Category Archives: Journey to You

6 Fitness and Health Secrets You Must Know


From the ”Journey to You” Series by Jason Latas 

At Summer Body Now, we believe in a holistic approach to health and wellness. We don’t preach boot-camps, harsh diets or the “no pain, no gain” methods. We believe that whole life wellness is a nice balance between health, fitness and getting to know yourself. It may sound funny but most people don’t know themselves as well as they think… For example, what foods make your body feel better, feel worse, burn fat, store fat, give you energy or bring you down? What time of day is best for you to work out? What body type are you? Why do you get tired about 30 minutes after lunch and want to fall asleep? Figuring out the answers to these questions will help you take a giant leap forward in your quest for overall health and wellness.

Below we are going to make a few general statements that we often hear from people who are struggling with their wellness and then we will show you why this scenario is, often not true. 


Wrong! Your body is the master compensator. When you drastically cut calories, your body goes into survival mode and slows down your metabolism. Yes, as crazy as it sounds. Also, if you just cut calories but don’t focus on nutrient dense, well-balanced meals, you also end up loosing muscle. The amount of muscle on your body is one of the main factors that determines your metabolism (how many calories you burn). So, if you end up losing muscle then you lower your metabolism. This can be a disastrous combo of losing muscle and damaging your metabolism.

This is one of the main reasons that people rebound after a “diet”. They loose “scale weight” but don’t realize that a lot of it was muscle and for the reasons listed above, lowered and perhaps even damaged their metabolism. So when they resume eating normal again, their body regains the fat and sometimes even more…

It is very important to know your body composition and body fat percentage before you start any dietary change to reduce your weight. You need to focus on well-balanced and nutrient dense meals, evenly spaced throughout the day. Make sure you take measurements and use the mirror more than the scale. This is where a coach can save you a ton of time and frustration because they can get you started on a personal plan that is as unique as you are…


Endless hours of cardio does not raise your metabolism. After some time, your body adapts to this type of training and it can actually damage and lower your metabolic rate. Again, just like starving yourself, when you run, run, run and don’t compensate with enough calories, your body will lower it’s own metabolism. Just look at the difference between a marathon runner and a sprinter and you will see the difference between running for hours and shorter, more intense, sets. Your goal is always to retain and gain lean muscle, while burning fat because, remember, the more muscle, the better you look and the higher your metabolism.

HIIT cardio; High-Intensity Interval Training is the only type of cardio the body does not adapt to. It supports metabolic rate as well as maintaining the fat burning component. In fact when studied side by side, HIT training actually burns more calories, helps retain muscle and keeps your metabolism up longer throughout the day!

So remember; unless you are a marathon runner and you want to burn fat while retaining muscle, stick with high intensity interval training. 


 Many women think if they lift weights they will bulk up. Unless you are a genetic anomaly, this won’t happen. Women just don’t naturally make enough testosterone naturally to worry about this. In fact most men train really hard and still have a challenge putting on muscle, so don’t worry.

Remember that muscle is what gives you that lean sexy shape that you’re after and keeps your metabolism burning hot to keep the fat at bay. You need to lift weights for many other reasons also to support your body as you age and to prevent bone loss.  Women, we cannot stress this enough, you need to incorporate some type of weight bearing exercise into your routine! You don’t get bulky from lifting weights; you get bulky from the cupcakes you eat. Adding muscle increases your metabolic rate burns fat and makes you look great!


You don’t need to go to the gym to get in shape and feel great! In fact, one of the biggest components to a healthy plan is to exercise outdoors as much as possible. Especially if you can get out in nature and connect with Mother earth!

Almost all of our Fitness Adventure Camps take place at a park or in the mountains! In fact, if you have kids, going to the park and exercising can not only become a family tradition; it could start a whole generation of healthy habits for your grandkids and their grandkids. We often take our whole family hiking, camping, kayaking or to the park for a workout. It’s a great family activity and builds healthy families!

There are many exercises you can do at the park, especially if they have some good equipment like monkey bars to hang from and do pull ups and swings for one leg squats. What we normally do is combine an exercise with a quick sprint and then back for another exercise. If you bring some exercise bands, you can work your entire body at the park and enjoy Mother Nature and your family at the same time


Well, it sounds good, but these are usually the people that you see in the gym all the time but they never change or even put on weight. You see, your body needs the proper nutrients to recover from and rebuild your body after a workout. If you don’t fuel properly before or refuel properly after a workout, your body won’t put on muscle, won’t get stronger and may even start to hold fat and lower your metabolism. Sounds familiar? Yah, the same thing that can happen on a fad diet.

