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Proper nutrition is still the missing piece for most people and why they are not seeing great results after working out consistently every week. Whether you’re looking to just firm up, lose 50 pounds of fat, or build more lean tissue having proper supportive nutrition is a MUST. Over the next six weeks I will be focusing on the top 6 nutritional mistakes people make outside the workout.

1) Mistake: Focusing only on calories and not the ingredients
Over the last 12 years I have talked to and worked with thousands of people on their nutrition and eating habits. Even after so many years of nutrition coaching I still have people coming in asking the same questions and making the same mistakes nutritionally. There seems to be a new diet book or program out every month. Yet almost all diets focus on calories first and ingredients second or not all.

This is a problem and I will explain why:

A calorie is a unit of heat or energy. Every time you move you conduct heat and energy therefore your body actually needs calories to function and yes to burn more calories. Most people when I say the word “calorie” associate this with something negative. Many are wired to believe just by watching how many calories they eat alone is a successful weight loss plan. This is flawed because one would assume and are taught a calorie is a calorie. This is not true. Maybe, a calorie is a calorie outside the body but as soon as it’s put in your mouth and swallowed/digested it changes.

For example a 270 calorie Snickers candy bar compared to a 270 calorie 7 ounce grilled skinless chicken breast are equal in calories but do you think they are digested the same? Do you think they affect your metabolism and blood sugar levels the same? NO!

A candy bar will have a big ingredient list (many unnatural) and it will most likely contain a lot of fat (some trans fat –hydrogenated oils -the number one cause for heart disease) and lots of sugar, this sugar will spike your blood sugar levels and then it will crash it leaving you feeling like you want to take a nap about 15-30 minutes after eating it. After your blood sugar crashes you will eventually crave more sugar or fat to bring blood sugar back to normal…unfortunately blood sugar will never stabilize from this food. The candy bar contains fat and sugar and comes with very little natural ingredients so this will have little or no effect on your metabolism. (0-.5% increase on metabolism during digestion)

Snickers ingredients are: milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, skimmed milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, skimmed milk, butter, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose (a milk product), salt, egg whites and artificial flavor.

So let’s now take a look at that 270 calorie 7 ounce grilled chicken breast. The chicken breast will contain mostly lean protein; it has only one ingredient CHICKEN. It has little fat and contains almost all protein (the most thermic macro nutrient)so this would literally have a very positive leveling effect on your blood sugar give you stable energy and increase your metabolism by up to 20-40% during digestion. The chicken breast will also fill up you longer than any candy bar would.

Still think a calorie is just a calorie? If your goal is long term fat loss the ingredients are much more important than the just calories. Most fail to realize how many calories they actually need to burn fat it’s probably a lot more than your 800-1200 calorie diet plan, and if this all you are all eating good luck losing fat and keeping it off for the rest of your life.
If you’re buying 100 snack packs of cookies thinking this is a good way to lose fat (not just weight) and keep it off you are severely misinformed. One hundred calorie pack of cookies or a 200 calories serving of natural hummus and carrots which is better for weight loss? The hummus of course! Look at the ingredients first not just the calories!

Avoid anything with a long list of unnatural ingredients no matter what the calories are and what it says about being healthy on the front of the package. You should be looking for and eating real whole natural foods and ingredients.

Look for Mistake #2 next week!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,
~David Modderman


Mistake 5#- Not Using Proper Form and Resting Too Much.

One of the biggest mistakes I see and have seen in the gym is people working out and not using proper form when they lift weights. These mistakes are usually made using free weights but I see them made on cable machines, and stationary weight machines as well.

Proper exercise execution and form is crucial for not only safety but seeing the best possible results from your workout.

The biggest form mistakes I see are:

1) Swinging and using momentum during the lifting and lowering of the weight. Though this will allow you to handle more weight but this type of form will get you no where as far as the results go.

2) The tempo of the movement is too fast and momentum takes over. Lifting too fast again prevents you from focusing on the muscle and only the movement. The muscle is always more important than the movement.

