Fit Tips

The New Science of Exercise

July 4th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Only 20% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week, more than half of all baby boomers report doing no exercise whatsoever, and 80.2 million Americans over age 6 are entirely inactive.

That’s bad news, but emerging evidence shows that there are plenty of compelling reasons to start moving at any age, even if you’re ill or pregnant. Indeed, scientists are learning that exercise is, actually, medicine.

You can read the whole story here, or find it posted on the cork board in the gym, but here are some of the amazing things that happen to a body in motion.

1. Exercise is great for your brain.

It’s linked to less depression, better memory, and quicker learning. Studies also suggest that exercise is, as of now, the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a major fear for many Americans.

Scientists don’t know exactly why exercise changes the structure and function of the brain, but it’s an area of active research. So far, they’ve found that exercise improves blood flow to the brain, feeding the growth of new blood vessels and even new brain cells, thanks to the protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF triggers the growth of new neurons and helps repair and protect brain cells from degeneration. It may also help people focus, according to recent research.

2. You might get happier.

Countless studies show that many types of exercise, from walking to cycling, make people feel better and can even relieve symptoms of depression. Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain—serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine—that dull pain, lighten mood and relieve stress. “For years we focused almost exclusively on the physical benefits of exercise and really have ignored the psychological and emotional benefits of being regularly active,” says Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise.

3. It might make you age slower.

Exercise has been shown to lengthen lifespan by as much as five years. A small new study suggests that moderate-intensity exercise may slow down the aging of cells. As humans get older and their cells divide over and over again, their telomeres—the protective caps on the end of chromosomes—get shorter. To see how exercise affects telomeres, researchers took a muscle biopsy and blood samples from 10 healthy people before and after a 45-minute ride on a stationary bicycle. They found that exercise increased levels of a molecule that protects telomeres, ultimately slowing how quickly they shorten over time. Exercise, then, appears to slow aging at the cellular level.

4. It’ll make your skin look better.

Aerobic exercise revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health and even help wounds heal faster. “That’s why when people have injuries, they should get moving as quickly as possible—not only to make sure the muscle doesn’t atrophy but to make sure there’s good blood flow to the skin,” says Anthony Hackney, an exercise physiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Train long enough, and you’ll add more blood vessels and tiny capillaries to the skin, too.

5. Amazing things can happen in just a few minutes.

Emerging research suggests that it doesn’t take much movement to get the benefits. “We’ve been interested in the question of, How low can you go?” says Martin Gibala, an exercise physiologist at McMaster University in Ontario. He wanted to test how effective a 10-minute workout could be, compared to the typical 50-minute bout. The micro-workout he devised consists of three exhausting 20-second intervals of all-out, hard-as-you-can exercise, followed by brief recoveries. In a three-month study, he pitted the short workout against the standard one to see which was better. To his amazement, the workouts resulted in identical improvements in heart function and blood-sugar control, even though one workout was five times longer than the other.

6. It can help you recover from a major illness.

Even very vigorous exercise—like the interval workouts Gibala is studying—can, in fact, be appropriate for people with different chronic conditions, from Type 2 diabetes to heart failure. That’s new thinking because, for decades, people with certain diseases were advised not to exercise. Now scientists know that far more people can and should exercise. A recent analysis of more than 300 clinical trials discovered that for people recovering from a stroke, exercise was even more effective at helping them rehabilitate.

7. Your fat cells will shrink.

The body uses both carbohydrates and fats as energy sources. But after consistent aerobic exercise training, the body gets better at burning fat, which requires a lot of oxygen to convert it into energy. “One of the benefits of exercise training is that our cardiovascular system gets stronger and better at delivering oxygen, so we are able to metabolize more fat as an energy source,” Hackney says. As a result, your fat cells—which produce the substances responsible for chronic low-grade inflammation—shrink, and so does inflammation.


90 Days to Awesome!

June 27th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Getting ripped takes hard work and dedication, a carefully planned diet and many hours in the gym. At times, it takes an iron will, such as when you want to cheat on your diet or skip a workout.

