DNA Homework & Travel Workouts

The following workouts are homework to do while traveling. These will be challenging workouts, enough to keep you in shape and even make progress with minimal equipment needs. They are generally kept short and simple, though you should keep the intensity high! Like always, proper technique is most important!

Post results to the comments below.

1. Training Day
10 rounds as fast as humanly possible of:
5 Push ups
10 sit ups
15 squats

2. Active recovery (optional)
If you:
<1 month of training (noob?) = 10 mins total run time
2 months in = 1.5 mile jog
>3 months = 5k (3.1 miles)

3. Training
100 burpees FOR TIME, 10 minute cutoff

4. Active recovery (optional)
Go for a Hike or,
Hike downtown and explore,
go on an adventure.

5. Training
Find a park & jungle gym/playground
For time:
as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes:
3 pullups (substitute 6 jumping pullups)
6 pushups
9 squats

6. Active Recovery:
Go swimming or, as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes of:
100 flutter kicks
100 reverse flutters (belly down)

7. Training

As many walking lunges in 10 minutes as possible; every minute on the minute do 3 burpees!

8. Active recovery 10 minutes
Practice handstands, wall walks, and/or cartwheels.

9. Training
Complete as fast as possible in order:
50 push ups
100 air squats

10. Active recovery
As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of:
30 jumping jacks
20 sit-ups
10 burpees

There you have it! Do these on days you would normally train (if possible). If you finish any one of these thinking that it was too easy, then you didn’t push yourself hard enough (no slop)!


4 Signs Your Nutrition Plan Is Working.. Or Not!

The "Fat Pincher 4000"!

The “Fat Pincher 4000”!

Sometimes changes in health and body aren’t so easy to recognize. DNA’s nutrition program was developed with the intention of being a long-term lifestyle modifier, focused on sustainability. For most of us this means being patient and waiting for changes to occur from the inside-out, and sometimes those changes could take longer than we’d like them to.

A huge problem we create for ourselves is that most of us only focus on certain “problem” body parts, such as belly fat, while the parts we neglect to pay attention to, might be ones that make impressive changes but fail to get noticed. But, it’s those stubborn problem areas that are usually the last to change. That’s why it’s important to get measured once monthly, or at least take some pictures for comparison.

If you are on a fat loss plan, the most difficult time that EVERYONE goes through is “The Ugly Stage”. The Ugly Stage is a point during fat-loss, when fat starts to get soft and saggy, resulting in fat that looks unusually flabby. The good news is soft & squishy fat is an indicator that you are in fact, burning fat! Unfortunately because of this temporary saggy fat, many people think they look worse and lose heart, when in reality holding out for just a little longer would have resulted in a “Whoosh”.

Whooshes seem to happen over night;  when after an extended time (sometimes several weeks) of seemingly zero progress, a big drop in fat/weight occurs, as if out of nowhere. The reality is, sometimes cells have already burned the fat off, leaving behind a water filled cell (water is heavy). As long as one remains diligent, eventually the body signals many of these cells to purge this stored water, and the whoosh results in huge drops!

Becoming a scale-junkie is another common problem. Constantly getting on the scale is not a great motivator. Especially for the beginner to a strength and conditioning program. Lean mass consisting of muscle and bone are good and heavy. Realize that if you’re a beginner, your body probably needs to add some of this good “machinery” to get stronger and healthier. The exchanges of fat and muscle result in less movement on the scale. Step away from the scale! Get rid of it!

To know if your current plan is working, answer these 4 questions:

  1. Are You Seeing Increases In Performance?
    • If you’re consistently getting stronger, moving faster, and are generally getting better in your training, those are all signs that you’re eating an adequate amount of nutrients.
    • If you aren’t sure whether you’re seeing progress, then you obviously haven’t been using your log book!
    • If lately your training sessions haven’t been what they used to be, or you feel sluggish and/or unmotivated to train, this could be a sign of nutritional inadequacies. This often happens to those that have trained for more 6 months or more, as their energy expenditure begins to exceed their energy intake, creating a large caloric deficit. As you become capable of doing more, you should also be adjusting your intake to get more fuel too!
  2. Are You Regularly Feeling Good/Better?
    • From the moment you wake up, do you feel like all is good? Do you have energy throughout the entire day, and usually sleeping well?
    • Junk food will make you groggy, gassy, bloated and interrupt sleep.
  3. Are You Looking Good/Better?
    • The answer is a yes if:
      • Your body fat % is getting better (we test this anytime before class, just ask us).
      • You’re receiving compliments from people who haven’t seen you in a while, or even better, getting compliments from people you regularly see!
      • Your clothes are fitting looser.
  4. Is Your Blood Panel Good/Better?
    • Not everyone has regular access to their blood work so the general rule of thumb here is; if your answers were “Yes” to the rest of these questions, then this one could probably be a yes too.

