The HCG Diet and the Baby Boomer

As a personal trainer, there are many questions that I routinely get from the people with whom I work.. One that I get over and over is about which diet program people should follow. You have probably heard all the buzz words as well. Everyone wants to know what I think about Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, low carb, high carb, and even the grapefruit diet. You name it, and someone is looking for my opinion on it!

The latest diet that people are discussing is the HCG diet. It can often be purchased online, as well as in chiropractic offices and some spas. So just where does it stack up for baby boomers? Let’s take a look!

HCG, which stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone that was discovered over 50 years ago by a Dr. Simeons. What he found was that it is effective in removing fat storage. Today people are using HCG in order to eliminate their fat storage rapidly.

How HCG works is that when you begin taking it, the hormone communicates with your brain to let it know it is time to release your fat storage. It leads to a rapid weight loss of about a pound or two per day! Over the course of one month, people can lose 30 pounds by following the HCG diet.

The HCG diet is comprised of three main phases:

For the first couple of days you eat what you want and begin taking the HCG drops. This will begin sending the signals to your brain to release the fat storage.

Then for the next few weeks, you follow a very low calorie diet of around 500 calories per day (consisting of fruits, veggies and protein) and continue with the HCG drops.

The third phase is the maintenance period. At this point, you go back to eating a higher calorie diet, while still avoiding sugar and starches, and stop taking the HCG drops after a couple of days.

Does the HCG diet work for baby boomers? The research is out there that shows it does indeed work. It is effective in helping people be able to rapidly lose weight. However, it is a very low calorie diet (that your doctor may even advise against), that many people may have difficulty sticking with for any length of time. And the bottom line is that if you haven’t changed your lifestyle, making sure that working out is a part of your daily life, then how long your efforts pay off remains to be seen.

My professional advice to baby boomers, as well as everyone else, is to not go on a diet, but rather to make lifestyle choices and changes. It is those changes that will be long lasting. You need to focus on eating healthy, which means a balanced diet and sticking with an exercise routine. Following a healthy lifestyle will always pay off, even if it takes a little longer to achieve the desired results!

How to Be a More Valuable Employee

Baby boomers may be nearing retirement age, but most plan to continue working, at least on a part time basis. Today, people are working well into what was once considered the retirement years. Whether it is being brought on by economic need or the desire to continue being active on the job, baby boomers are hanging onto and even seeking out jobs!

Problem is, most businesses are struggling, and there is one major reason for it – the health insurance crisis this country is facing. Businesses are spending more on employee health insurance than they ever have before, driving up their costs, and leading them to have to cut workers or even pay lower wages.

Just what can you do in order to try to combat this? Strive to become a more valuable employee! There are several ways that you can do this, beyond the obvious of doing your work to the best of your ability, including:

Get fit. The more fit employees are, the less in insurance costs the company will likely have to pay. When you are healthier and fit, there is also less loss of productivity they will incur because you won’t be calling in sick or working while not feeling well (which diminishes productivity).

Join programs. Find out what wellness incentive programs your employer offers. Usually if you join a wellness program, it will give them, and you, a break on insurance costs. This will also demonstrate to them that you are not only serious about being healthy, but that you are interested in helping to save them money.

Remain positive. A positive attitude goes a long way in any field. It is important to remain positive so that you have a healthy mind, as well as a healthy body, and people enjoy working around you.

It is not just the rising costs of health care coverage that is hurting employers, but it is the fact that so many Americans are in such poor health. With so many people having issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, it is driving up costs and leading to an increase in absenteeism from work.

Employers usually don’t want to cut their work force, nor do they want to have to pass on high health care expenses, to their employees. But sometimes, especially in our current economy, they have no other choice if they want to stay afloat. The more you take your health and fitness seriously and make it a priority, the more you will be helping your employer. And that, in turn, will help to make you a more valuable employee!


