Show Santa Who’s Boss!: 5 Fitness Gifts for 2012

Holiday season is upon us and with just about 1 month until Christmas, it’s time to start thinking about stocking stuffers. We all have that person in our life that’s been talking about making fitness changes in the New Year. How about doing them a huge favor and helping them get started!

This week, I’m going to show you 5 great gift ideas that you can give to your favorite person. Alternatively, you can use these ideas as hints to “Santa” so that you’ll be ready to start 2013 with a bang!

The Dragon’s Favorite Fitness Gifts for 2012:

   1. Fitness Tracking Package: This gift is actually a combination of the three most   important items used to track fitness goals. They consist of a quality scale (I prefer EatSmart or Epica brands because of their great precision), a cloth measuring tape to measure circumference and a set of calipers to measure body fat percentage. All three items can be purchased for around $60.00.

   2. High Quality Blender: This gift is actually on my own Christmas list. I’ve been through more blenders than you can believe. When I began my journey to fitness, I realized the importance of making shakes. After several cheap blenders, I’ve finally had it with the cracked canisters, burned out motors and blades that become dull. Save your fitness chaser the time and headache by providing them with a functional, durable blender. A sturdy blender like the KitchenAid brand 5-Speed model can be obtained for around $100.00.

   3. DVD Fitness Training Program: The popularity of at home fitness programs is at an all time high. The average working person finds it hard to fit gym workouts into their schedule. They also jump into the New Year eager to join a gym only to regret the monthly commitment when money gets tight. A way to solve both problems is to get them started with any great DVD Fitness Training Program. I, of course, recommend any of the Team Beachbody programs (found here) like P90X or Insanity. While it is true that I am a Team Beachbody Coach, I must say that this company really does have the most comprehensive and most effective programs on the market. Just do a quick search and you will see that thousands of people have gotten serious results from the programs.

   4. Workout Clothes: Have a gym rat that wears the same thing every time that they go to the gym? How about a runner whose sneakers are falling apart before your eyes? Or maybe even someone that just throws their workout gear into a plastic bag when they head out for work in the morning? There are tons of options here. Everybody needs an extra set of sweats, shorts & t-shirts or a gym bag where they can store their items. Additionally, your gym guy or girl might need new workout gloves, an armband for their iPod or a lock for the gym locker. Mix and match a few items and use them as stocking stuffers.

   5. Subscription to Fitness Magazines: Nothing says extra motivation like getting a monthly reminder of what you want to look and feel like. Magazines like: Muscle & Fitness, Women’s Health / Men’s Health, Runner’s World or Yoga Journal can all be purchased for anywhere between $20 and $40 for a yearly subscription. The wealth of information far outweighs what you’ll pay for this great gift.

As you can see, it doesn’t have to cost tons of money to give a great fitness gift. Any of these items, along with your encouragement, will go a long way to motivate your loved one to get out and get moving. A few honorable mentions are: Gift certificates to all of the great healing places out there like your local Spa, Massage Therapist or Acupuncturist or purchasing a few hours from a personal trainer. This way, you are not only offering health and wellness but you are also supporting local business!

Now that you’ve gotten some ideas make sure you order early so that you’ll have them in time for the holidays. Enjoy giving your gifts as much as you enjoy getting them and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Show Santa Who’s Boss and give the gift of fitness this year!

Stand up for yourself! : The Importance of Proper Posture (w/ guest Lindsey Miles)

This week’s very special “Pre-Thanksgiving” post returns us to one of the basic yet very important aspects of fitness. Today we will take a look at Posture. This post is brought to you by my very special guest, Lindsey Miles of Miles of Healing in Ellicott City, MD*. Lindsey is a former Occupational Therapist who now practices very unique forms of healing that deal with using postural alignment to help people become well. Before she teaches us a little more about what postural alignment is she will remind us of the importance of proper posture.



“Posture functions as an on-off switch that activates emotions;…it allows you to optimize your health without the need for increasingly common major-medical intervention driven by experts, many of whom operate on the sincere but erroneous assumption that the body is fragile, makeshift and prone to break down.”

– Let’s Lighten Up by Pete Egoscue with Roger Gittines.

Posture affects our entire body’s process. When the body is in alignment we can live a life without limitations, free from pain. For the athletic person, a body in alignment means increased strength from the body’s muscles that were intended to perform the specific task. It means no compensation with muscles that were never intended to perform a job we are asking of it. When we are compensating we are more prone to injury. For example, repeat injury on a specific body area does not improve unless we take the compensation off. If we are told we have bad knees and no cartilage how can we fix that? Surgery, pain pills, braces, ace wraps……after all the years of wear and tear is the only way, right? WRONG! How about we realign the body so the constant pressure is no longer on the knees and then the tissues are able to regenerate, eliminating pain and allowing you to complete the activity you enjoy without surgery, without pain medications, without hospitals.

