Early morning workouts have multiple benefits

It’s 5:30 a.m., and long before the sun rises, PowerAthlete stirs with activity. Throughout the week, everyone from high school and college athletes to professional men and woman, and seniors, strive to reach their fitness goals when most people are asleep.

Starting your day with a healthy sweat has multiple advantages.

Getting up early in the morning ensures that a workout happens. It provides you the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve done something beneficial for yourself before many people are awake.


Here are five benefits to working out before the sun rises:

You will inspire a fitness routine

Consistency is integral to launching a sustainable fitness regimen. If you wake up early and go to the gym before most of the world, that inspires you to maintain healthy habits and exercise regularly. With the demands and pressures of the day, you can be tempted to blow off a workout after work. Setting your alarm for 5 and making an appointment to exercise helps develop a routine, which allows you to tap into the health benefits of working out so early.

You’ll take in fewer unnecessary calories

Studies indicate that exercising in the morning right after waking up can diminish your appetite for the rest of the day. And early morning workouts motivate you to maintain those healthy eating habits since you started the day off on a positive note.

You’ll burn more fat

Fat oxidation occurs when you work out before breakfast, according to researchers in Japan. Fat oxidation is the process by which large fat molecules break down. Working out in the morning boosts your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories for the rest of the day. This phenomenon is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.

You’ll be more focused

For many of us, an early morning workout is followed by work, school or managing a household. Exercising early increases alertness the rest of the day.

You’ll sleep better at night

Better sleep is one of the many well-studied benefits of morning workouts. Working out in the morning results in deeper, longer and higher-quality sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

For more information about PowerAthlete’s programs, visit www.powerathlete.net.



Regular exercise helps ease depression and anxiety

It’s ironic, but no laughing matter for anyone who has depression or anxiety. Exercise is proven to be more effective than pharmaceuticals in helping you thrive with either condition, yet when you have depression or anxiety, any form of fitness seems like a challenge. As an old adage says, more than 50 percent of the battle is getting to the gym, but once you walk through the doors at Power Athlete, exercise can make a significant positive difference.

It is widely known that exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety.


The links between depression, anxiety and exercise aren’t entirely clear, but working out and other forms of physical activity can definitely ease symptoms of depression or anxiety and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep depression and anxiety from coming back once you’re feeling better.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise may help ease depression and anxiety by:

·       Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being.

·       Taking your mind off worries so you can get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety.

Regular exercise has multiple psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:

·       Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.

·       Get more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.

·       Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage depression or anxiety is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how you feel, or hoping depression or anxiety will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.

Physical activity such as regular walking may help improve mood. Physical activity and exercise are not the same thing, but both are beneficial to your health.

Physical activity is any activity that works your muscles and requires energy and can include work or household or leisure activities. Exercise is a planned, structured and repetitive body movement done to improve or maintain physical fitness.

The word “exercise” may make you think of running laps around the gym. But exercise includes a wide range of activities that boost your activity level to help you feel better.

Certainly running, lifting weights, playing basketball and other fitness activities that get your heart pumping can help. But so can physical activity such as gardening, washing your car, walking around the block or engaging in other less intense activities. Any physical activity that gets you off the couch and moving can help improve your mood.

You don’t have to do all your exercise or other physical activity at once. Broaden how you think of exercise and find ways to add small amounts of physical activity throughout your day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a little farther away from work to fit in a short walk. Or, if you live close to your job, consider biking to work.

PowerAthlete’s adult program offers variety designed to keep you engaged while generating strength, conditioning, flexibility and agility. Plans designed by Power Athlete trainers allow you to stay inspired and reach your goals, one workout at a time.

Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make a difference. It may take less time exercising to improve your mood when you do more vigorous activities, like PowerAthlete’s circuits.

The mental health benefits of exercise and physical activity may last only if you stick with it over the long term — another good reason to focus on finding activities that you enjoy.

