How to Know if You Should Try the Ketogenic Diet

Unless you've been under a rock recently, you've heard the buzz about the ketogenic diet (or keto).  Everybody is confirming miraculous weight loss results and increased brain power.  But what's the deal with it and is it really all that we think it is?Read more

Your Weight Scale is a Liar!

Oh how you love the weight scale.

Every-time you hop on it’s like Christmas, maybe you were naughty maybe you were nice.

You wake up in the morning, go to the bathroom, strip down completely and hop on the scale.

Only to realize it’s not going where you wanted it to go.

Maybe it has gone up, maybe down but never down as fast as you would like.Read more

What Can't I Lose Weight? It Just Stopped All Of A Sudden

I received an e-mail from a client last week saying that she was disappointed with her weight loss since she had cut out drinking and started exercising again.

It had been two weeks so far and she had lost two pounds.

Now in the eyes of the trainer that’s great weight loss that’s probably more permanent than just water weight.

But you’re thinking to yourself, “What?! Only 2 pounds that’s terrible!”

Hold on a minute.

The reality is that rapid weight loss isn’t very good for your body.Read more

Two Great Exercises for Burning Fat

Two Ultimate Exercises for Burning Fat

If your goal is to be burn fat, be strong, and get fit, which it needs be, then the following two movements should be staples in your routine!

The Burpee:

The relationship between a person and their burpee workout can be somewhat of a love/hate thing. They’re hard enough to make you cry and see your lunch from last week, but are so great for burning fat that you’ll shortly be smiling all the way into your skinny jeans for good!

Burpee Benefits:

  • The high intensity of this exercise equates to anywhere between 1 – 1.6 calories burned during every rep!
  • Requires no equipment: can be done in the comfort of your own home, a gym, or a hotel room for a business trip
  • Will increase your cardiovascular and muscular strength plus your balance and coordination

Things to consider when doing burpees:

  • They should not be done if you have any shoulder, knee, wrist, or elbow joint issues
  • If you have not done them before, seek supervision on how to properly complete them

The Thruster:

The thruster is another full body, compound movement that is outstanding for burning fat and building functional strength. It combines a squat and an overhead press, which uses more than 15 muscles per repetition. Add this to your repertoire and you’re on your way to an impressive physique.

Thruster Benefits:

  • Can be done with soup cans, dumbbells, kettlebells, a medicine ball, or a barbell
  • Is a low impact movement that doesn’t require you to jump and add force to the knee joints
  • Can be done with lower weight and higher reps for cardiovascular benefits, or higher weight and lower reps for building great strength
  • Can burn up to 15 calories per repetition! Take that belly fat!

Things to consider when doing thrusters:

  • Form is paramount here because it requires a great deal of core stability and proper alignment make sure that you have proper guidance from a professional.
  • Start with lighter weight so you can get a feel for the movement

Whenever burning fat is the main goal of your exercise routine, make sure that you keep great form for each movement and keep the intensity up! Try throwing the following circuit including these two great exercises into your weekly routine to burn upwards of 300 calories in less than 20 minutes:

12 – 1 Reverse Pyramid: Do 12 reps of burpees, jumping jacks, and dumbbell thrusters. Then 11 reps, then 10 reps, and so on until you complete one rep of each exercise. Then you’re done! You might be drenched in sweat now, but you’ll thank me later.

Private Personal Training

Why should you consider private personal training?

Do you have issues with:

  • Staying motivated
  • Being consistent
  • Pushing yourself
  • Bad eating habits
  • Not knowing what to do

The truth is that working out isn’t easy. Staying consistent is even harder.

Hiring someone to provide private personal training may be the most effective way to get the results you desire.

ReDefineRVA offers a private personal training experience in our 3,200 square foot studio, split across two floors.

Normally when you hire a private personal trainer, especially at the big box gyms, you’re going to end up having a “private personal training” experience surrounded by well over a hundred other people.

I used to train at a Gold’s Gym, and it was always extremely difficult to find space to train my personal training clients.

During busy hours, I would have to find a small corner somewhere in the gym, and create whatever kind of workout I could for the day. It wouldn’t allow me to properly train my clients like I would in a more private personal training location.

Once my business partners and I started ReDefineRVA, we want to offer a private personal training experience that was actually private.