There’s no shortcut to getting ripped. Whether or not you can get there in 90 days depends on where you’re starting from and how much you’re willing to work for it.

Diet Is King

How much time you spend in the kitchen prepping meals with the right calorie and macronutrient content is just as important as how much time you spend in the gym. You can’t get ripped if your diet isn’t on point. Following the DBM food plan is key to seeing results from your bi-weekly strength training workout.

When you reduce your caloric intake, your body starts to burn fat for fuel. How many calories you need to eat depends on a lot of factors – your current body fat percentage, how much you currently eat, how hard you work out, etc. Get good at tracking your calories in a journal or an app. If you’re not getting the results you want, talk with me. Just remember that you don’t want to cut too many calories, which can cause you to lose muscle.

Macro Strategy

Balancing your macronutrients is key to getting ripped. Experts differ on the exact proportions, but generally, a diet that is higher in protein gets good results.

Protein is one of the most important nutrients for altering body composition it provides the raw materials for building muscle and it is more satiating than carbohydrate and fat, which can help you reduce your calorie intake for fat loss.

Choose Your Foods Wisely

You want to get the most bang for your buck at each meal and snack. Choose lean sources of protein, such as light meat chicken, fish and lean beef, egg whites, and plants. Focus on fresh vegetables which are low in calories and filling, instead of fruit which is high in natural sugar, snack on sweeter vegetables like bell peppers, snap peas and carrots.

Avoid saturated fats and get healthy fats from olive oil, fatty fish, and avocado. Choose a protein shake when you need something sweet, and avoid eating out whenever possible as it makes controlling your calorie and macronutrient intake challenging.

Advanced food prep is your friend. Always having a balanced meal and snacks ready to eat in your refrigerator makes it much less likely that you will cheat (keep a small cooler with you in the summer).

Crush the Gym

In combination with eating enough protein, strength training is the only way to maintain muscle mass while you’re burning fat. Strength training programs that are consistent, challenging and changed up every four to six weeks will get you the results you want. You also need to allow adequate time for recovery to promote muscle growth and prevent injury. Follow my program of twice a week private or semi-private sessions and use group classes as needed.

Keep your workouts simple by using compound movements like squats, curls, deadlifts, rows and pull-ups with heavy weights. These exercises work a lot of muscles at one time and build core strength. They also burn more calories while you’re doing them.

Can Essential Oils give you Better Results in the Gym?

June 27th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Using essential oils in the gym can help support better performance and results, so let’s discuss some of your options.

Pre Workout Motivation:
Find an essential oil that gives you energy and put it on 30 minutes before your workout. Ones I love are Black Pepper (a hot oil – so be careful to dilute this one and build up slowly), Juniper, Cypress, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint. Try different oils and see which ones motivate you the most.

Using Oils Pre-Workout for Hydration:
There are so many great oils you can add to your water to help support your workouts and wellness!
In the gym, we carry doTERRA therapeutic-grade essential oils as a convenience for our clients, but any good quality essential oil should work for you.

We know that Peppermint essential oil helps with digestion, improving concentration and relieve head tension, but peppermint oil can also have some amazing positive effects on your exercise routine.

In a 2012 study in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition Twelve healthy male students, every day consumed one 500 ml bottle of mineral water (which is roughly 16 oz) with 1 drop of peppermint essential oil for ten days. Scientists measured things like blood pressure, heart rate, and lung strength before and after the supplementation with peppermint oil infused water period. These athletes underwent a treadmill test where they worked to complete exhaustion as the treadmill speed and incline is increased every three minutes.

So what happened? The results of the experiment showed that peppermint essential oil had a positive effect on exercise performance, blood pressure, and respiratory rate in these young male students. We don’t have solid conclusions why, but the authors of this study think this may be due to relaxation of your airway muscles, an increase in brain oxygen concentration, and a decrease in lactic acid levels in the blood, which I think is really cool. So anyone who works out can benefit from a little peppermint in their water.