You need to look at exercise and nutrition like building a house. A good, well balanced diet with lean protein, complex carbs and good fats along with exercise is like building with bricks. Maintaining a poor diet while trying to workout is like building with sand. Your body is constantly rebuilding itself via cellular rejuvenation. In fact, every 7 years, your body has almost completely rebuilt itself from the outside in. So you need to ask your self, what you are building your house with, sand or brick?

First you need to fuel properly before the workout so your body has the energy and fuel for a good strong workout. Then after your workout, you need to refuel your muscles so they can rebuild and be stronger the next time. So remember, if you want to properly benefit from all of that hard work, feed your body a well balanced, clean diet so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor 


This is purely a myth. If you fuel properly before your workout to energize your muscles and refuel properly after your workout so they can heal and grow, you can actually workout less and get great results. Learning these simple items can put you miles ahead of the others, putting hours in at the gym!

There are 3 very important items, when addressed, that will boost your efforts. Eat a well balanced meal an hour before you work out (timing will vary a little depending on your body type), Fuel properly after your workout with a whey protein drink and put your mind, body and soul into your workout.

It’s very important to fuel before your workout so your muscles have the fuel and energy they need to repair and grow.

We hope this helps you with your journey to health and if you have any questions, please leave a comment and we will be happy to answer 🙂

To your health

~ Jason and The Summer Body Now Team ~

Love is all there is!


A letter from Albert Einstein to his daughter:

In the late 1980s, Lieserl, the daughter of the famous genius, donated 1,400 letters, written by Einstein, to the Hebrew University, with orders not to publish their contents until two decades after his death. This is one of them, for Lieserl Einstein.

“When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.

I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.

There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.

When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others. Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness.

Love unfolds and reveals. For love we live and die. Love is God and God is Love.

This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.

To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation. If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.

After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…

If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.

Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.

However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.

When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.

I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer!”

Your father,

Albert Einstein

Elephant Tethers and Abundance

Are you an Elephant?

I wish I could hear everyone’s self talk when they read this line… No, I’m not offending you but I would be curious if you thought that, and why… “The Elephant” mentality is a reality with almost everyone that I work with in my practice and I’m not immune to it either. We all need to be constantly identifying these thoughts and eliminating them from our hard drive!!! I’ll explain.

This analogy goes back many years to when I was an exotic animal trainer at the Zoo. (Yes, I was a camel trainer among other things…) I worked closely with the elephant trainers because I was always fascinated with these enormous creatures.

One day I asked one of the trainers that was a good friend of mine; why do use such a small rope around the elephant’s ankle when you secure it? The answer literally blew me away! Let me explain.

Did you know that trained elephants will stay where they are by tying a rope around one of their massive legs and attaching it to a peg in the ground? Can the peg and rope really hold back an elephant? Absolutely not!

elephant-chains-latest-1024x680Then why does it work? Because elephants grow up believing it will. They start the process when the elephant is very young and at times  use chains so the young elephant learns that it cannot break away. After the young elephant tries enough times and perhaps even hurts it leg in the process, it stops trying. And after some time, most elephants will never try again! This outcome is multiplied if the young animal was ever hurt in the process! Do you hear where I am going with this???

During the course of my life and career I have run into many people (and no doubt will run into many more) who are holding themselves captive with their own “elephant tether.” It’s amazing how many limiting beliefs we carry around in our subconscious mind that are simply things that we were told when we were younger by the adults around us. Many times these comments were meant to protect us, although  other times these comments were just someone’s perception of reality that they were sharing, as though it were fact… When we consciously agreed to the statement, we, with our limited mind, told ourselves that it was a fact of life and filed it away in our subconscious mind. If we were hurt in the process then these agreements became much stronger… Often times, we continued to believe these “facts” without ever questioning them, even today.

You must understand that nothing means anything until you give it meaning!!!

When we decide to believe something (and call it fact) we also make an agreement with ourselves that we will continue to evaluate life based upon this (usually very limiting) agreement with ourselves! We think of it as fact, when it is only a belief…

Often times we hold ourselves back from great abundance and happiness simply because we have these limiting beliefs about ourselves ingrained in our subconscious minds. We must remember that they are only beliefs and not necessarily facts about life. We can change these agreements at any time and break free of the trap of any limiting belief.

The power of “elephant tethers” to restrain you is only in your imagination. YOU have the power to free yourself from it and enjoy life and achieve your goals with the same vigor and right as anyone else on this planet.elephant-and-child-s-friendship-free-desktop-598x336

Take a moment to evaluate some of the “reasons” that you use to hold yourself back from accomplishing your goals. You will find that most of these “reasons” are either excuses or old, outdated, belief systems that need to be changed! They are only perceptions that you have agreed to and you can change them at any time!!!

Examine your life for self-imposed “rules” you are following that are holding you back. When you find them, test them, change them and  break free of them! Create better rules to live by and see your progress and joy grow immensely as you explore your newly expanded world!


