Category Archives for "Coach Dean"

Body Fat and Blood Pressure. A killer combination.

I have a tendency toward high blood pressure. Because of that, and because my doctor is VERY aggressive in treating hypertension (high blood pressure), I take blood pressure meds. To be frank, I hate being on any medication, however hypertension is not something you want to mess around with. Consistent high blood pressure is not only not good, it's extremely dangerous, as it can cause damage to blood vessels and your heart, and lead to cardiovascular disease.

Being over fat (overweight and obese) has long been correlated with high blood pressure, and it doesn't matter how old (or young) you are. And while many of us want to lose weight because we want to look better, it goes a lot deeper than that.

Our partners at InBody have written a comprehensive article on this subject; Your Blood Pressure and Body Composition are Related. Here's What You Need To Know.

Here's an excerpt from that article that you NEED to read and pay attention to:

Why the Location of Your Body Fat Matters

People with fat around their abdominal area are at greater risk of developing hypertension when compared to those with a similar BMI who primarily have fat concentrations elsewhere on the body. 

You have two types of adipose tissue (body fat): subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat lies just under your skin around the belly, thighs, rear, and extremities. Visceral fat lies below your abdominal muscles and encircles your organs. Depending on your body type, you may be unaware that you have a high level of visceral fat if you only rely on BMI

When the weight gain is in the abdominal area, there’s a greater risk for high blood pressure because this type of body fat is more likely to cause the arteries to become thick and stiff. When your blood vessels get stiff, it becomes harder to push the blood throughout your body. The body then has to create more pressure to move the blood, which may lead to a lasting increase in blood pressure.

Additionally, visceral fat is thought to interact more intimately with the kidneys and adrenal glands, which are responsible for regulating your blood pressure. By interfering with the function of those organs, visceral fat is a serious promoter of high blood pressure.

The take home is WHERE your body is carrying fat is just as if not more important as the total amount of body fat you have.

And that's where our InBody 570 comes in.

If you look at your InBody results sheet or on your app, you will see a heading; "Visceral Fat Level".

This is where we find out how much fat we are packing in and around our organs. We want that number to be as low as possible. 10 and under is considered "healthy" (my doc is looking for 5 and under). Anything over 10 and you are on a dangerous path. 

Having a family history of high blood pressure is something you can't control. You didn't choose your parents. But controlling your visceral fat levels through good nutrition and exercise is something you definitely DO control.

And that's great news!

The other piece of really good news for our clients is that you can monitor your visceral fat levels on a regular basis to measure both your progress AND your health. 

This is much more than just a matter of aesthetics. Sure, we all want to look better naked, but that is NOT the best reason for controlling our body fat levels and reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Heart disease is nothing to mess around with, and the fact that if you are a client of Cr8 Fitness you have a medical grade diagnostic tool as part of your arsenal is something you need to take advantage of on a regular basis.

If you haven't been taking advantage of this important tool, now is the time.

Your health depends on it.

Make it happen.

Coach Dean

P.S. Not a client? You can still take advantage of the InBody 570 with a scanning package or membership. Contact us now to set an appointment.

My Biggest Super Bowl Takeaway(s)

Now I know that not everyone who reads this is a New England Patriots fan, but nobody is perfect, and I forgive you. 🙂

And even if you are not a football fan, or a sports fan in general, this article still applies to you.

As I reflected what was for some a really boring game, and others a frustrating game, and still others a game just to be grateful their team won, I thought about what we could learn from it. As I mulled it over, this is the thought that kept cropping up:

"Stick with what you are doing for long enough, but not for too long".

Going into the game the Patriots had an offensive game plan (based on what happened it was very offensive - but I digress). Stay balanced with the pass and the run, get the ball out of Brady's hand fast, work to the outside receivers. 

Did it work?

Based on the number of points they scored, it would be fair to say no. But I think it did, until it didn't. 

By staying patient with the run, and not trying to get too cute too soon, I believe it eventually wore the Rams defense down. But the Pats weren't so stubborn doing it "their way" that they weren't afraid to throw out the game plan and do something different (You can read about that adjustment here). They stuck with the plan long enough, made the changes they needed to when they needed to, and got the result they were looking for - in this case the winning touchdown. 

So how does that affect you? Good question. 

My takeaway from this is two-fold.

1) Don't give up on what you are doing too early.

