All Posts by Coach Dean

ModernMeal Menu Planning Workshop Coming Up October 10th. You Into Easier?

You asked for it, you got it!

Wednesday October 10 @ 6:00pm we are going to be doing a live, hands on workshop assisting you in setting up and using our Modernmeal Menu Planning and Recipe software.

If you are a current subscriber to "Cr8 Your Plate", you are going to want to being your laptop or device, your username and password, and your questions. We will walk you through all facets of Modernmeal, and show you exactly how it will make your meal planning easier than ever.

If you are not a subscriber and want to come, you have two options:

  1. Click the button below before the workshop to subscribe and we will get you ready to rock.
  2. Show up and see what you're missing, and why Modernmeal might just be the missing piece to making your planning and prep go smoother.

We will be meeting at Cr8 Fitness in Epsom, which is about a 20 minute drive from Concord.

Not sure what Modernmeal is all about? Check out this video overview"

Questions? let us know!

See you there,

- DC

Modernmeal Subscription 

"Hands-On" Modernmeal Menu Planning Workshop

Place: Cr8 Fitness 167 New Orchard Rd. Epsom, NH 03234

Date: Wednesday October 10, 2018

Time: 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Signs Your Sleep Stinks

Even adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

1. Dependence on stimulants is a losing game, as your body needs more to get the same effect. There's no medals for drinking 8 cups of coffee a day.

2. An occasional cold happens. But if it seems like you are ALWAYS sick, it's a sign your immune system is compromised and your inflammatory response is on high alert.

3. When you don't get enough shut-eye, neurotransmitters production and hormone regulation suffer. Voila! Cranky Pants

4. Highly studied and highly underrated. Sleep better - lose weight faster (or at all). There seems to be something magical about 9 hours a night.

Don't Despair. Better sleep takes practice! What would happen if you added just one more minute of sleep per night, every night for the next two months?

- DC

October Team “Check-In Chat-Us-Up Challenge”

So we broke down our annual Fall Challenge into a couple pieces this year - variety is spicy - and here's what's up next.

Now, I'll freely admit that this challenge benefits both you AND us.

It benefits YOU because not only can your team win a cool prize, but adds just a wee bit more motivation to get in here those cool (ok-COLD) autumn mornings.

It benefits US (Cr8 Fitness) because we while we are working hard to spread the word about who we are and what we do, we have NEVER been able to do it without y'alls help. We are trying very hard to grow our online and social media presence, as we basically are starting from scratch since we sold Concord and changed our name.

So here's how the "Check-In Chat-Us-Up Challenge (Triple C)" works.

It's that easy! The class time with the most "Triple C" will win a fabulous prize package worth ...well ...WHO CAN MEASURE? ūüôā

Will you step up to the challenge?

Make It Happen,

- DC

Let’s Get Distracted!

No, not the kind of distraction where you are getting constantly interrupted by email, or Facebook notifications, or your co-workers; I am talking about making your body feel better by doing some joint distraction. Check out this video, where we talk about making your shoulders feel goooood with a band and just a few minutes of your time. You (and your shoulders) will be glad you did!

- DC

Save The Dates!

Fall is a busy time....

and it's no exception here at Cr8 Fitness. You'll definitely want to mark some dates on your calendar as we miss you when you aren't here! ūüôā 

What's in store around here? Glad you asked!

We have challenges and workshops designed to get you through the stress of the holidays and "eating season" better than when you started. We even have two "mystery" workshops and a couple parties ( is a secret).


  • Monday, September 17th: Sugar Free Me Challenge Starts
  • Wednesday October 10th: Modernmeal Workshop @ 6:00pm
  • Sunday October 14th: Sugar Free Me Challenge Ends
  • Wednesday October 24th: Mystery Workshop 1 | 6:00pm @ Cr8 Fitness Epsom
  • Saturday October 27th: Mystery Workshop 2 | 10:00am @ Get Fit NH Concord
  • Saturday November 3rd: InBody Workshop @ 9:00am
  • Saturday November 24th: World Famous "Pies Off The Thighs" post-Thanksgiving turkey coma busting workout
  • Monday November 26th: "Stay Hot For The Holidays" Begins
  • Saturday December 15th: Christmas Party
  • December 23 - 29: Christmas Break Recovery Week
  • Tuesday January 8, 2019: "Stay Hot For The Holidays" Ends


Now relax; this is to help you plan, not stress you out more. Come to what you can, and we will be happy through the holidays with you!