Don’t think of exercise or physical activity as a chore. If exercise is just another “should” in your life that you don’t think you’re living up to, you’ll associate it with failure. Rather, look at your exercise or physical activity schedule the same way you look at your therapy sessions or medication — as one of the tools to help you get better.

Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, no matter how small. If you skip exercise one day, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain an exercise routine and might as well quit. Just try again the next day. Stick with it.


Variety is the key to achieving wellness goals

No matter if you are a longtime fitness enthusiast, or a beginner who is striving to improve your overall wellness, you will eventually “plateau” in your fitness regimen if you confine yourself the same workout routine.  Simple changes, such as trying new exercises or swapping cardio for high intensity interval training (HIIT), can make all the difference. Power Athlete’s training is geared towards variety to enhance strength, conditioning, flexibility and agility.

The human body has an amazing ability to adapt to new stimuli. For instance, when you’re just starting to work out, you can see your body changing from one week to the next. As time goes by, your progress stops. You’re no longer losing fat and your muscles refuse to grow.


Research confirms that exercise is an adaptive process. Over time, your muscles adapt to the stresses placed on them. Whether you’re running, swimming or lifting weights, you’ll hit a plateau sooner or later. The only way to prevent this issue is to diversify your routine. This can be done by:

·        Changing workout variables (intensity, duration, number of reps and sets, rest periods, range of motion, etc.)

·        Changing body positioning (hand spacing, stance, foot placement, etc.)

·        Increasing the load

·        Trying new exercises and activities

Workout variety can speed up your progress and bring you closer to reaching your fitness goals. In the long run, it may lead to:

·        Faster weight loss

·        Improved body composition

·        Improved fitness level

·        Increased motivation

·        Reduced injury risk

·        Greater flexibility and range of motion

·        Increased speed and agility

·        Improved reaction time

·        Stronger bones and joints

On top of that, trying new workouts are fun No matter how much you love running or lifting weights, you’ll get bored at some point. Sure, you’ll still hit the gym and do your workouts, but it won’t be the same. Unless you try something new, you’re at risk of losing motivation.

Power Athlete has the camaraderie of a fitness community, guidance from skilled trainers and the variety that minimizes the change that you will plateau.


Exercise and Diet after 40

The world of exercise has lost its way. In the age of super intensive, sweat and puke workouts we have lost the path of training to be functional and health for the rest of our lives and instead are consumed with what we are doing in the short term.

High intensity exercise is great and burns a lot of calories, but is also incredibly stressful on the body as a whole. A younger body recovers from this level of stress very well and can continue to work at this intensity for a long period of time, but eventually will get injured just killing every workout every single day.

As the body ages the ability to out work a crappy diet decreases very quickly. By the late 20’s and early 30’s most people are losing the battle, and try to overcome this with increasingly harder and harder training sessions.

As we approach 30’s and 40’s the strategy for optimizing your physical life is a combination of cleaning up your diet, and changing the way you train to vary the intensity of the sessions to allow for optimal recovery. The last components are flexibility and including exercises to safeguard your joints for the long haul.

Cleaning up your diet.

Abs are built in the kitchen. You can’t out work a crap diet. No questions here. There is not an exercise program in the world that is going to change that. Unfortunately most people try and escalate the intensity of their training to try and out work their crap diet, and get hurt, which then compounds their weight gain. As a general rule lean proteins, vegetables and fruit and whole grains should make up a majority of your diet. We can help dial in your diet more individually but this is a great place to start. Dietary programs like Whole30 are a good, broad spectrum starting point for changing how you eat.

Cycling Intensity of training sessions

This isn’t an article advocating just gentle breathing exercises and stretching. It is necessary to occasionally push your physical limits, but how often? At PowerAthlete we look for the minimum dose of intensity that it takes to produce a positive result (lower body fat, increased strength or stamina, etc). We cycle through intensity of exercises, variety of exercises and directions of loading the body to produce the ultimate goal of a bulletproof body, that can continue to be highly functional for a long period of time.