It's human nature to want things to happen fast, like NOW! We start working out for the first time in a long time, and/or we change how we are eating in order to lose weight. 10 days later we haven't lost 20 pounds, so we give up. Whoa Nellie! You have to give things enough time to see if they are actually making a difference or not. You also have to actually be following the plan. Can I be honest here? When you start a nutrition plan and then "tweak it" here or there, you are not actually following the plan. Follow THE plan, not your preferred version of the plan. If you FOLLOW and COMPLETE the plan (the 2019 Fresh Start Challenge, for instance) and things aren't changing, then and ONLY then should you consider changing what you are doing.

2) Don't stubbornly persist in doing what you are doing if it's not working

Coach Dean's "Get Real" part 2. We all laugh about the person at the gym who we see on the treadmill, every day faithfully, for weeks, months and even years, and whose body never seems to change one little bit. We think to ourselves "What a waste of time, how dumb is that?" But be honest and look in the mirror. Are you getting the results YOU want to get, all the time? We all tend fall into this pattern. We LIKE doing endless cardio. We LIKE staying up late and watching television. We LIKE cookies, and ho ho's and french fries and donuts. We LIKE having a glass (or two or three) of wine or beer every night.

A tried and true coaching question I ask clients (and myself) is "How's That Working For You?" If it's NOT, it's time to change something. Doesn't matter if you like it or not. Want to or not. A different result then what you are getting is going to take what none of us really like - Change.

The Patriots could have stuck with what they were doing. Josh McDaniels could have stubbornly persisted regardless of what was actually happening. But he and the team showed how success is achieved.

"Stick with what you are doing for long enough, but not for too long".

Make It Happen!

Coach Dean

P.S. If you are ready for a change, you'll want to check out how to get your Free 2-Week Tryout Here

Injury is a Teacher

I am reminded often that getting older is not for sissies. For those of us who live in New England, I think that is why it is so fascinating to see an athlete like Tom Brady maintain a high level of performance in a very demanding game for so long. He said this morning on WEEI he wants to keep playing for a few more years, although he only negotiated with Gisele for another year. I bet that's getting as difficult as winning another Super Bowl!

I have been training off and on with weights since I was a teenager. (Unfortunately for a number of years I was a lot more "off" than "on"). I have never had a severe training accident in the gym which caused me to miss a bunch of time. But there are times I have done something unwise which put me out of commission for a few days.

If there is one thing injuries have taught me over the years is this:

Avoid Them At All Costs!

Now you may be thinking "no duh", but don't dismiss the obvious. Getting injured is not only about accidental slips and falls. Sometimes the "come out of nowhere" aches and pains are the cumulative effect of ignoring the seemingly minor. 

Here are three things you shouldn't ignore:

1) Attention To Properly Warming Up.

I didn't write just "warming up" for a reason. Being present and going through the motions is not the same as giving attention to it. Focus on each and every movement, work to complete the full range of motion, and spend the time getting focused for your session.

2) Pain.

There IS a difference between pain, tightness, and soreness. I designed this poster with the input of Dr. Brett Coapland at Performance Health a number of years ago. The take home on this? Your coach needs to know! 

2) The Stress of Daily Life.

I want you to train has hard as you should, every day you are supposed to be here. And yes, I said "should" not "can" purposely. None of us our at our best 100% of the time. The teacher of experience has taught me when to go full bore and when to back off a little. Technologies like HRV monitoring keep me honest about it. Learning this has also kept me from making the mistake so many of us do - not training when we don't "feel" like it. I don't feel like it more often than you may think, which is why I have training partners and why training with a coach and group that will keep you accountable is vital to long term success.

Injury is not something I want any of you to experience. The good news is - being proactive and paying attention to the "Big 3" outlined above can go a long way to preventing it. 

Remember. You can't train if you have a serious enough injury. If you are tight, sore, or in pain, let us know. That way we can help you or refer to someone who can. Eat like an adult. Sleep like a baby. Train like your best life depends on it.

Because it does.

Coach Dean

P.S. Please share this post by clicking the buttons below or to the left. Facebook is our friend! 🙂

From The Heart

Can I share my heart with you? If not, just click away from this post right now, because you are not gonna want to read this. We good?

Ok, if you are still here, I want to say thank-you. I appreciate your time and energy.

One of the scariest things I have ever done in my life is start a business and go out on my own. The only analogy I can think of is like a bird flinging itself out of its nest for the first time. Either you flap your wings hard and figure out how to do it, or you go "SPLAT". I am grateful no one has had to scrape me off the pavement yet.