All About Squats and Why Baby Boomers Should be Doing Them

Have you done some squats today? Bending down to pick up that chip off the floor doesn’t quite count! Seriously though, you may not realize just how beneficial doing squats can be and why you should be doing them. The more you know about what squats can do for you, the sooner you will want to get them worked in to your exercise routine!

The squat is so beneficial to the body because it ends up using most of the muscles in the body all at once. You get a complete body workout when you engage in a set of squats. You can’t beat the return on time investment with squats. In addition, doing squats can help the baby boomer, and others, avoid having weak glutes and a weak torso, and it can help build strength and increase mobility. What’s not to love?

Squats can be done a number of different ways, with all of them providing great benefits. All squats have one thing in common though; they involve using those muscles that are around the knees and hips, as well as all the joints that are below the belt.

Some things that are important to remember in order to do squats the right way and avoid injury include:

Your knees should always be in line with your feet and hips while you are squatting. Keep in mind that your knees are going to follow in the direction that your feet are going. Because of this, it is important to keep feet straight so that your knees go straight, helping to avoid possible tendon and ligament injuries.

It is best to wear running shoes when you are doing squats. They will give you the support that your ankle needs to properly engage in the squats.

Try to always maintain a neutral spine position during each squat. This means you will want to avoid flexing or extending your back out as you squat.

Always keep good posture while squatting and keep your chest in what is considered a “proud” state. Keep your heels to the ground and do the squat using your hamstrings.

When you first start doing squats, you will want to keep it to a minimum and slowly progress to doing more. If you are not sure how many you should be doing for your current fitness level, ask a personal trainer. When I work with my clients, I assess where they are at and where they want to go and create a safe goal for progression.

Squats can be a great way to improve your fitness level and increase mobility. Working them into you routine, you won’t be disappointed with the results!

An Interview with Personal Trainer, Brian Stecker

Brian Stecker is a certified personal trainer who specializes in helping baby boomers achieve fitness. When he is not busy with his clients in the gym, he is working on his blog, getting the fitness message out there in a variety ways, and even creating videos that demonstrate how to make some healthy recipes!

Q. What made you want to focus on the baby boomer area of fitness?

A. The baby boomers, those people who were born after 1940, make up a large portion of our population. They are also often overlooked by many people who are on a mission to help people become more fit. The number one reason I like to work with them is mobility. It is important to baby boomers in order to stay independent and maintain longevity. One my biggest motivations for focusing on the baby boomer area was my grandfather. While he was once able to get around the farm doing all the things he had always been used to doing, like milking cows and working in the fields, he ended up needing knee surgery and then struggled to do the things he was used to doing. I realized by watching how he struggled, that we often learn our fitness habits from our parents. Baby boomers didn’t have the solution, which is why Americans are struggling so much, and I want to focus on that and help them. In doing so, my goal is that they will be able to maintain doing all those things they have always loved doing.

Q. What is your fitness plan with helping baby boomers start out?

A. When a baby boomer first gets started in adopting a fitness routine, it is always best to work with a personal trainer. What I do with my clients is to help them get off to a good start that will help prevent injuries, but will also help them meet their goals and progress at a pace that is challenging, but appropriate for their current fitness level.

Q. Why is there an emphasis on helping baby boomers build strength?

A. Having a strong body will help reduce risks of injuries from falls, and will help keep people mobile, active and independent. With aging, people often fear losing their mobility and independence. Maintaining a strong, active body can help to prevent this from happening.

Q. What is the typical mindset of a baby boomer when it comes to fitness?

A. I find that most of them that I work with are surprised what they are actually capable of achieving. Society has led them to believe that it is time to take a seat and rest. Once I start working with them, I am able to change their mind set and show them that they are able to achieve fitness goals, and their body is much better off for doing so.

Q. What is your background with fitness?

A. I have been a personal trainer for 10 years, working with mostly baby boomers, and I have a degree in exercise science strength and conditioning.

Q. What is one thing you want baby boomers to know about fitness?

A. Getting fit, and working out regularly, is the best possible way that you can turn back the clock. It will help your body get in shape, keep you feeling great, and is the best anti-aging solution that there is. Baby boomers who keep active and work out add years to their life, help maintain their mobility and independence, and just all around feel better, making it so worthwhile!