If you answered “No” to more than one of these questions, then you might consider joining the DNA Nutrition Challenge, or at least re-evaluate your nutritional situation.

More than two “No” answers could be a sign of too many stresses, ill-health factors or worse. We’d  recommend you to seek help to remedy these issues. The potential for more serious health problems could result from prolonged stresses, and might be caused by adrenal fatigue. Sarah Cotten, one of our instructors, is an Adrenal Fatigue Expert, and DNA is also partners with Quality Of Life Medical Research Center. Together, we can help you figure it out and/or refer you to the right people.

If you answered “YES” to at least 3 of these questions then you’re doing something right. Keep on keeping on, and you’ll reach those goals as elusive as they sometimes seem.


The Best Nutrition Advice Ever!

The world of nutrition is literally filled with garbage. Too many people misunderstand how the human body uses nutrients, and because of that common ignorance fall victim to the sales pitches of every online nutrition “expert”. Quick-fix diet plans don’t work because those diets focus on selling some type of product, or offer a sketchy plan that is not sustainable. Fortunately…eating healthy doesn’t have to be a mystery. It is important that we focus on changing the long-term plan… your lifestyle. Apply these 4 simple rules to everyday life, and your health and physique will begin changing for the better.

  1. Eat Real Food! Real food is generally defined as food that is found naturally. If it could be Hunted or Grown, and is naturally occurring, and it fits the rest of these rules, then it is probably good for you. If humans were responsible for its existence, don’t eat it! Mix up your real food in as much variety as you can handle. Don’t be fooled by “food fakes”–> If it has weird ingredients that are difficult to pronounce – be wary.
  2. Eat meat! “Things that you could hunt” (including eggs), should be your main course at every meal. Notice I said MEAT and not Protein? Eating beans because they have protein isn’t the same as eating meat, which is high in all the amino acids our body needs. Also beware of processed meats, and mystery meats…they are JUNK FOOD don’t do it
  3. Eat Plants! Prioritize meat, then add fresh plant food as side dishes. Variety!
    • If it’s sweet it’s a treat, not a meal. example: fruits such as bananas, apples, mangos, and oranges should all be used as a dessert.
    • If it’s a plant that must be processed  to be consumed, you should not over eat it. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight and/or get healthy.
  4. Eat Junk Food! What would life be like without the occasional cheesecake, or Pizza? We invented these foods because they’re delicious. OK, OK, after all that DON’T EAT JUNK FOOD stuff earlier… let’s keep this rule sensibleLimit non-natural and refined foods (Junk Food) to ONE MEAL every:
    • Month if you’re very overweight and need to lose FAT. Yes, ONCE A MONTH!
    • 2-3 weeks if you still need to lose a bit of weight, but otherwise healthy
    • Week if you are happy with your current weight,  health and fitness level

The following chart is a helpful guide in identifying foods that are good for you. It’s not the holy-nutrition-bible, obviously nutrition can get much more complicated, but when in doubt it’s a good tool!

**Interactive Version**

**Printable Version** 

DNA's Real Food Nutrition Guide

All kids love LOG! How to set up your logbook for success


Remember this?

At DNA, we require each client to keep a logbook. For our accelerated custom training clients, logbooks help us build each client’s program based on individual goals and progress. For all clients, logbooks serve some very important purposes that can keep you on track for meeting your goals and setting new ones.

1. Metrics:

The numbers don’t lie! Your logbook contains a record of your training and development over time. Inside the front cover, you should have post-its with your measurements and body fat percentage; if you don’t have these, make an appointment with David or Craig to get measured. You have a section for logging workouts, and pages for benchmarks – lifting personal records (PRs) by lift and rep count, running PRs by distance, and times and scores for beach mark workouts like Cindy and Fran. This written record is a vault of information that you can use to identify progress and plateaus, and to help you troubleshoot your training if you need an adjustment. Without a written log, you wouldn’t be able to measure your progress, and progress is a powerful motivator! If your max dead lift has gone from 140 lbs to 200 lbs in six months, how can you not be motivated by your stellar strength increase?