Another one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life is sell Get Fit NH Concord, for a whole variety of reasons. But frankly one of the biggest reasons it was scary is because now that Cr8 Fitness in Epsom is our only location, we have a lot less room for error. That margin has been shaved razor thin. The scale of having two locations and sharing expenses is gone. Making it all work is a challenge we are attacking head on. Nancy and I have been working harder than ever at making this the best possible experience for you; we want you to be here, we want you to have fun, and we want you to get the results you are looking for. Our goal is to keep every client happy and coming back for more, for life. 

You know what's scary about that? We are human, we fail often, and when it comes down to it, that's not a goal we are probably ever going to achieve, no matter how hard we try. But that doesn't mean we are going to stop. Can I ask you a favor? When we don't serve you as well as you deserve, can you let us know BEFORE it gets past the point of no return? I am going to be honest, it HURTS when one of y'all stops coming to the gym, and it's not just all about us. We know how hard it is to get started in the first place, and we don't ever want you to stop reaching for your happy and healthy.

Every single one of you matters to us. Do we fail to show it sometimes? Yes, but not purposely. I can honestly tell you that both of us have shed tears at times over this business. I don't say that to make you feel bad for us, and I know that no one is out to get us. But you all are family, and when family doesn't come around anymore, it stinks. And yes, I am writing this today because one of the family has decided to not come around anymore. When that happens, we take it seriously, and this note is partly to let you know that. I believe we do a good job the vast majority of the time, but I know we haven't reached perfection. Regardless, I am going to be bold here, and ask you for three things:

1) When we screw up, let us know. We can't get better if we don't know and don't have a chance to talk with you about what's bugging you. Send us an email, shoot us a text, give us a call, or even better, let's just talk face to face. 

2) Don't give up. On us, our on yourself. You came here for a reason. Let's keep working on that, together.

3) Don't keep Cr8 Fitness to yourself. As I said before, I believe the vast majority of the time we are worthy of sharing with your friends, family, co-workers - even your medical professionals. One of Nancy and my goals this year is to get to the point where we are not spending ANY money on advertising, and we can't do it without you. We've made it easier than ever, and our community benefits too. (Read more about that here)

You Rock.

You really do. We don't say it enough. We'll do better.

Thank-you for choosing to train with us.

Coach Dean

Stability Breeds Strength

Are you stable?

If you ask most people that question about me, the answer is a resounding no, but I digress.

The American Council on Exercise defines fitness related stability as: the ability to maintain or control joint movement or position. Stability is achieved by the coordinating actions of surrounding tissues and the neuromuscular system.

Before you start yawning, let me tell you why this is all about you. The more appropriate stability you can demonstrate and achieve, the more of a rock star you will be in the gym. Seriously, I am not even kidding a little! 🙂

In fact, you will never reach your full potential until you have developed your personal optimal stability (and mobility, but that's for another day).

The practical ramifications of stability include being able to control your joints on uneven or unstable surfaces and staying off your butt. Icy driveway in a NH winter anybody? 

Postural stability is critical in the controlled environment of the gym as well. Heavy lifts (relative to your current strength, skill and ability) is crucial for proper performance and injury prevention. 

In my own training, as well as my programming, working on stability has become a "big rock". In other words it's a consistent focal point. Now that doesn't mean I don't still lift heavy things off the floor, but I am lot more careful to address left to right imbalances and instability on a consistent basis. I know that is what is going to help you and me train hard for the rest of our lives. I learned the hard way that ignoring unilateral instability not only stunted my gains, but it put me in a world of hurt. 

For this kind of work I like to program training tools that create a requirement to stabilize through the core and fire the myriads of little muscle we don't even think about.

Let's take the Turkish Getup for example; I can perform them with a 12kg Kettlebell very easily, but a 25 pound sandbag, with it's shifting contents, requires significantly more effort to perform. If you have been training here lately, you know what I am talking about.

We are also starting to implement tools such as Leverbells into our training programs, which are a whole new way to promote and enhance stability. Far from being the latest "fad" tool, these bad boys have been around in some form for a gazillion years (at least). They were introduced to me by Josh Henkin of DVRT fame, and after getting some instruction and training with them, we decided to share the joy with you.  You're welcome. 🙂

Here's an easy way to test your stability (and strength), and also to identify left to right imbalances.

In Case You're Wondering, This Is Cheating.

