Six pack abs can be bought– literally!

Woman_ShoppingSix pack abs can be bought– really? I know what you’re thinking right about now- “You’re crazy Dawn.” Here me out though.

All of my clients have abdominal muscles, trouble is- they’re hidden from view by a layer of fat that they want to eliminate and don’t know how. I train all of my clients very hard, it’s how my personal training got the nickname “Hardcore”. Regardless of how hard you train though, if you want six-pack abs you do have to make some changes to the foods you eat in the kitchen. The food in the kitchen came from where? That’s right- you picked it up at the grocery store. Hence, that’s where you begin your quest for a leaner you.

The two main changes I normally advise my clients to make are to reduce their sugar intake and the amount of carbohydrates that they are eating.

The first change should be rather obvious. Sugar is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic facing the United States. “Here in the United States, the average person consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day, which is slightly more than three 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola. That’s more than twice the average sugar intake of all 54 countries observed by Euromonitor. It’s also more than twice what the World Health Organization recommends for daily intake, which is roughly 50 grams of sugar for someone of normal weight.” (Source: The Washington Post)

Reducing your sugar intake can have additional health benefits. Sugar is the #1 cause of inflammation in the body. “Diseases that are obviously inflammatory in nature include asthma, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, laryngitis, gingivitis, gastritis, otitis, coeliac disease, diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease,” says Dr Carolyn Dean. (Click here to read more)

Clients train with me however not just to lose weight, my clients want to build muscle and shed the fat layer hiding the muscles that they already have. So, how do you promote not just weight loss but fat loss? Here’s the skinny on fat loss, pun intended- and I’ll point you to some research that backs up what I’m telling you here so that you could research it further yourself. If you want to promote weight and fat loss you have to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you are eating. Plain and simple, forget your low-fat diet fads, ignore the silly food pyramid, ignore your friends trying to get you to try their latest “supplement” or diet pill, and ignore your doctor who’s pushing you to eat more fiber in the morning.

There is a growing body of research showing that low-carb diets are more effective at promoting both weight and fat loss as a percentage of body mass. In one randomized, parallel-group study- 60 participants were put on a low-fat intervention and 59 participants were put on a low-carbohydrate intervention for a year with no restrictions on their caloric intake to evaluate the effects of both interventions on their weight and fat levels.

Participants on the low-carbohydrate diet had greater decreases in weight, fat mass, ratio of total–high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglyceride level and greater increases in HDL cholesterol level than those on the low-fat diet (1).

Bottom line is this, the participants in the low-carb diet group lost more weight AND more fat after a year than their low-fat eating counterparts. So, the carbohydrate content in the foods you eat plays a larger then life role in your physical fitness. Where does the food you eat come from? For most in the developed world- it comes from the grocery store. Therefore, yes- you can buy six-pack abs. You either buy them or you don’t every time you shop at the grocery store with the choices you make and the food you out into your cart. That is why I say, six pack abs can be bought– yes, literally!

1. Bazzano LA, Hu T, Reynolds K, Yao L, Bunol C, Liu Y, et al. Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161:309-318. doi:10.7326/M14-0180. See:


3 steps to stronger, leaner arms

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is- how can I get rid of this “flabbiness” beneath my arms, referred by some as “bat wings”? That loose skin is a result of unnecessary fat weighing on the elasticity of your skin in that area, and a lack of muscle to fill the skin underneath; specifically a lack of tricep muscle.

The solution is to build stronger, leaner arms. Attacking this problem successfully requires a three-pronged approach. There is no magic bullet, and there is no miracle pill- but I can guarantee you will succeed if you follow my prescription.

Firstly, you must eat a cleaner diet. Why this is essential will be covered in a separate blog (its a bit of a lengthy topic)- but simply put you must avoid eating processed and refined foods and sugars. When it comes to the body’s performance and looks, the old adage applies- garbage in, garbage out. You cannot nourish your body a steady stream of junk for food and expect your body to look good and perform at its peak. If you want stronger and leaner arms, it begins with your nutrition.


