Fitness Training On-demand: Convenience and Value for the Consumer

It’s no surprise that the same technology that brings us family face time and bu

siness meetings from remote locations has entered the world of fitness. We’ve been using exercise apps for years, and personal trainers can book sessions online through a variety of programs. Taking the next step to actually training through cyber-space is the most logical progression.

The virtual gym is a win-win for both trainers and clients; the biggest selling points being convenience and cost effectiveness. For the individual with a busy schedule, it is no longer necessary to make the time to travel to a gym. Young mothers can even meet their trainer while their babies are down for a nap. Per-session costs are usually less than the standard one-on-one charge, and no gym membership is required. In addition, most exercise modalities are offered, including yoga, Pilates, and even group classes. Online training is often considered a significant improvement over video workouts, because the instructor is live and can personalize your routine as you go.

There is a growing marketplace for virtual training, sometimes called “Skyper-cize.” Consumers can access workouts via YouTube, Google+, or any video conferencing application such as FaceTime. Companies like Gymgo, Virtufit, and Premier Fitness offer pre-vetted trainers and special packages to those who are looking to try an online trainer but don’t know where to start. The wide selection of trainers available online provides a greater range of choices and available times. Many private trainers also are adding online training to their business practices. Online training allows business to be dictated by fitness rather than the other way around.

Of course, nothing is perfect, and for all its value there are still drawbacks to virtual training. Attention to detail will lessen in comparison to a face-to-face session, and a certain level of user ability is desired and often assumed. For instance, beginning exercisers and persons with balance issues or in rehabilitation from an injury would likely not be good candidates for virtual training. Clients also need to be aware of false promises! Be sure that the trainer is truly qualified; look for trainers with a certification from an accredited organization. Find out specifically what you will be getting for your money, and request a virtual interview before making a purchase.

Virtual training is certainly the wave of the future, from group classes to one-on-one coaching and exercise, and like any new direction there are great benefits and some risks. Be open to the possibilities for your health and wellness while being mindful of potential hazards.

American College of Sports Medicine

Why Am I Not Getting Leaner?

“I religiously track my food and exercise. I’m eating 1,300 calories (the number my tracker told me to eat if I want to lose 2 pounds a week). I’ve been following a strict diet and the scale hasn’t budged. My friends tell me I am eating too little. I think I must be eating too much because I am not losing weight. I feel so confused… What am I doing wrong?”

I often hear this complaint from weight-conscious people who don’t know if they are eating too much or too little. They believe fat loss is mathematical. Exercising to burn 500 calories more or eating 500 calories less per day will result in losing 1 pound (3,500 calories) of fat per week, correct? Not always. Weight reduction is not as mathematical as we would like it to be.

Is It a Diet or a Famine?
If you are already exercising like crazy and are eating far less than you deserve—but the scale doesn’t budge—you might wonder if something is wrong with your metabolism. Are you eating the wrong kinds of foods? What’s going on?

When athletes have excess body fat to lose, they tend to lose it relatively easily. But when they get close to their race- and/ or dream-weight, fat loss can slow to a crawl. That’s when frustration sets in. You might think reducing your calorie intake even more would be a good idea. No. You would deprive your body of too many nutrients, to say nothing of decreasing your energy to perform well.

When you significantly restrict calories, your brain perceives the lack of food as a famine. Doing extra exercise makes the situation worse, especially when your body is at a low weight. With no excess fat to lose, your body conserves energy and maintains weight at a calorie intake that historically would have resulted in fat loss.

Nature protects the body from losing weight during a (perceived) famine by slowing your calorie-burn: The heart rate slows (not due to fitness but rather to lack of fuel). Blood flow to extremities slows to keep your organs warm. Your hands and feet feel cold all the time. The stomach/intestinal tract slows; constipation can become an issue. The hormonal system reverts to preadolescence. Women produce less estrogen and stop having regular menstrual periods. Men produce less testosterone. You feel excessively tired. You can muster up energy to exercise, but then are droopy the rest of the day. Fatigue becomes your middle name.

The Role of Genetics
When an athlete complains about lack of fat loss despite rigid food restriction, one of my first questions is “How do you look compared to others in your genetic family? Are you leaner—or far leaner—than they are?” The standard response is “far leaner.” Remember, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Nature’s blueprint for your body might differ from your dream physique.

