The Frog Pond is our Official Frog Fitness Blog. In The Frog Pond you will find thought-provoking articles meant to pique your interest regarding health and fitness as well as provide you with learning opportunities to build off of in your quest to achieve optimal fitness! Week after week we will keep our posts relevant to past and current trend information that will assist our readers in developing a better understanding of everything related to ideal health and fitness.
Clark Bartram and Joel Metzger both have vast experience in the fitness and training field of knowledge, which makes them uniquely qualified to be our top two post contributors. Clark offers years of fitness industry interactions to the Frog Fitness team, while Joel provides more of the scientific approach to his blogs based on his educational accomplishments and experiences as a personal trainer. Stay tuned and be ready to leap into the Frog Pond!
Over the years my opinion as to how much proper nutrition plays a role living in a lean healthy body has changed. I used to tell people that “eating clean” was 70% of the equation, then later it rose to 80% and now that I have a better understanding of the importance of proper nutrition I’m saying it’s 100%.
I think most people don’t dig deep enough into the true healing power of food, and I think this is a direct result of looking at nutrition simply as a means to an end to “getting ripped” and not how eating clean, fresh, “whole foods” can actually heal your body from maladies that are too often self induced by doing the opposite…eating bad, sugary, processed, packaged junk.
Truth be told, there are countless people living in skilled nursing facilities for illness like diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease and more and not all of them need to be there, they are there because of bad choices. It’s sad but true!
I’ve seen many people, who have been diagnosed with illnesses like adult onset diabetes, because of how they ate, heal themselves by simply following sound advice and simply changing what they ate. Food is a powerful drug that can be used to hurt or heal.
We need to get away from the focus aesthetics in regards to what we eat and get more interested in the cellular response of the food we consume. If you take this approach and think to yourself, “what is happening internally when I eat this?” “How will this affect my health if I eat that?”
Here’s the sad truth however…We live in a day and age where it’s so convenient to eat bad food because there are large, well financed corporations that make sure of that. Call it a conspiracy theory if you want, but slick advertising, nutritionally void “value meals” and the like are making our country unhealthy at a very fast pace and the evidence is all around us.
Just look at people when you are out in public. Be observant of what they are consuming, how they look and notice the energy levels and attitudes. I personally think you can fix a bad attitude with proper nutrition. I really do. I personally believe you can heal many illnesses with whole natural food. I honestly feel you can change, not just your body, but your entire life if you choose to think about what you are putting in your body and understand that nutrition can truly be the key to you living in your healthiest body.
I’ve traveled the globe speaking to people about health and fitness and living in their healthiest bodies and no matter where I am I see one common thread….most people, unfortunately, do not take care of themselves! It’s a fact… especially here in the US where we have EVERYTHING available to us, both good and bad.
I always ask people to raise their hands by saying, “who here feel that they are living in their healthiest body?” If I have a room of 50… MAYBE 2 will raise their hands…and truth be told I’m not always raising mine!
I too have times in my life where I am not being a good steward of my most precious gift, my health. Like an alcoholic we need to first be honest with ourselves when we think about that question.
Let me ask you right now… Are you living in YOUR healthiest body RIGHT NOW? If you said “no” then I say “why”?
It’s important that we understand that we only have one body and that when we fill it with bad food, sugary drinks, drugs and alcohol, negative thoughts and empty calories we are only demanding that it gets worse. The body will only respond to what it’s being fed, and how it’s being treated, that’s it. It may take longer for more genetically gifted people to get fat and unhealthy, but eventually, overtime, even the skinniest person with the fastest metabolism will break havoc on their metabolic system if they treat their body with disrespect. It’s simply a matter of time.
That being said, the opposite is true as well and that is the good news. When you treat your body with respect and feed it and treat it properly…even the least genetically gifted person will begin to see results over time…some longer than others.
It’s pretty simple to figure out but it all starts with a desire to live in a healthier body with the main goal being more efficient as we age. It’s not about looking perfect or being some fitness model, that may be a great ancillary benefit that happens as a result, but it’s more about understanding that if you treat your body with respect and are a good steward over that gift, your body will give you it’s best in return by giving you a longer, healthier and more enjoyable existence.
It seems the fitness industry is full of opinions, experts and programs that are suggesting one modality over another.
Machines or free weights?
Fasted morning cardio or traditional treadmill?
Sets and reps?
Isolation or Integration exercises?
How deep to squat?
The arguments and confusion seem to have no end and it’s very easy to see how a novice fitness enthusiast could easily become confused as to what to do.
I’ve been in the industry for three decades and have seen many passing fads with diets, workouts and supplementation and with all that experience I have come to this conclusion…
Do what works best for you!