Thinking About Lap-Band Surgery? Think again!

Each year there are millions of people who consider getting lap-band surgery. Many of them decide in favor of it and go through with the risky procedure. Problem is, some of them don’t make it because they end up dying from the procedure or some form of complication following it. There are so many reasons why lap-band surgery is not the way to go!

Lap-band surgery, also referred to as laparoscopic surgery or gastric bypass surgery, is a surgical procedure that takes about four hours. Through it, a surgeon essentially alters the size of your stomach so that it can’t hold as much food. In theory, this is supposed to make you eat less, so t you take in fewer calories and end up losing weight. However, it doesn’t always work out as smoothly as planned.

Some people never make it off the operating table when they go in for lap-band surgery. Imagine, families losing someone they love simply because they were dying to be thinner. It’s a needless death that never needs to happen. In addition, there are many risks that come along with the lap-band surgery, including vomiting if you eat too much, repeat maintenances surgeries, anemia, osteoporosis, gastritis, kidney stones, and dumping syndrome, where your food moves too rapidly through your body.

The real problem with weight issues lies in things that can’t be fixed with a lap-band surgery. No surgery will address the causes of what made someone gain the weight in the first place. Emotional eating, improper nutrition, and not exercising are all things that the lap-band surgery does nothing to correct.

If you or someone you know is considering lap-band surgery, I urge you to choose not to do this. That temporary fix will cost you thousands of dollars, will put your health and life at risk, and will not get to the root of the problem or teach you how to adopt a healthy lifestyle that leads to maintaining fitness.

What does work to get, and stay, fit is to work with a personal trainer. A personal trainer will guide you on the path of health by assessing where you currently are and creating a plan to safely help you progress and get to where you need to be. Forget the risks, going into debt, and problems that come with lap-band surgery. Doing it the natural way will leave you feeling better and your pocketbook with money with which you can take a relaxing vacation. Commit to working out and becoming fit and it will happen!


My Trip to the Rolfer/Structural integration specialist and What It Can Do For You

Have you heard of rolfing, or structural integration, before? Many people haven’t, but the more you learn about it, the more you will love it. I recently made a trip to see the rolfer and left feeling great! I couldn’t wait to share that experience with you and recommend you make an appointment with a rolfer to see what they can do for you!

Structural integration is a process whereby a rolfer, someone certified to provide the rolfing, will work on your connective tissue in order to help bring about benefits in a variety of ways. They will release tension, realign your balance and body, and help to create an overall great feeling. This is especially helpful for baby boomers who may be interested in improving their mobility or becoming more balanced.

Through structural integration, you can address a wide variety of issues, such as reducing pain, helping to recover from injuries, relieve stress, restore flexibility, and even get rid of headaches. The benefits of what it can do for your health are far reaching.

The process of structural integration is recognized in 27 countries around the world. Increasingly people are starting to learn about it, give it a try as a natural form of therapy, and gain benefits from doing it. From chronic stress and pain to improving balance, the benefits of structural integration are impressive!

So just what happens when you visit the rolfer? Think of it as a combination of massage and yoga, only you are the center of attention, and it is being done to you, rather than you being the one that is doing it. You will relax and let the experienced rolfer work their magic to help you address problem areas on your body.

Structural integration can also give you more energy. When you think about it, a massage therapist works with muscles, while a chiropractor works with the bones, in that same context, a rolfer is someone who works with the connective tissue. It’s a good idea to plan on seeing the rolfer more than once because each time you meet with them, they will push the limits further, helping to go deeper and reach more connective tissue.

Do yourself a favor and see a rolfer. You will most likely end up liking it, feeling great, and you may address some of those issues that have been bothering you. If you are not sure where to find a rolfer in the Portland Or area, search this “” online rolfing database to find one in your area.  Here is were I go Rolfing is a great way to help the baby boomer get a tune-up. Happy rolfing!