At any one time, our studio will only have a maximum of 20 clients in the studio training at one time.

A maximum of six in our semi-private personal training sessions downstairs.

One of the main reasons clients come to our studio is because of the comfort and privacy they receive while training.

We strive to offer a private personal training experience different than any other location in Richmond, VA.

Our semi-private setting combined with the benefits of a semi-private atmosphere.

Although you’ll be in a session with up to five other clients, you’ll have your very own workout program catered to your goals and needs. One of our experienced trainers will help guide you through every one of of your workouts.

We track your measurements in order to keep you on track with your progress, as well as offer a nutrition accountability program to make sure you’re eating healthy nutritious foods.

12 Fat Loss Tips to Burn Through Stubborn Belly Fat

12 Fat Loss Tips To Get Rid Of Your Belly Fat


  1. Eat less than you burn
  2. Add in extra interval cardio
  3. Eat protein with every meal
  4. Stop performing isolation exercises and do heavy compound exercises to boost results
  5. Make sure to portion out your healthy fats
  6. Stay hydrated
  7. Limit starchy carbs to only post workout
  8. Eat breakfast every day
  9. Take fish oil supplements
  10. Get a full nights rest
  11. Stop running like a marathoner and more like a sprinter
  12. Stop doing hundreds of crunches every day

Focus on Fat Loss

Fat loss, not weight loss, is important when getting in shape.

The problem is that they have it all wrong.

When you lose weight, you lose both muscle and fat. Although you may drop the numbers on the scale faster this way, you won’t look the way you want to look.

The only thing that keeps your metabolism going, even at rest, is lean muscle tissue.

If all you do is focus on the numbers on the scale, you’re going to lose a lot of the muscle tissue you’ve previously worked so hard to build up.

The better way to go about it is through a proper fat loss program.

This means a combination of good nutrition, progressive resistance training, and effective cardio.

Dropping body fat percentage is a longer process…

Although fat loss can take a little longer to achieve in the grand scheme of things, the end result is a body that you truly desire.

Everybody has muscle, but it is covered up by fat. Now how much fat there is depends on your body fat percentage.

The lower the body fat percentage, the more your lean muscle will show through.

The majority of people out there do not have enough lean muscle tissue on their body to be able to waste it by losing weight too quickly.

You should focus on building lean muscle tissue, while trying to burn off stubborn fat.

The way you can achieve these results is through a progressive strength training program.

When you lift weights, you create tiny tears in the muscle fibers of the muscles you work.

After a period of recovery, your body will repair the muscle, and build more lean muscle on top of that. It does this so that same weight you lifted does not cause the same damage as before.

If you lifted 10 pounds on week one, you would cause some muscle damage. After the muscles have recovered, that 10 pounds won’t have the same effect on your muscles. So you may need to adjust the sets and reps, or increase the weight. This way your body keeps getting stronger, and building more lean muscle tissue.

This is where most people fail on their own. They go to the gym, do the same thing every workout, and never really progress their workouts. This is why many people hit plateaus, and can’t seem to continue to see results.

This is where a personal trainer comes into play. They can create a custom workout for you, based on your goals, and adjust workouts as you get stronger and more fit. This will greatly improve your chances for healthy fat loss.

Focus on fat loss and you will be much happier 🙂

Losing weight quickly can be a very exciting achievement. You feel like you’ve made it, and figured out the recipe.

What you don’t realize is that you’ve lost precious muscle tissue. Once you lose muscle tissue your metabolism starts to drop, no matter how much you work out.

So as soon as you stop working out as much, or performing as much cardio, the weight will come back on.

You need to preserve your lean muscle tissue, focus on fat loss, and avoid trying to lost weight too quickly.

General weight loss recommendations will tell you 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy rate of weight loss. However, the heavier you are to start, the faster it will come off in the beginning. It’s not unreasonable to see multiple pounds of weight loss each week at the beginning.

If you combine proper strength training, with your cardio and nutrition protocol, you can lose weight while retaining as much lean muscle tissue as possible.

Once you’ve dropped a decent amount of weight, you should focus more on building lean muscle tissue, and getting rid of that stubborn fat.

The fat loss will come a slower rate than pure numbers on the scale, but a small change in body fat percentage makes a big change in the way you look.

