Setting Healthy Goals for the New Year

If you were to hop in a boat without a map or GPS in the middle of an ocean, where do you think you would end up? Who knows? You could literally end up anywhere in the world!

Goals for Personal Training at the Organic Transformation in Raleigh, NC

Goals help us take positive control of our lives!

There are a lot of folks that just let life happen to them. They wander aimlessly around, and never seem to accomplish much of anything. They think that if they are lucky, success will find them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Goals bring a clear direction to your daily thoughts and actions, giving you the focus to stay on course to the desired destination. Writing your goals down will also help energize you with the determination to get you there. You won’t be as easily distracted by lower priorities and will be able to overcome obstacles much easier.

Write down your goals to ensure they become reality!

It is recommended to write goals in many areas of life (spiritual, health, financial, relationships, etc.). Stretch yourself by writing 3 challenging, but achievable goals for ’09. Post these goals on your bathroom mirror, in your office, in your car, or wherever you will be constantly reminded.

“Share your goals with one or more people that you know will keep you accountable!”

Tell others about your goals!

In addition to writing and posting your goals, it is also beneficial to share your goals with one or more people that you know can keep you accountable. Speaking your goals to others literally ties you to your goals with your tongue. This is a powerful way to ensure hitting your goals. If you tell others about them, then they’ll be expecting you to achieve them, which in turn will help bring them to reality. Furthermore, it’ll give others a chance to help you meet your goals.

Our Transformation team will keep you accountable for your health, nutrition and fitness goals!

If you choose to write health goals, our team at Transformation, LLC in Raleigh will agree to be your accountability partner for 2009. Simply fill in your health goals at FILL IN GOALS. And with your permission, one of our team members will check in with you once a month on your progress.

If you seriously want POSITIVE CHANGE and set your goals – Prepare Yourself for amazing results!

Exercise Myth #1 – Fitness Machines Are Better than Functional Training

Walk in most gyms across America and what do you see? You see lots of high-tech, “state-of-the-art” machines lined up from wall to wall. People have their headphones on, and are mindlessly pumping out repetitions on these machines or they are going to town on some cardiovascular contraption. Despite using all of the fancy equipment, people are often left bored and frustrated with a lack of real results – dysfunctional from a physical performance perspective. Evidence of this is seen in the sharp drop-off of attendance of gym members after just the first month where nearly 50% of gym-goers stop going all together. This brings one to question, “Is there something wrong with all of these people or is there something wrong with their method?”

Weightlifting and fitness machines in gym

More and more top coaches and athletes are shying away from machine-based weight workouts and finding alternative training methods. Weight machines are often ineffective training tools because they focus on isolation exercises. Relying exclusively on machines for strength training may actually limit sports performance and increase injury risk.

Treadmill running workout

Whether you want to ski better, play more golf or chase your kids around the park, you need better balance and stronger legs. Exercises that mimic everyday movements create functional strength; enhancing everyday activities, finally answering the question “what are you training for?”

Principles of Functional Exercise Training:

Integration vs. isolation –

Strength training on machines works muscles in isolation-although it’s rare that your muscles would be required to work in isolation in any other situation. Functional training, on the other hand, removes the support provided by machines, requiring the body to work multiple muscle groups in integration, as the body is intended to move, resulting in more balanced muscle tone.

Reaction vs. injury –

Functional training is “reactive” teaching muscles to “fire” in a pattern, with primary “moving” muscles and secondary “stabilizing” muscles working in sequence to execute movement. This integration engages strong, stable “core” muscles aiding in balance. The result? Your body attains equilibrium between strength and flexibility, between agonist and antagonist muscles, increasing functionality while reducing risk of injury.

Balance vs. bulk –

Bodybuilder lifting weights

Concerned about developing large and bulky muscles? Functional training techniques help you create a leaner, tighter and more-integrated physique. Machine-centered training, and an isolated body-building style of training for 8-15 repetitions per set generally will cause what is known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, where the belly of the muscle increases in size, causing unnatural “bulking” of the muscle.

Multi- vs. limited movement –

Your body performs along forward, backward, rotational and diagonal planes of movement everyday. A lack of balanced strength along these planes will result in injury-such as a twinge in your back when picking up a suitcase or indulging in your first golf game of the season.

To be fair, machines do have a place in rehab and training, when muscle isolation, or the ability to control movement, speed, direction and intensity is desired. Machines are also useful for novice exercisers who may need a very structured program of movement to build some very basic strength. Machines can also have a role in “bulking” up the body with muscle for unspecified strength. Obviously, body builders will want as much muscle as possible, and aren’t as concerned with how that muscle performs precise, athlete movements. But functional training should be the core of a fitness program for anyone who wants to develop an athletic body along with strength, skill, agility and balance for sports (and life) outside the gym.

If you’re interested in the right kind of workout – functional personal training that will guarantee quick, effective and long-lasting results, contact us at The Organic Transformation in Raleigh, NC for a fitness consultation and let us design an exercise program for you that works!

Beef – Conventional, Grass-Fed or Organic?

For those of you that are joining in from our last blog, I know we promised our next blog to include the truth behind Grass-Fed beef AND free range chicken. Unfortunately as my research was underway, I uncovered so much disturbing information that I didn’t want to be neglectful and leave anything out. So, I decided to deal exclusively with grass-fed beef today and leave the next blog for the topic of free-range chicken and their eggs.

