The Worst Habits for Your Heart

By Lisa Collier Cool
May 07, 2012

Lifestyle factors you can easily change account for more than 90 percent of heart attack risk, a landmark study of about 30,000 people in 52 countries suggests. And making small, positive changes in your everyday habits can have a surprisingly big impact on your heart health—or even save your life. 

Here’s a look at six of the worst habits for your heart, and how to turn them around.

Being Glued to the Tube

 Spending too much time parked in front of the TV can actually be fatal, according to a 2011 study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The researchers found that people who devoted four or more hours a day to screen-based entertainment—mainly watching the tube–had double the risk of a major cardiac event resulting in hospitalization, death or both, compared to those who watched spent less than two hours daily to these activities.

Another compelling reason to limit TV time: Those who spent the most time on leisure-time screen-based entertainment had a 48 percent higher risk of dying prematurely, even if they also exercised. Recent research also shows that too much sitting can be just as bad for your heart as smoking.

Having a Negative Attitude

 While stress and depression have long been linked to higher heart disease risk, a new Harvard review of more than 200 earlier studies, published this month in Psychological Bulletin, highlights the benefits of turning that frown upside-down: An optimistic outlook may cut heart disease and stroke danger by 50 percent.

And while you may think that happy people are just healthier, the researchers found that the association between an upbeat attitude and reduced cardiovascular risk held true even when they took the person’s age, weight, smoking status, and other risk factors into account.

Research also shows that laughter literally does the heart good, by expanding the linings of blood vessels and boosting blood flow. A fun way to add more joy to your life—and defuse stress–is laughter yoga, an exercise program that combines self-triggered mirth with deep yogic breathing to  draw oxygen deeper into the body.

Ignoring Snoring

 Frequent loud snoring can trumpet obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a dangerous disorder that magnifies heart attack and stroke risk, if untreated. OSA (bouts of interrupted breathing during sleep) frequently goes undiagnosed because people don’t recognize the symptoms, which include waking at night for no apparent reason and unexplained daytime drowsiness.

If you fit this profile, ask your doctor to order a sleep study. Because OSA, which affects 18 million Americans, is most common in people who are heavy, treatment typically involves weight loss and in some cases, continuously positive airway pressure (CPAP), a device that blows moist, heated air in your nose and mouth as you sleep.

Forgoing Fiber

 Not only does a high-fiber diet boost your heart health, but it could add years to your life, according to a recent study of nearly 400,000 people, conducted by the National Institutes of Health and American Association of Retired People.

The researchers found that men ages 50 and older who ate the most fiber were up to 56 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases and respiratory ailments, compare to those who ate the least. For women ages 50 and up, a high-fiber diet lowered risk of death from these causes by nearly 60 percent.

Another study involving more than 300,000 men and women found that eating eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day trims the risk of a fatal heart attack by 22 percent, compared to eating less than three. Researchers from the World Cancer Research Fund also report that if we ate more fiber, and less red meat, more than 64,000 cancer deaths would be prevented annually.

Failing to Floss

 People with periodontal (gum) disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease as those with healthy gums. While the reasons for the link aren’t yet clear, one theory is that the same bacteria that trigger gum disease may also spark inflammation inside the body, damaging arteries. Gum disease affects nearly 50 percent of Americans, many of whom don’t know they have it, because in the early stages, it’s painless.

A new study published in Journal of Aging Research adds to mounting evidence that one of the simplest—and cheapest—secrets of long life is taking care of your teeth, with daily brushing and flossing. Conversely, neglecting your chompers—and skipping dental visits—can be lethal, the researchers report. During the 17-year study, those who never flossed were 30 percent more likely to die than were those who flossed daily.

Smoking Even a Little

 Smoking even one cigarette a day increases the threat of heart attack by 63 percent and smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day more than quadruples it.

Need more motivation to quit? Tobacco use also boosts risk for diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and many types of cancer. A 2010 study reports that using a nicotine patch for six months makes it easier for smokers to kick the habit. Munching on low-calorie foods, such as carrot or celery sticks, or chewing sugarless gum, can also help curb nicotine cravings.

Who wants to be a Warrior?