Other oils great for your water: Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Lemongrass. When we drink high-quality citrus oils, we get natural chemical properties like citral, which may have a small effect on diet-induced obesity and improved insulin sensitivity.

Pre-workout mobility and stretching:
The goal is to prepare your muscles and joints to move well, and typically this is done by heating them up with movement – things like stretching, static holds, distraction exercises. Oils that help warm up your muscles are Black Pepper, Lemongrass, Clove, or Cinnamon. Put 5-10 drops of oil in a roller bottle with carrier oil and roll onto any muscles or joints that are stiff or inflexible before your routine. You can easily mix any of these up in a roller bottle and swipe that on before your workout.

Post Workout Recovery
A blend of Helichrysum, Peppermint oil, Lemon oil, Balsam oil, Clove oil, Wintergreen, Vetiver and Dorado Azul oil in a roll-on. This blend also contains Clove oil, and clove has the highest density of antioxidants of any oil, and your body and immune system could use some fighting power after a workout because of all those little micro-tears in your muscle that need repairing and the stress you’ve put on your body. Then you have Copaiba, which has high amounts of beta-caryophyllene. The short version is that beta-caryophyllene gives amazing relief. Then on top of all that, you get the cooling and soothing from the Wintergreen and the Dorado Azul oils.

In any gym setting, you have to be polite about it and not go overboard, because you want to be respectful about smelling too strong when other people are around. But if you can do it, it’s a great way to end a workout.

Health Talk with Dr. Ginger, Wednesday, June 20th @7 pm

June 6th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

“Your body, if given the proper tools, can heal itself from disease”.

Ginger Southall, D.C., known as, “Dr. Ginger” (@thedrginger) is a board-certified chiropractor that specializes in preventing and reversing disease through mind-body techniques, super-nutrition, detoxification, and other natural methods. Dr. Ginger is an internationally recognized author and expert on natural healing, nutrition, and fitness and has appeared on radio and television shows, including The Sam Sorbo Show, RadioMd, Fox News, and The Dr. Oz Show, among others.

Plan to join this rare opportunity to listen and learn from Dr Ginger. Presented by DBM Strength Training and FIT BY STRENGTH.




Strength-Training Can Help Older Women With Aging

June 4th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Researchers from the University of Buffalo looked at 46 women across two different age ranges, 60-74 and 75-90, to learn how physical activity affects frailty differently in the two groups. Researchers found that there was a larger difference between the two groups in terms of muscle strength and endurance among those who were very physically active. The study found that older women who engage in a high level of daily physical activity may be able to reverse certain markers of aging, such as slow walking and decreased function.

Resistance training, in particular, can preserve muscle strength and endurance, if started at a younger age.  It appears that committing to regular exercise is not yet a standard part of older women’s lifestyles and is instead a reactive behavior to, for example, falls or illness.

Many women said they stay active by doing light housekeeping or light gardening, and while that is better than nothing, it may not be enough to counteract the effects of aging on the body.

“But for women over the age of 75, muscle strength and endurance declines. 
Starting resistance exercise when they are young and continuing it is important so
that when they reach a very advanced age they have already
built up their strength and endurance reserves,”

The researchers advise women to walk more and consult a physical therapist or trainer to learn about exercises that will build muscle strength and endurance.

Let’s Talk About Pastured Chicken

June 4th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Factory-raised animals are given growth hormones, genetically modified diets, antibiotics, and more harmful chemicals. With no real way of tracking it, you’re ingesting everything they are. Their diet is your diet. There’s also the quality of life and welfare of the animals that need to be considered. Crowded cages are cruel.

It’s easier to hold your food producers accountable for what their animals eat and their quality of life when you’re buying from small, local farmers. Don’t be fooled by the “Natural” label that big grocery stores are using as of late.  It means nothing and should be a red flag as opposed to a reassurance. Eat meat for to keep your protein intake up and make sure it’s healthy, pasture-raised meat, from a farmer you can trust.

