Transformation Blog

Hi everyone,

After talking to a few people, I decided the best way prove myself as an expert in weight loss is to show myself losing weight.  Practicing what I preach basically.  There are many fitness instructors out there that have just been in shape and skinny their entire lives.  I pushed myself back up to 194 pounds and I will be posting regularly so that you can see that I know how this feels and I know the struggles in trying to lose the weight. 
This is what Sheer Drive is all about.  Tugging deeply at your determination and succeeding at things that are difficult to achieve.  I was having serious doubts about increasing my weight again especially when I hit 185.  I am an asthmatic, and I found that starting at this weight, it is a little more difficult for me to breathe even if I am sitting down doing nothing. As I hit 190 I found it was difficult just to bend over and tie my shoes.  And at 194, seeing my before and now pictures is astonishing to me.  It’s about that time to make a change.


But I don’t want to do it alone.  Join in with me, post pictures on Facebook. com/Sheerdrive; comment on what you have accomplished; let me know that you have started.  

Why wait till tomorrow when you can change your life now.

Every few days I will have workouts posted on here.  Check back and try them out.  I’ll also be posting links of various food recipes and articles to help along the way.

Here is something I read in an NY Times article about the effectiveness of high fat/high protein/low carb diets in weight loss:

Until next time…



Blog Post#4 You want that toned body?

Throughout my years as a fitness coach, women have told me they want toned thighs and arms.  Men have told me they want to be more ripped.  Well this is how to do it.


I described, in my last blog post, how sprinters use interval training to get their bodies.  Marathon runners perform long distance steady statw running to obtain their bodies.  If you want the body of the standard marathon runner, then just run for lengthy periods of time and allow your muscle to break down.  If you have extra fat on your body, you won’t lose it effectively going this route(also explained in the last post)
Now if you want a more developed look for your body, interval training is the way to go.

I am going to explain how to perform High Intensity Interval Training  and Tabata intervals rather than the science behind performing them.  If I get a lot of questions about the science, then I will write a post about that.  Before attempting any type of intense exercise, you should consult a doctor.  Interval training performed effectively forces you to perform near your maximum heart rate.

High Intensity Interval Training

The HIIT protocol requires you to be ready to exercise harder than you ever have before.  From the very beginning, you must move as fast as possible and attempt to sustain that effort.  For instance, if your circuit involves sprinting, jumping jacks, bear crawls, or squat jumps, then you will have to perform quickest and most powerful sprints, jumping jacks, bear crawls, or squat jumps that you are able to.   This means, make sure you have a doctor’s consent before you try it and make sure you are warmed up also.

The idea is to perform a 1:1 ratio of highly intense work to rest and repeatthis 8-12 times.  So if this is your first time, I suggest 15 seconds of work to 15 seconds of rest.  Any intense exercise can be used.  Such as the previous suggestions or kettlebell swings, barbell cleans, burpees, etc.

1         15 seconds work
Rest-15 seconds
2           repeat
Rest-15 seconds

Just continue this pattern until you complete a minimum of 8 rounds.  By round 6 you may be questioning why you are doing this to begin with. Ignore the question and just keep going. 

After a few sessions, When your body adapts to the 15 seconds of work, then increase to 30 seconds.  When you are ready, then increase to 45 seconds.  And when you get good at that, increase to 1 minute.  If you can sustain this level of work for a full minute for 12 rounds, you are just amazing.

Tabata Intervals

This protocol for interval training can also be very intense, but takes less time to complete.  The idea is to complete 20 seconds of all out work, then either completely rest or exercise at a low intensity for 10 seconds.  This equals 1 set.  Repeat the cycle, without stopping, 8 times.  Total time is then 4 minutes.  It is important that the 20 seconds is your high intensity portion, and then your 10 seconds is low intensity or complete rest.  There are a variety of timer apps out there that have tabata intervals so you don’t have to stare at a stop watch.

After the 4 minutes is completed, I prefer to rest for 2 minutes, then perform another 4 minute tabata.  I may do this a few times for myself or my clients.  Just as with the HIIT, there is lots of variety.  You can per only two exercises for the entire round, or you can mix in 8  different high and low intensity exercises.  