Stand on one foot, bring your thigh parallel to the floor and your lower leg perpendicular to the floor. How long can you stand there? Now try the other leg.  A baseline time to achieve is 60 seconds per leg. If you can stand for significantly more time on one rather than the other, you have a left to right imbalance, for some reason. Could be mobility, stability, or strength. 

Remember strength is relative, no matter if you ever want to lift heavy weights or not. You must have ENOUGH strength to stabilize, so don't ignore strength training. This stuff helps with cardio too. Your joints must be healthy and have the stability required to take the repetitive forces cardio produces. It applies to everyone, so if you are an "everyone", it applies to you!

Let's get stable!

Coach Dean

Show Your Purpose in 2019 with our Shirt of the Year

Our 2019 theme at Cr8 Fitness is:

"Purpose Unlocks Potential"

Coach Nancy has been encouraging you to think about your purpose for being here - what do you want to get out of all the work you are putting in? 

There really is no wrong answer. But if you want to make real progress this year there needs to be AN answer.

We are your locksmiths, but you hold the keys. There are 4 on our key ring that we need to have and use this year:

  • Commitment
  • Focus
  • Preparation
  • Accountability

I always find it super helpful to have visual reminders about the task at hand. That's why I am excited about our 2019 "Shirt of the Year". The more of YOU I see wearing it this year, the more I am going to be reminded to keep my eye on the prize. So help your old coach out, and order one today. I'd love to see you not only wearing one, but unlocking your potential in 2019.

Order forms are in the gym, and we are taking orders until next Friday, January 18.

Order yours today!

Coach Dean

Get Your Zen On and Track Your Training

In December 2018 we moved switched our client software to ZenPlanner from MindBody online. Now before you give me a "So What?", hang with me as I share what that means for you!

Besides being a lot easier for us to use and manage, ZenPlanner has some really cool features for you, specifically the ability to track benchmark workouts and things like personal best on your lifts. 

The first thing you need to do is head on over to the Apple app store or Google Play and download the Member App. The links are included below.

Apple iOS:


After you have the app all loaded up on your device, login with your email address (the one provided us when you signed up as a training client) and your password. Those passwords were sent to you either in December when we did the transition, or when you become a client. If you need to reset your password, click this link and then the "forget your password" link on that page.

Once you are logged into your app, you are good to go! Below are a couple videos I shot showing how easy it is to use the app. 

Note: We will not be programming all our workouts into the app. We will from time to time have specific metrics that we will want you to track, and we'll let you know on those days. But as you can see below, you can record a ton of different lifts and personal best on any day you want. Give it a try, you might just find out how motivating tracking your progress really is!

Make It Happen!

Coach Dean

Not Now, Later

We human beings are really interesting when it comes to be told what to do. 

We just plain don't like it.

We want to be the masters of our own universe, regardless of the consequences. Truth is we are not very good at thinking about long term consequences. Easy and quick gratification is usually the path we head down. I mean I am well aware that eating one of those delightful ginger bread cookies that just came out of that warm oven is quite enough. But does that stop me from eating three or four (or six)? Not so much.

For instance, just try telling me I should never have something.

Never eat bread. Never have potato chips. Never have (insert your Kryptonite here).

One concept that has helped me tremendously over the years is "Not Now, Later".

Here's Coach Dan John from an article on Medium:

"Never say never. Cookies, cake, beer and bagels are not “off” your low carb diet. It’s just “not now” time. Experience teaches us this: if I tell you that all your dreams will come true if you simply stop eating rutabagas, I promise you I know what is going to happen next. I’m not a prophet; I am a coach. You may have never eaten a rutabaga in your life, but from now on, you are going to crave, demand and insist upon rutabagas. Change rutabagas to anything you like but know this truth about human nature: not now, later.

Whatever it is that you need to put off in terms of diet, time or short-term pain and discomfort, you need to remind yourself that “soon and very soon,” you can submit yourself to a virtual orgy of feasting. The funny thing is this: that day may never come as you realize that this temptress has long been forgotten."

Now, Not Later is a skill that takes time to develop, but it is may be the most important skill you can develop in order to create healthy long-term eating patterns. You don't have to eat "perfectly" (whatever that means), but neither can eat what you want, whenever you want, and expect to be healthy. 

How does this work in real life?

We ALL have cravings from time=to-time (at least). When your co-worker puts the cookie plate in the break room at 8 in the morning, just tell yourself you'll have one later, like at lunch. When lunch rolls around, you may find that the only thing left is those gross spice cookies, which you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. That's a win. 

