Archive for Did You Know?

This is How Long a Full Sleep Cycle Takes

by Meaghan posted September 27, 2017

According to sleep science researchers, a full sleep cycle takes 90 minutes.

sleep cycle

Ever wake up 30-60 minutes LATER than your usual time and actually wake up feeling MORE tired? This is why – and it has obvious implications for everyone, but especially for trainers who often have irregular sleep schedules.

Here’s the takeaway: For the most part, people tend to go to bed and wake up at relatively consistent times during the week and have adapted their sleep cycles to their schedule; but since each sleep cycle takes about 90 minutes to complete (regardless of sleep and wake time), if you need to wake up earlier or later sometimes, it should be a FULL 90 minutes earlier or later – rather than a 30- or 60-minute difference.

You’re Probably Foam Rolling Wrong

by Meaghan posted July 18, 2017

First, has anyone tried this new contoured foam roller? It looks AMAZING…





More importantly, did you know you’re probably foam rolling wrong? I know, I know. For years we said there was no real right or wrong – before a workout, after a workout, on your off days: ALL good. Personally, it always made more sense to me to foam roll before working out to get your body through the necessary ranges of motion in training and prevent compensations that could lead to injury. We didn’t have much research to back this up (or refute it), but it certainly made logical sense to me.

Good news: We actually have some research on foam rolling now. Granted, it’s new and still not abundant by any means. BUT, it’s starting to suggest that the effects of foam rolling are largely neurological in nature – AND extremely short-lived. Not like a few hours short-lived, but a couple of minutes. That is to say, the release of tension we get from foam rolling may already be diminished by the time we even START our workout – especially if we do a full-body foam roll. The mobility effects in the lower body could be gone by the time we finish foam rolling the upper body!

SO, perhaps we need to rethink our strategy when it comes to foam rolling. We seem to see the best LONG-term mobility effects when we follow up our foam rolling with static stretching (PNF seems best), and then it’s up to us to immediately gain stability and strength through our newfound range of motion if we want lasting change in structure and/or pain relief. That said, it may be best to intersperse both foam rolling AND stretching for specific areas strategically throughout a workout rather than doing it only at the beginning or end.

Food for thought!

“Hypertrophy” Training Protocols are Kind of a Myth…

by Meaghan posted January 24, 2017


That’s right. Much of what you thought you knew is wrong.

8-12 reps for muscle growth, right? Not necessarily.

30-90s only of rest to recruit more muscle fibers, correct? Nope.

Moderate intensity is best? All wrong.

These are ALL myths.

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This May Be Why Women Have a Hard Time Losing Weight

by Meaghan posted June 5, 2015

Ever wonder why some women seem to have such a hard time losing fat?

Intuitively, we’ve kind of always known that it probably has something to do with fertility; but the actual physiological mechanisms remain somewhat unclear.

THIS article, however – which was the topic of our latest education event at FocusNYC – may shine some light on the matter – and surprise some of us, too!


The aforementioned review paper noted a little known (or at least overlooked) fact about research on post-exercise metabolism: Most of it has been conducted on men. And, when we separate the sexes and then look at post-exercise metabolism, we see that women appear to have a much smaller magnitude of disturbance in metabolic rate as a result of exercise, and for a much shorter duration as well.

The consensus as to why women seem to have much tighter control over metabolic homeostasis is that an energy deficit is detrimental to procreation. In other words, women’s bodies are extremely efficient at protecting against starvation by conserving fat in order to ensure healthy reproductive function.

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The Paleo Diet May Not Be Paleo At All

by Meaghan posted September 24, 2014

Given that THIS article just came out in the NY Times, we thought it necessary to shed some light on the topic of the current diet trend known as “Paleo.” Did you know that regardless of its potential health benefits, the “Paleo” Diet might not actually be Paleolithic in nature?


If you actually read the research, there’s no real evidence to show that our ancestors – at least not everyone’s ancestors – ate a diet of predominantly meats, vegetables and berries. Read THIS review paper on the subject and you’ll learn that studies suggest our ancestors ate what was available, and this varied greatly across regions and changed greatly across time.

Think about it: When survival is at stake, you’ll eat anything – and that’s likely what they did. Much of the problem today is that people still do this even when they’re far from starvation… True, we have processing methods today  that we didn’t have back then, and processed foods are surely causing a host of health problems. But I have a very hard time believing that our incredibly adaptable species has not also adjusted its regulatory mechanisms over the years to better utilize what is available today in order to continue surviving.

Additionally, even way back when, we see evidence that diet was mostly learned behavior and passed on, much like it is today. Go figure.

Bottom line: While eating a diet like Paleo that is rich in lean meats and vegetables is certainly better for health than a diet high in processed meats and sugars, the health benefits of eating “Paleo” have more to do with the promotion of nutrient-dense whole foods and banning of nutrient-void, calorie-dense “food” than with the premise that this is how we are “meant to eat” based on ancestry.

To learn more about the Paleo Diet and other nutrition trends, check out our new Nutrition Facts and Fallacies course at FPTI. We sold out the first one last weekend, so we’ll be running another in November. Stay tuned for details!


Your Perspiration Has Power

by Meaghan posted September 2, 2014

Bet you didn’t know THAT!

What’s being done these days in exercise research is pretty cool. The latest endeavor: Turning sweat into fuel.