P.S. Check out the snazzy calendar below! You'll find it in the links above and in the sidebar of every blog - we got you covered!

- Coach Dean

November 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

Make It Harder?

‚ÄčIf yo‚Äču have been around us (Nancy and/or I) very long, you have probably heard us say at some point something along the lines of "If you want to be successful, ‚Äčmake things easier."

it makes sense. If things are easy, you are more likely to actually do them.

But then I realized that could be a double edged sword.

‚ÄčAs I was thinking (dangerous I know) about the eating habits of our clients who have had great success with reaching their weight loss and body comp goals and what got them there, I realized that in many cases, making things harder actually works better.

Principle: We consume less when it's harder to consume.

‚ÄčHere's  a simple illustration. I love potato chips. If there are potato chips around, Dean is going to eat them - lots of them. My strategy to not eat them? ‚ÄčDon't have them in the house and available to eat! If I am REALLY craving those crispy kettle fried delights, I have to get up, put my shoes on, go out in whatever weather we are having, get in the car, drive to the store and back - the whole thing. I can tell you that 99.9% of the time, it's not worth the trouble, so I don't do it.

‚ÄčThis weekend I was giving a presentation on cash management to about 60 of my peers in the fitness industry, and it dawned on me th‚Äče strategy I was outlining works exactly the same way. Many business owners have difficulty coming up with their quarterly tax payments. They know they need to save for taxes, but don't have a good strategy of regular savings, so it doesn't get done. So here's what we do; ‚Äčhave them take the money they need to save out of their Operating Expense account and put it into a separate savings account. But NOT at ‚Äčthe same bank. We have them set up ‚Äča savings account at another bank, and transfer the money ‚Äčto that "offsite" account. Why? Because if it's in the same bank as their Operating Expense account, it becomes very easy to "borrow" it if they run into a cash flow crunch. Because it's in another bank, and will take at least 3 days to transfer back in, that slows the process down enough to allow them to realize the‚Äčre is most likely another way to take care of the "crisis", which in reality the present situation rarely is. By making it harder to access the cash, it encourages that habits they wanted to create in the first place. Paying their taxes and staying out of jail - BONUS! 

For my birthday last week Nancy bought me a "pour over" cone ‚Äčto make my morning coffee. Besides making a‚Äčn incredible cup of coffee, making ‚Äčit this way has the added benefit of reducing my coffee consumption, simply because it takes awhile to complete the process. You have to heat the water to the correct temperature, grind the coffee, and do the "pour over", which takes 3 to 5 minutes in itself. A lot more complex than turning on the drip machine! The result is that I am making less coffee, and thus drinking less coffee. Making the process harder helped me achieve the results I was looking for; drink less (more delicious) coffee.

You could apply this strategy to just about anything food related. Love pizza but want to eat less? Don't eat pizza unless you make it yourself.  ‚Äč‚ÄčIce cream? Buy an ice cream maker and only have it when you make your own. You get the picture.

So while the "make things easier on yourself" shouldn't get thrown out the window (Want to eat more veggies? Make it easier by having them in the fridge, for example), sometimes harder is the way to go.

How could you apply this strategy in your life. Love to hear your thoughts!

‚Äč- DC

Are You Stable?

Back pain

You might think me asking that question is pretttyyy ironic, and who can blame you? ūüôā

However the kind of stability I am talking about is core stability. Now if you are a training geek you may know this terminology is not without controversy, but for simplicity's sake, let's just call it that for now.

So let's get down to it.

If you want to move better and stay pain free, you gotta train core stability, and more importantly, train it correctly. (AKA, not doing endless situps and crunches).

There are a number of different facets to core stability training that you need to know, and need to train.