3) Using your lower back and lower body to help you through the movement. When someone struggles to lift a weight or to get a few extra reps they tend to use their lower back to help them. This is a recipe for disaster. You need to drop the weight and use proper form.

4) Bouncing the weight off your chest. This is very common when I see someone doing barbell chest press. If you have to bounce the weight then you are using too much weight. Bouncing the weight prevents you from really using all the muscle fibers in your chest and allows momentum to help you.

5) Not fully extending at the top of the lift and not coming far enough down to get the most efficient range of motion. Proper range of motion allows you to work all the muscle fibers in that muscle efficiently. Partial reps are not recommended for most people.

6) Locking the joints out on every lift. Locking your legs out at the top of the squat or locking your arms out at the bottom of a bicep curl. The problem with locking the joint out is one it puts more stress on the joint and two you lose the tension on the muscle and this makes the exercise less effective.

7) Not keeping core tight and looking down while doing standing exercises. During a squat its very common for someone to use their lower back and knees by looking down and leading with their knees and shoulders. This will put stress on their back and knees. Keeping core tight, looking straight forward, and sitting away from your knees (leading with glutes) will allow you to the squat safely and effectively and put stress on the muscle and not the spine, lower back, knees and joints. (see photo above)

I always tell my clients “You need to focus on the Muscle not the motion” You should always know what muscle you’re working and focus on the muscle while lifting and lowering the weight. If you’re not feeling it in that muscle while you’re lifting and lowering the weight then you’re probably not working it very efficiently. Any one can do the motion and movement of lifting the weight but if you are not focusing on the muscle you’re really not doing much.

Resting Too Much.

Another mistake I see in the gym is people resting way too much between sets of an exercise and between exercises. If your number one goal is strength and size resting will allow you to lift more weight. However, it will also affect your endurance and you keeping your heart rate up. So if you want to increase your strength more rest is needed yet I wouldn’t recommend resting more than 90 seconds maximum. If your goal is not strength and size there is no reason to rest so much. Ninety percent of the people that come to see me want to get in better shape, improve their stamina, lose fat, or get ripped. Yet I see so many people at the gym with these goals doing a set and resting for a minute or more. I recommend making your time and workout more efficient by doing super sets, or circuits. This will allow you to go from exercise to exercise and rest a muscle group with out resting your heart. This will also allow you to get a great intense workout and not to mention you will burn more calories, challenge your heart, and get your workout in a much quicker period of time .(30 minutes or less)

This concludes “The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make In the Gym.” If you were making some of these mistakes I hope you will apply the new information you have learned and make your workout routine more efficient and effective!

Now let’s go get it!

Look for the next series “The 5 Biggest Nutrition Mistakes People Make In and Out Of the Kitchen” coming soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach

~David Modderman


Mistake #4 -Doing only ab exercises and thinking the crunch machines will burn fat.

In Mistake #1 – I discussed how doing only cardio and no weight training is not an effective strategy to see results no matter your goals. Resistance training is a must. Yet, some think just doing abdominal and stomach exercises are all the resistance training they need to do. The thought process is “I want to lose my stomach so that’s all I need to work.”

It’s impossible to go to a busy gym and not see someone doing stomach exercises. When I used to work at the big box gym I was amazed by how many people I would see just doing ab exercises and cardio and then come to me because they were not seeing results. I still to this day see people using all the different ab machines and doing hundreds of crunches forward and to the side, and back and forth, twisting, and crunching. In their mind they are targeting areas and crunching that fat away.

The spot reduction method has been around for decades and will probably never die. It seems everyone wants to reduce their waistline and marketers know this is by giving us fat wraps, fat burning creams, ab belts, and hundreds of ab devices you can buy off TV. People will always ask me one burning question about all these products do they work? Do they burn fat off your stomach? “NO!” There is not a cream, ab device. or wrap that will burn fat off your stomach. So is doing hundreds of crunches a waste of time? No, because you can definitely strengthen your stomach muscles especially if you are doing the right exercises but these exercises will not burn fat. Even though we are told and people still believe I am here to tell you cannot pick the one spot you want to burn fat and do one exercise to target that area and lose fat in the area alone. Fat is burned by your muscles proportionally throughout your body. How do you lose fat off your stomach then? You can lose fat by following a structured full body (not just stomach) resistance training, moderate aerobic exercise, and solid nutrition.