2. Accountability

Write a goal in your logbook, and you become accountable to those pages and to yourself. You can see in plain ink when you have been consistent with your training, and how far you are from reaching a goal. If you write down a goal, you are more likely to achieve it, as you have imposed a form of accountability on yourself. Show your trainers and your friends, and you’ll be accountable to them to! Watch for the Goals Board in the gym and add your goal to add public accountability!

Logbook setup

Here’s how to set up your logbook: you have two sections – daily log, and benchmarks. David recommends logging from the back and setting up benchmarks at the front, while AJ reverses the order – pick a method that works for you.

  • For your daily log, simply copy the workout from the board each day, and include the weights and any scaling you do. Also include notes about nutrition and sleep (including diversions, I.e., “nutrition on point” or “old roommate in town, drank 6-pack of Guinness last night,” “up at 2am and 4am with Junior”) and how you feel, if different from your usual self (“felt awesome today,” “slight head cold,” “sluggish for no apparent reason.”)
  • Benchmarks: label a page for each of the lifts below, and add a column for each of the reps listed. For example, the deadlift page will have columns for 5 rep max (5RM), 3RM, and 1RM. When you perform a lift, note the date and your max weight. If you attempted a higher weight and missed it, write the weight with “-” next to it. For example:

DL 3RM 255 265- (2)

This note means that I lifted 255 for 3 reps, and tried 265 but only got 2 reps.
Once you establish benchmarks, you can refer to your log each time the lift comes up in a workout. In the case of the deadlift above, I’ll know to start near where I left off (245 or so, after a warmup) and to try to get 265 or more for 3 reps. That’s how we get stronger over time! If in doubt, you can show your logbook to your trainer, who can help you figure out the right weight for you!
For running and benchmark CrossFit workouts, just give each workout a column for recording your time. You can put Fran and Cindy on the same page, in separate columns, for example. Just be sure to include dates.

Here are the DNA Benchmarks, each of which should have a partial or full page in your logbook (with columns for rep schemes as listed):

  • Deadlift: 5RM, 3 RM, 1RM
  • Front squat: 5RM, 1RM
  • Back squat: 5RM, 1RM
  • Strict press (sp): 5RM, 1RM
  • Bench press: 5RM, 1RM
  • Bent over row: 5RM, 1RM
  • Overhead squat (OHs): 10RM, 5RM, 1RM
  • Pull-ups, chin-ups, muscle ups, dips: each gets 5RM, and also max rep attempt – for example, pull-ups with 12kg for 5RM, or 10 strict pull-ups (if you max out at 10).
  • Olympic lifts: snatch (5RM, 1RM), clean (5RM, 1RM), clean and jerk (5RM, 1RM)
  • Kettlebell lifts: front squat (double bells for 5RM, 1RM), Turkish getup (1RM), swing (5RM), SP (both single and double, 5RM, 1RM), bottoms up press (both single and double, 5RM, 1RM)


  • 5k
  • 1 mile
  • 800m
  • 400m
  • 200m

Workouts: (include weight used)

  • Cindy
  • Fran
  • Helen
  • Snatch test
  • DNA total (sum of deadlift, bench press, front squat)
  • CrossFit total (sum of deadlift, sp, bs)
  • 30 man makers for time
  • Fight gone bad (include the whole tally)
  • Dirty thirty
  • Others that will be added as we go!

If you need help, ask a trainer, or ask friends to show you theirs as examples.

Bottom line – keeping a good record of your training is critical to measure your progress, provide Insight into your performance, and to make you accountable for your training. It’s a requirement of every DNA course and one of the elements that sets us apart as the best training facility in Tucson, ensuring that you are getting the highest value out of your investment, and helping us optimize your training. Make sure your logbook earns an A+ and practice good nutrition and sleep habits, and your results will follow!

Boring-looking but good. You can always decorate it!

Boring-looking but good. You can always decorate it!