There you have it.  Efficient ways to exercise your bodies, increase muscle mass, and in turn, burn more calories (and fat) at rest. 

Have a good weekend everyone.

Post#3: Want to spend less time in the gym?


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I am so sorry to everyone that I have been away for the last month.  I am back for good now 🙂 We all know how time consuming it is to do long cardio sessions.  This could be news to you, but unless you are training for a long distance race, there is no real need to spend 30-60 minutes on a machine if you are looking to burn fat.  When you do the drawn out cardio sessions, your body will continue to burn calories for maybe 2 hours after you finish.  If you spend up to 24 minutes performing intense interval training formats, such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Tabata Intervals, your body will enter this state of EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption), and then you will continue to burn calories for up to another 48 hours all due to the intensity of your workout. Exercising in this manner creates a greater muscle demand, which forces your body to build more muscle.  When you have more muscle, at rest, your body naturally expends more energy.  Based on your eating habits, you will likely be pulling that energy from any stored fat.  When you do steady state cardio, you are not building any muscle.  If you are trying to lose weight, this form of cardio will be detrimental, because your body will begin to breakdown muscle for energy rather than breaking down fat.  This in the end will reduce your metabolism, not increase it.  Think about the local gym that you go to.  You may have seen a few people in your gym, performing steady cardio on the elliptical or treadmill, that have done the same routine for years.   If you really think hard about it, you likely have not seen a change in their bodies over that period of time.  Why?  Because they are breaking down their muscles and slowing their metabolism.  If you are trying to make your body more efficient in terms of fat loss, you need to add muscle.  Here are great examples of the differences in body types that occur due to steady state cardio and sprinting intervals: Sprinters.       image Steady state runners image If you notice, in the first picture the athletes have more developed thighs and hips.  In the second picture, thigh and hip development is diminished.   Below you have a side by side view. image Yes the pictures I posted are of trained athletes, but the premise is the same for everyone, male and female.  If you are trying to lose weight, continuous steady cardio will make you look like the marathoner, except you likely keep a bit of fat on your body for a while longer as you attempt to lose weight.    Performing interval training using sprints or interchanging various exercises will get you towards the body of a sprinter.   In my next post, I will tell you how to perform interval training.  If you enjoyed reading this post, you can follow me on twitter @sheer_drive or like Sheer Drive on Facebook. Until then!  Eat well and be healthy!

Post#2: Social Motivation


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Thank you all for reading my last post. Since then, I have received a few responses about lack of motivation to exercise or eat well. Today I am responding to one of them.

A reader’s question:

What keeps you motivated? I’ve been eating like crap for the past 3 months and gained 10 lbs. which I am not very proud of. I’m normally a healthy eater but lately it’s been a struggle.

My motivation has always been to just be better. I find something new that I want to try to do, and I exercise extensively to perform whatever the goal is. Right now, I am working on performing a planche. What has kept me eating well, for the last month and a half, has been consistently eating well with someone else.

Doing things alone can sometimes set a person up for a misstep.  Now there are people who thrive in doing things alone, however I think most of society works best in groups when it comes to overcoming difficult situations.  Weight Watchers has been successful, because of its’ social aspect and helping people be aware of how they eat. Then Weight Watchers will teach members different eating habits to reaffirm success.  Alcoholics Anonymous has helped many people for decades, because of the group environment.  Now with both examples, people have stumbled.  I’m mean, people are people.  We mess up. It happens.  But the great thing about these groups is they always accept those that have faltered back under the wings.  If you have a goal and you are doing it alone, it is ridiculously easy to stumble along the way.  

So logically the best way to correct the problem is to work within a group!  Using social motivation to achieve your goal will increase the likelihood of you achieving your goal. I am actually working on a new website for exactly that purpose, social motivation for nutrition and exercise, and it should be up and running by April 1st.  

Now what happens if you can’t find someone to exercise with or you can’t afford a personal/group fitness coach to motivate you?  Well you have two choices that I can think of.  Get up and do it yourself or do nothing at all.  Let’s assume, since you’re reading this post, that you won’t allow yourself to do nothing. Then the first thing you should do is change your pattern.  Many times we just need to diversify our exercise and eating habits to make things interesting again.  Constantly eating the same meals or performing the same workouts becomes monotonous and can be the kiss of death for staying healthy.  It almost always leads toward poor food choices and your body plateauing from your workouts.  