My research started with my usual sources such as Google, Wikipedia and I tried hard to dig into FDA and USDA. Here’s what I found. Basically, there are two ways to raise cattle in United States. One method is very profitable and predominant, and called a feedlot system. The other method is “Grass-Fed”.

Feedlot / Feedyard Cattle

Feedlot Cattle image

Feedlot / Feedyard Cattle

From Wikipedia “A feedlot or feedyard is a type of Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) (also known as “factory farming”) which is used for finishing livestock, notably beef cattle, prior to slaughter. They may contain thousands of animals in an array of pens.” This means the calf is raised on the pasture with its mother to feed on her milk and graze until it reaches an entry-level weight of 650 lbs. It is then placed in a pen and fed a “specialized” diet consisting mainly of hay, corn, sorghum and other by-products of food processing. These by-products are usually cottonseed meal, soybean meal, sugar beet waste, molasses and minerals. In order to get as much fat deposits (marbling) as possible in the animals muscles, feedlot cattle are fed a very nutritionally dense diet. In addition to this unnatural diet, feedlot cattle are usually given growth hormone to achieve faster growth as well as antibiotics, which they wouldn’t need if they were able to graze freely.

Grass-Fed Cattle

Grass-Fed Cattle Image

Grass-Fed Cattle

Grass-Fed cattle spend their lives on the pasture and are allowed to graze freely on fresh pasture, hay or grass silage. This means they do not need antibiotics, genetically modified growth promoting hormones or a diet that they were not meant to eat.

Ruminents, Corn & Acidosis

You see, a cow is a ruminant. It has a rumen which is a 45-gallon “fermentation tank” in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats. After this food is properly broken down they regurgitate their food, and chew it more thoroughly until proper digestion has taken place. One of the most serious illnesses that can happen to a cow on corn is a condition known as feedlot bloat. The rumen is always producing a lot of gas in which the cattle normally belch out during rumination. However, in a cattle on a diet high in starches and little roughage, rumination all but stops. At this point a foamy slime forms that traps gas, and the rumen expands like a balloon. Unless immediate action is taken (usually by shoving a tube down the esophagus,) the animal suffocates. The pH of a rumen is neutral, unlike our stomach which is highly acidic. A corn based diet can also give the cattle acidosis, which in serious cases can cause death but typically renders the animal very sick. Cattle affected by acidosis stop feeding, pant and salivate excessively, eat dirt and paw at their bellies. This condition can cause diarrhea, ulcers, bloating, liver disease and weaken the immune system. In these confined environments, any disease from polio to pneumonia can run rampant. In short, cattle, sheep, goats and deer are ruminants, and as such these animals were created by God to eat and live off grasses. Any diet other than that, endangers not only these animals’ lives, but also those humans that consume them.

“Cattle, sheep, goats and deer . . . were created by God to eat and live off grasses. Any diet other than that, endangers not only these animals’ lives, but also those humans that consume them.”

Avoiding Hormones in Beef

If Grass-Fed beef is something your family cannot afford than at the very least you should consider purchasing organic beef. Although organic beef may be raised in a confined feedlot system they cannot be given antibiotics and growth hormones. Also take this into consideration – the European Union has banned US beef from being imported. The reason for this ban is that the EU prohibits hormones in beef – something that the US still regularly allows to be administered to cattle. Per an article written by, the hormones allowed for use in US cattle are estradiol (a sex hormone that represents the major estrogen in humans), testosterone, progesterone (a steroid hormone), zeranol (a non-steroidal estrogen agonist), trenbolone (a steroid used on livestock to increase appetite and muscle mass. This drug is a schedule III drug and is illegal for human use), melengestrol (a steroid hormone), clenbuterol (A non-steroidal anabolic and metabolism accelerator), dexamethasone (anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant) and triamcinolone-acetonide (a type of corticosteroid, about 8 times more effective than prednisone). This is serious stuff. If the consumption of meats containing these hormones doesn’t scare you, it should.

U.S. Wellness Meats Logo

Buying Beef Locally

The local farmer’s market is one of the best places to get your food. As a boy who was raised in Albania for the first 13 years of my life, when we came to the United States one of the things we had to get used to was that we did not know the source of the food we ate. It was just there, waiting for us to purchase at the supermarket. We did not know the farmer that grew it, nor did we know by what methods. At the time we did not think any more of it; it just became a fact of life. Now that I am older and see for my own eyes the importance of knowing where your food comes from, I’m much more selective. It may be more inconvenient to seek out and go to your local farmer’s market, but REMEMBER! your health is worth more than the cost of gas or any other excuses you may come up with! Getting your kids involved in this process can be as much fun and educational for them as well as future generations down the road. I have personally had the pleasure to meet with Mr. Bailey Newton of Triple B farms in Bullock, North Carolina, who sells his product at the Wake Forest Farmer’s Market. He goes out of his way to rotate his animals’ pastures daily, allowing them to graze on native grasses. He maintains fertile soils and green grass pastures by relying on compost and time-tested pasture grazing methods. The people responsible for your nutrition and well being should know you and care about you as much as they do for their families. After all, you are a part of their family.