Anterior core stability is what we need to resist excessive lumbar spine extension, or arching the back. Think planks and pushup holds.

Posterior core stability is what we need to resist excessive lumbar spine flexion, or rounding the back. Birddogs is one exercise to help with this.

Lateral core stability is what we need to resist lateral flexion, think single arm loaded carries for an exercise that works on this.

Rotary core stability exercises teach you to resist excessive rotation through the lumbar spine (low back). The lumbar spine is only designed to move 2-3 degrees per facet, so it's super important we know how to stabilize in this plane of motion. We use exercises like the Pallof Press to train this "anti-rotation".

We commonly use bands to perform the Pallof Press, and there are a number of different ways you can make the exercise appropriate for your current ability. We can move further from or closer to the wall. We can take a parallel or split stance. Even which foot is in the outside position makes a difference. 

Recently Nancy and I were filming some training videos, and she thought it would be really funny to progress the Pallof by adding a sandbag. Ok, not really, but watch the video and check out what happens when you add vertical load (the sandbag) plus switch the feet. You want to talk about firing up the core. I think I can still feel it! ūüôā

As someone who has fought back challenges since my early twenties, I can attest that training my ability to stabilize through all the planes of motion has made a huge impact in reducing my pain and keeping me healthy enough to train hard. Exercises like these may not be the sexiest or most fun, but you neglect them at your own peril.

Doing the little things make big things happen!

Keep training hard.

- DC

Going Through The Motions

Ever heard that you can't get anywhere by "going through the motions"?

I have said those very words myself. To my kids, to my employees, and to my clients.

And the intent was good. It wasn't (necessarily) meant to chide or ride someone for not doing the best job they could, but as an encouragement that the pursuit of excellence is worth the effort.

But as I have matured, my perspective has changed. You have probably also heard that "50% (or some random percentage) is half the battle", and that is often true. Sometimes you gotta just show up - and go through the motions.

Now don't think Coach Dean is turning into some kind of old softy. You still have to put tremendous effort into a task to achieve your best. But some days you just don't have the physical, mental, or emotional capacity to give it your all. 

Show up and go through the motions anyway.

Reps matter. Not every lift is going to be your one rep maximum (1RM). You have to put in multiple reps, over a long period of time, at sub-maximum weights, in order to get stronger. That's physiology. 

And even those "less than max" lifts can fluctuate from day to day. Some days I walk into the gym and feel like I can lift a bulldozer. Other days the foam roller seems heavy.

Some days I wake up ready to take on the world, others I want to hide under the blankets. I don't want to get up, go to work, train, eat right - none of it. But 90% plus of the time, I do it anyway. 


Because when I put in the reps, even the not so good ones, I am winning. At the end of the day I feel better about myself, which is huge. Why do those of us who would never dream of breaking a commitment to our spouse, kids, boss or teammates so often break commitments we make to ourselves? To get to the gym, to eat like an adult, to get enough rest? 


You are worth it. You are worthy of the time and effort to take care of yourself. When you understand that, life really does get better. You'll be happier, and all those people you are busting your butt to serve will benefit from a healthy you even more. 

Coach Nancy says every day "Best Day Ever!", and I love her for it.

It's not just blind optimism or ignoring the realities of life. It's recognizing that because you walked through our doors, even when you didn't feel like it, is a huge win. You are "going through the motions" one more day, and putting in the reps that lead to real results.

Going through the motions = sustained forward momentum = a healthier, happier you.

And who doesn't want that? 

Keep making it happen!

- DC

Why Do I Train?

‚ÄčWhy to catch girls, of course!

I mean when it comes down to it, that is why  lot of guys start training, just sayin'.

‚ÄčNow before you go running to Nancy, or emailing me back telling me I am already married or a dirty old man, THESE are the girls I am training to catch!

Janie and Gigi
KJ and Amy

‚ÄčJanie, ‚Äč"Gigi", Karalynn, Amy and Lexi.

‚ÄčGranddaughter. Wife. Daughter. Daughter. Granddaughter.