Triceps brachii seen from behind.

Secondly, understand the composition of the tricep and what you must do to develop this muscle group. The tricep is actually a bundle of three different muscles, hence, its name. The long head pictured here in red runs down the back of your arm and is the largest of the three heads (it’s also referred to as the inner head), the medial head pictured here in green is positioned on the midline of the triceps- lying deep within the arm, and the lateral head pictured in yellow is located on the outside of the arm (also known as the outer head). There is some research (1) that shows the long head is employed when sustained force generation is needed by the body, the lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial head enables more precise, low-force movements.

In layman’s terms what this means to you is this, don’t think of working out your “tricep” muscle- instead think of training this muscle group as needing to strengthen and develop each head of the tricep muscle bundle. You should perform movements targeting each of the three heads of the muscle bundle. As you vary the angle of your arms when exercising, the intensity of stress affects the tree heads differently.

Lastly, train these muscles in the proper order. Why is this so crucial you may be asking yourself? It’s complicated, but I’m going to explain it to you very succinctly. When training any muscle group, you want to train the largest muscle group first, when your energy levels are highest and the muscle group isn’t fatigued. In the case of the tricep muscle group, exercising the longest head and working your way to the smaller ones lets you to put the most intensity and power into the largest head that is responsible for overall size and definition of your arms. Assuming of course that you want stronger, not just leaner arms.

Here, I am performing overhead tricep extensions. Overhead tricep extensions Overhead Tricep Extencionengage both the long and medial heads of the tricep. With a reverse grip on the handles the emphasis would be placed more on the long head. In the picture, my hand positioning is palms down pushing away from the body, isolating more the medial head. Always remember that training any of the three muscles will recruit assistance from the other two heads, just to varying degrees. The three heads of the tricep muscle group work as a team. As your trainer, I will show you exercises which target each of the tricep’s three heads, and have you perform them in the correct order- just one of the values of hiring me to help you achieve those strong, lean arms that you want.

Are you ready to do something about your arms? Don’t give up, contact me– let me help you!

1. Lucas-Osma, AM; Collazos-Castro, JE. (2009). “Compartmentalization in the triceps brachii motoneuron nucleus and its relation to muscle architecture”. J Comp Neurol 516 (3): 226–39.doi:10.1002/cne.22123. PMID 19598170

Welcome to my new website and blog!

Welcome to my new website, and blog… I am Miami’s Hardcore Personal Trainer!

I will be using this space to discuss topics like nutrition, recipes that contribute to a healthy body, exercises I am currently using with my clients, and other topics of interest related to what I call a #HardcoreFit lifestyle. I hope you find it useful, and engage with me on some of these topics- don’t just lurk. I want to hear from you, in order to learn about your struggles achieving and maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle. When it comes to your body- you only get one. There is NO “Plan B” as they say.

Miami's Hardcore Personal Trainer

Hi, I’m Dawn!

Learning about what you are struggling with gives me the opportunity to address these topics here on the blog, and gives you an opportunity to see it from the perspective of a fitness professional.

Many a time I find the media does a horrendous job educating the general population about what are truly healthy lifestyle choices available to them; or they’ll simply sell out to the advertiser with the fattest wallet- with total disregard for what the advertiser is pushing. I will try to provide you with the information you need to “separate the wheat from the chaff” so to speak, and hopefully lead you to better choices for you and your family. Of course, you will note I will emphasize the need for you to exercise- often and with high intensity. Why exercise of the “high intensity” variety? Its not simply my opinion, there is an entire body of research suggesting that high intensity exercise is an effective stimulus for inducing favorable changes in body composition- you can read a sample of this research by clicking here.

Bottom line is this- if you want to be fit, get movin’! Do it often and with intensity, and if you don’t know how- get in touch with me!

Start your training with Dawn today!