Science – Spirituality – Physics – Philosophy

Are they all trying to answer the same question? Why are we here? What are we made of? Who made us? What is the meaning of life?

All these disciplines seem to put on blinders and adhere so rigidly to their own dogma that they don’t even notice the similarities in each other.

Can they all get along and work in harmony?

From a young child we have been told what to do, what to think and how to act. Our domestication started shortly after our journey from the womb. Everything we have been taught has been based upon someone else’s experiences and what belief system they subscribed to… We have been poked, prodded, shaped and formed based upon someone else’s ideas and perceptions. Through this process we begin to take on the image suitable to those around us based upon their ideas and perceptions of reality, as opposed to discovering our true selves.

What is the truth?

What is reality?

Who are you?

Who am I?

It depends upon your belief system and what experiences became your reference points while you were growing up, which helped form your perception of “reality”.

How is it that 10 people can see the same event and give you 10 different descriptions of what happened? It all depends on what they perceived happened and how they related to it based upon their past experiences and teachings.

We are all a conglomeration of all of the experiences that have happened to us up to this point in our lives; one big file cabinet that we delve into every time we need to interpret our experiences. When this happens we find a file that looks similar to that experience and then define it based upon our perceptions of that past experience. Then we record it as “truth” and continue the interpretation process… And so we create our “reality”…

So what is our reality? I guess it depends on our domestication process and who taught us what “truth” was…

Isn’t it time that we wipe the slate clean; start actually looking at what is going on around us and question what we thought was reality.

The first step is to stop judging everything based upon what we “know” and just feel more from the heart and less from the head. The more we look at the facts with an open mind and resist trying to analyze them, the more we begin to see things as they are as opposed to what we want or perceive them to be. In this way we slowly remove our blinders and expand our vision.

Our “Teachers” – Our “Truths”:

A paradigm shift in our science, culture and spirituality is at hand.

Genghis-KhanHistory has shown us that radically new advances in worldviews almost never occur with the unbiased and open blessing of the old. Throughout history “experts” and “professionals” have suppressed new information and new findings because it could shake up society or disturb the standard practice that has stood for centuries. Religious zealots have burned and destroyed books written by other religions. Scientists have purposefully discredited or destroyed others’ careers and discoveries just so their outdated “theories” wouldn’t be challenged and have labeled anything that they cannot prove in the lab as “hypocrisy”. Conquerors routinely burned and destroyed the historical texts, art, culture, buildings and entire histories of the people that they had overrun so they could crush their will and force the new way on them. Large archeological societies and religions have routinely bought or “acquired” ancient findings, just to hide or destroy them, so those findings didn’t upset the model that the current culture was taught, or perhaps, so that culture wouldn’t question what that large society or religion had taught as “truth” during those times. We must remember that the “field experts” and scientists that we listen to, and subliminally record their theories as truth, are also humans that are subject to the same religious, philosophical and cultural prejudices and perceptions as the rest of us.

Energy_Wave_Future_MedEven through all of these attempts to hide the truth, ancient spiritual texts are being found that shatter our current views of religion and spirituality. Archeologists are finding buried civilizations that drastically change our current views on our origins and our history. Scientists are finding that what we thought were the smallest particles are actually quite large, and that what we though were constants are variable. Physicists are finding that what we though was solid is actually just a wave particle vibrating at a certain pitch and what we thought was dark, empty space actually has mass. Quantum Physicists are realizing that everything that we think is “real” might just be a hologram created in the minds of the people that inhabit it! Many “truths” that we have subscribed to and were taught in our outdated schoolbooks are being proven wrong!


What is your truth?



Hawaii to Mt Rainier, a Climber’s Story part 2 of 2, The Summit

Part 2, The Summit

As the sky darkened, I began to look earnestly forward to stopping for the night. I couldn’t feel my feet. At all. It was like walking on stubs for legs. The temperature was falling fastand the snow was literally blowing sideways. The chill was eating through my outerwear. Icicles were hanging from my nostrils and eyebrows. I just wanted to lie down and sleep. The rope in front of me suddenly went slack. I narrowly missed colliding into the guy in front of me. I had missed Kyle’s signal to stop. It was time to rest for the night. It was all I could do not to let my knees buckle and collapse face first into the snow.