Making Healthy Eating Choices at Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings is a place that I like to go to with the guys to watch the Packers game. A lot of people do! That’s why it’s always so noisy in there. Whether you are letting loose with friends as you watch the game or you just want to have some fun, it’s a great place to do either. But the last thing that I – and most likely you – want is to have that meal out end up sabotaging our fitness and dieting goals. The good news it that you can make healthier food choices, even when you eat at Buffalo Wild Wings!

There are some things you will absolutely want to avoid at Buffalo Wild Wings, because they will not help you meet your fitness goals. These things include a lot of the appetizers, which are often loaded with fat, calories, and salt. For example, the crispy southwest dippers alone have 630 calories, the chicken quesadilla has 800 calories, and the nachos pack a powerful 960 calories. And this is all before you have even had your meal!

Healthier choices can be made at Buffalo Wild Wings, but you need to be proactive in seeking them out. To start with, choose a beverage that is not going to add empty calories to your meal. The best options are water or unsweetened tea. While I am not a fan of recommending diet soda, even that will help you avoid the empty calories found in the sugary beverages. And try to avoid the alcohol, as difficult as that may sound, because it will also add a lot of empty calories to your meal.

Ideal foods to order include the naked tenders, which only have 260 calories, and the boneless wings, as well as the naked tenders wrap without chips, which has 600 calories. The grilled chicken sandwich, without fries, is also a healthier option, with only 470 calories. Another good option is the garden burger, without fries, which has only 250 calories. For sides, skip the fries, which add an additional 300-600 calories, depending on whether you get a regular or basket size.

Salads also make an ideal option, as long as you pay attention to the dressing you choose (which goes for your wings, as well). Avoid the ranch and bleu cheese dressings, which have around 300 calories for a small serving of each. Instead, opt for the honey mustard, honey barbecue, and sweet barbeque sauces.

Oh, and skip the dessert, as well, even though it may be tempting to have it. One slice of the chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream will set you back about 820 calories! That’s more than (hopefully) the entire meal you had picked out.

We live in a world that makes it nearly impossible to avoid eating out all together. And why would you want to do that? After all, eating out, especially with friends, is fun (even if it is noisy), and you get to try different foods that you may not make at home. Dining out doesn’t have to come between you and your fitness goals. You just need to focus on making healthier choices, because they are out there!

Fitness Questions and Answers for Baby Boomers

Being a personal trainer I can say I get my fair share of questions. My clients, and even those who are not my clients, are always posing workout and health related questions to me. So I decided today I would answer several of those questions, just in case there are others out there that may be looking for the same answers.

Q. Brian, I see there are so many exercises you can do for your legs, but what is the best one? Which should I do if I want to build up strength and get a nice shape?

A. If you want the best possible exercise you can do for you legs, work squats into your workout. Squats work nearly every muscle in the body and can really do a lot for you. Start out small, be sure you are doing them correctly by maintaining the proper positioning, and slowly progress in the number you do and the weight that you add. Squats are a safe bet for anyone looking to give their legs a great workout!

Q. Many people today use heart rate monitors, but I just don’t see that I will gain any benefits from one. What can a heart rate monitor do for me and is it worth investing in?

A. Heart rate monitors are especially helpful for baby boomers who are working out. They have been designed to keep you in the know about what your heart rate is, so that  you know if you are working out too hard, need to step it up a bit, or if you are right about where you need to be. The more you train at an ideal heart rate for working out, the better benefit you will get from the workout. Heart rate monitors are a good idea to use. They will give you a quick snapshot look at how your heart is responding to the workout.

Q. I love cappuccino, but I want to be healthy and fit. Do I really have to give up my daily cappuccino in order to be fit?

Let’s face it, we all have something that we love and the thought of giving it up is, well, a bit frightening. I totally get it! While the cappuccino may not be the healthiest beverage choices you can grab, it also isn’t the worst. If you are drinking one cappuccino per day, you don’t have to worry too much about excessive caffeine or calories. One small cappuccino has about 75 calories on average. Having one per day, providing you are keeping the rest of your diet and workout routine in check, you should be completely fine. Have one for me!