It makes sense to me that if you hurt, you fix what is making you hurt. This treatment (postural alignment) works for all injuries, all pain, and is not invasive. It does not matter your fitness level, from athlete to couch potato, it gets you up, gets you moving, and changes your body’s appearance. Our philosophy at Miles of Healing is simple: Straighten then Strengthen. We straighten using poses, exercise, and movements to get the correct muscles working and moving, getting your body back to working the way it was intended. Any old injury, cast or altering of your body can alter your body’s alignment.


I’d like to thank Lindsey and her husband, Roger for their contributions to this week’s post. The work that they are doing is really interesting and beneficial to people from all walks of life. Correct posture is indeed important and if you live close to their facility, I suggest you stop by. Their website can be found here:

 Miles of Healing

Now, before you run off to chow down on that Thanksgiving feast, I’d like to leave you with a brief homework assignment that you can do and even share with your family and friends:

The Dragon’s Proper Posture Test:

  1. Find a wall.
  2. Stand with your back against it.
  3. Position yourself so that the following four points make contact with the wall:
  • Your Heels
  • Your Buttocks
  • Your upper back (rear shoulders)
  • The back of your head

4. You’re Done!

Common thought about proper posture suggests that you should stand “tall” as if you were making four points of contact with a wall. So now that you’ve tested yourself against the wall, remember that feeling and walk around with your new proper posture. It may feel strange at first but in no time you will feel much better and appear upright and strong!

Have a great time this week with family and friends and until next time, remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Proper posture can reduce pain throughout the body and help you with all of your daily activities.

* Miles of Healing Company Description:

Miles of Healing was started in August 2012. Lindsey had been an Occupational Therapist for 10 years and Roger a successful business entrepreneur. They both felt the necessity to educated and bring wellness to the area, adding their own modalities with Postural Alignment certified by Egoscue University and Bioresonance full body scans and therapy. They live in Ellicott City with their 4 children and their South African Mastiff named Holly. They are an active family that enjoy the outdoors, Bon fires, camping, hiking and spending time together as a family.

Mind over Matter: The Importance of Meditation!

This week’s “bonus” post is about a very important but rarely discussed aspect of fitness: Meditation.

Meditation is a technique of training the mind to be quiet and focused. It can be used to reduce stress, add a greater depth of concentration and to even help with memory and problem solving skills. In various religious cultures meditation is a spiritual practice and is held as devotional training. In other cultures, such as the sports community, meditation has recently become yet another skill to be employed in enhancing performance. The bottom line is that in this very hectic day and age people from all walks of life have reported benefit from it. We should all seek to use mindfulness as a way to create a better existence for ourselves.

I have been trained in several advanced forms of meditation and can personally attest to its power. It has assisted me in my professional career as a fitness trainer and acupuncturist. More importantly, it has helped me cope with all of the curve balls that life throws at me. I will share with you a very basic meditative technique that you can do in 15 minutes. Regular practice will lead to phenomenal results. I guarantee it!

The Dragon’s Meditation For Beginners:

  1. Sit upright in a chair with both feet firmly placed on the ground. Place your hands on your lap.
  2. Relax your shoulders and your back, easing all of the tension in your body.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Engage in 5 breaths of “Belly Breathing”. If you’re not sure how to do it you can find the directions here.
  5. Count backwards from 300. Use each breath as 1 measure. Visualize the numbers as you count. Focus on “seeing” the numbers. Choose your favorite color and shape. Don’t work too hard at getting a perfect color or shape. Just be mindful of your count.
  6. Try to maintain your count and erase all other thoughts from your mind. If you find your thoughts drifting to other things  (like what’s for dinner or which bill is due today, etc.) gently bring your attention back to the numbers.
  7. As you reach zero, slowly open your eyes and take 5 more “belly breaths”.
  8. Continue with your day.

Once you’ve successfully been able to count backwards from 300 without your thoughts drifting, increase your time to 500. Meditation can be done just about anywhere at anytime. After some practice you can even employ this technique with your eyes open and in the midst of other activities. You’ll find that you will have a greater sense of clarity and less anxiety. You may even find some additional hidden benefits commonly associated with the more “mystical” side of meditation…

At Dragon Gate Fitness, internal fitness is just as important as external fitness. For that reason I highly recommend meditation. Now go find a nice quiet space and try it out. Sky’s the limit!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Meditation is a technique of quieting and focusing the mind. Its benefits include increased concentration, improved memory and decreased stress!