In conclusion:

Don’t focus too much on the scale. Instead you should focus on fat loss and your total body fat percentage.

Timing your Strength and Cardio Workouts Throughout the Week.

I’ve had tons of clients ask me about how they should be timing their workouts.

Can I work out twice in the same day?

Should I do cardio or strength first?

What about working out on back to back days?

Generally it will depend on what you’re looking to do.  You can work out twice in a day and on back to back strength training days.  But you have to be careful to not over exert yourself, especially if you’re not used to exercising consistently.

Working out twice in the same day.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working out twice in the same day.  However, there are a few things to take into consideration.

The biggest issue with this type of setup is fatigue.

Is your cardio workout going to affect your strength workout and vice versa.

For people who haven’t been consistently exercising I would advise against two workouts in a day.

It may be too much stimulation on the body, and you may end up burning out. Once you get into the rhythm then you can reassess whether or not it’s an option for you.

But if you’re already consistent with your exercise, and want to drive more results, then you can add in a second session to speed things up.

If you are going to work out twice in the same day you have to make sure that you are:

  • Properly refueling yourself with nutrition.
  • Staying hydrated.
  • Performing a proper warm up and cool down for each workout.
  • Getting adequate sleep.
  • And taking at least one full day off from exercise a week.

You will be pushing your body to the limits with two-a-days so make sure you’re recovering properly.

I would also recommend only doing this for a few weeks at a time for that extra boost in results. Once things get jump started ease back a little and see how your body responds.  It may turn out that once you get your body going it may not need as much stimulation to continue to see results.

Should I perform cardio or strength first if I’m doing both in the same day?

Now this can be a little tricky.

There are a number of ways to go about two different workouts in a day.

My preference for my clients timing is to do cardio as the second workout of the day.

The reason is that you don’t want to pre-fatigue yourself for your strength workouts.  You will need every bit of strength and energy to get through the heavy lifting sessions required for your body to change.

If you do cardio before your strength workout, especially leg day, you will struggle to keep up with your weights.

The other option is doing cardio early in the morning and strength later in the evening.

This is what some people really like to do to expedite their results.  Fasted cardio can potentially lead to increased fat loss, but it can also possibly be detrimental to muscle mass as well.

Performing cardio with no energy in the tank can lead to muscle wasting and lack of effort, so take that into consideration.

That’s why I always prefer cardio after strength training.

If you want to save time, you can even do cardio right after a strength workout. This is something we suggest to our clients if they’re in a pinch for time.

Back to back strength training days.

Now this is something that really has to be monitored.

Ideally when you perform a strength training workout on a specific muscle group, you want to have at least one day of rest before working out that same muscle group again.

If you are going to do strength training sessions on back to back days then you should split the workouts up.

Your timing should look something like this:

  • Chest day 1 and back day 2.
  • Upper day 1 and lower day 2.
  • Push exercises day 1 and pull exercises day 2.
  • And so on.

If you can only get two workouts in that week, then a full body strength workout on both days won’t be the worst thing to do.  But it’s also not going to allow you to get the right stimulation necessary to increase your strength. That’s why we always suggest one day off between strength workouts.

What’s the right workout split for me?

This is going to vary for every individual.

Some people will respond better to working out once a day Monday through Saturday.

Some will do better with two workouts a day a few days a week.

What I suggest is that you perform strength workouts every other day and then alternate cardio in between those workouts.

Something like:

  • Monday – strength
  • Tuesday – cardio
  • Wednesday – strength
  • Thursday – cardio
  • Friday – strength
  • Saturday – cardio
  • Sunday – off


  • Monday – cardio
  • Tuesday – strength
  • Wednesday – cardio
  • Thursday – strength
  • Friday – strength and cardio mix
  • Saturday – active recovery (hiking, biking, etc.)
  • Sunday – off

You can change it up however you want.  Just make sure that you’re getting at least 2-3 strength workouts in a week and 2-4 days of cardio based on your goals.

More cardio if you’re looking to drop pounds a little more quickly.

More strength if you’re really looking to build lean muscle and tone up.

Trainer’s summary:

  • Workout timing will always depend on the specific individual.
  • Try a schedule out and see how your body responds.  Assess and then re-adjust as necessary.
  • Make sure you get at least one full day of rest each week unless a big event prevents you from doing so.
  • The best way to go about working out is to be consistent each week with your workouts.