If you have questions you would like answered, feel free to contact me. Maybe your question will make the list of the next round of questions. I look forward to hearing from you!


10 Fitness Insights Gained From the Book Younger Next Year












Many baby boomers are familiar with the book Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry Lodge. It’s a book aimed at helping people learn the info they need to live more healthy and fit lives, and offers a unique and important look at anti-aging. If you haven’t yet checked out the book, here are 10 fitness insights that I gained from the book Younger Next Year.

Our lifestyles today have largely confused our bodies. We are living vastly different lives than what our bodies have been designed to do, which includes eating things that are not natural and not getting enough physical activity. We need to get more in tune with what our bodies have been designed to do.

Your body needs physical activity for the anti-aging process. Being active is the key to cell regeneration.

You have a choice when it comes to aging. You can just let it happen, by doing nothing, or you can work toward anti-aging, by choosing a healthy lifestyle.

Working with a personal trainer is the ideal way for baby boomers to get the most out of their exercise goals and to minimize risks of injury.

There is science behind all the good advice on health. You have heard for years that eating healthy and exercising is the key to longevity, but this book backs those claims up with the science that supports this notion.

A commitment to you and your health is essential. If you want to be proactive in the anti-aging process and live a longer, healthier life, you have to make yourself a priority and make the commitment to keeping yourself healthy and active.

Our bodies have been designed to move and be active. So not moving will only speed up the aging process. If you keep active, you will help to slow down the aging process.

While the information in the book was written for baby boomers, it can be applied to everyone. No matter the age, the ideas for reaching fitness and health goals can be obtained by following the information in the book, providing that it’s never too early or to late to strive for a healthy body.

Your efforts can lead to drastic changes. Even making small changes here and there can, over time, lead to important results that will impact your health. As will not making those changes.

There are no limits. When it comes to getting healthy and being active, it is a matter of progressing in a healthy way in order to minimize risks, and there are no limits, even when you are baby boomer!

Concerned About Boomeritis? How Baby Boomers Can Prevent Overuse Injuries

Each week millions of baby boomers across the country engage in physical activity. Today there are gyms and opportunities for getting physical activity galore. And the good news is that baby boomers are taking advantage of it and keeping active. However, there is also a growing problem that hospitals and doctors are seeing as a result – boomeritis!

Boomeritis, the term that doctors are using to describe baby boomers getting overuse injuries from their physical activity, is being seen in emergency rooms across the nation. Ruptures, injured knees, torn ligaments, hip problems, and more. You name it, it is showing up everywhere.

So just what is the problem here, considering getting the exercise and working out is a good thing for baby boomers to do? It’s all about how they are going about getting active. This is the reason why it is so important to work with a personal trainer. As a personal trainer that works with baby boomers, I make it my mission to:

Help my clients prevent injuries by setting up a smart plan, based on where the person is and where they want to be. The plan I create for them allows for proper progression, will strengthen weak points, and will challenge the person in a safe way.

Make sure that the person understands the importance of properly warming up before exercise. This is essential to a healthy workout and reducing the risks of injury.

Guide my clients into progressing in both volume and intensity over time.

Encourage clients to take advantage of the benefits gained by working with a massage therapist or chiropractor.

If you just jump into an exercise routine full throttle, there is a good chance you may end up one of the baby boomers that is headed to the emergency room with an injury. But if you work with a personal trainer, such as myself, we help to minimize those risks by taking the necessary precautions discussed above.

Working out is great. It’s better than great; it’s a must if you want to live a healthy life. But you have to get started and progress at a pace that is going to be beneficial, rather than lead to injury. Without working with a personal trainer, you may not know a safe place to start or how to safely progress or challenge yourself. Stick with a personal trainer, and you will reach your fitness goals and leave the ER behind!