Improving Plyo and Jump Skills

cerritos high basketballOne of the things I really love about being a personal trainer is the variety of athletes I get to work with.

This week, I started a summer coaching session for students at the Cerritos High Basketball Camp, and one of the main factors their coach wanted me to work on was how to jump higher and have more control of their “air-time.”

It’s a fun challenge to say the least, and one thing that I’m really excited to be working on right now.

My Jump Training Solution

To me, the key to a good jump has everything to do with how well trained the athlete’s lower body is, in particular the calves.

Many people don’t realize it, but its actually the combination of strong calf-work and the connection of the calves to the foot that help to give you better height when jumping.

Tony talks about this in the Plyo section of the P90x workouts, and another great option is The Jump Manual, an online (and more affordable) course that focuses specifically on improving your ability to jump high.

Whether you’re a basketball player or a hurdle jumper, these are two excellent programs you should be aware of. You can read more about P90x here, or check out the Jump Manual review and ebook.

The Basketball Challenge

Originally I didn’t think that this high school group would be able to handle the workouts I just mentioned, and I’d prepared a number of exercises to help tone down the intensity of the workout while still improving their jumping abilities.

After the first session, however, I was shocked and impressed with these kids’ abilities, and next week we’re going to be getting into more detail and more intensity to show them exactly how they can leverage some of the physiological science behind jumping to improve their basketball skills.

That’s my biggest challenge for the next few weeks at least, so it should be a fun and exciting time for all of us! Thanks for reading and I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted with how everything turns out!

When To Use Workout Supplements

steroid boostingOne of the most common questions I get from people I work with that are in the process of doing intensive athletic training is whether or not they should incorporate a supplement or booster into their diet.

The reason is simple: there’s so much information out there promoting supplements and especially non-natural products like testosterone boosters that people do a quick google search and find professional-looking websites talking about the benefits of using product XYZ, when really the author has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.

For me, personally, I never use boosters or other steroids, but do incorporate nutrient supplement powders into my training. Here’s why:

Why I Hate Testosterone Boosters

No matter how you look at it, one of the most popular products in the weightlifting industry focuses around testosterone booster. The claims of boosting muscle quickly and enhancing masculinity draw many people to try the products, only to become quickly addicted and never get off them.

Personally, I have never once used a testosterone booster and I never intend to do so. This is a completely unnatural way to try to fake workout gains and build muscle quickly, but the fast result is not worth any of the potential side effects of testosterone boosters, which includes things like cancer and other long term illnessses.

Why Natural Supplements Are Ok

However, just because I don’t take steroids doesn’t mean I shy away from every single supplement product. Instead, I tend to think of it from a holistic perspective: if the supplement is a combination of ingredients I would otherwise eat, than it can often be a great way to increase my own performance and keep my diet in line.

Post-workout powders are a great example of this, especially alkalizing powders.

These supplements are usually just mixes of different types of vegetables, often foods you wouldn’t normally find the in the supermarket, and they’re blended together and crushed into a powder, making it easy to add to a shake after your workout.

This can help you get all of the nutrients you need after a tough workout. Especially when you’re burning thousands of calories at a time, it can be difficult to provide your body with everything it needs, and that’s where the condensed supplements come in handy.

It’s not for “boosting” or artifically improving your performance, but for helping you to naturally secure your workout gains and work towards total fitness.

At least that’s my humble opinion. If you’re interested, you can lear more about alkaline supplements at

Combining Diet, Nutrition and Exercise for a Full Body Picture of Health

holistic health diet and exerciseTo me, one of the most important and yet most often overlooked aspects of personal training is that people come to me looking for help and guidance working out, but really, what they often need is guidance on how to get a full body picture of health.

Let me explain.

Exercise Isn’t Isolated

I think my point is that you can’t ever really isolate exercise and expect to get the best results.

Sure, if you take a sedentary person who never gets off the couch and eats junk food all of the time, and you get him to start exercising, it’s great, and chances are he’ll start to lose weight quickly, even if he doesn’t change any other part of his lifestyle or diet.