“Better Body. Better Sex.” : How exercise improves your libido!

As winter approaches so do all of those warm nights with your special someone. But for many people, intimate “fun” seems more like work. As we all get older and busier with work, family, etc. we have the tendency to neglect our bodies. This poor state of fitness, combined with the decreased libido that comes with age, negatively impacts the quality of those special intimate moments.

Wanna know the #1 thing that you can do to ramp up your sex drive?

 Exercise, exercise, exercise!

Beyond any magic pill or potion, exercise has been proven to be the greatest way to turbocharge your sexual appetite and help keep things exciting.

There have been numerous studies on the impact of exercise and sexual health. The results are always the same. Regular exercise DRASTICALLY improves libido. It increases sex drive, improves the quality and duration of sex and thus leads to decreased stress and a happier life. There is a ton of information to support this research but I’ve chosen a few of the more interesting facts to share with you.

Did you know…?

  • Women who perform consistent cardio exercise (30 min per day / 3 days per week) report significantly greater psychological and physiological (body) arousal than women who do no exercise at all.
  • Only one month after men who had sedentary lifestyles began to exercise at moderate to high intensity (45-60 min per day / 3 days a week), they reported dramatic enhancement to their sex lives. This included increased frequency of intimate activity, better endurance, and an overall greater sense of pleasure.
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) has been proven to contribute to sexual dysfunction in men and women. Erectile dysfunction (men), increased pain and discomfort due to decreased blood flow (women) and lowered sex drive (both) are all common side effects of Hypertension. Regular exercise and proper diet are 2 ways to lower High Blood Pressure
  • Lower body fat (specifically around the midsection) increases the amount of blood that flows to the pelvis. This makes for easier stimulation of sex organs.
  • Stretching and Yoga are known for improving the quality of intimacy. The reason lies in the reduction of stress, increased flexibility and pliability in muscles and the opening up of blood vessels, allowing for greater flow throughout the body. This is the reason that Yoga is sometimes referred to as the greatest exercise to increase libido in Women!

Now for the fun part. Here are a few specific things you can do make the bedroom sizzle:

  1. Improve your diet.  A better diet leaves you feeling less sluggish and more energized for intimacy.
  2. Do Cardiovascular Exercise. As previously mentioned, Cardio increases your oxygen and helps improve stamina. It also gives you more energy and will increase your libido.
  3. Train with weights. Both men and women who train with weights often report more aggression and sexual desire. This is due to the increased testosterone and epinephrine. A spike in these hormones in men and women make for potent aphrodisiacs.
  4. Take a Yoga class. After reading this post, Google: “Upward Facing Dog”, “Camel” and “Butterfly” positions. In fact, do it now. I’ll wait…These three are said to be among the greatest positions for promoting a better sex life. I’ve discussed the reasons why above. Now it’s on you to start practicing!
  5. Have Sex. Sex is not only a natural, wonderful way to explore intimacy but it is great exercise in itself. For every 5 minutes of sex you can expect to burn between 5-10 calories! That’s 60 – 120 calories in an hour

As a recap, we’ve learned that multiple health studies have shown that regular exercise can drastically improve our love lives. We can keep things spicy in the bedroom by engaging in regular exercise and taking care of our bodies. Whether it’s cardio, weight training, Yoga or all of the above, you should get moving and stay moving. That special somebody in your life will be very appreciative!

I’ve laid out excellent ways to get started on your fitness journey in my other posts. If you need a personalized plan to put you on the right track, contact me here for more info: Dragon Gate Fitness Contact Info!

There’s not much more to see here, folks. Here’s wishing you exciting, hot and safe times…
Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Keep things on fire in the Bedroom by staying on top of your fitness. Cardio Exercise, Weight Training and Yoga are all great ways to improve your sexual health!

Music Matters: The Dragon’s Top 20 Workout Songs!

This week’s post is all about the workout playlist.  Whether it’s called, “Gym Mix”, “Workout Power Mix”, “ Kick Ass Feel Good Mix” or whatever clever name you might give it, your workout music can be extremely important. In fact, it can be just as important as the food you eat prior to workout or the clothes and shoes you wear. You should think of your playlist as your best friend and training partner. Use it to help you through the toughest parts of your training.