As we age joints lose their ability to move through a full range of motion so there for taking the time to stretch appropriately is necessary. When we say appropriately that means stretching what needs to be stretched and strengthening the joints that are weak and loose.

Safeguarding Joints

With our athletes we spend a considerable amount of time with exercises that prevent injuries and we do the same thing with our adults. If you can’t move, you can’t improve regardless if you are a 16 year old soccer player or a 45 year old attorney. All of our programs include movements that safeguard shoulders, backs, knees hips and ankles.

So the goal is to be as functional as possible, as long as possible. This is how we design all programs and dietary plans!

Great new Testimonial

My 14 year old son is a AAA hockey player for the Columbus Blue Jackets and has been working out with Paul Manfre at Power Athlete all summer.  Paul and his staff have been amazing to work with and I have already seen a significant difference in Tommy's speed, strength and agility both on and off the ice.  His speed on the ice, especially his explosiveness from a dead stop, are noticeable as is his strength and body leverage fighting for loose pucks in the corner.  His balance and stride have been enhanced along with his mobility and agility with his backward skating, a key skill for a defense man.  I am very happy with Power Athlete and would recommend Paul and his staff to any hockey player looking to improve their strength, speed, shot, and agility on the ice.

It not about the equipment, its what you do with it!

I found this video, of an island muscle head,  Alcindo Soares on a beach in Santa Maria, Cape Verde.  He is a construction worker on the island, who has built this gym on the beach with scraps collected out of the ocean.  That is impressive by itself, but what struck me as so cool was the effort the gym users were putting forth on this salvaged gym.  In the U.S. we think that new and shiny is best, but there is something to be said for putting forth effort with what you have, not looking for the newest trend.  Hard work trumps everything else eventually.

Pre Game and Post Game Nutrition

Pre-Game: – Pre-Game Meal: • 4-6 hours before game • High Complex/Low GI** foods (whole wheat bread or pasta, sweet potatoes, oatmeal); low protein and fat • Hydrate well: fruit juices, sports drinks (gatorade/powerade), water

 – 2-3 Hours before game • Moderately-sized snack: more low GI foods; low protein and fat • Continue to hydrate • No caffeine*

 – 1 Hour before game • Small snack: easily digestible foods (fruit, pretzels), sports bars and sports drinks (like Gatorade or Powerade – NO “Energy Drinks” (Red Bull, etc.) • Continue to hydrate • No caffeine*

– 30 minutes before game • “Top off the tank” • High-GI** carbs that will absorb quickly and deliver glucose rapidly to working muscles • Sports drink, sports gels • No caffeine*

*Caffeine has major dehydrating effects, can make you jumpy, and raises your heart rate and blood pressure – all things you should avoid on game day!

Post-Game Recovery – VITAL PERIOD

– First 30-60 minutes after competition • Replace every pound of weight lost through sweating with 20-24 ounces of fluid • Best concentration is 4:1 ratio carb: protein blend drink – better than water

– 60-90 minutes after competition • Continue to hydrate • Recovery snack, shake or bar with 4:1 carb: protein ratio

 – Within 3 hours after competition • Mixed Meal – combination of protein, carbs and fat • Continue to hydrate • NO soda, alcohol, caffeine – Bus Ride Home • Athletes should be hydrating constantly • If you are not going to the bathroom at least once every hour you are not drinking enough

• Within 24 hours after competition Strictly Limit: – Alcohol, Soda, Caffeine in any form • Dehydration, lack of sleep, and lack of nutrients are not the keys to recovery

Dispelling the Myths of Youth Sports Conditioning

Youth Sport Conditioning Facts!

Myth:  Weight Training Stunts growth

Truth: No Clinical record showing correlations between heavy weight training and bone damage.  In fact bone density increases!

