get moving.

Start Early. Exercising in the morning is not only a great way to get the blood pumping, it's a great way to set the tone for the day, giving you a little extra strength to resist overindulging.

Park in the farthest parking spot possible. Those extra steps into the shopping mall add up!

Take a lap! Before you pick up your holiday packages, take a lap or two around the shopping mall. Even just 15 minutes of moderate walking can burn off a few of those extra calories.

Make it a family affair. Try taking your family snowshoeing or ice skating. You can build lasting memories and burn calories at the same time.

Not only will exercise burn off a few unwanted calories, it can also help you manage the stress of the holiday season.

"Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, has consistently been shown to be effective in helping individuals manage psychological stress," said Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM, and chief exercise physiologist/vice president of educational services for the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

(adapted from an article written by Pat Birkle)

In the beginning… by James Leath

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives. Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?"

And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

Then Satan created HMOs.

From a Diet Mentality to a Healthy Change by James Leath

When it comes to getting in shape, I can not think of anything more stressful and more painful than starting a "diet." "Eat less carbs,"  "watch out for fat," buy these supplements," "eat this tree bark." Whatever the "trick" is, you have to pay for it with hunger pains and in the end the only thing skinny is your wallet. Let's try a new approach. This week, instead of chips, have an apple with string cheese (save 200 calories). Instead of bread surrounding your sandwich, use big pieces of lettuce (save 200 calories). Instead of a soda, have some home brewed tea (save 100-300 calories). Doing small changes like this now will add up to large amounts of weight loss later. In fact, let's say you did those 3 things everyday for the last 7 days. That means 700 calories (a little more than the typical workout will burn) are not going into your body. If they did, in 7 days that would be 4900 calories. Remember how many calories makes up a pound? 3500. Can you see how the weight can add up?

Think "consistency" and invest some time in the process. You did not gain the weight overnight and you will not lose it that way either. Now let's go sweat it out!

Carbohydrates: Simple vs. Complex by James Leath

So, should you eat carbs or abstain from them? Are they the enemy or a friend?

Are you confused? Yeah, so are many others. Let's start with the basics. There are three macro-nutrients (four if you count water, and many people do): Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats. All three (or four) are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY

for your body to function. If you are still scared of carbs, ask a person who follows the Atkins Diet. That is, if they haven't died of heart disease from eating all that meat. But I digress...

Carbohydrates provide the bulk of the energy needed in our daily lives, both for basic body functions such as your beating heart, using your lungs, and digesting your food. In fact, eating carbs is like throwing gasoline on a fire that is burning fat- it speeds the process along. Additionally, you need carbs for exercise such as swimming, cycling, walking and running. Here is the difference between Simple and Complex Carbohydrates:

  • Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly. Many simple carbohydrates contain refined sugars and few essential vitamins and minerals.  Some examples of simple carbohydrates include fruits, fruit juice, milk, yogurt, honey, and sugar.
  • Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and are usually packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some examples of complex carbohydrates are vegetables, breads, cereals, legumes and pasta.

Most experts recommend that 50 to 60 per cent of the total calories in our diet come from carbohydrates. The bulk of the carbs we consume should be complex and most of the simple ones should come from fruits and milk or yogurt, which also contain vitamins and minerals.

Avoid getting the bulk of your carbs from refined foods high in sugar. I REPEAT: Stay away from refined sugars. Refined sugars are usually low in the nutrients we need to maintain health and energy levels.

Lastly, no carbs before bed. Eating carbs before bed will inhibit REM sleep and release of human growth hormone (HGH). Do yourself and your metabolism a favor and stop eating crap before you go to sleep.