Pay attention to what others say about your body. If your mom or partner says you are too thin, listen up and stop striving to be leaner yet. Rather than struggle to lose those last few pounds, gently accept your physique and be grateful for what your body does for you. It is strong, healthy, powerful, and able to do what you ask it to do (run a marathon, raise a family, train for and complete an Ironman, bike 100 miles, etc.). It is a resilient vehicle that carries you through each day. It’s good enough. Hopefully, you will not have to experience a broken leg or be diagnosed with cancer before you learn to be grateful for your body and how it allows you to walk, run and live an active lifestyle—regardless of your size or shape.

Eat More, Get Fat? 
You can stop the diet/famine by eating more; you will not instantly get fat. Rather, your metabolism will quickly return to normal. If your body is too thin, it will strive to restore itself to a genetic weight. This is why athletes can have a hard time staying at their “racing weights.” Being too thin is very hard to maintain.

If you believe you still have excess flab to lose, yet the scale doesn’t budge despite your strict diet, what can you do? I generally recommend eating more and exercising less. To the shock of many of my calorie-deprived clients, this tends to work better than exercising more and eating less. Sounds counter intuitive. How can that be true?

Think of your body as being a campfire. When it has three logs to burn, it generates a lot of heat. When it has just one log, it produces just a small flame. The same is true of your body; the more fuel it has, the more calories you will burn.

While adding calories, focus on the benefits: how much better you feel, the power in your workouts, your happier mood and better quality of life. If you don’t trust your body and are fearful that eating more will result in your regaining the weight you worked so hard to lose, get help. A sports dietitian can guide you through this process. Use the referral network at to find your local expert.

Are Fitness Trackers Helpful? 

Fitness trackers offer information that is interesting but not precise. Something strapped on your wrist can sort of measure what your legs are doing, but many variables impact accuracy. For example, pushing a baby jogger with straight arms gives a different step count than if you were to run with freely swinging arms1.

As for energy expenditure, note that some of the calories reported as being burned during your workout include calories you would have burned in that hour regardless of exercise. Knowing calories burned can be dangerous. “Oh, I just burned 500 calories, so now I deserve to eat ice cream!!!” Tracking might not enhance fat loss2.

Your body is your best calorie counter. Instead of tracking calories to determine if you have eaten the correct amount, try listening to your body. Before you eat, ask yourself “Am I eating because my body needs fuel—or because I am bored, lonely, or stressed? Am I stopping eating because I am satisfied, or just because I think I should?” By eating mindfully, you will not overeat nor under eat. You’ll simply relearn skills from childhood when you ate when you were hungry, stopped when you were content, maintained a good weight, and never ran out of energy. Life is better when you are free from being in food jail.

About the Author 
Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., CSSD, has a private practice in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875), where she helps both fitness exercisers and competitive athletes create winning food plans. Her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook, and food guides for marathoners, cyclists and soccer are available at For her online sports nutrition workshop, co-presented with exercise physiologist John Ivy, see

American College of Sports Medicine

Anywhere Fitness

Holiday travel brings images of the seashore or the mountains and all the activities of the great outdoors; swimming, boating, hiking, biking and fresh air. In reality, travel isn’t always so picture-postcard perfect, so if you’re taking a trip that doesn’t include physical activity, a little creativity and resourcefulness will be necessary to stay on top of your game.

Probably the biggest obstacle to keeping active while traveling is the extended amount of time spent sitting. Long flights, train trips and hours behind the wheel of a car are just some examples. There are also itineraries that keep you sedentary, such as the many hours in conference sessions associated with business travel. When you add in the reduced access to exercise accommodations, you can really lose ground regarding your fitness goals. But there are ways to overcome these snags.

Before you leave on your trip take account of what your surroundings will be. Does the hotel where you are staying have a fitness center? A pool? Is there a park nearby where you can take an energizing jog? Park benches are excellent props for incline pushups, squats, seated leg lifts and other bodyweight exercises. Pack your work out gear so that you can take advantage of these settings and keeping active will be easy.

The truth is, if you have space enough to move, you can insert a little exercise. Walking is probably the most versatile, and a vigorous daily walk is a recognized way to stay fit. You can walk the airport, or the hallways of your hotel or its neighboring streets. Do a heel to toe pace, rolling through the foot and pushing off the toes; pump your arms to increase the heart rate; alternate with lunges to work the leg muscles.