People always ask me, “Clark, when is the best time to do cardio morning or night, before or after my workout”? My response is always, “when is best for you”?
If their response is “the morning” , then my response would be, “that’s the best time”! Why create another obstacle for someone who is interested in becoming healthier? We have enough to worry about in life so adding a complicated system that doesn’t fit your lifestyle makes no sense to me what so ever. I’ll let the “experts” argue over the little details that really only apply to someone who is really trying to be precise as it relates to their particular goals.
There are some recommendations I do have in regards to time efficiency and getting the most out of your workouts, especially how it relates to how we function as humans. The title of this article is “Isolation VS Integration” , so let me take a few minutes and elaborate on what I mean.
There are tons of machines built that we see in gyms all across the world…
Lateral Shoulder raises
so on and so forth….While these machines are widely used and accepted by most trainers, it’s seldom in life that we are required to do anything functionally that would require total isolation of a single body part.
Our bodies are designed to be integrative in nature…different muscles assist others all in an effort to create balance and disturb strength requirements evenly to be strong and safe.
Think about it for a second… if you are putting away Christmas boxes in the attic storage, you are gonna use your arms, legs, shoulders, triceps, core and so on. When you hold a baby, pick up a heavy object, run, jump or pretty much any human function you are integrating not isolating.
Now, the functionality aspect is one point, let’s look at time. Most objections I hear from people about starting or maintaining a fitness program is, “I don’t have the time”. I get it, most people are limited on time and the easy answer is, “make more time…get up earlier” Well, that doesn’t always work either, so why not just minimize the amount of time you are working out by performing exercises that are integrative in nature as opposed to going from one machine to another isolating individual body parts?
OK, now let’s discuss metabolic efficiency…doing “compound” or integrative exercises will increase caloric expenditure and provide more bang for your buck and get your metabolism working for you instead of against you.
I hope this little dissertation has helped you realize a few things:
- You do have the time if you do the right exercises
- Efficiency is something we all can benefit from
- Not all exercises are created the same
- You should always do what’s best for you, not get confused by “experts” suggesting their way or now way.
- Your body is amazing and will either get better or worse depending on how you treat it.
In closing, my recommendation would be to find time efficient, compound exercises that will not only save you time, but be more effective in producing fast and lasting results.
Our western culture has really messed a lot of people up, especially as it relates to “what is healthy.”
Nearly every magazine cover, Instagram model, celebrity diet or fitness fad has many thinking that health is about looking a certain way and that couldn’t be the furthest thing from then truth as far as I’m concerned.
Photoshop, apps to smooth wrinkles and whiten teeth in one swipe, perfect asses and big boobs are all we seem to see these days and it’s a bit frightening honestly because it gives many the wrong image when it’s time to set fitness goals and priorities.
Here is the truth… a perfect body doesn’t exist. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very beautiful people who are totally natural but we don’t often have the privilege of hearing from those people and how they approach life… we are just inundated with unrealistic images and place our hopes and dreams on the desire to one day look like them.
Listen, I’ve seen, known and been around so many models and most are very insecure people and very typically have flaws and issues with their bodies that they would love to improve upon. It seems that the most beautifully fit are the most unhealthy many times.
My recommendation to you would be to set realistic goals, don’t paste an image of a perfect body on the fridge as your “inspiration” but instead, seek living in a highly functioning, healthy body and let the other things fall into place after deciding that “true health” is your first priority.
Truth health, to me, can be defined as having your blood work come back clean, having a great relationship with where you are currently, living a balanced and happy life, appreciating what you have as opposed to what you want.
A healthy body will not always manifest itself into a swimsuit body and a swimsuit body is not always healthy.
Take a step back and re assess WHY you are deciding to exercise and adjust your priorities if necessary and understand that perfection or looking like someone else isn’t what you should be striving for…you should be striving to be the best YOU CAN BE and embrace every flaw you have with the understanding that even the girl or guy on the magazine cover or instagram page must do the same.
Start Right, Choose Wisely, Fitness One at a Time, All things Considered
Making fitness and health a priority is easy when it is your career. Their income becomes dependent on performance or physique. What about the non-athlete or non-fitness model? When making lifestyle changes they must be accommodating to the individual. NO, I am not saying making the change is easy. I am advising everyone to make goals realistically challenging. Don’t fall for glorified marketing. We have all seen “Get Shredded” “Get Lean” “Burn Fat” “Tone up” ad campaigns on Fitness Products and supplements. If these ads are true, they are increasing the body’s metabolism. The options are overwhelming to the average person but thinking through molecular terms they exhibit the same outcome, cutting fat storage by spiking the metabolism. DNA and fingerprints are all different. Why would we all follow the same diet? In order to make the decision process a little easier we must figure out what will fit into our lifestyle and gradually add new challenges one at a time.