Huevos, Cholesterol

We get a lot of questions from clients about different foods: what to eat, how much, when, and is food X on the plan? Some of our recommendations run against USDA guidelines (which are influenced by Big Agriculture, i.e., financially engineered; pardon the political statement but it’s true) as well as everything we have been taught about food since around 1990, and we understand when people are uncomfortable and confused. In this vein, some of you are concerned when we extoll the virtues of the Mighty Egg and encourage consumption of three of the little miracles at a time in a single scrumptious serving. It really okay to eat a lot of whole eggs, especially if you have high cholesterol?

The short answer is that (a) dietary cholesterol is not a bad thing (contrary to “conventional wisdom”) and (b) once you cut sugar, grains, and other pro-inflammatory foods from your diet, both saturated fat and cholesterol are fine to eat – in fact, they are quite healthy when your body is able to use them as intended. Egg yolks have all kinds of great health benefits, and eggs work better as a system – your body can use the nutrients in the whole egg more effectively than in just the white (I think there’s a protein and enzyme involved but for the life of me have not been able to find the reference for that assertion). Therefore, as long as you’re not having toast or orange juice with your omelette / scramble / frittata, it’s fine.

A more thorough answer requires an explanation of the role of cholesterol in the body, and the reasons for the demonization of cholesterol – what can go wrong. Brace yourself – here we go on a scientific excursion…

Cholesterol is a structural component of cell membranes, essential for brain growth, cell creation and repair, and is a precursor for vitamin D and numerous hormones, including cortisol (stress), aldosterone, progesterone, estrogens, and testosterone. In other words, it’s required for human (and animal) life, and plays a key role in regulating metabolism. Some plants and all animals contain cholesterol, but plant cholesterol is poorly absorbed. The liver regulates cholesterol levels in the blood by synthesizing cholesterol when levels are low, and converting excess to bile and bile salts (which can be excreted) when levels get high. Cells throughout the body synthesize about 80% of your cholesterol, and the liver makes about 20%. Your body synthesizes about 1g of cholesterol each day, and most Americans eat 200-300mg (more if you eat a lot of meat). Since the liver balances total cholesterol from all sources, synthesized or dietary, people who eat meat may produce less cholesterol than vegetarians, but they have similar total amounts of cholesterol. That’s why cholesterol-rich eggs and meat are not the sole culprit of high cholesterol; the liver can remove excess dietary cholesterol. Turns out that there’s more to the story.

Mr. Lipoprotein

You have heard of LDL (low-density lipoprotein, also erroneously called “bad cholesterol”) and HDL (often called “good cholesterol”). Chylomicrons and VLDL are other lipoproteins, which play roles in energy delivery. The liver turns used VLDL into LDL, which delivers free cholesterol (easily absorbed) to the cells, as well as triglycerides (energy) and cholesteryl esters (not easily absorbed). LDL particles may bind to an LDL receptor on a cell and deliver some cholesterol, or it may go back to the liver. LDL also returns the majority of excess cholesterol from cells to the liver. Meanwhile, the liver and small intestine produce HDL, which picks up some of the excess cholesterol at the cells and carries it back to the liver. To oversimplify, LDL is like UPS (pickup and deliver), and HDL is the charity donation pickup van for unneeded cholesterol.

Wait a minute, you ask; so LDL and HDL aren’t cholesterol? No – they carry cholesterol. Blood panels can count the LDL and HDL particles or the cholesterol content in the particles, called LDL-C or HDL-C. The actual LDL count, or particle number, is called LDL-P.

Atherosclerosis – artery plaque – occurs when LDL particles embed in artery walls, triggering an inflammatory (immune) response, which creates more room for more LDL particles. Research and research interpretations conflict on whether particle size or particle count matters more. One theory suggests that small, dense LDL particles, which tend to occur in insulin resistant people, are the ones that embed in the artery walls. Other evidence shows that number of LDL particles is the most important number, suggesting that the chances of LDL particles embedding in the artery walls simply increases when more particles are present. HDL counts don’t seem to matter, and drugs that increase HDL have been shown to be ineffective, whereas statins that lower LDL-P can reduce heart disease risk. It’s a lot cheaper and healthier to lower LDL-P with good nutrition.