Courtesy of  Doorganics

Why strength training is important for student athletes

May 22nd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

High school athletes can be an inspiring bunch to work with. Enthusiastic and driven, many adolescent sportsmen and women give their all in the court, track, field, and pool in pursuit of victory. It’s a shame that many of them get stopped short by a fundamental lack of strength. But as anyone who’s played high school sports can attest, coaches often overlook strength training in favor of more straightforward drills.

When coaches leave strength training out of the schedule, athletes pay the price. Many high school athletes join teams with little to no strength. Some may be quicker or more agile than others, but their prowess proves temporary and fades quickly after the first half of a 3-month season. Injuries are common among those left to rely on inborn talent and effort: without the buildup of relevant muscle groups, they quickly succumb to shin splints, tennis elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, and a number of other common ailments. Many a future star has fallen after a few seasons of such frustration.

That’s where strength training comes in. One of its central goals is to reduce the risk of injury. In high school students, strength training is often necessary to target muscle groups that need to do their share in supporting proper form. This is as true of cross-country runners as it is of basketball players.

Young athletes are unique because unlike professionals, they are still growing. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that they gain strength – within one academic year, their bodies can easily be asked to suddenly accommodate an inch or more in new height. The fact that strength training aids in bone density is often overlooked in this context. Studies have shown improvements in bone density after several months of strength training, which is why it’s one of the best protectors against osteoporosis in aging adults, and injury in children.

Of course, strength training isn’t just about injury prevention: it optimizes performance. Studies have consistently shown that both endurance athletes and their high-intensity counterparts do better if strength training is mixed in with their normal routine. Improved strength allows athletes to employ proper form, to explode down the court, field, and pool, and to enlist key muscle groups from around the body in executing a dynamic movement.

Courtesy of

Why Mom’s need strength training

May 16th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

In owning a personal training studio I am often confronted with a Mom trying to find time and energy to get back in pre-baby shape. Walking, jogging, spin class, yoga maybe even some boot camp interval type classes are the standard go to’s they try.

The second common scenario is Moms that did not get back to their younger body and thinking they need to be realistic that their pre-baby body is gone forever. They simply can’t keep up the cardio and can’t always eat like a bird because they need energy, as well as help, relaxing and ‘keying down’.

Enter the best, yet most unknown solution – once a week weight training. What Mom has lost isn’t her figure but her muscle. She may have put on some fat but that is for feeding the child. The reason the fat doesn’t come off well is cardio won’t do it. Lost muscle from a changed hormone profile has reduced her metabolic rate. She has become the best fat storage machine on the planet.

The side effects are:

– lowered overall energy

– change of body shape

– the beginning of osteoporosis

– disrupted sleep

– back and joint pain

The crazy fact is Mom’s who have stuck to once a week strength training find the bulk of the side effects listed are staved off almost entirely! Even Mom’s who are relatively young and don’t immediately notice big changes in their body see them crop up big time in their 40’s. Again they chalk it up to their lot in life and slowly lose the cardio battle of the bulge and ‘sag’ wins out.

What we have witnessed over the years is those Mom’s and mom to be’s’ who retain once a week strength training do not face these supposed aging issues and in fact often improve their overall body fitness over the years. This because women, as opposed to men, already deal with having less lean mass. Working on the muscle they have in their 30’s pays huge dividends later in life.

The number of drugs and semi-helpful holistic remedies being prescribed to Mom’s is in the billions of dollars…all of which can be almost completely replaced by a simple solution. It is time the fitness and wellness industry stop feeding into the combination of an anxious and overtired mentality of a Mom with sales of symptom masking band-aids.

Why Weight Training Is Ridiculously Good For You

May 14th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

“Sound familiar? It should if you have been paying attention in the studio. This is why we do what we do! And if you aren’t doing it, you should get in touch with me!” DBM

For many, weight training calls to mind bodybuilders pumping iron in pursuit of beefy biceps and bulging pecs. But experts say it’s well past time to discard those antiquated notions of what resistance training can do for your physique and health.

Modern exercise science shows that working with weights
—whether that weight is a light dumbbell 
or your own body—
maybe the best exercise for lifelong physical function and fitness.

“To me, resistance training is the most important form of training for overall health and wellness,” says Brad Schoenfeld, an assistant professor of exercise science at New York City’s Lehman College. During the past decade, Schoenfeld has published more than 30 academic papers on every aspect of resistance training—from the biomechanics of the push-up to the body’s nutrient needs following a hard lift. Many people think of weight training as the exercise that augments muscle size and strength, which is certainly true. But Schoenfeld says the “load” that this form of training puts on bones and their supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments is probably a bigger deal when it comes to health and physical function.

We talk about bone resorption, which is a decrease in bone tissue over time,” he says. When you’re young, bone resorption is balanced and in some cases exceeded by new bone tissue generation. But later in life, bone tissue losses accelerate and outpace the creation of new bone. That acceleration is especially pronounced among people who are sedentary and women who have reached or passed menopause, Schoenfeld says. This loss of bone tissue leads to the weakness and postural problems that plague many older adults.

“Resistance training counteracts all those bone losses and postural deficits,” he says. Through a process known as bone remodeling, strength training stimulates the development of bone osteoblasts: cells that build bones back up. While you can achieve some of these bone benefits through aerobic exercise, especially in your lower body, resistance training is really the best way to maintain and enhance total-body bone strength.

One study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that twice-weekly training sessions helped to control insulin swings (and body weight) among older men with type-2 diabetes. “Muscle is very metabolically active, and it uses glucose, or blood sugar, for energy,” says Mark Peterson, an assistant professor of physical medicine at the University of Michigan.

During a bout of resistance training, your muscles are rapidly using glucose, and this energy consumption continues even after you’ve finished exercising, Peterson says. For anyone at risk for metabolic conditions—type-2 diabetes, but also high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome—strength training is among the most effective remedies, he says.

Strength training also seems to be a potent antidote to inflammation, a major risk factor for heart disease and other conditions.

Lifting “almost to failure”—or until your muscles are near the point of giving out
is the real key, regardless of how much weight you’re using.

If all that isn’t convincing enough to turn you onto weights, perhaps this is: maintaining strength later in life “seems to be one of the best predictors of survival,” says Peterson. “When we add strength…almost every health outcome improves.”


Strength training doesn’t just build muscle — it also helps fight depression, a new study found

May 14th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Working out seems to have huge benefits for your mental health. Now in a review of studies newly published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, researchers say that resistance training can also help treat depression.

This is a significant finding since it’s the first systematic analysis of top-quality studies that assess the effects of resistance training on depression. Plus, it shows that people get mental-health benefits from a type of exercise researchers say is crucial for maintaining muscle mass as you age.

  • Resistance training, also known as weight or strength training, can reduce symptoms of depression, according to a new meta-analysis of studies.
  • This form of exercise is about as effective at treating depression as aerobic exercise, according to the research.
  • That finding gives medical professionals a fresh way to fight depression, which is an extremely common form of mental illness, with major depression diagnosis rates rapidly on the rise, according to a new report.

The finding also comes at an important time.

Rates of major depression are rapidly rising in the US, according to a new report published by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Since 2013, major depression diagnoses have increased by 33%, with even bigger increases for millennials and adolescents, according to the report. Of all conditions affecting Americans, depression has the second biggest impact on overall health, behind hypertension.

The power of getting stronger

Resistance training – often called strength training – includes weight lifting and body-weight exercises such as push-ups.

We already knew that resistance training makes people stronger, builds muscle, and can improve endurance and power. There’s also good evidence that strengthening exercises can reduce anxiety. Strengthening exercises helped reduce depression symptoms whether or not the study participants grew physically stronger, and it worked regardless of how healthy people were when they started the resistance training. Find the complete article in the link to the author below.

by Kevin Loria, Business Insider