But, that’s not really the best way to go about it.

The better approach is to create a plan where the individual combines diet and exercise, and often includes natural organic supplements (check out this link for an Athletic Greens discount!). And, those diets and exercises aren’t the same for every person. It depends on your current lifestyle, your current physical ability, and medical conditions you might consider, and what your goals and timeline for achieving those goals are.

Diet is Hugely Important

In other words, diet is hugely important when it comes to working out and losing weight. In fact, many clients who come in just wanting to focus on exercise (without considering diet at the start) find that exercise alone makes them want to change their diet. They stop craving heavy meals and instead want to focus on energy-boosting products.

One of the best examples of this is the Venus Factor diet for women, which does exactly that: it combines a strict diet program with a strict exercise program. That combination is one of the reasons so many people who try that program have immediate and long lasting success.

What you eat before and after working out has a huge impact. It’s simple in theory, yet few actually design the plan to do it! That’s why Venus Factor became so popular, so quickly.

Lifestyle Habits Change Over Time

lifestyle healthy habitsFinally, we need to remember that a person’s lifestyle habits are going to change over time.

That means that even if you’ve become accustomed to a number of negative lifestyle actions, you can change them, and those changes can start small. That’s because the biggest impact on your habits will be little things that compound over time.

If you’re used to eating a bag of chips and drinking a soda every afternoon, trying replacing the soda with juice and the chips with vegetables. That one simple act can add up to thousands of calories saved every month, and several pounds lost every year!

Or, try walking to the store that’s only 4 blocks away instead of driving. Again, it’s a simple act and doesn’t take much extra time, but what you’re doing is changing the attitude you have towards the little things. Soon you’ll start finding that you walk not only to that one store, but to other destinations that are close…all the time!

The difference will really add up!

Why I Love Teaching Fitness and Exercise

teaching exercise and fitnessOk, so this is my first ever blog post here on, and I thought I’d take a minute to write about why I absolutely love teaching fitness and exercise, and decided to make it my career.

Basically, I got my personal training certification for one reason: helping people.

For millions of people across the country, they’re trapped in a sedentary job and have built of a bunch of bad life habits, from eating fast food, to driving everywhere, no matter how close their destination, to overscheduling their work life and underscheduling their personal life.

In short, we’ve gotten to the point where people have started completely neglecting their bodies’ needs.

Well, what I love teaching people is how taking care of your body isn’t just about losing weight or gaining muscle, it’s about gaining a healthier, more confident attitude that you can take with you throughout your life. That will lead to better relationships with family and friends, better attitude and performance at work, and whole host of other benefits that you can’t even begin to imagine.

Check out this article for a complete list of the benefits of exercise!

Anyway, the point is that exercise isn’t really about exercise, it’s about overall health. There’s a great video about exercise and the brain that goes into more depth:


Helping People Lose Weight

The biggest cateogry people fall into are those who are trying to lose weight.

Over the course of a few months, I’m able to work with people to help them figure out not just how to lose weight, but why they want to lose weight in the first place.

This question is key. Having a clear motivating reason will mean that the person is far more likely to follow through with the program or exercise routine, and stick it out long enough to see real results.

As a personal trainer, it’s my job not just to give you the tools, but also to keep you motivated to see the results you’ve been dreaming of. When you get there, the payoff is priceless!

Helping People Train

Secondly, a ton of people come to me looking to train for a specific event. One of the most popular is definitely first time marathoners, who recognize that training for a huge, 4 hour endurance event isn’t just about running.

I love working with them to create a program that fits their schedule, and incorporates not just their running habits, but also a complete body and muscular training program, which allows them to see results more quickly, run faster, and ultimately hit their goals in time for the big race.

Of course, I work with athletes that have sports goals all over the map, from running and cycling to football, basketball, soccer, and baseball. Each have unique needs, and it’s important to structure a training schedule to account for different types of workouts and how each sport makes demands on your body.

For more information about me, click here.