When you are in the room, a circuit work out is an excellent way to make effective use of downtime. Without a single prop, you can perform a circuit which combines:

  • squats
  • lunges
  • knee lifts
  • plank holds
  • roll ups

Consider purchasing something portable—such as exercise bands or tubing. Most sporting goods stores and department stores sell them. They are inexpensive and offer an easy way to add resistance to your routine. They also come with exercise examples and descriptions. Handy! If you like direction, there are many video workouts that can be downloaded or streamed to your computer or portable device.

Turning downtime into a quick, refreshing work out is easy if you think about it; but it requires commitment, because it’s also easy not to exercise. Decide what your plan will be, schedule it into your daily agenda and set reminders. That way you’ll be sure to stay in top form while you’re away.

By Sue Brown

The Olympic Experience with Dara Torres; Clinical Trials & Research; Benefits of Coconut Water

Episode 17.33 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

new host image

Segment One (01:40): Dr. Nik Verma sits in for Dr. Brian Cole, with Steve Kashul and talks with Dara Torres5 Time Olympian Swimmer/12 time Medalist. Dara talks about her competition experience and training routines over the years.  

Dara Torres is arguably the fastest female swimmer in America. She entered her first international swimming competition at age 14 and competed in her first Olympic Games a few years later in 1984.

At the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Dara became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympic Games. When she took three silver medals home – including the infamous heartbreaking 50-meter freestyle race where she missed the Gold by 1/100th of a second – America loved her all the more for her astonishing achievement and her good-natured acceptance of the results.

In total, Dara has competed in five Olympic Games and has won 12 medals in her entire Olympic career. Her impressive performance in Beijing and her attempt at the 2012 London Olympic Games has inspired many older athletes to consider re-entering competition.

Career Highlights

  • 2009 U.S. Nationals Gold Medalist in 50m Freestyle
  • 2009 World Championships (8th 50m Freestyle, 4th 4×100 Freestyle)
  • Five-Time Olympian; 12-Time Medalist
  • First U.S. swimmer to compete in 5 Olympics
  • U.S. Record Holder in 50m Freestyle
  • Broadcast: NBC, ABC, NBC, ESPN & more.

Segment Two (13:18): Dr. Nik Verma talks with Steve about the importance of clinical trials and research, translational research, current studies in biologics and the use of stem cells. Currently, Dr. Verma maintains an active clinical practice performing over 500 procedures per year. He is Director of the Division of Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition, he serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, and Nazareth Academy.nikhil verma

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Verma is actively involved in orthopedic research with interests in basic science, biomechanics and clinical outcomes, and has recently received funding for his work from Major League Baseball.

He has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts in major orthopedic and sports medicine journals, numerous book chapters, and routinely serves as teaching faculty for orthopedic courses on advanced surgical techniques. He frequently serves as an invited speaker or guest surgeon for national and international orthopedic sports medicine meetings. 

Segment Three (19:07): Scott Sandler, President & CEO of COCO5 talks about the benefits of coconut water for professional athletes and weekend warriors & how COCO5 Coconut Water differs from other hydration products.


COCO5 combines the powerful hydrating properties of young coconut water with all natural flavors to create a hydration beverage perfect for any time of day or night. Clean, refreshing and brilliantly delicious. Nothing artificial. Ever.

COCO5 replenishes the body with all 5 essential electrolytes your body needs. Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride and Calcium.

  1. Eliminate chemical additives, dyes and high fructose corn syrup found in leading fluid replacement beverages. 
  2. Replace fluids lost through sweat.
  3. Restore electrolytes depleted during exercise.
  4. Reduce cramping and gastric distress often experienced with conventional sports drinks.
  • All Natural ingredients
  • Benefits come from coconut water, not artificially added ingredients or chemicals
  • Unlike other hydration drinks, the electrolytes in COCO5 are naturally occurring (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and small amounts of other nutrients)
  • Colors and flavors are from natural fruits and vegetables
  • No artificial dyes (i.e., Red40, Bluel, Yellow5)
  • No artificial sweeteners. Stevia (Rebiana) is used as a sweetener from a plant (no artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose, Aspartame or Acesulfame potassium as found in other hydration drinks)
  • Maximum absorption due to the balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes