Archives for : weightloss

Fast, Effective, Sustainable Weight Loss

We have all been there, the previous months have some how slipped away and now you have only a few weeks before your beach vacation that you were hoping you would be 10 lbs lighter for. For many people this may mean a diet of chicken, lettuce, and water for the next few weeks in order to lean out. The problem is, the calories consumed in the aftermath will likely cause you to gain twice the weight back, not to mention wrecking your metabolism! This method is not sustainable and will lead to “yo-yo dieting.”

Looking to drop a few pounds fast, the healthy way? Try skipping breakfast. Yes, skip breakfast. For many years we have all been told that breakfast is the “most important meal of of the day”, however recent research has suggested skipping a meal such as breakfast could have many positive health benefits, including weight-loss! The idea is better known as “fasting.” Fasting is the idea that you do not consume any calories for a period of time. Research has indicated that fasting any where from 15-24 hours may actually jump start the metabolism, allowing your body to burn more body fat, naturally! Sounds good, right? If you are interested in learning more I have a more detailed post on intermittent fasting here.

If you are interested in learning more about Fasting, or would like to set-up a consultation to develop an eating plan that works for you, we can help. Click Here to schedule a consultation.

Keep Moving.

3 Gym Exercises to Avoid if You Have Neck Pain

Sometimes life can be a pain in the neck. If you are like about 60% of the work force you probably spend majority of your waking hours in seated position; whether it be on a long commute, in a cube all day, or worst yet the combination of both. The muscles of your upper back, and neck become tight, irritated, and all around unhappy.

Hitting the gym and being active is a great way to not only combat stress but give some of the other muscles in your back, such as your Rhomboids, some much needed activation work (you can read more about recommended exercises Here .) It is however possible to make the situation worse with poor form, or poor exercise choices. Below are some pit-falls to avoid:

1.) Barbell Shrugs- Most people with neck discomfort due to posture have tight upper trapezius muscles (traps). The barbell shrug is an essentially useless exercise for anything but trap work. Worst of all, majority of people use bad form when they shrug. Do your best to avoid shrugs if you are experiencing neck pain.

If you insist on shrugging try this quick fix: Grab a light pair of dumbbells, Retract (pinch together) your shoulder blades bringing the dumbbells slightly behind you, and focus on squeezing your upper back in the top of the movement. In addition to limiting pain, it will increase your trap development with less weight.

2.) Smith Machine Shoulder Press- I think most would agree that anyone with back issues should stay away from Smith Machine movements. Since the bar is confined to one plane of motion it does not allow for variability in the movement of the shoulder joint. Since the upper back is already tight and irritated it will likely lead to a more serious injury.

3.) Stomach Crunches with Hands Behind Head- Placing your hands on the back of your head during a crunch flexes your spine under tension which is a prime mechanism for a disc herniation. This position also increases stress on already irritated muscles. Instead, try crossing your arms across your chest and lifting your shoulder blades off of the floor.

If you are experiencing neck pain, now is the time to act to prevent future problems. If you would like to schedule a consultation to ensure an accurate diagnosis, Click Here .

Keep Moving.


Dr. James Ellis

3 Common Dietary Fallacy’s That Could Be Stalling Your Progress

In todays world of health and fitness it may seem like everyone is an expert. All you have to do is log on to your Facebook or Instagram and you are probably flooded with advertisements for “building your dream body”, or “the best weight-loss coach ever”. So where do you start? Who to trust?

Everyone’s body reacts differently. To think that because one diet worked for your friend or training partner does not necessarily mean that it will work for you. Below are 3 common fallacy’s that many people will fall prey too. Avoid these mistakes and enjoy better results!

1.) Cookie-Cutter Diets: If you spend a decent amount of time in the gym you probably know of at least one person who is a self-proclaimed expert thinking that they have found the “secret” to that six pack you have been searching for. If it sounds too good to be true; it likely is! Much of nutrition (coach or not) is trial and error. Avoid a “one size fits all” diet. When searching for a coach look for someone who is willing to listen, assess your indidivdual needs, and take your lifestyle in to consideration. Avoid advice from anyone who proclaims “my diet plan will work for everyone.” You will likely find that you will save yourself a lot of time, and money.

2.) The Only Way to Lose Weight is to Eliminate Fats and Carbs from Your Diet: This is surprisingly common misconception that many people have. Often times I find that people are actually eating too little. It is true that many people are carbohydrate sensitive, but to think that you can never eat carbs is absurd. There is a time and place for all macros. When constructing an eating plan that works for you, I always recommend starting on the higher end of your recommended calories. Figure out your protein and fat intake first; carbs should fill in the remainder of calories. Keep in mind that healthy fats are essential for life. Fat’s should not be dropped below 20% of your daily caloric intake for any extended amount of time. This could actually slow-down your metabolism stall progress!

3.) Don’t ever eat after 6pm: Many people will preach only consuming calories for the first half of the day, stopping eating after 6pm. While this is feasible with an intermittent fasting type diet (read about intermittent fasting Here); it is not recommended for all body types and typically is not something I recommend without guidance. It is not when we eat, but what we eat that makes all the difference. Some lean protein and healthy fats throughout the evening can actually increase your metabolism and supercharge your weight-loss and muscle gain!

Avoid these common misconceptions and you will be off to a great start!