So if you want to abdominal/stomach exercises to strengthen your stomach and core and not necessarily burn fat what are the best and the worst?

Let’s start with the worst. If you want to strengthen your stomach and core (your lower back, oblique’s, abs, and pelvis muscles) then get off the ab/crunch machines.

The crunch machines you see at commercial gyms are probably the most over used and most ineffective machines for strengthening your core and seeing results at your waistline. Not mention most of the time when I see people using this machine they’re using lots of weight and their momentum to propel themselves forward rather than using muscular control. Secondly, the abs hardly even contract during this exercise, and when they do it is a very brief period. The sad thing is many trainers or gym employees at the gym actually give this machine to their clients or members as an effective way to strengthen their core and burn fat off their stomach. Also, if this employee was educated they would know these machines target only the anterior (front) muscles of the abdominal wall and will do little for their client. I see a lot of people who use this machine religiously everyday and they are actually creating an imbalance because they are strengthening the front muscles and not the stabilizers, back and sides. This will create an imbalance because a crunch machine is a stable hunk of metal and it will only isolate the front muscles, the side, lower back and stomach stabilizers muscle will not be activated this will lead to a weak back and strong front.

The most effective and efficient way to work your stomach muscles and core is to do exercises that work all your stomach muscles in harmony. The best way to do this is to train your core and abs in an unstable environment by using a stability ball, bosu ball and using body weight on the floor or ab board. Doing exercises like squats, and dead lifts are great for your core as well as isolation stomach exercises like stability ball crunches, planks, and bosu ball jackknifes in an unstable environment with proper form will allow you to strengthen your entire core safely and effectively.

In summary:

1) Ab exercises are not effective for burning fat off your stomach. Focusing on eating the right foods, do full body resistance training, and moderate aerobic exercise will be much more effective.

2) If you want to train your core effectively get off the machines and focus on doing full body exercises like squats, dead lifts, and isolation exercises like stability ball crunches and planks.

Look for Mistake #5 Coming soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,

~David Modderman


Those who know me and have trained with me over the last 12 years know one thing for sure I am all about efficiency and balance with the workouts and nutrition plans I give my clients.

Clients come to me because they want to:

1) Lose Fat
2) Build or Tone (maintain) lean muscle

The exercise question I have seen debated over the years is the order you should perform your cardio/aerobic exercise and resistance training if your goal is fat loss.

I have heard the argument you should do your cardio before using the weights because it will warm up your body. I have also heard the debate that if your goal is to increase endurance and stamina you should do cardio before your weights. These are both reasonable debates.
I agree with the first debate you should warm up your body before doing weights. However, that doesn’t mean long or intense aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to warm up your body and prepare it for weight training. I do however recommend a very light 2-5 minute cardio warm-up followed by some dynamic (moving stretches) stretches before doing weight training. This will get your body’s blood flowing and muscle warmed up to prepare it for using resistance and lifting weight.

If your goal is endurance and stamina doing cardio before weights will give you more energy for that cardio session. However, doing weights after long or intense cardio is not an effective way to build strength or lose fat and in my opinion it’s counterproductive and a mistake.
If you’re running marathons or training for endurance races then weight training can help you with endurance and performance. However, I wouldn’t recommend even doing weights and cardio back to back. I would recommend either doing them on separate days or doing those 6 hours apart. This will allow you to get the full benefits of both without risking energy/strength crashes or risk of muscle loss.

Getting back to why most people are doing resistance training and cardio in the first place is to build muscle and burn fat.

If fat loss and building muscle is your goal then the order you do weight training and cardio is crucial for seeing the best and most efficient results.

Let’s look at the science of what happens and what fuels sources your body uses during weight and cardio sessions.