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As if we weren’t already tired enough, we had to get out our shovels and dig pits in the snow and ice to burrow our tents into,otherwise they would be blown to pieces through the night. Once our tents were up, dinner was served.   I couldn’t decide if I was more hungry than cold. Dinner was instant noodles flavored with extra Tabasco sauce to trick our mouths and bellies into thinking they were warm. I ignored my disappointment at the fare that was served to use, silently grateful that I had eaten a good lunch sufficient to carry me until morning. Nevertheless, the cup of hot broth and noodles warmed my hands and belly, and defrosted my nose-sickles. I ate quickly and then retreated to my tent where I yanked my boots off. I was nervous about what I would find beneath my socks. I envisioned seeing blue and black deformed lumps of dead flesh. Peeling off my ice crusted socks, I was relieved to see that my feet were still attached to the bottom of my legs and not sporting telltale signs of frostbite – but it was close. My feet were like dead driftwood, cold, pale, heavydriftwood. I crawled into my sleeping bag and sat on my feet trying to warm them up fast.   I fell asleep at some point in a frozen delirium only to awake the next morning to more of the same grueling trek toward the summit with the same instant oatmeal breakfast, followed by a cold, but satisfying lunch that literally kept me going hour by hour.

The next morning after realizing we were camping in a plateau full of crevasses, that creaked all night, we looked back to see that the ridge we had crossed the day before had collapsed… Yes, you could see our trail across the ridge and the middle chunk of ice and snow had collapsed leaving a huge gap in our path from yesterday! Chills…

Day in and day out. It wasn’t until day three, during lunch that Kyle apologized to us and said that instead of the 6 hours of hiking that we had planned every day until the summit, it was going to be 8 to 10 hours because we were making our own trail and we were behind schedule. We just accepted the news without complaint and kept moving forward.

You see, when Kyle met our group on the first day, he saw that we were all fit and had offered us a more challenging trek than the standard guided tour. We all accepted, not realizing that we were going to be breaking a virgin trail and adding several thousand feet and hours to the trek.

On the fourth day of our trek, we were approximately four hours from the summit, when a blizzard hit us like the blasting breath of an ice dragon hell bent on freezing us in our tracks, or blowing us off the mountain altogether. My feet at that point hadn’t defrosted in over a day. My face was numb to the touch and each breath burned in my lungs. I couldn’t see a thing for the shooting ice snow and biting wind. I had to trust completely in my guide, Kyle, to lead us to the summit in the blinding chaos of snow and ice. The grey turmoil of the blizzard got darker as somewhere beyond the clouds and snow that hugged the mountain top, the sun was setting on another day. I have no idea how Kyle knew where he was going.

Kyle stopped us about 30 minutes from the summit where we set up camp in the blizzard. I struggled clumsily in my bulky outerwear to secure my tent. But that ice dragon wrestled furiously with me for it as it blew in the wind like a flag in my hands. Determined, I remained focused and methodically tied down my tent, finding some relief as I moved my gear inside and rested. Thank goodness Adam Quinn was my climbing partner as he had ice in his veins and was a weathered ship captain with prate blood running through his veins! Arrrr…

After a short reprieve and much lighter without our gear, we continued on until we reached the summit. The wind howled around us, pelting our faces with sharp ice crystals, but it didn’t matter as I couldn’t feel my face anyway. At the summit, Adam and I huddled together for a picture, stretching a small flag between us that Adam’s girlfriend (now wife), Leslie had made. In bright blue and green colors were the letters, L & A. It stood for Latatude and Adatudes – our adventure company name. (Get it, Jason Latas, Adam Quinn? Well it seemed like a good idea at the time…)

We didn’t linger on the summit. We had made it to the top, took pictures to prove it, then trekked down as quickly as we could. Hot broth and noodles waited for us upon our return. Once in my tent, I went through the same ritual of warming my feet again, knowing that I’d be back at base camp soon enjoying a burger & beer and reflecting on what I had just accomplished.

The trek down was a little easier, having gravity on our side and, for the first time, using an established trail. But it was just as scary. There was one point where we had to walk across a 10 foot long aluminum ladder that was laid across a huge 6-8 foot crevasse that was deeper than I could see. It might have been easier if I didn’t have steel crampons on my boots that made me slip on the ladder rungs like a cat on ice. While crossing the ladder, we still had to maintain the, one-step-at-a-time rhythm that kept me from scrambling across the ladder like my instincts begged for. I kept having to remind myself that if I stepped too fast or too slow, I could stumble and knock my rope buddies off balance, toppling the whole team into the cold dark abyss. We made it across without incident and I didn’t lose my lunch either.

Just when we thought we were in the clear, I felt a tug on the rope in front of me, and heard a desperate shout. In seconds, everyone hit the deck and dug their ice axes into the glacier. As I dug my ice axe in as hard as I could, I braced for the dreaded jerk on my line as one of our team members had fallen. In just a few moments, it was made known what had happened. One of our team had unknowingly stepped into a steam vent and had fallen up to his shoulders before the rest of the team had reacted to stop his fall. On the way down he had extended his arms to grab for anything and consequently twisted his left shoulder badly. After we pulled him out and ascertained his injuries, one of our guides, Jason made a rope sling for his arm. We had to split up his gear, as he could no longer carry his heavy pack. Consequently, we had to slow the pace a bit so he could keep up.