Trainer’s question of the day.

How do you like timing your workouts throughout the week?

Personal Trainers For The Win

Personal trainers may be your ticket to success.

Personal trainers and personal training may be relatively new to you.

You may be thinking they cost too much because there is a lot of debate about whether or not a personal trainer is worth it.

Having trained for a number of years, I can tell you that it all depends on the trainer and facility you choose.

A personal trainer’s biggest benefit to you is accountability.

Hands down, the number one reason to hire a personal trainer is due to the accountability that they provide.

If you look at the highest level athletes in the world, the one thing they always have is accountability.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, coach, teammate, or personal trainer, they always have someone that they have to show up for.

It’s the same reason that having a workout partner will help you get better results in the gym.

It’s also the same reason that a personal trainer is so helpful.

Lastly you’re paying for your trainer to get you results.  I have always believed that you need to have some skin in the game.  It’s easy to give up twenty or thirty dollars a month, but what about a couple of hundred dollars?  If you’re invested in your training then you’re automatically going to increase the time you spend in the gym.

Personal trainers provide consistency.

Consistency is something that a lot of people tend to miss out on when it comes to getting in shape.  They may work out a few days a week for a month and then not show up again for a month.  This inconsistency is what can ruin results.  Once you get your body into the rhythm of working out, it will continue to get better and better.

But that can be very difficult sometimes.  The holidays, vacations, and just times you’re too tired to make it to the gym.

You know what fixes all of that?

A personal trainer.

If you’re paying for a trainer you’re not going to skip out just because you’re tired.  You’re also going to feel obligated to make it to your session because you have them waiting on you.

Personal trainers provide motivation.

How hard is it to get into the gym most days of the week and be excited about it?

How hard is it to have a positive attitude when you’re not getting the results you want?

Well that’s where your personal trainer comes into play.

They’re going to be there with you, through thick and thin, no matter what’s going on.

It’s always funny because I tell clients that some days we’re a personal trainer, some days a therapist, some days a best friend, and some days just somebody to vent to.

Having that person there for you, even when you’re not feeling your best, will help provide you with the motivation to push through your workouts.

Not to mention, our job as personal trainers is to get you excited and pumped up for your workout.  It may be early in the morning, but we’re going to help give you a little pep in your step.

So how do you choose a personal trainer?

I would say that, hands down, the first thing to look for in a personal trainer is their personality.  If you don’t feel like you can get along with that person, and talk to them on a daily basis, then they may not be right for you.  You have to understand that you will be with your personal trainer more than a lot of your own friends.  You will eventually open up to your trainer and talk to them about all sorts of different things that are happening in your life. Find yourself a personal trainer you feel comfortable around on a daily basis and that will be the starting point for a great personal training experience.

Next is a personal trainer with some sort of certification.  Now, I must admit, a lot of personal trainer certifications can be completed in a day or weekend course.  However, the gold standard tends to be the NSCA-CSCS (National Strength and Conditioning Assocation – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist).  The NSCA also has the NSCA-CPT (certified personal trainer).  If the personal trainer you’re looking into has either one, you can trust that they have a great background in exercise and training.

Other certifications you should look for include:

  • ACE
  • NASM
  • ISSA
  • ACSM

Lastly check for reviews, whether that be from a current client or online.  Seeing that other people have trained with this person and enjoyed it will show you that you can probably trust that trainer.  If you can’t find reviews online you can ask other clients of theirs.  Ask them what the trainer’s style is.  Are they easy going or military style?  Do they always show up on time?  Do they provide them with their own custom workouts or just use the same one for every one of their clients?

These are a few questions you should have answered before hiring your very own personal trainer.

If you’re interested in hiring a personal trainer in Richmond, VA you can click the button below to schedule your very own free personal training session and consult, based on your schedule.

Weight Training

Weight Training Debunked

Weight training is something that is highly misunderstood by a majority of the public today, whether they’re into fitness or not.

What I’m going to do is list the myths and why they’re not actually true.

Weight training should be done with light weights and lots of reps.

