Archive for fitness commentary, news

New Blood Pressure Guidelines: Good or Bad?

by Meaghan posted November 17, 2017

As you probably heard, the American Heart Association recently changed the way they categorize blood pressure and what constitutes hypertension.


Long story short, the number that officially qualifies as “high” blood pressure (a.k.a. ‘hypertension’) has been lowered from 140 to 130 with the (purported?) hopes that people will take action to lower it sooner rather than waiting until the health risks (namely, heart attack and stroke) are more pronounced.

But is this really what we think will happen? Moreover, is it really the intent of the change?

Many worry that we’ll see an influx of people being put on medication – similar to what happened when the AMA declared obesity a disease a few years ago – and some even think that this is what’s really behind the change: an obvious conspiracy by Big Pharma.

What do you think? Are the new guidelines likely to produce positive changes in health-related behavior, or push more people to medicate?

Leave a comment with your thoughts!


What’s Next?

by Meaghan posted December 21, 2016

First, happy holidays! Hope all of our family, friends, alumni and community are enjoying the festivities of the season.

As we wrap up another year and embrace a time for reflection, it only seems fitting to take a look back at some of our highlights of 2016, and a look ahead at what’s to come in the New Year.


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Team Focus Wins the Starting Strength Challenge National Title!

by Meaghan posted April 28, 2016

The Focus team was ECSTATIC last Sunday when Starting Strength Challenge organizer, Dana Varrone, announced that we had won the Long Island City meet title for the SECOND year in a row.

Focus Team wins!

Coach Brent Carter did an amazing job coaching us along the way and judging the event; and, little did he know, he’d soon have even more reason to be proud.

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Q&A: What Do you Think About ‘Workout New York?’

by Meaghan posted December 17, 2015

I’ve unfortunately been asked this question much more than I’d prefer since the new Bravo TV show, ‘Workout New York’ aired.




Has anyone else seen it? If so, I’m curious as to what you thought about it.

To answer the question originally posed to me, let’s just say I shut the show off after about 5 minutes. Aside from an inordinate amount of profanity and other unprofessional behavior exhibited by the trainers, the show portrays the fitness industry as ridiculously dramatic, superficial and self absorbed. Granted, there are probably too many trainers out there for whom this is true; but the better half seek to motivate and inspire, and are dedicated to helping other people achieve goals.

For a “reality TV show,” this show is far from reality.

Thoughts? Leave a comment!


First FPTI Career Fair Was a Hit!

by Meaghan posted November 24, 2014

We held our very first Career Fair for students last Wednesday afternoon and it was a huge success!

Full house at Focus!


After several weeks of gaining knowledge, technical skills AND professionalism (via help with writing resumes and cover letters, interview prep, etc.), FPTI’s Master Course and Theory and Application students seeking jobs and internships got all dressed up to network with recruiters from New York City’s top gyms. They were especially excited to see FPTI alumni there now representing fitness management!

FPTI alum Marvin is now a Fitness Manager at Crunch!

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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

Focus Powerlifting Team Gets 10 PRs!

by Meaghan posted July 16, 2014

This past weekend, FPTI sent a team of six out to Merrick, Long Island to compete in the RPS Powerlifting meet at CrossFit Strong…and we returned home with a TEAM total of 10 lifetime PRs! What’s even better is that everyone who competed got at least one PR, so it truly was a team effort.

Here are some videos:



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Vibram Pays Back Millions for False Claims

by Meaghan posted May 8, 2014

Remember back a couple of years ago when Vibram got sued for making false claims that their FiveFingers shoes prevented injury and increased foot strength? (If not, you can read about it HERE.)

Well, it looks like the company has finally agreed to pay back millions of dollars to the people – many of whom got injured – who believed these claims and purchased the shoes (although Vibram denies any wrongdoing). Check it out HERE!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so feel free to chime in with a comment.

Personally, I think the idea of minimalist running shoes is a good one, just a little premature. We do have some research supporting lesser impact forces when landing on the midfoot versus the heel, but nothing on the carryover to injury rates or performance. And the real problem arises when one jumps into a pair after having run for years in more supportive footwear and never actually changes his/her foot strike pattern… Other thoughts?


by Meaghan posted April 22, 2014

As you know, yesterday marked the 118th Annual Boston Marathon. But to the runners, spectators and anyone who has ever called Boston home, it marked a much greater victory. Not only did the community pull together to rise above last year’s tragic bombings that stopped the race short, it came back bigger and stronger than ever.

More athletes competed – some 36,000 even.


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