Within a few hours we could see base camp and we all un-roped, took off our “foot fangs” (crampons) and started glissading down the mountain on our boots, hooting, laughing, screaming, falling and rolling like little children. After five days of extreme tension, we all needed the release.

That evening, we all straggled into the small village at the base of Mt. Rainier. Our first stop was the local tavern where we sat back and enjoyed a cold mug of beer and warm burgers. Bleary eyed Kyle admitted over his mug of Seattle Brew, that in his 15 years of leading groups up Mt. Rainier, this one had been the toughest. He had miscalculated the route and had started lower than he had planned which explained why we were behind schedule. With the weather and the increased risk of avalanche activity of the Mountain in July, Kyle had experienced some intense anxiety over whether or not we would make it. But, by looking at him, you’d never would have guessed. This rugged mountaineer had calm written all over him despite the dangers we had encountered on our trek – thanks to his expertise and many years of training.

The Morale of the Story

Always be prepared for whatever life may throw at you. Life comes at ya fast and you don’t always know what’s around the next corner. Keep yourself fit and healthy so you can meet life’s challenges with confidence and your chin up. Whether, you’re an entrepreneur, a parent, employee, or all of the above, take the time to set goals, visualize where you’re going and set out on your journey with a plan. If it’s familiar territory you may have the experience and tenacity to do it on your own. If not, don’t be afraid to hire a guide that has been to the summit that you have your sites on. Whether it’s a life coach, personal trainer, business coach or any other guide, find one that has been to that summit many times and led others there before. It could take years off of your trek and perhaps even save your life J


Everyone who got where they are had to begin where they were. Your opportunity for success is right in front of you. Seize it!

To attain success or to reach your goal, don’t worry about having all the answers in advance. You just need to have a clear idea of your goal and move steadily toward it.

Don’t procrastinate when faced with a difficult problem. Break your problems into parts and handle one part at a time.

Develop a tendency toward action. You can make something happen today. Break your big plan for success into small steps and take the first step right away.

“We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment.”

Success starts with a first step…

Happy Trekking, my friends!

Jason Latas

Raineer Summit Jason Latas Summer body Now

Hawaii to Mt Rainier, a Climbers Story part 1 of 2

Straddling a foot wide crevasse at 10,000 feet, I squinted through the blinding white light reflected off the snow at the towering glacier before me. As if a huge giant had giving it a whack with a great axe, the crevasse extended all the way up the glacier’s face. I gaped at the chasm, wondering if and when the crack would split that huge glacier and send a chunk of the mountain crashing onto our heads. The sun was bright and warm on my face. What would it take to send a slab of the ice down Mt. Rainier’s back and how much of the mountain would it take with it?

I looked back down at the gapping crack between my boots, peering down into what seemed like the yawning throat of a slumbering ice dragon. Blue like the bright sky above me, the opening extended below, becoming darker the deeper it went, as dark as a storm tossed ocean, flecked with foam and mist. At any moment, the dragon could fully awake and swallow me whole. I lifted my head and squinted ahead where our guide, Kyle, had stopped to prod the snow before him, searching for hidden crevasses. I silently urged him to hurry. For all I knew the ice dragon below me might wake up any moment.

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I was awe struck at how close to death I actually was. Mt. Rainier is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, cradling several of the largest glaciers in the U.S. south of Alaska. Mt. Rainier was a literal sleeping ice dragon. If the dragon itself didn’t awaken and kill me, I could easily die from rock or ice falls, an avalanche or weather related hypothermia. These facts did not escape me as I had prepped mentally and physically for this expedition. The dangers of trekking to Mt. Rainier’s summit did not deter me. If anything, it made the idea of conquering the beast that much more exciting and challenging.

My fascination with the crack in the glacier was interrupted by the near manical laugh of my buddy Adam who was roped behind me. I glanced back at him and grinned broadly, suddenly grateful I hadn’t lost control of my bowels. He was the reason I was here. Adam Quinn had been my buddy in adventures since I first met him in Maui five years previously. He could tell what I was thinking just by my hesitancy as I peered deep into the gullet of this beast. I laughed too, because I knew he was feeling the same way about our guided climb up the back of this giant. Crazy freaked out and loving it.