The Warrior Dash

Have you ever wanted to be a warrior even if only for a day?  The Warrior Dash may be your answer!  Here’s a clip to give you an idea of waht’s involved:

We Did It!!! :)


Leap Year – Here’s our LEAP Day workout

Here’s what we did today for the LEAP Day workout….
Everything (full body)
Pulse (cardio)
I have 5 exercises in each category of the LEAP workout.
Each exercise is 29 reps (the 29th today), each category has 2 rounds (for the 2nd month February).
Now just put together the exercises you want to use in the format…. HAVE FUN!! Wacky Wednesdays Leap Year Workout!!! 

What we did.


  1. Squats
  2. Lunge-right leg
  3. Lunge-left leg
  4. Calf raises
  5. Plie squat


  1. Shoulder press with squat
  2. Wood chops with dumbbell-right side
  3. Wood chops with dumbbell-left side
  4. Dumbbell straight up to the sky & squat down low
  5. Push Ups


  1. Bicycle
  2. Backward pedaling sitting up
  3. Flutter kicks (scissors)
  4. Reverse crunches
  5. Russian twists


  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Jump rope
  3. Cross country skiers
  4. Skaters-right leg
  5. Skaters-left leg

1 hour =2 rounds & 30 minutes=1 round


Fox News / Good Day LA Filmimg

This past Wednesday, Fox News came out to our boot camp in Griffith Park and filmed us for Good Day LA.  We had seven segments during their show.  Here’s two of them.

How to Choose the Right Boot Camp:


How to Choose the Right Boot Camp:

The 12 Days of Christmas Boot Camp Workout

With a little inspiration from the Christmas carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” here is the boot camp workout we did to help get into the Christmas spirit! We sang each verse in between exercises.    

Warm up: 5-10 minutes

Workout Instructions:
This workout has 12 rounds, just like the song.  Do the first exercise on the first round.  Do the second, then first exercise on the second round.  Each round, you add another exercise.

The 12 Days of Christmas Boot Camp

On the 1st day of Christmas Boot Camp, my trainer Sandy made us do a 1 minute wall sit.

On the 2nd day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.

On the 3rd day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 3 -20 Second Planks(1 Min), 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.

On the 4th day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 4 Burpees on the Ground, 3 -20 Second Planks, 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.

On the 5th day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 5 Military Push Ups, 4 Burpees on the Ground, 3 -20 Second Planks, 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.
On the 6th day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 6 Wide Leg Squats, 5 Military Push Ups, 4 Burpees on the Ground, 3 -20 Second Planks, 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.
On the 7th day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 7 Curls & Shoulder Presses, 6 Wide Leg Squats, 5 Military Push Ups, 4 Burpees on the Ground, 3 -20 Second Planks, 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.
On the 8th day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 8 Alternating Lunges, 7 Curls & Shoulder Presses, 6 Wide Leg Squats, 5 Military Push Ups, 4 Burpees on the Ground, 3 -20 Second Planks, 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.
On the 9th day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 9 Dumbbell Swings, 8 Alternating Lunges, 7 Curls & Shoulder Presses, 6 Wide Leg Squats, 5 Military Push Ups, 4 Burpees on the Ground, 3 -20 Second Planks, 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.

On the 10th day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 10 Russian Twists, 9 Dumbbell Swings, 8 Alternating Lunges, 7 Curls & Shoulder Presses, 6 Wide Leg Squats, 5 Military Push Ups, 4 Burpees on the Ground, 3 -20 Second Planks, 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.

On the 11th day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 11 Bent Over Rows, 10 Russian Twists, 9 Dumbbell Swings, 8 Alternating Lunges, 7 Curls & Shoulder Presses, 6 Wide Leg Squats, 5 Military Push Ups, 4 Burpees on the Ground, 3 -20 Second Planks, 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit.

On the 12th day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do 12 Jumping Jacks, 11 Bent Over Rows, 10 Russian Twists, 9 Dumbbell Swings, 8 Alternating Lunges, 7 Curls & Shoulder Presses, 6 Wide Leg Squats, 5 Military Push Ups, 4 Burpees on the Ground, 3 -20 Second Planks, 2 Sprints Across the Lot, And a 1 minute wall sit!

Here’s a condensed version to print & take with you.

The 12 Days of Boot Camp (Christmas)

On the X day of Boot Camp, Sandy made us do:

  1. a One Minute Wall Sit
  2. Sprints Across the Lot
  3. 20 Second Planks
  4. Burpees on the Ground
  5. Military Push Ups
  6. Wide Leg Squats
  7. Curls & Shoulder Presses
  8. Alternating Lunges
  9. Dumbbell Swings
  10. Russian Twists
  11. Bent Over Rows
  12. Jumping Jacks

Enjoy the workout!   Happy holidays!  :)




Try this Spin Class!