That’s right: Scientists at the University of California at San Diego are working on a device that uses the lactate (a byproduct of the metabolic process known as glycolysis, where carbohydrates are broken down for fuel) generated during intense exercise and present in your sweat to create an electrical current. You can read more about it HERE.

In short, the device comes in the form of a temporary tattoo embedded with a battery that senses lactate and uses its electrons to generate power:



Granted, the current produced from lactate is small, but researchers are hoping to find a way to enhance it and eventually power devices like heart rate monitors and even phones.

The best part is, the more intense the exercise, the more lactate you produce – so the implications to motivation and sustaining exercise intensity for longer periods of time in order to power a device could be pretty big (i.e., better workouts for many exercisers).

what next

Brace Yourselves…Tracy Anderson is Targeting Men Now Too

by Meaghan posted April 13, 2014

The other day, we looked at some up-and-coming fitness equipment in a post entitled, “Useful Tools or Just More Toys?”

Today, enter one of the industry’s most useless tools:

But she’s not just targeting women anymore. She now has a new “men’s only” method of training… because, you know, it’s also important for men not to overdevelop. Right now, it’s all about being ‘skinny ripped.’ Men want to be panthers. Didn’t you know?

For years, Tracy Anderson has been telling the world that when women lift heavy, they look like this:


Good thing we kept her around long enough to inform us that guys shouldn’t lift so much either, because they really want this:


And Tracy can make it happen.




Among the other ridiculous things Ms. Anderson says in this interview are:

1. “I probably actually set a gold standard of what it takes to set a real fitness method. I did a five-year research study with 150 women and measured them every 10 days and I created original content and sequencing for each of them and navigated them..I wasn’t measuring BMI or typical measurements. I was measuring based on the idea of how to create balance where there is imbalance in the body…They knew they were guinea pigs…This was in Indiana.”

If measuring an idea based on navigating guinea pigs in Indiana is the gold standard of a fitness method, this industry is in big trouble. I either want to quit my job or work exponentially harder to shut down such nonsense – not sure which.


2. “Your body has no idea what the hell to do with the soda, so this floats through your body, and it stores it as inflammation, which is a very important word that needs to be understood correctly.”

Huh?? Things do not get “stored” as inflammation. Inflammation occurs early in the healing process and is triggered by injury or when the body perceives invasion by a foreign agent. And yes, Ms. Anderson, people should understand this correctly… For some reason, Alanis Morissette just started playing in my head.



And her biggest fallacy yet:

3. “Our muscles and our brains are the only tools we have.”

Not true. We also have you, Ms. Anderson.

Group Fitness Instructors Don’t Have it So Easy

by Meaghan posted December 17, 2013

In the fitness industry, it isn’t uncommon for personal trainers to knock group fitness instructors for having it “easier” – especially those who have never tried to teach a class.

After all, with group fitness, there’s no individualized programming, no client cancellations or unsteady income, no dealing with people’s problems and very little psychology to consider because the majority of motivation comes from the group.

But a host of other challenges come with coaching a class that personal trainers tend to overlook. For one, you’ve often got a wide variety of fitness levels to accommodate, and selecting the appropriate progressions and regressions for each person’s strength and coordination can be tough – especially when several new clients come into the class at once.

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H.I.I.T. Workouts May Help You Eat Less

by Meaghan posted October 12, 2013

Looks like we have one more reason to favor high-intensity interval training over long slow distance for fat loss: In addition to enhanced levels of EPOC that lead to more caloric expenditure, harder workouts may also help you eat fewer calories. 

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity looked at 17 sedentary, overweight men who participated in four 30-minute exercise sessions. In one session, they simply rested. In the other three sessions, they exercised on a stationary bike for a continuous moderate pace, at a high-intensity pace with intervals, and at a VERY high-intensity pace with intervals. After each session, they were given a meal that was monitored, and later given as much oatmeal as they wanted to eat.

On the high- and very high-intensity workout days, their caloric intake was significantly lower – by about 200 calories. Caloric consumption was also assessed for the rest of the test day as well as the following day, and the men did NOT overcompensate by eating more once they had recovered their appetite after the harder workouts.

Bottom line: High-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.) may help you burn more and consume less, resulting in greater fat loss.

To learn more about H.I.I.T. and how to do it, check out the courses at the Focus Personal Training Institute!


Fit6 Got a Makeover!

by Meaghan posted September 16, 2013

At least the name did… That’s right: Your favorite small group training class – Fit6 – is now called PT6, a name we feel is much more reflective of what the class is all about. That, plus Fit6 is also the name of a walker for old people…


The “PT” in PT6 stands for “personal training,” the main business of Focus Integrated Fitness and the main business of the class’s instructors – which means they’re pros at individualizing exercise selection, intensity and even motivation – something you don’t get at just any class. So while the class is pre-programmed a month in advance (also rare for group fitness), the 12-person-per-class limit allows plenty of room for individual adjustments and ample opportunity to work toward specific goals.

Many of you also think the 6 stands for our 6 stations, but there’s actually much more to the meaning behind PT6 than just that. Each program contains the 6 most important elements of a workout: 1) Pushing and 2) Pulling (for both the upper and lower body); 3) Rotation (through the hips and shoulders); 4) Mobility (we include a dynamic warm-up and stretching at the end); 5) Stability (for the shoulder and lumbo-pelvic-hip complexes); and 6) Conditioning (the class is circuit-style and we also have a treadmill station).

So come on down to FocusNYC and experience the new and improved PT6!

FPTI students: Remember that you get a discount!!