During aerobic exercise there is a lot of oxygen present and you can use two things as a fuel source stored sugar (glycogen) or fat.
During strength training even though oxygen is present your body doesn’t need it to perform this activity because your blood vessels are constricted and oxygen is not being used very much if at all. Therefore during strength training you can NOT use fat as a fuel source it is not an option so you can only use glycogen.

If you are doing aerobic/cardio exercise first you will burn mostly glycogen as its your body’s preferred source of fuel. Follow with weight training and there is much less glycogen to burn therefore muscle will become a source of fuel once the workout becomes intense.

However, if you flip that and you do your resistance training first you will use your stored glycogen for energy (which is your only option) follow it with cardio now your body’s only remaining option is fat.

In simple your body will use much more fat for a fuel source doing cardio after weight training than doing it before.

Does this mean people can’t lose fat or see results doing cardio before weights? No, it just means it’s not the most efficient way and your workouts have a much greater chance of being more effective and productive by doing resistance training first. I always tell my clients it’s not always about training harder or longer but training smarter. Making things more difficult when you don’t need to and doing something that can be less effective in regards to someone seeing the best results will always be a mistake in my opinion.

So I would recommend the following in regards to doing weights and cardio:

1) Do weight training and cardio on completely separate days

2) If your goal is fat loss and building/maintaining lean muscle mass and you want to do them back to back always do your resistance training
before cardio. Also, try to keep your cardio to a maximum of 30 minutes after weights.

3) Separate your weight training and cardio sessions 6 hours apart. This will allow some muscle recovering and allow you to refuel your body.

4) Have a proper supportive meal a 60-90 minutes before exercise and proper meal/recovery shake within 30 minutes after exercise. This will allow energy for your body and will assure you have plenty of fuel for your workouts and not risk using muscle for energy over time.

Look for Mistake #4 coming soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,
~David Modderman


As stated in mistake number one resistance training is crucial to your success no matter what your fitness or weight loss goal might be. Any form of resistance training like free weights, bodyweight, resistance bands, and weight machines can help you a great deal. Unfortunately, when people join a gym they are usually always set up on the weight machines. Now don’t get me wrong, someone who is just beginning resistance training using the machines might actually be good for them to get them comfortable isolating certain muscle groups and learning the movements safely and effectively to start. However, I see way too many people depending machines as their only source of resistance training for months and even years.

The benefits of weight machines are:

1) They are great for isolating muscle groups
2) They are usually safe and stable for beginners to learn the movements
3) They can help you increase strength at first

The Major disadvantages of weight machines:

1) They use the same path of motion over and over and can lead to connective tissue damage because they are putting stress on a single joint.
2) They don’t usually activate the stomach and core muscles, and stabilizer muscles you use in the real world correctly or efficiently because they are too supportive and stable.
3) Only work one muscle at a time

Even though using weight machines have their benefits and disadvantages in simple they are still not the most effective or most efficient way to see the best results. When using weight machines most seem to focus on just the movements and not the actual muscles they are working. I always find it humorous when I ask someone the routine they are doing and the can show the movement they do but cannot tell me the muscle they are working. (ie. I do this one, and this one) Ninety five percent of the clients I work I will start them out using their bodyweight, dumbbells, resistance bands, cables, and the stability ball.

Why do I feel it’s crucial for people to get off the machines? If you think how you move in the real world you walk, run, get out of bed, squat to pick something or a small child off the ground, push a lawn mower, pull on a car door, shovel snow, put something on a shelf over your head. Most sit in a chair or desk all day at work and never use their core muscles (your stomach, lower back, pelvis muscles). Why would you go to the gym and sit down again and train your body the same way? If you want to see the best possible results in how your body looks and feels, and performs every day then you need to get off the weight machines and challenge your body with more free motion natural movements.

The advantages of body/free weight training are the following:

1) If used properly will strengthen your entire body as a whole. Free weights and bodyweight training will strengthen your core (your body’s center of gravity) and work all the stabilizers muscles in your body because these muscles must stabilize the free motion of the weight and body. This will allow your body to move naturally through every plain of motion, like squatting, pushing, pulling, and rotating.