Here’s where the toast comes in. Regular consumption of simple sugars such as those found in desserts, breads, pasta, corn products, and fruit juices (pina coladas too!) can lead to insulin resistance, which tricks cells into behaving as if they are not getting fed enough and need to store more energy. Your body responds by sending more triglycerides (lipids) to the cells via the bloodstream. Your lipoprotein particles, including LDL, will be loaded up with more lipids, leaving less room in the UPS trucks for free cholesterol. Therefore, your body has to send out more trucks to deliver the same amount of cholesterol. If the trucks are bigger, each one can carry more triglyceride and more cholesterol, but you may still need more trucks. The jury is out on exactly how this works, but the result is a higher chance of getting LDL stuck in your artery walls and an increased risk of heart disease.

One more point: research has shown that saturated fat doesn’t increase heart disease risk when carbohydrate intake is low. That’s why you can eat bacon with your eggs, but we don’t recommend toast or orange juice with them.

Congratulations if you made it through our little foray into blood biochemistry. It’s an emerging area and this post just scratches the surface of a very complex set of processes. From here, you can look at the interaction between the metabolic processes that involve insulin and leptin, as well as the impact of cortisol and the nasty effects of stress and sleep deprivation, but for now let’s just say that all of these processes are interdependent and you can make things significantly better or worse by changing your training, nutrition, sleep, and stress exposure.


This post was drawn from numerous studies and secondary sources based on the scientific literature. Bibliographies can be found in works by Taubes, and good old Wikipedia too. My apologies for being lazy about citing the sources.

If you really want to get into the science of cholesterol, check this blog post series by Dr. Peter Attia: http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-cholesterol-part-i

Man Made vs. Real Food

At DNA, we advocate real diets made of real food. We have considered offering protein powders and other supplements, but we just don’t support the consumption of lab-made products. Many are toxic offer all kinds of health pitfalls; additives ranging from corn to artificial colors should not be in your body, and over time, they may lead to a range of issues, whether or not the FDA approves. Dyes have even been linked to ADHD in kids.

Vitamins are one controversial area; science explains why they don’t work, studies have shown no benefit, and they are usually delivered with corn starch and other nasty fillers. Vitamin D (needed for calcium absorption) requires sunlight for production. Drinking milk won’t do the job as the concentrations are low, and dairy has its own problems, especially commercial (not organic) milk. Each vitamin plays a role in the amazing system of your body, and real food generally has the best mix of the right chemicals to optimize your body’s function and composition.

Some people like the convenience of protein shakes after a workout. Many commercial varieties are packed with fillers and sugars, including corn starch, so if you decide to go this route, read the labels carefully. Even the “clean” brands have sweeteners. Here are the labels from Progenex (left) and Gold Standard Whey in Vanilla (right):


Both are sweet, triggering an addictive response that makes you want more sweetness. Gold Standard has a few chemicals, but nowhere near as many as Muscle Milk. What’s your best bet after a workout? Chicken and a sweet potato? Probably. (One of our clients used to swear by chocolate ice cream, but that’s another story.)

Fish oil may be one supplement that can actually do some good. Omega-3’s have a whole slew of health benefits, and few people eat enough fish to take full advantage. We assert that there is no single dietary silver bullet, as foods are rarely consumed in isolation and activity matters, but you probably can’t go wrong by taking fish oil tablets. By the way, Atlantic salmon is often genetically modified, unsustainable, and fed pellets that make it dietary garbage – like corn-fed, hormone-injected, stockyard beef, it should be avoided. Alaskan salmon is fine, and you should always choose wild-caught fish. But I digress.

Bottom lines:

  • Eat real food, choose organic sources whenever possible, and consider adding some fish oil.
  • Get sunlight regularly – go without sunblock for half an hour; it’s tough to balance vitamin D production with skin cancer prevention in Southern Arizona, so pay attention and don’t overdo it.
  • Always read the labels! If a product has more than 4 lines of ingredients and any are unpronounceable, it’s not a real food so you probably should not eat it. This rule goes for any supplements too.


Balancing Act, Part 2: Listen Up, Buttercup! Chillax!

— Today’s post adapted from musings by Zee —



Are you a little OCD about training every day?

You know who you are…you feel guilty if you don’t get your butt in the gym for your workout, even though your shoulders are still sore from Monday. Your nutrition is not terrible, but you’re behind on some of your macros, and you feel draggy. You show up anyway and shove yourself through, only to wake up feeling even more beat up tomorrow.

Sound familiar? If so, you may be OVERTRAINED.