Or maybe you have a real craving for pizza, like I often do. Instead of running down to Sal's to grab a slice or two, flex your "Not Now, Later" muscle, and plan that as your free meal on the weekend. Then have the pizza, if you still want it. 

Just like your legs get stronger when you consistently squat and deadlift, your "Now, Not Later" muscle gets stronger the more you use it. And it feels really good to exercise that kind of control, much better than the very temporary gratification we get from eating those stupid gingerbread cookies! 

We are right in the middle of the holiday season, and it is SOOO easy to overindulge in all the delicious food and drink that is out there. Remember, "never" is your enemy.

"Not Now, Later" might just become your best friend. 

To your best health,

Coach Dean

Fitness and Health Can Be VERY Different. Here’s Why.


Fitness and Health are NOT the same things.

Because those two words are often put together it is easy to get the impression they are the same thing. I was reminded of this in an article from our friends at InBody ("Why Your Perception of Fit is Probably Wrong (And the Reality of What’s True)"

So what's the difference?

I like Coach Dan John's definition of fitness: "The ability to perform a task".

All too often we view fitness in the like of aesthetics; if a person looks fit, they must be. But six pack abs doesn't mean that person is healthy. People do some very unhealthy things in the pursuit of "fitness". Wrestlers and bodybuilders, whom perform very specific tasks, can die in pursuit of cutting weight and looking good. The cover models of your average fitness magazine look great, but being in this industry for awhile I can tell you there is a lot of magic with lights and mirrors. I am not saying you shouldn't train to look good. I want to look good too. But sacrificing health is not worth it. 

And what about "health"?

Phil Maffetone defines health as: "The optimal interplay of the organs".


In other words, you need your liver to liver, your lungs to lung and your kidneys to kidney. You want all the amazing systems in your body to play nice together. You really shouldn't have to take antacids and aspirin all the time.

When you eat well, exercise smart, and enjoy life, you are pursuing healthy.

Nancy and I have talked about this. If we had to do it all over again, we would not have called our business "Cr8 Fitness". Yes, we are a training facility, and yes, we exercise, and yes we work on fitness. 

Even though all those things are true, ​we should have called it "Cr8 Health."

Because that really is our main focus. To keep your body working well, for as long as possible. To encourage all the facets of a healthy lifestyle - making great food choices, a well-balanced exercise regimen, and having some fun. Your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being is really what matters, not that you have a six-pack or 10% bodyfat. If those are your goals, I am all for it, just don't neglect the others in the pursuit. Health comes first, fitness can and should be a by-product of the holistic process. Make sense?

We look forward to helping each new day be a little healthier than the one before. Thank-you for letting us be part of the journey. 

Coach Dean

Are You Ready TO Fall? (Bonus Video)

Sitting here writing this at 11:30 in the morning, after having shoveled the driveway and parking lot TWICE already today, with the snow still coming down, it's really hard to believe it's not officially winter yet.

Who made THAT rule?

Anyway, as I was pondering the fact it is still fall, I was reminded of a startling statistic shared by Coach Dan John.

28,000 Americans die from falls and fall-related injuries - every year.

That is pretty crazy. But check out what else he has to say...

"As I’m talking today, the Ebola virus is in the news. The chances of any of you picking up Ebola are pretty rare, but the chances of one of you having a fall and getting hurt are pretty high. Here’s an interesting thing: At my age, if I was told today by my doctor that I have cancer and my friend, who is also 57, was to fall today and hurt himself, statistically in two years, my chances of survival in the United States are greater."

Is that sinking in? Have you ever heard of this? Is anybody really talking about it and taking it seriously? Why is there no "Society for the prevention of falls and fall related injury"? And I am only half-joking.

We all tend to laugh at the "I've fallen and I can't get back up" commercials. But I wouldn't want to be in that position.

You may have noticed that as you get older, you don't bounce, or bounce back, quite like you used to - I know I have. The good news is there is something you can do about, Get strong, Stay Strong. Build in some "margin" in your joints, tendons and ligaments with mobility and flexibility work. Practice balancing on one foot - now add weight. Drop to the ground and get back up. At Cr8 Fitness, we do all of that for a reason. So WHEN you fall, you CAN get back up.

And that's no joke.

To your best health, for a long time.

Coach Dean

P.S. Took the family to the trampoline park in Concord the other day. I fell, a lot, but I had a blast. Most parents were standing on the sidelines, watching the kids have all the fun. BOO! Train to stay in the game!

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