2) They will be easier and safer on your connective tissue and joints. While most weight machines are single joint exercises because you are using a stabilized piece of metal. Free motion exercises work multiple joints to help stabilize the weight there for will put less stress on connective tissue.

3) Will make you work harder and help you burn more calories. Studies show your body burns more calories in a standing and unstable environment.

4) Are more versatile and will allow you to have more variety because you will be able to do unlimited amounts of exercises with very little equipment.

In summary any resistance training is beneficial however if you get dependent on only using weight machines you are doing your body a disservice and you will probably never reach your full potential in regards to fat loss, strength, and positive changes in body composition.


Look For Mistake #3 “Doing Resistance Training and Cardio in the Wrong Order” coming soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,
~David Modderman


As a fitness and nutrition expert for the last 12 years I have seen many people make the same fitness and nutrition mistakes over and over. Many after all these years are still not being properly educated on the things they must do to see the best results in and outside of the gym or workout. Some are receiving the education but not applying it.

Over the next week I will be sharing the “The 5 Mistakes People Make at the Gym” If you take this information and apply it and correct these mistakes you could make some serious leaps with your fitness success. On the other hand if you just read them and think “That won’t work for me” you are probably right……………..because nothing will WORK UNLESS YOU DO.

Mistake #1- Doing only cardio and no resistance training

Ninety –Five percent of the people I work with, who contact me, or I talk to at the gym usually want to do one of 3 things:

1) Lose visible fat (not just weight)
2) Build Lean Muscle (or their words tone up)
3) Look and feel better (about themselves and in the mirror)

No matter your specific goals adding resistance training to your weekly workout is crucial for long term success. A proper resistance training program should be the foundation of any individual who wants to see results and changes in the way their body looks and feels. Resistance training if done properly and is balanced with the right nutrition is great for building and maintaining your lean muscle tissue. Your lean muscle tissue is literally your fat burning engine, without muscle your body can not even burn very much fat if any during your cardio/aerobic sessions. Muscle is an active tissue that can help your body burn calories all day long even at rest.

I am amazed how many people who contact me say they want to lose fat/weight yet they are training to run some 25k race. If your goal is to run that’s great but training for a marathon and losing fat/weight are two separate goals in which you must have two separate strategies and plans in place to be successful and each. One must also realize running long distance is not effective for long term fat loss (not just weight). Studies show excessive cardio can actually breakdown muscle and cause your body to store more fat in the long run. I have never met anyone who lost excessive amounts of fat and kept if off by just doing cardio. Sure you will burn lots of calories by running for 45 minutes then taking a cardio class for another hour afterward, yet it’s a seriously flawed strategy if you’re seeking the best possible results and having a very efficient fat burning workout.

I personally recommend that cardio sessions do not exceed 30-45 minutes if your main goal is fat loss. How much weight training should one do? I personally believe most need 3-4 days of weight/resistance training per week to see the maximum benefits. These benefits include increased lean muscle tissue, increase in metabolism, increased muscle strength and endurance, and increase in bone mass. The 1-2 days of resistance training per weeks is very common and a good start (some is better than none) yet it is not enough. If you go to the gym for an hour 3 times per week then 30 minutes of resistance training and 30 minutes of cardio is using that hour much more efficiently than just do cardio for one hour alone. Lift weight, use body resistance, challenge and protect your lean muscle and your body composition will thank you for it!

MISTAKE #2 Coming Soon!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,

~David Modderman


(some information referenced from Phil Kaplan’s article 2011 Mistakes)

Here are the fitness and nutrition mistakes most people will make in the first 2 weeks of January and beyond.