Looking for some professional help constructing a plan that meets your needs? Click Here to schedule a consultation

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

My Top 3 Exercises for Neck Pain

One of the more common issues I have seen lately is postural neck pain. This usually results from too much sitting or desk work coupled with already sub par posture. This can lead to tension headaches, tendonitis, impingement and muscle imbalances. Treating this condition requires a custom approach.  Initially spinal manipulation along with passive stretching the perfect intervention to break the pain cycle and decrease inflammation.

How long will it take to experience relief? Relief is usually experienced immediately post treatment however it is initially temporary. Like exercising, we are trying to lengthen and strengthen certain muscles; like going to the gym it takes a few sessions to maximize results. More often than not the cause of neck pain is a result of lifestyle (i.e. sitting at your desk, sitting in your car while commuting, etc.) This being said you will occasionally need a “tune-up” a few times a year. Prevention is key!

You can and should be exercising on your own in addition, and this will be an part of you correcting your posture and maintaining it!  The more that you can do to correct the problem early on, the better off you will be. Below are three of the most effective exercises that will aid in correcting posture, and relieving pain. Give them a try; feel better to perform better.

1.) Chin Tucks: Similar to the wall angels, we will begin by standing with your back and head against the wall. I recommend starting with a small towel roll behind you’re head against the wall. Begin by placing 2 fingers on your chin; now draw your chin back into the wall (creating a “double chin”). Hold for a few seconds and relax. This will target the deep neck flexors and help to correct a forward head posture which causes increased tension in your neck due to  perceived increase in head weight.

2.) Scapular Retractions: This can be done either in a seated rowing position or prone with no weights at home. I recommend starting prone in order to perfect the movement. Remember, these are not about weight. Begin Face down, lye with your palms facing up arms at side of your body. Begin by pinching your shoulder blades together (down and back) while rotating your palms to face the floor. Additionally extend your head and chest off of the floor noting a nice stretch. This will target the rhomboids as well as mid to lower traps to correct any rounding of the shoulders.

3.) Wall Angels (scapular wall slides): Begin by standing with back against wall; feet about 18 inches away from the wall. Lift your arms up to 90 degrees (elbows perpendicular to body) and press your elbows and hands into the wall behind you. To begin, pull your elbows back and down into the wall, noticing tension in your mid to lower lats, now relax slowly back to starting position. The goal is to maintain contact with the hands, elbows, and shoulders on the wall throughout the entire movement. This exercise will target shoulder mobility as well as aiding in correcting an exaggerated kyphosis. Tip: Try these with a band for more of a challenge!


Keep Moving!


Dr. James Ellis

A Healthy Diet for a Busy Lifestyle

“I don’t have the time” is one of the most common excuses people make when trying to lose weight and/or improve their over-all health. It’s no secret, dieting can become very tedious; but it doesn’t have too. When it comes to weight-loss planning is key. Often times, people are not sure where to start. I covered some basics in another post so if you missed it click here.

In order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you are taking in, it’s no secret. In order to determine the optimal amount of calories to take in we will look at the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is how many calories per day your body burns doing your normal activities, sleeping, working, exercising, etc. This is a more specific number than the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which tells us how many calories our bodies burn just being alive, not accounting for lifestyle. To lose weight, you can begin by subtracting 15% of your TDEE, this will be sufficient enough to put you in a caloric deficit for weight-loss. Once we have determined this number, we can then begin to talk about manipulating the macronutrients: proteins, carbs, and fat. I recommend figuring out protein consumption first, this is going to require the most calories to digest and keep you satiated; stick to lean sources such as chicken, eggs, turkey, etc. We will next figure out your fat intake, I recommended around 30% of your total calories come from fat. Fat is essential to life and is needed for nervous system health. Finally, we will figure out our carbohydrate intake by looking at what calories you have left. This will also be the macronutrient that I will manipulate first (increase or decrease) in order to continue progression of weight loss.

Figuring out these figures (TDEE and BMR) is essential to your success. Once you have determined you’re caloric needs you can then come up with an appropriate plan that will fit your lifestyle. I have touched on intermittent fasting in past posts (click here.) This is a great option, but as I stated not for everyone. Everyone’s body is different and there really is no such thing as a “cookie cutter diet.” Once the macros have been figured out, you are already on your way to results. In order to monitor your weight loss you have to track your calories. Fortunately, technology makes this easy for us! There are many great free apps that allow you to enter your food choices for the day and keep track for you. Most people will find that they eat the same foods most days, which is fine as long as they fit your macros.

Finding Balance

Everyone tends to get sick of eating the same “diet foods” day in and day out. The great thing about tracking macros is you can essentially eat what you enjoy, as long as you stay within your calorie goals. I recommend incorporating some foods that you enjoy each day. This will give you some satisfaction and something to keep you on track throughout the week. If it is something sweet such as a piece of fruit, position it pre-workout for example so that you can put those calories to good use! I recommend that people also give themselves a “free meal” once or twice a week. This will be a meal that they will not count towards their daily goals (Tip: position this meal the night before a big workout such as a back or legs day; something that requires a lot of energy.

Tips For Success:

1.) Plan for your success! Preparation is key. I recommend picking two days a week to cook. I like Sundays and Wednesdays. This will supply your food for the week so you aren’t always worried about cooking. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!

2.) Download a food journal app to help you keep track of your calories and goals

3.) Exercise! Plan for an hour every day to exercise. . The goal is to get your heart rate up to assist in weight-loss.

4.) Consider hiring a coach or nutrition expert to help you plan. Most people find this much less stressful as it eliminates the guess work.

Keep Moving


Dr. James Ellis