Myth: Strength Training is ineffectual at producing strength at younger ages because of their hormonal profile is not adequate

Truth: High intensity programs have been shown to increase strength in preadolescences in 6 weeks or less (Wescott 1979, Mersch 1989, Nielsen 1980, Ozmun 1991)

Myth:  Injury rates with weight training are a continual source of concern and have been proposed as one of the major rationale for precluding children’s training with weights.

Truths: Injury rates are lower in weight lifting than in other sporting activities (Stone 1990)

Weight training programs are safe with athletes as young as 7 (Pierce et al, 1999)

Weight lifting can reduce the likelihood of injury in other sporting activities (Faigenbaum&Schram, 2004)


Despite the previously held belief that strength training was unsafe and ineffective for children, health organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Strength and Conditioning Association now support children’s participation in appropriately designed and competently supervised strength training programs. (John A Bergfeld M.D.)

Principles of Speed Training

Speed Training

Sprint/Speed Training

Sprint training is a multi phase training process. All phases of training must be addresses to produce optimal results.

The basic formula for a faster athlete is:

Power=(Mass x Acceleration) x (^Distance/^Time) or:

small mass (lighter body weight)
big force (stronger body)
all body parts going in the right direction
all components of the body firing in a short amount of time
Run Faster!

Small Mass
The less the athlete weighs the faster he/she is going to be. The bigger the athlete the stronger they have to be to produce more force.

Big Force
It is a fact that 200 pound male athlete that squats 400 pounds is going to be faster than a 200 pound athlete that squats 200 pounds. Period. There is a reason world class sprinters (male and female) have muscles. The stronger/more powerful and lighter the athlete is, the faster they will be.

During sprinting the Ground reaction force is 5 times body-weight! Ground reactive force is the force the body exerts on the ground. Muscle forces, or the force due to the action of muscles can be up to 7 times body-weight! So for a 200 pound football player that can be upwards of 1400 pounds of stress in the muscles in the body during a sprint. All the ladder drills in the world alone aren’t going to prepare you adequately for these kinds of forces

All Body parts going in the right direction
Sprint mechanics. Broken into Back-side and Front-side mechanics, it is the ability to properly position your torso, arms and legs to produce the proper stride length as well full use of all of the power being produced by the body. The key here is the ability to efficiently use all the force produced by the athlete to propel them forward.

All components of the body firing in a short amount of time
Better sprinters have shorter ground contact times.

World class sprint coach Charlie Francis was quoted as saying, “To go fast you need more force, the more force you apply to the ground the greater the displacement.”

Bottom line: Sprint mechanics play a part, but ultimately a lighter+stronger+ ground reactive athlete is going to be faster on the field. By far the most trainable aspect of sprint training is to increase the athlete’s strength and power levels!

Principles of Sports Training

Every program is built around the following proven training principles:

1. Individualized Sport-specific Training

Every athlete has unique training needs- based on training age, injury history,

body size, sport and positional demands, and hundreds of other variables. We

distinguish ourselves by providing individualized programming to meet every

athlete wherever they may be. Likewise, we provide programming designed to

maximize transfer to the field of play by developing the specific movement

skills and energy systems of each sport.

2. Multi-Joint Movements

No single muscle works in isolation in sport. Rather, the body works

synergistically to produce complex movements. Running, jumping, kicking,

shooting and throwing all require multiple joint actions timed in a

synchronized recruitment pattern. This can only by enhanced through

movement-oriented training, which develops the musculoskeletal (muscles,

joints, connective tissue) and neuromuscular systems (brain) simultaneously.

3. Multi-Plane Movements

Movement in sport occurs in three planes- sagital (forward-backward), frontal

(side-to-side) and transverse (rotational), and combinations of all three.