1. Going On A Fad Diet
Every New Year comes and people seem to start a diet. Whether it’s an extreme fad diet like detoxing your body, eating only soup or crackers or doing something that restricts calories like Weight Watchers, or South Beach. Following a “DIET” is a flawed approach. Most people fail to realize after all these years that any diet that restricts calories, or certain foods is doomed for failure! “BUT it worked for me before David! I lost 25 pounds on the Weight Watchers program.” My answer is well if it worked so well why aren’t you still doing it? And why are seeking me for help? :-) Sure maybe a low calorie diet will help you lose weight temporary but how will it effect your body long term? And can you maintain it for the rest of your life? Most diets will destroy metabolism. All restrictive diets will fail What people need is a balanced supportive nutrition plan with the right amount of calories, that includes real natural foods. The most successful plans to follow are those that will not restrict calories and will provide everything your body needs to build lean muscle, increase metabolism and BURN fat like a machine.

2. They will overtrain or not train properly
Overtraining is extremely common.. It’s the curse of most New Years Resolutions. For most motivation is quite high, yet the body’s recovery ability is low. The first few days of January, most will arrive at the gym, lift weights, bust out a few rounds on the treadmill or elliptical, and then do a few crunches or pushups before bed. For a few days you’re motivated and sore. Then . . . just sore. Then . . . you skip a few days and the soreness retreats, but so does the motivation. You need recovery to see results yet you must also train correctly to see the best possible results. This bring us to mis-training. Mis-training is a little different.

I am amazed how many people I see or talk to who have certain specific goals of losing weight or building muscle yet they are doing all the wrong things to reach their goal. If your goal is fat loss (not just weight) you need to create the correct environment to burn fat. Balancing on a bosu ball, taking 2 minutes rest periods between sets, and doing 2 hours of cardio a day is the not the answer. Yet, people are doing/trying this methods everyday with no results. It’s about following the right amount and type of resistance training, moderate aerobic exercise, and eating the right foods to increase your metabolism. Creating the right calorie deficit (not excessive) and then getting adequate rest is crucial. One of the best you things you to get better results is to get off the weight machine circuit at the gym and start to use all your muscle groups like you move in the real world. You should be training your body how it moves in the real world and burning more calories. You don’t live in a stationary position so you should NOT exercise that way.

3. They will buy the latest fad supplement or weight loss drug on the market.
I will make this very clear there is not a drug or supplement that will burn fat without the help of the right exericse and the right nutrition. If anyone says this supplement “WILL WORK” they are lieing because no supplement or drug will work on it’s own. Don’t waste your money on drugs like “Alli” or stimulants that contain caffiene. Most supplements that contain caffiene or stimulants (fat burners) that are highly addictive and can actually increase body fat long term do to increasing your cortisol levels (stress hormone) The only supplement that most people need to aid them in losing weight is a good whole food vitamin. The reason? Most fail to get all the nutritients they need from their nutrition so a good whole food vitamin will fill in those gaps. What whole food vitamin do I recommend? You can find it by clicking here: Whole Food Vitamin

4. They’ll cut carbs and calories
What are Carbs? Are carbs even carbs anymore? There are so many things labeled ‘healthy that are not” Carbs are our bodies preferred energy source. Yet, most people think they need to be eliminated completely to lose weight. This is not a good idea carbs are used for fuel to give us energy and help spare our proteins for muscle recovery. Our body is a machine and carbs and are fuel for that human machines. What are calories? Calories are a unit of energy! Meaning if you are not eating enough your body will actually feed of your own muscle to supply it with the energy it needs. Most people do not realize how many calories they need to eat in order to lose fat and keep it off. Don’t cut carbs or calories if you are looking for a long term solution for fat loss.

5. They’ll still expect aerobic exercise to be the answer
Most physcians still tell their patients the best exercise is to “walk.” Women still tend gravitate toward aerobic exercise classes and shy away from weights. Men and women find biking, rollerblading or running enjoyable and they mistakenly assume it fully takes care of the exercise component. Unless your only goal is to get more effecient and running or biking, then aerobic exercise will never be enough you to reach your goals. Aerobic exercise though important is still just a piece of the fat loss puzzle. One needs to challenge and protect muscle (even building a little bit won’t hurt) through resistance training. Resistance training is the key to maintaining/increasing muscle and increasing ones metabolism. Not to mention increasing bone mass and strength.