I was inspired to write this post after recent conversations I had about how to stay motivated when working out alone. One of those conversations was about my favorite training songs. Well, without further adieu, here they are:


The Dragon’s Top 20 Workout Songs:

  1. Stronger – Kanye West
  2. ‘Till I Collapse – Eminem feat. Nate Dogg
  3. Click Click Boom – Saliva
  4. Good Feeling – Flo Rida
  5. 99 Problems – Jay Z
  6. Welcome to The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
  7. Intergalactic – Beastie Boys
  8. Ante Up – MOP
  9. Technologic – Daft Punk
  10. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  11. War – Vince DiCola (Rocky IV Soundtrack)
  12. Touch The Sky – Kanye West feat. Lupe Fiasco
  13. We No Speak Americano – Yolanda Be Cool & DCup
  14. Kernkraft 400 <Sports Chant Mix> – Zombie Nation
  15. Enter Sandman – Metallica
  16. Get Up – “Q” feat. Steve-O
  17. I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
  18. Jump Around – House of Pain
  19. It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
  20. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin

These songs are in no particular order. They are from a cross section of different genres and represent all of my various playlists. I’ve even included a very special song on the list and I’ll let you figure out which one it is <hint: it’s in the bottom half of the list>. I suggest that as you progress, you make multiple workout playlists with different themes. I have Rock oriented lists as well as Hip Hop, High Energy (Techno/Dub-Step) and even 70s and 80s lists. They help me mix things up when my training begins to get too monotonous.

Feel free to comment on this post with some of your favorite songs. Train hard, have fun and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Making a good workout playlist can really help you take your training to the next level. These 20 songs are sure to get you moving!

Learning How To Breathe…The Right Way!!!

Hello and welcome back! I’ve been on a slight hiatus as I’ve been in the midst of moving and also planning a video workout series designed to help all of you. I’m back now, just in time for fall, with a post that is not only about fitness but about your general wellness!

Question: Do you want to know how to improve your alertness, reduce stress and help your cardiovascular fitness by doing “almost nothing”?

Answer: Of course you do! I’m going to show you how, with a technique called Diaphragmatic Breathing.

Diaphragmatic Breathing (AKA Deep Breathing or “Belly Breathing”) is a method of drawing in the breath to reduce stress, relax and give yourself greater energy. It’s a technique that has been used for decades in the professional athletic community and for thousands of years in eastern spiritual in religious circles. I can tell you personally that I’ve used deep breathing in tons of different scenarios (from martial arts competition to studying and test taking to easing stress on the job) always to great effect.

Question: So how is it done?

Answer: Doing Diaphragmatic Breathing is simple:

  1. Sit up straight, back erect.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 10. As you inhale, push your stomach out, making your hand go outward. Imagine breathing fresh oxygen in from your nose and sending it down “into your feet.”
  4. Slowly exhale through your nose. Feel your stomach contract and your hand go inward.
  5. Return to resting position.

Repeat this cycle 5-10 times and notice any changes in your body. If you notice any shortness of breath and/or light-headedness please discontinue this practice.

The more you practice this technique the more you will begin to notice that Diaphragmatic breathing will replace your regular breathing. It will result in more mental alertness, reduced stress and a greater sense of ease. You will also that you are less fatigued during your workouts. This is because of the greater oxygen capacity your lungs now have!

Give Diaphragmatic Breathing a try and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit

Diaphragmatic Breathing has a variety of benefits including increased mental alertness, a boost in energy and decreased stress.
(picture courtesy of:

Beyond The “90” in P90X: How to continue to make the program work for you!

You can thank U.S. Representative and VP Candidate, Paul Ryan for this week’s post. Whether or not you agree with his political views, you should applaud his commitment to fitness. At 42 years old, and with an extremely difficult schedule, he finds time to exercise regularly. His workout program of choice is the insanely popular (and insanely effective) P90X series. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years then you might not be familiar with P90X. Most likely though, you’ve seen the infomercials.

P90X is a 90 day cross training DVD workout program devised by fitness guru, Tony Horton. It has awesome segments that include: Yoga X, X Stretch, Kenpo X, Ab Ripper X, etc. They all function together, along with the nutrition plan included, to take the user from flab to fit in 90 days.

I highly recommend this program. I incorporated it heavily in my training when I first began my journey to fitness over 4 years ago. The purpose of this post is not to review the program but to give you 3 ways to use it after you’ve completed the first 90 days.

1.    Use individual discs/program as your primary workouts.

A great example of this is the Ab Ripper X program. Ab Ripper X is not for the faint of heart. It will, however, help you carve out a 6 pack in no time. Even after I completed the P90X program, I continued to use Ab Ripper X as my primary ab workout. I started by doing it once a week (because that’s all my stomach could handle). After I got used to the intensity I started doing it twice per week!