We see over training frequently in the Wide World of Sports. Elite athletes dial in their training to peak for specific races and competitions, but sometimes they miss and peak too early or late, meeting the competition in an overtrained state. Some near-pinnacle athletes train themselves into the ground trying to maintain top condition, to get to the top – and end up experiencing a performance decline instead. Even amateurs overtrain fairly regularly, especially those who drive through long workouts at 80% effort and end up injured.

Exercise triggers endorphins and positive psychological association, and we can get addicted. We may believe that a missed training day is a missed opportunity to get healthier and stronger. While consistency in following a training plan is the best route to serious gains, working out daily with no rest is rarely the best plan. Stressing the system, and then allowing it to recover, are the keys to building strength; while intensity is grand for triggering gains, recovery is required to take advantage of the effects of intensity, something like casting a line and then reeling in the fish. No reeling, no dinner…no rest, no performance gains.


Strenuous workouts damage tissue. Through proper nutrition and rest, our body repairs the micro tears caused by exercise, and we adapt and grow stronger. Unfortunately, life in the 21st century often gets in the way of proper nutrition and rest. Ironically, our abundant food supply makes nutrition challenging; planning is necessary to navigate the variety of foods available (often out of season), and convenient processed foods are packed with hidden toxins that erode health. Meanwhile, work, school, parenting responsibilities, housework, activities, etc. pack our schedules, leaving us stressed out, rushing around, and not sleeping enough. Aggravations include workplace stress (which is known to deplete your nutrients), skipping meals, alcohol, and even travel. All of these factors can lead to over training, which in turn can lead to injury. That’s why many pro athletes sleep a lot, especially after vigorous workouts. (Must be nice to get paid to sleep!)

Power nap!

Power nap!

Breaking strength barriers and reaching performance peaks requires adequate caloric and nutritional intake, and REST. At DNA, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are our major strength days, and Tuesdays and Thursdays are designated for active recovery through conditioning.  Some weeks are more intense than the others, and even the active recovery workouts may be too much work in between strength days. If you experience any of these symptoms, you probably need a DAY OFF, or more.

1. Loss of appetite
2. Not being able to sleep soundly
3. Feeling fatigued all day, on a regular basis
4. Illness (your immune system is generally weakened when overtrained)
5. Soreness, or persistent pain at a specific part/s of your body for more than a few days

After extra rest, if you are consistently following your nutrition plan as directed by our nutrition counselor (David) and are getting adequate sleep without experiencing any of the signs listed above, you may resume working out four or five days each week.

Your health and well-being are our top priority.  Your trainers at DNA are always here to help, and if we recommend extra recovery time, please take it! We promise that you will be glad that you did.

Also, please tell us if you feel injury starting. We do a lot of useful foam rolling and pain ball work, which helps to release tight muscles and ligaments. Joint pain is usually the result of a muscle imbalance – for example shoulders get pulled by tight pectoral muscles and/or lats, which may need extra stretching and/or development to balance them.

Listen to your body…it knows!

Champion...if you don't recognize him, you should. (Ask AJ about it)

Champion…if you don’t recognize him, you should. (Ask AJ about it)

Superbowl Superfood

We can all agree that mindless eating is a bad idea, and nothing encourages mindless eating and drinking like watching sports. The granddaddy of sports parties is coming up on Sunday with Super Bowl XLVII (that’s 47 for you non-Romans).


GO RAVENS!! (AJ grew up in Maryland)

If you plan to attend a Super Bowl party, you will be confronted with many food decisions, starting with this one:

“Do I stick with my plan, or make this a designated Food Holiday and eat what I want without guilt?” If you choose to just eat, please do it without guilt – ENJOY IT and then be back on your program on Monday! You may not feel great after indulging, but if you are going to eat the Nacho Bomb, taste and savor.


Mmmm, heartburn. I love jalapenos!

To set yourself up for nutritional success, we offer some alternatives to the usual nutritional nightmares that you find at Superbowl parties.  Your friends may find these a little weird, but they aren’t the ones who will face the Monday workout after chowing down on big bowls of corn and fat. Without further ado, I present AJ’s Approved Football Foods.