I didn’t say anything to Adam. I waited impatiently for Kyle’s command to move forward. I looked ahead towards where our guide silently prodded the virgin snow. With wobbly knees I prayed Kyle would hurry up and almost at once, he gave the command to move forward. Sucking in a lungful of frigid air, I lifted my heavy booted foot to take the final step over the crack in the mountain of ice. I exhaled a deep breath of relief, glancing back to see Adam briefly consider the crevasse I had straddled. He flashed me a grin and pointed down between his boots. I shook my head as the image of him slipping into the throat of the sleeping dragon pulling me after him turned my stomach.

There were two teams of 6 guys all roped together that day, trudging toward the same goal. The summit of Mt. Rainer. Come hail, snow, winds or the sloughing away of one of the glaciers, we were determined to make that summit.

As a giant stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, Mt. Rainier is considered an active volcano with its last eruption in 1894. Every month, as many as five quakes are recorded near the mountain’s summit.   It is not uncommon to have small swarms of five to ten earthquakes occur over a few days as well. So the chances of seeing an avalanche, or being caught in one, was pretty good. But we had trained for these possibilities with the help of our guides.

As instructed by our guides before we embarked on our adventure, we all stepped together in unison to keep the ropes taut enough between us to allow quick response in case the mountain decided to knock one of us off, but loose enough to allow a comfortable stride. I quickly learned that if I walked too fast, it would jerk my rear buddy forward, causing him to stumble and the guy behind him as well. Whereas if I walked too slowly, my front buddy would be unexpectedly tugged from behind, lose his balance and potentially trip – possibly jerking the rest of us off our feet. Inconsistent steps between the six of us would make for a very jerky uncomfortable climb. We stepped in unison and kept a steady rhythm like good little soldiers. This was a concept I was all too familiar with as an outrigger canoe racer in Hawaii, where one person hitting the water slightly before or after the one in front of them would throw the whole boat off. But Hawai’i was a long ways from this alien world of ice and snow.

As I continued my trek to the summit, I reflected on how far I had come. Training for this trek at sea level in Hawai’i was a bit of a challenge. Adam and I had climbed Haleakala (the 10,000’ dormant volcano in Maui) maybe twice in the months leading up to this expedition. We also worked out at our buddy Dale’s gym coupled with some endurance runs and bike rides. But that was it, aside from our daily custom tours that we led for my adventure company. Looking back, I wish I had trained more.

I was two days into this expedition when we crossed the dragon’s throat, but it felt like I had been on this freezing ice cube for years. Even though the weather was absolutely perfect today, each day brought a new challenge to deal with. One of which, was the food.

For the amount of money I shelled out for this adventure, I expected good nourishing food on our trip. However, our guides only provided sugary instant oatmeal with bits of fake fruit for breakfast every morning. It wouldn’t be long afterwards that I would find myself ravenous. I was expending a tremendous amount of energy climbing this mountain and trying to stay warm and a measly processed package of artificially sweetened carbs could not sustain me.

I knew from my years on Maui as a personal trainer, that these processed carbs would burn out of our system in about 60 minutes. Then what would my body utilize for energy? Fat AND muscle. But I didn’t have a lot of fat on my lean frame. So after a day of hiking through snow and bearing heavy gear, I was burning a lot of energy and it was coming from my muscle. At night, our bodies busily repair and build/regenerate new cells. But what materials does it use to repair and build new cells with? If your diet consists of sodas and candy bars, processed foods loaded with preservatives and chemicals, than that is exactly what your body is going to be rebuilt with.

As I sat eating my breakfast, I studied our two guides. Both were Haole (Hawaiian for white) guys that were very lean and wiry. Although in they were in their late twenties to mid thirties, they were haggard from years of leading clients through the harsh weather conditions of Mt. Rainer.

Looking at my guides, I could see that of years of eating snack size candy bars and junk food had taken a toll on their bodies. I just knew that by the time these guys were in their sixties, they’d be hobbling around with aching knees and joint problems. Not to mention a myriad of other health problems as their bodies, made up of years of consuming junk food, start to deteriorate at a faster rate than if they had maintained a nutritious diet and fueled properly for their hikes.

In my regular life back in Maui, I had an adventure tour company I co-owned with my buddy Adam. We both knew from experience that being well fed, fit and active was important if we were going to be able to provide the type of service our guests demanded for their customized adventures. Experience had taught us that treating our guests well and beyond their expectations led to them having great memories of their adventures in Hawai’i. If our guests were not properly fueled for the hikes and trips they had hired us to lead them on, chances are they’d feel pretty worn out and sore the next day. What would they remember the most? The scenic hike through lush tropical forests or the two or three days of aches and pains as they recovered from the hike? Chances are, they’d talk to their friends about the pain of the journey more than the experience of traversing through the most beautiful landscape in the world. Our guest’s adventures were priceless and we aimed to make sure they had the best possible experience ever so that they would come back again and again. Year after year. We built life-long relationships with our clients based on the principles of great customer service that went beyond their expectations.