Another example is X Stretch. I’ve covered the importance of stretching in previous posts. This is a great way to get in your daily stretching. Pop in the DVD and loosen up before the day begins. This program is close to 1 hour so even if you don’t have time to complete it, you can focus on loosing up the body parts that need it most by going to that particular section of the routine.

2.    Use the cardio programs to mix things up when you’re getting bored of your regular routine.

Once you’ve been working out for a while you will get tired of doing the same routine. There are only so many steps you can do on the elliptical machine or so many miles you can walk on the treadmill before you’ll start to lose motivation for cardio. Using Kenpo X and Cardio X as alternatives is a great way to keep things fresh! Occasionally, I’ll even use them just to get my heart rate up on my days away from the gym. If you’re doing regular cardio elsewhere you don’t even need to finish the disc. Just go until you work up a nice sweat.

3.      Use the nutrition plan included with the program as a dietary guide.

After you’ve completed the 90 day program you may be tempted to go back to business as usual. This means no more workouts and engaging in old eating habits. This is the ABSOLUTE WORSE thing that you can do! Your body is now adjusted to burning more calories and it also now requires more quality calories.

Use Tony Horton’s nutrition plan as a base for what you should be eating. You don’t have to follow the plan to a “T” but the recommended requirements for protein, carbs and fat are spot on to maintain fitness. Make a grocery list based on the requirements and stick to it. You’ve worked hard for the body, now do what you can to maintain it!

Here is a Team Beachbody link where you can find P90X and all other Team Beachbody Products:

It is a phenomenal program, as are many of the other products that Team Beachbody offers (like Shaun T’s “Insanity” series, Turbo Fire, and Shakeology).

As you can see, it holds its value far beyond the first 90 days and because of that, RG “The Dragon” definitely approves!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

P90X is a popular home training system proven to deliver serious results!

“Now you know…And knowing is half the battle!”

Hats off to you if you know where this quote comes from. It’s true. Knowledge is power. Which is why this very first fitness post will be about knowing how to properly weigh yourself and take your body measurements. This information will be vital in your quest to become more fit. Now, I know that this can be a humbling experience in the beginning but as you progress you will come to love your numbers and even brag about them to family and friends. The whole measurement process will only take about 10-15 minutes and you should do it every 6 weeks. Weighing yourself can be done as often as you like but, as I’ll next explain, you should keep “official” weigh-ins to once per week.

Question: When is the best time to weigh yourself?

Answer: The best time to weigh yourself is right after you wake up. You aren’t carrying excess weight from food or liquid.

Your body weight fluctuates greatly during the day and during the week. The best time to assess your weight is after you wake up. Your body is essentially empty of most food and consumable liquid when you wake up. This is the most accurate time to weigh yourself. You should also make it a point to record your weight each week on the same day, ideally after you wake up. You’ll then have a great gauge of your weekly progress. Whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain lean muscle, you should aim for no more than a 2 lb. change per week. Any more than that and you’re risking a host of issues like dehydration, fatigue, muscle loss (if you’re losing weight) or excess fat gain (if you’re “bulking up”).

Question: Which areas of my body should I measure and how often should I keep track of them?

Answer: Generally speaking, there are 7 main areas that are important to track:

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Arms

It is important to track these changes every six weeks so that you can get a good idea of how you’re progressing.

You may need some help the first time you measure but after a few attempts you should be able to do it by yourself. There are great clips on YouTube about how to do this, so I’ll skip the detailed instructions. However, a few tips to remember are:

  1. Get yourself a good soft plastic or nylon tape measure and a journal to record your entries in.
  2. Measure yourself on the same day of the week, every 6 weeks. Try to do it under the same conditions: i.e. before a meal or after you wake up.
  3. Always measure each area 3 times. This ensures accuracy.
  4. Make sure you are relaxed when you measure yourself. Do not tense and contract your muscles.
  5. There are many thoughts on where exactly the waist is. I am from the school that measures it above the belly button but below the rib cage. At the narrowest part of the abdomen. The point is to pick a place and make sure that you measure the same area each time. Also, never measure yourself immediately after a meal (unless you want to be depressed for the rest of the day.)
  6. Have fun! Use these measurements as only one gauge of your progress. The important thing is that you learn something about yourself so that you can see what’s working and what’s not.

Well, there you have it. Two great ways to keep track of your progress. Remember to reward yourself for your success and continue to set new goals. In the next post, I will be sharing with you the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING you’ll ever need on your journey to being more fit and healthy.Image


Dream Fit. Live Fit.