1. Kale chips

Yeah, I know…it doesn’t sound manly, but it’s good! Thanks to Costco’s jumbo bag of kale, these tasty snacks require very little cooking talent. Grab the bag that looks like this one from the fridge room (where they usually sell berries). Preheat oven to 350′. Fill a bowl with kale, drizzle with olive oil, shake it up, dump on a big cookie sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes, until the kale is crispy but not burned. Season to taste (i.e., add a little salt or Old Bay, in celebration of the Ravens of course), dump in a bowl, and enjoy! Natalie (7) loves these. Warning: they’re messy!

kale2. Baba ghanouj 

You’ve heard of hummus, which is made primarily of chickpeas and sesame…baba ghanouj is the eggplant version. Get it at Trader Joe’s or make your own. Belgian endives are good for dipping, and you can load them with bruschetta or even cheese (not as approved but tasty). Remember, if you buy dips of any sort at the store, READ THE LABEL – dips from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s are pretty safe, but even they still hide a lot of nasty ingredients in there, including sugar, soybean oil, canola or corn oil, and various chemical preservatives.

Nom nom...

Nom nom…endives are a good chip replacement.

3. Turkey legs

Ask David what his favorite Renaissance Festival food is and he will tell you that the turkey leg is king! They’re tasty, loaded with protein, and gnawing on a huge animal bone is extremely manly.

If it's good enough for Tom Brady, it's good enough for you.

If it’s good enough for Tom Brady, it’s good enough for you.

You can grill them, roast them, season them, wrap them in foil…your call, but get extras for your jealous friends.


Grill 'em up! Yum.

Grill ’em up! Yum.

One last tip: if you choose to enjoy beers, alternate a big old cup of water with each beer. You will feel much better on Monday, and will drink a lot fewer mindless carbs/calories. If you’re at a bar, tell the bartender what you are doing, and tip them for helping you stay with the plan. Your liver will thank you, too.

Very European.

Very European.

Most of all – enjoy the game!!


The Game Changers: DNA Personal Training is transforming people in less time than a school semester.

DNA Personal Training is transforming people in less time than a school semester.

Change your life completely with a $1,500 investment and 3 months.

DNA Personal Training is the leader for a reason. Quality. Years of experience, late night study, schooling and education, investments, certification/re-certification, trial and error, experimentation (with our training staff as the guinea pigs) and much more hard work went into producing the best program available.

What makes DNA different? While we don’t expect you to train with us forever, we expect you to learn everything you need to know to live healthy and be fit for the rest of your life.

We are:

  1. A training company
  2. A nutritional counseling center
  3. An education facility
  4. A research and development lab

More and more people are leaving their regular gym memberships and moving towards personal training. One key driver is the need to stop the continually “spinning wheels” in an attempt to reach goals.

Does this process look familiar?

  • Ask Google “how to get into shape” and you’ll have the opportunity to sift through 321 million results.
  • Pick a plan off the web
  • Step into a cheap DIY gym after paying the very low monthly fee
  • End up on the treadmill or elliptical after moving the parts of some awkward machine that isolates your muscles (When do you isolate muscles in real life?)
  • Drink a protein shake
  • No results after a week or two; start over.

Similarly: buy a video, try it and lose interest after a few weeks, or get injured after a session or two because nobody is there to tell you that your squat is killing your knees or you are swinging the kettlebell incorrectly.

The fitness industry made $21.4 billion in 2011, and most of that money came from offering people a fast, easy, and/or cheap solution with a small likelihood of success, which leads to failure and more purchases.

People will gladly spend $2500 on a new TV/surround system or $10,000 on a bathroom remodel, but want a new body on the cheap and without any investment of time. You only get one body and you HAVE to live there.

Wouldn’t you rather invest a little more time and effort and get REAL results?

Stop looking for the magic pill and wasting time and money.

One investment in our training will change your life. Just read our Testimonials. Our clients wonder why they didn’t start sooner.

It’s time to change your life, and we’re here to help you do it the right way. Call or message 1-888-255-2978.

DNA Holiday Tip #2: Veg!

One simple tip for navigating holiday parties is to hit the veggies hard, BEFORE you go for the pumpkin pecan fudge cheesecake. Veggies aren’t always ubiquitous this time of year, and sorry but artichoke dip does not count. However, if you encounter a stray dish of broccoli florets, pepper slices, or a spinach salad, dig in. Chances are that you may end up eating mindlessly while talking; better to social-nosh on something green than on gingerbread.