For example – when we picked up our guests from the hotels or airport in the mornings, we would greet them with silver platters bearing fruit, muffins, juice, coffee and tea. Later, during the hike, we’d take a break alongside a beautiful waterfall or overlook and present a silver tray laden with more fruit, deli sandwiches, veggies and juice to make sure all of our guests were well fed and hydrated. That was the winning difference between us and our competitors on the island. We went the extra distance in providing our clients with first class service that allowed for a memorable experience during their short stay on Maui. Memories that would last a lifetime.

Back on Mt. Rainier, there was a severe lack of silver trays. It was truly an experience to last a lifetime, but I had no plans of returning again next year. This wasn’t my ideal annual vacation getaway and my guides certainly weren’t that concerned about our experiences so much as they were concentrating on getting us up to the summit alive and returning us to home base in one piece.

After what felt like hours of trudging through knee deep snow and ice, Kyle finally gave the signal to break for lunch. We had been traversing along the slanted side of a glacier, where we had literally been walking on turned ankles so that we could grip the ice with more surface area of our crampons (steal claws on the bottom of our boots). I turned and with my ice ax chiseled out a seat in the wall of ice and snow next to me. Then I snugged my butt onto the ice shelf I had carved from the glacier, stuck my axe into the wall and lashed my rope to itso I wouldn’t slide down the side of the glacier during lunch. I pulled out my stash of beef jerky, whole grain energy bars, dried fruits and nuts, a jar of Almond butter and a can of Tuna. This was the most decent meal I had during the day on my week-long expedition – provided by yours truly. Pre-packaged food never tasted so good as I wolfed down my rations. I could just feel my body soak up the nutrients it needed to replenish itself so I could have the energy to continue on until it was time to set up camp for the night. I also had my custom blend of amino acids, minerals and powdered nutrients that, like a chemist, I had blended in my kitchen back home. It was my secret potion that I used on long runs, paddling, bike rides, etc. that kept me on top of my game. I added the powder to my water bottle, grateful that I had the foresight to bring it along for this trip. I was pushing my body hard and I wanted to go home feeling good and remembering the trek pain free.

Lunch breaks allowed me the chance to survey the landscape around me. I couldn’t get over the stretch of pure whiteness, occasionally broken by crevasses. The snow was pristine and smooth. I could see where we had come up the mountain, the trail was a line of churned snow in shades of grey, blue and black. It was easy to spot in the distance as we were the only team on that side of the mountain and we were making our own virgin trail. As we sat enjoying our lunches and the view, we heard a low rumble and to my amazement, saw a wall of snow and boulders crash down from the side of the mountain and completely bury our tracks from just a few hours before. Again, I marveled at how close to danger we had been. Had we been just a few hours slower, we could have been caught in that tide of snow and rock cascading from its perch above – like a hungry predator with outstretched wings of cold, cutting ice, swooping down atop of us to envelope our team in its suffocating embrace.

Adam and I glanced at each other and for the first time during this trek, I wondered if I was ever going to see my beloved Maui again.

Part 2

For optimum weight loss and muscle gain, make the most of your protein timing.

Do you want to build a strong, fit body? While pushing weights at the gym is key to building muscle and stimulating fat loss, what you eat—specifically protein—should be a priority.

Think of it this way: if your body isn’t supplied with the nutrients it needs for muscle recovery and energy replenishment, are you really getting the most out of your workout? The winning combination is when both diet and exercise are maximized to reach your health goals.

When it comes to making the most of protein, the key is to get the right kind, in the right amounts, at the right time.

Right Kind

Protein can be found in a variety of foods. Eggs, chicken, fish, dairy, and beef are all sources of protein. However, not all protein is created equal.

For a superior protein option, study after study shows nothing compares to whey protein. Whey has a high concentration of branched-chain amino acids (or BCAAs), which are quickly absorbed and used to build and repair muscle—especially if consumed after exercise.

Arguably the greatest benefit of consuming whey protein is the ability to maximize fat loss without losing muscle. A study comparing whey protein and soy protein found that subjects consuming whey had 62 percent more fat loss during 5 1⁄2 hours after a workout (1).

Another study looking at the effect of supplementing with whey protein, soy protein, or carbohydrate after workouts for a period of nine months found that those consuming whey had 55 percent more muscle gain than either soy or carbohydrate groups (2). In fact, those who consumed soy protein had similar muscle synthesis as those who ate carbohydrates alone. For fat burning and muscle growth, the kind of protein you choose matters.

Right Amount 

It’s becoming more evident that adults could significantly benefit from eating higher amounts of quality protein, especially when attempting to lose weight.