DO NOT try to flip your diet overnight. This will lead to negative side effects that will convince you to retract to your old unhealthy habits. In order to prevent this, we must understand that the human body is very adaptable. The differences between everyone is how stubborn the body is to adapt. Dramatically changing the diet overnight only shocks the body. Tracking our diet for two weeks before we make changes is the best way to start. This is how we get a grasp on what kind of macros we are eating. Then we must start by eliminating certain unhealthy foods while adding in a healthier alternative ONE at a time. We all have those foods we love but know we should hate. An easy solution is to find a healthy alternative or limit how often we indulge. No, artificial sweeteners are not considered a healthy alternative. No, organic does not always mean healthier. An easy example would be, stop eating canned vegetables and grab some fresh produce instead. After making these changes we can focus on meal prep. This can be extremely stressful so initially meal prep one meal a day. No meal planning doesn’t have to be plain and tasteless. Spice up your meals to what you desire. Add one meal to your planning as they become more habitual.
UNDERSTAND your physical limitations are low in the beginning. Use it or lose it, is a very true statement. If our body has not been under physical stress in a long period of time your gym or activity time will be extremely short. This discourages people in the beginning but it should encourage. No you don’t have to start off spending one to two hours in the gym. YES, it is ok to only spend 15 to 30 mins on small simple movements. Our bodies adaptability is phenomenal. In a matter of weeks the body will be able to last a lot longer, especially if we are starting from the bottom.
LEAVE the supplements alone. Unless we are talking about a daily vitamin or fish oil. It is very obvious that that we have a hard time making sure we get what the body needs on a daily basis so a quality multi-vitamin is GREAT. NO, I am not against the supplement industry by any means but, in the beginning we DO NOT need any supplements. Yes, they do help a lot, especially when you find a company that has quality ingredients. No, they are not needed in the beginning stages of any fitness program. After four to six weeks of consistently being active and eating healthy that is when supplements can be implemented.
Positive life changes are a common desire that must be added one at a time. Make the changes permanent by adopting an active lifestyle that fits your unique individuality. Taking the same ideals when altering your diet. This will be the solid foundation you need in order to have a positive lifestyle you are proud of.
As a fitness professional, who is constantly preaching the benefits of water and proper hydration to my clients, I was shocked when I found myself passed out on my bathroom floor just a few short weeks ago. As I came to, and saw five fireman/paramedics standing over me in my bedroom I was in a panic wondering what was happening to me.
“I’m only 52, I’m in better shape than most 25 year olds”, was my first thought as they began a battery of tests. I refused a stretcher and walked out to one awaiting me in the driveway where they insisted I get in so the could slide me into the back of an ambulance. Mind you, the last time I was taking that ride I was eight and was just struck by a car, so this was all very foreign and scary to me.
A kid, younger than my son, was in training ( a “probee” as they call them) and it was his job to handle my every need as his training officers looked on and watched. The ambulance began to roll as he started to insert an IV into my veins.
Lucky for him, he landed a gig that provided him a patient with veins that would make a road map jealous. I asked “is this your first time buddy”? His simple reply…”yes sir it is” It was then his superiors spoke up and said “ya Jones, you better hit this or you might as well quit” I can’t imagine the pressure this kid felt, but he managed to easily slid the needle into my vein.
I rolled into Palomar hospital on a busy Saturday night only able to look at the ceiling and hearing overhead speakers of all the activity happening around me. Gunshots, stab wounds, broken arms and new babies all swarming around the emergency room causing a 7 hour stay as the battery of tests continued.
EKG’s, MRI’s, CAT scans, Blood and urine tests all to rule out what could be wrong with “America’s Most Trusted Fitness Professional” Clark Bartram.
At around 4AM the verdict came in, they quickly removed the neck brace, IV and heart monitor to give me the news.
The young, handsome Doc who looked like a soap opera doctor, (that made it easy on my wife and daughter) said “Mr. Bartram…you are fine other than being dehydrated! Did you drink any water today”?
Much to my embarrassment my reply was “as much as I tell the whole world, “drink half your body weight in ounces of clean pure water” I drank nearly none that day and to top it off, I had too much coffee that will only dehydrate.
We all know it, we’ve all heard it…water is vital to life. Nearly ⅔ of your body is water, nearly ⅔ of the earth is water, Bruce Lee and the Bible describe how powerful water is and I, Clark Bartram America’s Most Trusted Fitness Professional can testify to the opposite as well, how devastating not getting enough water can be.
What could have been a $5.00 expense for a few bottles of water on that infamous day became a bill of over 15k in ambulance and emergency room bills.
Let my hypocrisy and laziness be a lesson to you to…Drink Half Your Body weight In Water Every Day.