THEY are the girls who I am chasing. Literally. How did kids get so fast these days anyway? (and Nancy is Wonder Woman, as we all know)‚Äč

But seriously, they are who keep me heading to the gym when I don't feel like it, am sore, and tired, and just blah. Yeah, I have those days too. The ones where I am buried under my to-do list, have calls to make, emails to answer, training programs to write. The days where I have to be somewhere at 11:00am, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, and won't be home until 8:30pm. 

Just like you, those are the days I don't "Have the time", I have to "Make the time."

They (and my sons‚Äč, their wives, and grandson) are what keep me going back into the dungeon, willing my tight hamstrings to wake up, rolling through the soreness, ‚Äčbattling the iron off the floor or overhead, and getting just one more rep. 

They are who I think of when I get an email from the band man t‚Äčitled "Squat Until You're 100", and I think "Why not me?"

Of course there are no guarantees I'll live to 100. But that doesn't mean I can't live every day to it's fullest potential.

I was reminded once again this weekend how short life really is. One of the most amazing men I ever met, Tim Smith, went it for hernia surgery on a Thursday, died of complications on Sunday.

‚Äč48 years young. Wife, kids, grandkids left in shock. Friends like me left to confront our own mortality. I am 51, and I realized once again there is no guarantee I'll live to 52.

But while I am here I am going to to fight the battle. I am going to steward the gift of this body and try to keep it healthy and productive as long as I can.


So I can better steward the other gifts, the more important gifts, that God has also given me.


Like the ones in this picture below, taken last weekend.

This is why I train.

How about you?

- DC



Risk Vs. Reward. Is it worth it?

workout fail

‚Äč"Why are we doing this?" is one of my favorite questions, along with it's corollary "How come we don't do this (‚Äčinsert exercise here) in training?

‚ÄčThose are both very good questions, and ones that anyone who writes training programs must be able to answer clearly and confidently.

‚ÄčToday let's focus on the second one. You see, there are hundreds if not thousands of exercises and variations you could put in a training program. The more important question is "Should you?"

To me it comes down to risk vs. reward.

‚ÄčIn other words, does what I could gain from performing this exercise outweigh any inherent risks that may be involved in performing it?

‚ÄčIn our Smart Group Personal Training programs, there are lot of different factors that ‚Äčwe weigh‚Äč when making that decision.

  • Training Age of the Student
  • Physical Age of the Student
  • Current physical condition
  • Injury history
  • ‚ÄčTraining goals

‚ÄčJust to name a very few.

‚ÄčDoes it really make sense to do box jumps if you are 60 years old, 30 pounds overweight, and have a history of knee injury?

‚ÄčUmmm. No.

That doesn't make you a bad person, or less than. We are just going to choose a movement that is going to more appropriate for what is going on in your life right now.

The same principle applies when it comes to how we use the FMS screen with all our clients. If the screen indicates you have a shoulder impingement, or a significant imbalance left to right, you won't be overhead pressing until those issues are addressed. We might be able to address it in training, it might require medical intervention. But what good does it do to overhead press if it's going to make you worse or cause pain?

Zero. Good.

Sometimes we are stubborn, and keep doing things that are hurting us because we are trying to keep up with the person next to us, or we like that particular exercise, or we don't like being told not to. I get it, we all like to think we are immortal,

I have had to give things up at times in my own training. I have dealt with hip and back problems for years. When I have the occasional "flare up" with sciatica, I COULD keep heavy deadlifiting, and then I could find myself flat on my back for a week or unable to stand up straight.

How do I know? Been there. Done that. It was dumb.

Instead, let's just focus on good clean movement, do the mobility and flexibility work necessary to aid recovery, and build back up.

"Not now" doesn't mean "Never". 

So whether you train with us, in another gym, or by yourself, be smart. ‚Äč

Don't be afraid to ask. "Why am I doing (or not doing) this?" 

‚ÄčTake the long term view. I want to train for the rest of my life, no matter how long that might be. Those who are training into their 70's, 80's and 90's didn't get there by accident.

They understand risk vs. reward.

Do you?

Keep getting better, every day!

- DC