If you normally workout at the gym and you usually perform heavy weight training, try exercising at home.  No weights.  

If you have no physical ailments here is a simple, but challenging workout:

4 Rounds:

1) 10 Burpees

2) 20 Floor Butt kicks

3) 30 Sprinters

30 seconds of rest then repeat #1.

**This is not a workout for a beginners**

If you are a beginner and you exercise at the gym normally, you should just take your workouts outside.  If you walk the treadmill, then walk outside instead.  If you normally swim, then it’s time to learn about weight training and work on that.  If you are eating the same things, find a new recipe that interests you, cook it and enjoy it.

The point is we must always teach our bodies something different.  We all have the capacity to do amazing things. As long as we don’t quit, the opportunity still exists to give ourselves the chance at success.

Homework:  Do something different physically or eating something different.  And then share it.   If it is a new workout that you did, I want to know the workout.  If it is a new recipe, send me a picture.  Here we go, the beginning of social fitness motivation will start today.

Hello world. My name is Paul.


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Hi everyone.  For a while now I have said I wanted to start a blog about healthier living, fitness, etc., but I have continuously procrastinated until today.  Finally, while I lay on my couch in pain and unable to swallow due to strep, I think now is best time to start writing. My name is Paul and I am a fitness coach in White Plains, NY with 10 years of experience in this field.  My life revolves around fitness.  Heck, my wife(we just made 6 months) was my first client ever.  Yes that was 10 years ago and a long story of friendship.  To reiterate, my life revolves around fitness, but I am far from perfect.

To live a healthy lifestyle, fitness is the third most important thing behind healthy eating.  It took my turning 30 to realize this and another 2 years to fix it.  My weight has fluctuated more than I’d care to admit.  Around my birthday, in 2013, I actually reached 195 lbs. which is a rather unhealthy weight for my size.  I managed to get down to 177 in time for the wedding, but then went back up to 189.  

My biggest problem is that I love to eat poorly.  Pizza is my primary trigger food.  I don’t know if there is a scientific basis for a trigger food or not, but in this context, a trigger food is when you are on a diet, you eat one food in particular, and your diet instantly disappears as you return to your old ways pre-diet; your weight increases and then you feel horrible because you put in all that work for so long, and your efforts are a waste.  Well this has happened to me many times over the years, and I know I am not the only one.

Well to rectify a problem, one must admit there is a problem and I did that late December 2013.  January 1st my wife and I began the Whole 30 program which is a bit of a more intense Paleo diet program.  It helped us eat better quality foods and really pay attention to what enters our bodies.  We have lost weight (so far I have dropped from 189 down to 174), but more importantly we just feel better in general.  And that’s the first most important thing to a healthy lifestyle.  Feel and be healthy.

Since February began, we have stuck to the regular Paleo diet.  By the way, I haven’t had pizza since mid or late December, even though there is a pizza shop right on the corner of my block.  It’s not Paleo, so I’m avoiding it.  I won’t lie to any of you, it feels damn near impossible to avoid something that provides me comfort and is just a 90 second walk away.  Avoiding my trigger an everyday struggle.  

As I said before, I am not perfect. I can go on and on telling you the horrible things I have done to my body from eating, but the point of this blog is to show everyone that with sheer determination,  your life can and will change.  What I write is not coming from the typical fitness coach that has controlled his eating and lifestyle from the beginning and will judge you unfairly for your roller coaster weight loss experience. I’ve been there, and it would be hypocritical for me to judge you for that.  

What I write is solely my expert opinion from my experience as a fitness coach, educational experience,  and experience in quelling my appetite.  This is my first blog ever and I intend to write no fewer than twice per week.  Please post questions and send me emails.  I will respond to everything and may write topics based on what you post.  Starting tomorrow I will post things ranging from workouts to anything else I can think of on health and fitness. I hope you enjoy reading it and chime in on the things you don’t agree with. Have a great day everyone! 

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