6. They’ll make too much of a drastic change and step a little too far outside of their comfort levels
Maybe this is you……, You went out on New Year’s Eve knowing it’s going to be “the last time.” January 1st, or perhaps January 3rd (Monday), you’re going to stop drinking beer, stop eating pizza and desserts, workout every day, and think only positive thoughts. The positive thinking is a good step, but you’ve developed habits that are with you until they’re replaced by new behaviors. Trying to change everything all at once is most likely gonna set yourself up for failure. You need to have solid structured plan of progressive steps in place or most likely you will not move forward effectively. For most cravings try to drive you to what you’re body is used to. Reduction in caloric intake leads to energy compromise, and then, before you know it, you’re failing to recover.

What you NEED is a properly balanced nutrition and exercise plan where you can set realistic goals, and from there continue to progress with the lifestyle change you need. You’re health fitness should just not be a 12 week program or 60 day journey but a journey that includes the rest of your life.

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,

~David Modderman


Please Don't Use This Non Effective Machine

With over 10 years of experience as a fitness professional, I have been asked by hundreds if not thousands about how to use “the machines.” I have also met a lot of individuals on a regular basis who only use the weight machines.

When I ask somone what exercises they are doing, and they tell me, “I do this one.” They then demonstrate the movements simulating the use of the machine. “Well, David, first I do this one (they raise their hands overhead), then I do this one (they push out to the front) and then I do this one (they perform an imaginary pull down from some unspecified space overhead). As they explain and demonstrate the movements, they sincerely believe they have been working out efficiently, but they cannot tell me what muscle group they have worked. Interestingly, most of the people I have worked with, one on one, set up Fitness Coaching appointments with me because they are not seeing the results they were looking for when they first joined their gym or health club.

Here’s the reality. If you’re looking to improve form and function, if you’re looking to have a body that continues to perform at its best, believing solely in “the machines” as an effective workout may be a bad decision that will lead you to nowhere.

I am not saying machine workouts overall are bad. They are not. Even though they have the benefit of potentially working the muscles, they do not ask the body to move as the body moves in the real world.

Picture a seated chest press movement where your back is supported by a pad, your legs are fixed position in place with your hips at a 90-degree angle of flexion, and you thrust the handles out in front of you until your arms are fully extended. Where in the real world does that movement take place? For most of us, it never does.

Real world movement starts at the body’s center of gravity, and is supported by contraction of the muscles of “the core.” The “core” refers to the deep lying abdominals, the pelvis and lower back muscles that work to support the midsection, to stabilize during twisting movements, and to maintain balance as you bend, lift, reach, or throw. In real world movement the back is not supported by a pad, your body should have some freedom of movement, allowing the lower back muscles and abdominal muscles to develop functionally.

The way your body moves when you walk across the room is not limited to one muscle or muscle group. Most would say they would be using the leg muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes to walk across the room. Unfortunately, if those were the only muscles you would use to try to walk you would fall flat on your face. If you were not using your abdominal muscles and the muscles around your spine to hold you uptight you would probably take a nosedive to the ground. If your not using the shoulder muscles in order for you to swing your arms, you wouldn’t be able to maintain balance. Real world movement involves all your muscles contracting in harmony. “The machines” isolate individual muscles. Machine movements can serve as a part of an effective routine, but they will never be the answer for you as a whole.

Why do I feel this information is important? I’ve seen many cases of connective tissue disorders and overuse injuries from individuals committed to years of working out on the weight machines. Most exercise machines put the force on a single joint or two joints. By performing movements using dumbbells, stability balls, medicine balls, and other forms of resistance, you spread the workload throughout your body and involve far greater muscle stimulation. You also find these exercises are more beneficial in your all daily activities that involve movement, making daily tasks less of a burden. You find getting out of your car, or bed in the morning requires less effort. Lifting a bag of groceries or a child becomes simpler. Your golf swing or tennis backhand develops a better sense of flow.