Some of my clients today talked about doing some spinning classes in addition to our boot camp.  I’d like to say that is a great idea, just be careful the class is not too advanced like this one in Italy.

Crazy David with fireworks shooting off his bicycle on 4th of July

4 Ways to Improve Your Eyesight

 Dr. Mao’s Secrets of Longevity

Follow these tips to sharpen your own vision so you can see your way to a future of longevity.

1. Eat for bright eyesight

Protect your peepers with a vision-ary diet! Our eyes require multiple nutrients to function optimally. Start with these:

• Vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like copper and zinc are essential to eyesight.

Antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, protect the macula from sun damage. Get these antioxidants from dark leafy greens, egg yolks, yellow peppers, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots–notice any color pattern here? Current research shows that consuming yellow and green vegetables can help prevent age-related macular generation, a leading cause of blindness.

• Foods rich in sulfur, cysteine, and lecithin help protect the lens of your eye from cataract formation. Excellent choices include garlic, onions, shallots, and capers.

• Anthocyanin-rich blueberries, grapes, and goji berries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve your vision.

• DHA is a fatty acid found in coldwater fish like wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, and cod. DHA provides structural support to cell membranes to boost eye health.

• To prevent dehydration and dry eyes remember to drink filtered water daily: eight 8 ounce glasses every day to lubricate your eyes.

2. Exercise your eyes

These simple exercises will help you maintain optimal vision and may also keep those annoying eye floaters at bay. Perform these exercises first thing in the morning, before bedtime, or any time your eyes feel fatigued. Make sure that your hands are clean and that your mood is relaxed. Commit to daily practice and you may just see better results within one month.

Warm your eyes. Rub your palms together to create heat, and then place them against your eyes for five seconds. Repeat this three times.

Roll your eyes. Start by looking up and then slowly circle10 times clockwise and 10 times counterclockwise.

Focus. Hold a pen at arm’s length, focus your eyes on it, and slowly bring the pen closer until it’s about six inches away from your nose. Then slowly move it back, keeping your eyes focused on the pen, 10 times in all.

Massage your temples. Using your thumb knuckles, massage your temples in small circles, 20 times in one direction and 20 in the other. Repeat the same actions above the mid-point of the eyebrows at the forehead, then below the eyes on both sides of the bridge of the nose.

Take a mini-nap. Put your head back, close your eyes, and relax for three minutes.

3. Limit Environmental Toxins

External factors can contribute to eye damage. These include fluorescent lights, computer screens, environmental allergens, chlorine in swimming pools, air conditioning and heating, reading in dim lighting, and constant rubbing of the eyes. Do not smoke and limit your exposure to cigarette smoke as it may increase optic pressure. Remember to wear sunglasses to protect your precious eyes from UV exposure.

4. R & R for your eyes

Getting enough sleep is essential for eye health. Sleep time allows your eyes to fully rest, repair, and recover. Insufficient sleep may weaken your vision, so shoot for eight hours of sound sleep a night. Give your eyes a break once an hour during your workday: rest your eyes 10 minutes for every 50 minutes spent reading or in front of the computer. If your eyes feel overly tired, lie down and place cooling cucumber slices over your eyelids.

–Dr. Mao 

13 Reasons To Exercise

Let’s face it, some days you just don’t feel like exercising.

You get too busy, too stressed and quite simply too tired.

Here’s a list of 13 of the top reasons to exercise. Pull out this list and read it when you’re having one of those days.

1. To Prevent Disease
Exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of just about every single health problem known to man, from stroke to heart disease to cancer and osteoporosis. Exercise is also a great defense against type 2 diabetes, which is one of the most widely growing diseases of our time.

2. To Look Great
Exercise firms your body, improves posture and even makes your skin glow. Looking your best is a wonderful result of regular exercise.

3. To Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Exercise burns fat and prevents future fat storage. If you want to have a thinner, healthier body, exercise is the answer.

4. To Have More Energy
Anyone who exercises regularly will tell you that they are more energetic, less easily irritated and are more peaceful.

5. To Sleep Better
Exercise boosts energy levels, but also wears you out. It makes you feel more vibrant during the day and sleep better at night.

6. To Age Slower
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to fight aging. When you age your body loses muscle and bone, while the loss of both are drastically reduced with regular exercise. Exercise also helps reduce inflammation.