The Problem

One of the biggest misconceptions in regards to lifting weights is how heavy you should be lifting.  A lot of people have the tendency to go into the gym and pick up a certain weight, use it from workout to workout until it feels easy, and never go up in weight again.  The problem with this is that when you lift weights you are tearing your muscle fibers.  Once the muscle fibers recover they become stronger than before, this is why that same weight will feel easier the next time you use it.  Now that your muscles fibers have built up and become stronger, the same weight won’t produce enough stimulation to your muscles to break them down.  Eventually you stop getting sore and you hit a plateau.

The Truth

You should be attempting to go up in weight each time you perform the same workout.  That’s if you’ve provided the proper amount of rest between workouts.  Always give your body at the very least one day of rest between working out the same muscle groups.  Especially if your goal is to tone up and get stronger.

Muscle weighs more than fat.

The Problem

There is a lot of confusion with this.  Muscle technically doesn’t weigh more than fat.  A pound is a pound.  However, muscle is more dense than fat.  This means that one pound of fat will be larger overall than one pound of muscle.  This is why it’s more important to change your body composition, i.e. body fat percentage, instead of worrying about the number on the scale.

The Truth

Everyone should understand that muscle is more dense than fat pound for pound.  Increase your lean muscle tissue and you will decrease your overall body fat in the process.

Lifting weights as a women will make you bulky.

The Problem

You look in a magazine and see these really muscular, ripped-up women as you flip through the pages and it honestly scares you a little bit.  What they don’t tell you in these articles is that these women have been weight training for years to get to where they are.  Not to mention that a majority of them are taking a number of supplements in order to get that look, some with testosterone boosting capabilities.

The Truth

If you have ever told someone that you want to “tone” and “tighten” your body, then you need to be weight training.  The female body just doesn’t have the testosterone and hormones to cause you bulk up.  Instead, weight training is going to provide your body with that lean, toned look you’re looking for.  Also, don’t forget to lift heavy.  You should be performing weights that become difficult in the 4-10 rep range.

Weight training is bad for your joints.

The Problem

A lot of people will tell you that weight training is bad on the joints.  What is actually bad for the joints is having an imbalance in your body due to not having a proper training program in place.  Your muscles actually act like a corset around your joints.  If the muscles are balanced they actually help lock those joints in place. The will cause day to day grind of working out to be taken on by the muscles instead of the joints.  The issue is that a lot of people only focus on specific muscle groups instead of incorporating equal work for each muscle.  This causes imbalances in your muscles and leads to improper joint stability.  In addition to this, many people don’t go through a full range of motion because they’re attempting to lift too much weight from the start.

The Truth

Make sure you progress your training, specifically focusing on form and full range of motion, before trying to get real heavy with the weight.  This will provide your joints with the necessary protection through all aspects of your life.

Weight training decreases your range of motion and flexibility.

The Problem

As you weight train you will tear down muscle fibers and build them back up.  This can potentially cause tightness in the muscles, but only if you’re not going through full ranges of motion with each exercise.  If you actually look at power-lifters and bodybuilders, a lot of them have an incredible range of motion due to proper training.  If you take somebody that has a very bad range of motion, and add some weight, it will passively push them into a better range of motion.

The Truth

When working out make sure that you go through your full range of motion.  When you’re done with your workouts you can also finish up with a bit of a static stretching (holding) to allow your muscles to relax after your workout.

Machines are more effective than free weights.

The Problem

Machines are great for beginners.  They provide the support and stability needed for beginners to be able to get used to movements and feel comfortable.  The problem is that your body will never get used to lifting weights in it’s natural day-to-day environment.  Your body needs to be using free weights in order to work the stabilizer muscles it uses whether you’re at work, the gym, or moving into a new apartment.

The Truth

If you’re absolutely new to weight training then start with some machines.  Once you’ve built up a decent baseline of strength and comfort in the gym, then work your way up to free weights.  Your body will thank you.

Weight training should be done alone without the combination of cardio.

The Problem

Weight training without cardio can be detrimental to your results.  Some studies show that a proper combination of cardio and strength training can improve your strength gains.  Just don’t overdo it with multiple mile runs every day.  Shorter interval based cardio workouts (20-30 minutes) a few times per week is all you need to get the benefits of a cardio program without burning through your muscle.

The Truth

If you want results you have to include weight training, cardiovascular training, and a proper diet.  Without all three you’re going to miss out on some serious results.