In summary, the machines have their place, and can certainly be can be used in a solid exercise program, but give me a pair of dumbbells, a stability ball, and some elastic tubing and I can teach anyone to achieve far better results anywhere.

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in the hips, knees, shoulders, or elbows while performing specific exercises or machines, stop performing this exercise and seek a professional or medical evaluation.

Remember, a complete routine will have a balance between both resistance training and aerobic movement.

If you are asked to perform a given movement, you should learn and understand precisely what muscles are being worked and how those muscles can be best stimulated without risk.

Each and every program that I prescribe to my clients involves real world movements. If your only doing machines you are missing out on seeing true results and you are putting yourself at greater risk for injury.

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,
~David Modderman


GOALSYou must have a goal and focus point to see results!

Are you going to the gym or exercising every day just to maintain your current level of health and fitness? Or are you exercising everyday just to get into shape? If you want to see positive changes in your body just coming to the gym or “working out” probably will not be enough to see results. I see people everyday just working out with no plan in mind. Just because you are doing cardio doesn’t mean you are burning fat, and just because your lifting weights it doesn’t mean your building muscle. Cardio has the potential to burn fat as well as lifting weights has the potential to build muscle, but its not a given. If your nutrition is not in check and your not doing things the right way you can actually prime your body to burn muscle and store more fat! Yikes! All that effort of going to the gym and exercising at home could be in vain!

You should have a specific goal each time you plan to exercise. You should know what you will be doing, how much, for how long, and what you’re trying to accomplish that day, week, month, etc. A written plan of what you will be doing each day or that week could be very helpful. If you don’t have a goal then how will you know when you have reached the point where you are satisfied? If you are going to the gym just to “exercise” and go through the motions of a workout you might not be using your time very wisely.

You should have a specific goal whether it’s to build strength and muscle, strengthen your core, build endurance, or lose fat. These are all good goals but you must also make sure you are following a successful strategy (the Right Exercise and Nutrition) that will help you reach this specific goal. If your goal is fat loss following your typical low calorie diet with lots of aerobic activity could be the worst thing to do. One must build muscle first to effectively lose fat and keep it off. My recommendations are having a program designed specially for you or follow a program that is scientifically proven to get results. If your getting your workout or diet from a magazine or DVD you could be wasting your time thinking this program or diet will give you long term individual results.

Lastly, you must make sure you are changing the focus of your workout regularly, for example I have many of my clients focus on strength for 2 weeks, then endurance for 4 weeks, and fat loss for 4 weeks. Each phase we have a specific workout and nutrition plan designed specifically for this goal. Any program that you’re following the same focus point or goal for too long could be putting your body into a tailspin. The program’s my clients are following are constantly changing so their body cannot adapt to it. To see a summary of my programs please visit: REAL RESULTS PROGRAM

Having a specific goal and focus point is the only way to see continuous REAL results.

To Your Success,

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,
~David Modderman


Ever find yourself in the same old rut when it comes to your workouts? Doing the same workout over and over is not only
boring—it also slows down your results by not giving your muscles a chance to recover. You need to alternate your exercise routine, for example I have my clients switch their program around a minumum every 2-4 weeks but usaully every other week we change something about the workout around. This can be done very easily by changing your reps, sets, rest periods, and even your tempos around. It doesn’t mean you need to do a different workout each day but the more you can mix it up and keep your body guessing the more your body will respond.

One thing to keep in mind is your body responds best when you focus on one goal at a time. If you want to lose fat then you must put all your focus into an effective exercise and nutrition plan to lose fat. I see far too many people wanting to lose fat but not doing a workout or weekly exercise routine that is most effective to reach this goal. Running marathons, triathlons, and taking aerobic classes will most not likely get you leaner and help you keep it off. But the right balance of resistance training, interval training, and the right balance of nutrition and calories will.

Mix up your workout, keep your body guessing, but make sure you have a clear focus on what your goal really is and have a clear path on how to get there!

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,

~David Modderman