A recent study compared muscle synthesis in men and women who consumed controlled diets that provided three different amounts of protein: the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, twice the U.S. RDA, and three times the RDA (3). Weight loss was induced by restricting total calories consumed and increasing daily exercise. After three weeks, those who consumed double or triple the RDA had greater muscle synthesis than those who consumed the RDA.

The authors of that study said that they believed that the RDA for protein should be based on a level to optimize health, not just to prevent deficiencies. Their data demonstrate that the current RDA wasn’t enough for sparing muscle mass during weight loss. More is key—around 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

In addition to supporting muscle growth, higher protein diets have also been shown to increase satiety so you are less tempted to overeat at mealtime (4).

Right Time

Getting the right amount of protein each day is essential for keeping muscle in a constant building state (anabolic) rather than allowing muscle to be broken down and used for energy (catabolic). While the typical American diet does provide a fair amount of protein, it’s not distributed evenly throughout the day.

Most breakfast meals are low in protein (think bagels, pastries, and cereals), providing an average of 10 grams. (See graph below.) For many, lunch may consist of a sandwich or soup and provide around 15 or 20 grams of protein. Then, a massive 60 grams (such as a medium-sized steak) is often consumed at dinner. To keep the body in a constant building state and to support muscle growth, fat burning, and fullness, it’s best to eat around 20 to 40 grams of protein at each meal.

To investigate this theory, researchers compared two groups of people—one that consumed protein evenly throughout the day and one that skewed their protein intake more toward dinner (5). The “even” group consumed 30 grams of protein three times during the day while the “skewed” group ate about 10 grams at breakfast, 20 grams at lunch, and 60 grams at dinner. After just one week of following the diets, those in the even group had 25 percent greater muscle protein synthesis than the skewed group. The fascinating aspect of this study is that both groups consumed the same total amount of protein—90 grams—yet those who distributed protein consumption regularly throughout the day gained more muscle.

In addition to eating protein throughout the day, a key time to take advantage of the body’s muscle building ability is post-workout. After exercise, blood is rushing to your muscles. By consuming whey protein after exercise, it can be quickly absorbed by the small intestine, shuttled into the blood stream, and delivered to muscle tissue. Failing to consume protein after a workout is a missed opportunity to take advantage of all your hard work.

It’s not just about eating protein to get the results you want, it’s about getting the right kind, in the right amount, at the right time. That’s why I use organic, indentured whey protein from New-Zealand! Undenatured means that it still has all of the immune boosting properties and macronutrients that can be killed by high heat processing. Cheap whey is wasted in your gut as not all of it is utilized and then excreted. Use the best – Use proper timing – Make your whey work for you!

  1. Acheson K, Blondel-Lubrano A, Oguey-Araymon S, et al. Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(3):525-34.
  2. Pasiakos SM, Cao JJ, Margolis ER, et al. Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized control trial. FASEB. 2013;27(9):3837.
  3. Luhovyy BL, Akhavan T, Anderson GH. Whey proteins in the regulation of food intake and satiety. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26:704S–12S.
  4. Mamerow MM, Mettler JA, English KL et al. Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in health adults. J Nutr. 2014; E pub ahead of print.
  5. Paddon-Jones and Rasmussen, 2009

What the heck is a sumo squat?

Ladies, this one is for you!

Imagine you’re a Sumo wrestler (without the added weight or diaper)… Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and your toes turned out (thanks Jamie Eason for the perfect form/pic).

Slowly squat down tracking your knees over your toes until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Then reverse the move while squeezing your glutes on the way up like your trying to crack a walnut 🙂

This type of squat really hits the inner thighs and upper glutes. You will know your doing it right when you feel it there and not in your knees. You may need to limber up a little before you can really hit it good but when you do, you will know it!

Not for beginners…

Hanging Abs, My favorite abdominal exercise

Hanging Abdominals or (hanging leg raises) is an exercise that is great for building core strength.  It involves both the abdominal and oblique muscle groups. It can be done practically anywhere there is a bar to hang from. It is my main and favorite exercise for my entire abdominal area!

When done correctly, the Hanging Abs is very effective at developing both your rectus abdominis, which is the largest muscle of the abdominals, obliques and serratus anterior muscle group. If you’re wanting to tone up your core muscles, the hanging abs is a great exercise to incorporate into your routine.

Abdominal Fat

Most of your abdominal fat tissue rests atop your muscle, so while hanging abs will build and develop the muscle tissue, it will not affect your abdominal fat levels. All the work you do will be hidden beneath the fat layers.  In order to show off your great abs, you’ll need to create a caloric deficit every day.  This means you burn more calories than you consume each day.  But do it wisely with nutrient rich meals and snacks.

Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce fat in any one specific area.  But as you focus on consuming less calories and keep exercising, you will eventually see your fat levels decrease and all your hard work begin to appear.