Though gingerbread can be mighty tasty…and wouldn’t you know it, Elana has a slew of Christmas cookie recipes that don’t involve flour. Not that I want to encourage a binge. Just sayin’.

Vacation & Travel Workouts: The Big Fat List

Room service please!

Ladies and Gentlemen, here’s a great list of travel workout

Pick one that suits your mood or mix and match, but aim for BALANCE. If you have access to weights, this means push and pull in all three directions:

  • Up: press, push press, pull up, handstand pushup (shoulder to overhead)
  • Lateral: pushup, row
  • Down: Deadlift, sumo deadlift high pull
  • Squats are mandatory – you can do them nearly anywhere (elevators, in line for the boat, etc.), and core work can also be crammed into a busy day in a small space – plank while you watch the news. Tabatas make a terrific high-speed workout for hotel rooms (20 sec fast / 10 sec rest for 8 rounds: pushups, situps, squats).



    1. run 400 meters

    50 air squats

    4 rounds


    2.  30 lunges

    20 push-ups

    10 burpee

    4 rounds

    Please, PLEASE do NOT do lunges like this guy! Make sure your weight is on your heel, and your knee is over your foot, not in front.


    3. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

    squat jumps and push-ups


    4.  air squat (max reps in 1 min)

    rest :30 sec

    push-ups(max reps in 1 min)

    rest :30 sec

    sit-ups(max reps in one min)

    rest 1 min

    3 rounds

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    The Sweetener Spectrum


    Oh baby.

    Our clients often ask about how to sweeten foods in the absence of sugar, and which sweeteners are the best ones to use. We all understand that processed white sugar and corn products (such as high fructose corn syrup) cause insulin spikes and leptin disruption that can trigger inflammation, and over time, systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation, in turn, stresses your system, pumps up your cortisol level (the stress hormone), and causes your immune system to work extra hard all the time, thus opening the door to all sorts of minor and major diseases. Sweetness is also an addictive taste – your brain is hardwired to seek it, as it generally means easy-burning fuel, so your inability to resist a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie is not entirely your fault. Further, your brain is also hardwired to eat all of the food available,

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    GUILT FREE French toast with strawberries and cream

    We train hard and eat healthy to be able to afford the fun stuff. Guess what? The fun stuff doesn’t have to be complete trash! This treat is one the whole family will enjoy!

    How?… make bread with almond flour and coconut oil (see zucchini bread). Beat an egg with 1t cinnamon (more or less to taste) and 1/2t vanilla. Dip a slice of bread in the egg mixture and cook on a griddle or frying pan on medium for about 5 minutes, until golden brown.

    For the strawberries and cream, just slice some strawberries and mix with whipped cream, which has only fat – no carbs, no sugar. It’s naturally sweet, but you can mix in a little bit of Splenda, stevia, or honey if it works with your macros and if you want a bit more sweetness.  Dollop on top of the French toast. There you go – delicious strawberry and cream !!!! 🙂

    Submitted by Norma S.

    Substitute Teaching, Part 1

    Establishing a new eating pattern is a major lifestyle change, which works best when you discover new and delicious ways to meet your nutritional needs, rather than imitating your old diet. For example, pasta and sandwiches can be replaced with meat, vegetables, and interesting salads. However, food is very central to our cultures and behavior. Certain foods make us happy and remind us of celebrations of the past; hence the popularity of “comfort food,” just like Mom made it.

    Therefore, while we recommend recreating your meals instead of substituting the old ones, we will be providing suggestions for delicious substitutes for popular foods, many of which are gluten-laden disasters. We will be starting a “Sub Board” at DNA, where you can write down foods that you want to substitute, and answers will magically show up for all to see and share. Three such examples follow, and for a fourth, see LeeAat’s mini pizzas with cauliflower crusts!

    1. Spaghetti

    Let’s start easy: spaghetti squash is a GREAT sub for spaghetti. It has 10g of carbs in 1 cup, about 1g of protein, and trace fat. According to Livestrong, it also has Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

    It’s easy to cook – just cut it in half, lay the halves face down on a cookie sheet, and bake it for about 30 minutes in the oven at 400′. Let it cool a bit, flip it over, and scrape it out with a fork. LOAD with a meat and tomato sauce, or anything else that works with your macros. Nom nom!

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