7. To Relieve Back Pain
In most cases, the best thing that you can do for back pain is to move and strengthen those muscles. Consult your physician or physical therapist for guidance.

8. To Ease Depression
Exercise has been proven to reduce depression – sometimes even as effectively as medication. Just chalk this up as yet another amazing benefit to exercise.

9. To Reduce Aches and Pains
By strengthening muscles around your damaged joints you’re able to use exercise to reduce joint pain and overall aches. Always consult your physician before starting an exercise program, especially if you have chronic joint pain.

10. To Stay Mentally Sharp
Exercise has been shown to improve memory and other cognitive functions, and seems to have a protective effect against dementia. A Harvard University researcher called exercise “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”

11. To Enjoy Your Lifestyle
Whatever it is that you love in life – your kids, travel, sports, fashion – it is all more enjoyable when experienced in a fit and healthy body. Exercise so that you are able to enjoy all the great things in life.

12. To Reduce Sick Days
People who exercise regularly are 50% less likely to call in sick to work. A regular exercise program reduces colds and upper respiratory infections.

13. To Boost Confidence
Being fit, feeling healthy and having energy are all building blocks to having great confidence. There is no better confidence booster than sticking with a regular exercise program.

Regular exercise gives you so many amazing benefits, as you’ve seen from the above list. Call or email me today to get started on the exercise program that will change your life forever.

How to Achieve Any Goal

Do you have unmet goals?

You aren’t alone. In fact, many people live with unfulfilled aspirations and the self-help industry is booming.

Unfortunately, many widely used self-help techniques fail to deliver results.

Case in point: You’ve probably heard of the “Yale Goal Study” in which researchers were said to have interviewed the graduating Yale seniors in 1953, asking whether or not the students had written down specific goals that they wanted to achieve. Then twenty years down the road the researchers looked up each student and discovered that the 3% of the class who had written down their goals had accumulated more personal wealth than the other 97% combined.

Very compelling story, but complete fiction.

The “Yale Goal Study” never happened, though motivational speakers and self-help books have quoted it for years.

Best selling author and psychologist Richard Wiseman went on a mission to craft a no-nonsense response to the bogus self-help techniques. Using a diverse range of scientific data he uncovered a proven approach to achieve any goal.

The following 5 successful techniques (Do This) and 5 unsuccessful techniques (Not That) are from Wiseman’s book, 59 Seconds Change Your Life in Under a Minute.

Do This: Make a Step-by-Step Plan.
If you are serious about achieving your goal, then you need to create a step-by-step plan on how to do it.

Successful goal-achievers break down their overall goal into sub-goals. Each sub-goal needs to be concrete, measurable and time-based.

  • Not That: Motivate yourself by focusing on someone that you admire.
    Studies show that focusing on someone you admire is not a strong enough motivator to see you through your goal.

Do This: Tell Other People About Your Goal.
How badly do you want to achieve your goal? If you want it bad enough, you’ll tell your friends and family.

This technique works on two levels. First, you’ve put yourself on the spot by letting the world in on your goal, so it’s all-eyes-on-you. Failure would be public. Second, your friends and family are there to offer support and encouragement. Don’t underestimate the psychological power of having someone in your corner.

  • Not That: Think about the bad things.
    When you focus on the negative it becomes your reality.

Do This: Focus on the Good Things When Achieving Your Goal.
Remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goal.

Make a checklist of how life will be better once you have achieved your aim. This gets your focus on a positive future, one that’s worth the effort.

  • Not That: Try to suppress unhelpful thoughts.
    Rather than trying to erase that image of chocolate cake from your mind, learn to deal with the reality of temptation head-on.

Do This: Reward Your Progress.
Studies show that attaching rewards to each of your sub-goals encourages success.

Your rewards should never conflict with your major goal. When aiming to lose weight, never use food as a reward.

  • Not That: Rely on willpower.
    Willpower alone rarely gets anyone to their goal.

Do This: Record Your Progress.
Make your plans, progress, benefits and rewards concrete by expressing them in writing.

Use a hand-written journal, your computer or a bulletin board to chart your progress. This process is priceless for maintaining motivation.

  • Not That: Fantasize about life after achieving your goal.
    Daydreaming is fun, but simply fantasizing about your new life will not make it a reality.

Are you ready to achieve your fitness and weight loss goal once and for all? Call or email me now to get started on the process that will put an end to your yo-yo dieting and your fat jeans.

Now is your time to get into the best shape of your life.