Resistance training should incorporate exercises and movement patterns that

develop strength and speed in each plane. Movement training should

emphasize acceleration (force production), deceleration (force reduction) and

agility (change of direction skills) since these have the greatest impact on sport


4. Ground-Based Movements

Most sport skills are initiated by applying force in to the ground, on one leg or

two, or transferring force to an implement (stick, club, bat, ball). The more

force an athlete applies against the ground, the faster they will accelerate and

the higher they will jump. The more force they can transfer from the ground

(through the core) and out to the implement the harder they will hit, kick or

shoot. Weight training exercises should be chosen that enhance this ability to

generate and transfer force with the feet on the ground. Specifically, intensive

core training (on stable and unstable surfaces), combined with squats (single

and double-leg), lunges, and Olympic lifting is critical. Plyometrics and sport specific

agility drills can also be very effective.

5. Explosive Training

The ability to generate force at high rates of speed (power) is crucial in sport.

Power output is the result of motor unit recruitment by the central nervous

system. There are two types of motor units- fast and slow- that vary greatly in

their ability to generate force. Training explosively, using ground-based,

multiple joint movements trains the body to recruit fast motor units at high

rates of speed. This, in turn, improves performance potential.

6. Periodization

Performance gains will eventually plateau and even diminish if the same

training prescription is continually followed. Periodization is a scientifically

proven model that uses different combinations of volume, load (intensity),

tempo, rest and specificity to progressively overload the body and bring about

specific training adaptations.

7. Regeneration

No training program can be successful without a commitment to nutrition, rest

and a healthy lifestyle. Decrements in performance can often be traced to a

poor diet, poor sleep habits, and/or lack of recovery time. It is essential that

athletes understand and apply regeneration techniques that accelerate recovery.

8. Character

Becoming the best possible athlete requires more than talent, consistent

training and a commitment to nutrition. A foundation that includes resolve,

discipline, courage, perseverance and selflessness is essential for true success.

These attributes must be emphasized, developed and rewarded during training.

Exercise to Aid Weight Loss

The Nuts and Bolts of Exercise for Weight Loss

Individualized Heart Rated Driven Interval Training


Individualized and Scaled Interval Weight Training (all movements chosen to coincide with your individual fitness level)


EPOC Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (which means you burn more calories during your workout and more calories long after the workout is over)

Because we measure your personal heart rate in real time, there is never an plateau of your results. As you get fitter, the program is changed to accommodate your progress!

Eat Like a Champion - Eating for the Athlete

Here is an example of how we view a pretty good day of nutrition for one of our athletes.  This is for a competitive athlete, and the amounts of food would need to be adjusted to the goals of the athlete.


1-2 cup(s) Whole Grain (high fiber, low sugar) Cereal or Oatmeal,

1 cup Skim or Soy Milk, 2 Tbsp. Flax-seed oil, 1 cup Fresh or Frozen Blueberries, 2-4

2-4 Hard-boiled Omega-3 enriched Egg Whites

8-16oz Water, Multivitamin + 1-2×1000mg capsule Fish Oil


1 Apple with 2 Tbsp. Natural Peanut Butter OR 1 Builder’s Bar, 16oz. Water

10:30-11:30: WORKOUT (FEEDING #3)

Sip Gatorade mixed with 1/2 scoop whey protein isolate (shake well)


16 oz. low-fat Chocolate Milk OR Gatorade Recovery Shake, 1 piece fruit,

1-2×1000mg capsule Fish Oil

1:00-1:30PM: LUNCH (FEEDING #5)

Large Spinach or Romaine Salad with 2-3 fists* of protein (chicken, turkey, fish, beans,

eggs) OR

Whole-wheat wrap filled with veggies & 2-3 fists* of protein (tuna, turkey, grilled

chicken, hummus etc.), 16 oz. Water or Green Tea

*1 fist= 1 serving


1 Apple with 2 Tbsp. Natural Peanut Butter OR 1 Builder’s Bar, 16oz. Water


2-4 fists Grilled Chicken, Fish or Steak Fajitas with Grilled Veggies, 1-2 cups Black

beans, Salsa, Cheese, Guacamole, 1-3 whole wheat tortillas

1-2 cups Low-fat Greek Yogurt with 1 Handful of Chopped Walnuts or Almonds, 16oz.