Sunday, December 14, 2008

Somagenesis San Diego Personal Trainer reveals the ultimate strength and conditioning weapon

I have been working out for over 25 years. The thought of going to a conventional cookie cutter gym, using the same old cardiovascular and weight training equipment bores me to death. If you have been following my earlier posts, you are very aware that CrossFit training is my new fitness approach and passion. I suffer from the ADD syndrome of repetitive training, so CrossFit hits the spot!

But wait!

I Recently stumbled across the web site immortalusa who is the suuplier a very unique, very intense total body conditioning called “Battling Ropes.” The Battling Ropes System, is the ultimate muscular endurance program. You crate tsunami like waves over a 50ft or 100 ft distance, through body generating explosive forces. Out of curiosity, I ordered the 100 ft 2 inch diameter “Anaconda” rope. It really looks like an Anaconda. You have to see it to believe it! It weighs close to 100lbs.

To date, I have only been able to work the 50 ft length of the rope, and hope to progress to the full 100 feet over the next several months. I obviously bit off more than I can chew. If you watch the enclosed video of Strongman Champion John Brookfield, the developer of the Battling rope system, you will get an incredible visual perspective of him performing the infamous Battling Rope “Tsunami” exercise. Don’t let John fool you by the way he easily finesses the rope. It will literally kick your ass. I have never experienced anything like it. When your training with the battling ropes, you will get an incredible aerobic workout. I was able to elevate my heart rate from 62 BPM to 175 BPM in less than a minute. ( I was only able to work the ropes for 45 seconds!) Although I felt nauseated and light headed after performing 12 sets in 30 minutes. I did have a blast working the ropes, and also burned 570 calories in both the work and recovery phase of the workout. Now, I combine the Battling Ropes System with heavy Kettlebells for a ultra intense workout, at Mission Bay in San Diego, CA. In a mere one hour, my average exercise burn is 1025 calories.

To start, I would recommend that you purchase the 50ft. 2 inch diameter rope system to begin with. The cost will run you $165 plus shipping. A very inexpensive way of getting a kick ass workout. Also for you personal trainers out there, this is really a great way of adding a super creative conditioning element to your clients workout regimen.

If you have an questions concerning the use of Battling Ropes feel free to contact me through my Award winning web site Somagenesis Health and Fitness. I would also appreciate any comments or opinions regarding the video or your experience with the ropes.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Somagenesis San Diego Personal trainer explains why diets don't work.

There isn’t a month that goes by that Somagenesis Health & Fitness doesn’t receive the panicked phone call, from a potential customer, claiming they just can’t lose weight regardless of what they eat! Typically it is usually woman, and rarely a man. Losing weight is never an easy task to undertake. Making abrupt changes to bad lifestyle habits after so many years is a daunting challenge and shock to your body and mind. Losing weight, also requires major changes in food selection and lifestyle habits. Every now and I will meet someone who will eat a perfectly healthy diet and still can’t lose weight. This is when my medical background comes into play

The biggest misconception regarding weight reduction ,is that diet and exercise expenditure is all it takes. Although, diet and exercise are important elements to a healthy lifestyle, often stubborn weight loss. is a sign that there are underlying medical issues, contributing to the weight retention. In my professional opinion, there are medical conditions that make this happen.

Insufficient caloric intake:

The metabolism, is your bodies natural furnace for caloric burning during a 24 hour sleep wake cycle. If you lack essential amino acids, chromium, zinc and magnesium , your bloods sugars will be adversely affected. The end result is fat retention as a protective mechanism and a lower metabolism. Low blood sugars from insufficient calories shut down in order to protect the body from death.

Excessive dietary carbohydrates:

Both simple and complex carbohydrates can have an impact on blood sugar stability. Once the blood sugar rises to a certain level, insulin is excreted prom the pancreas, to drive it back down to normal levels. Interestingly enough, insulin’s secondary function is to promote body fat storage in fat cells. manipulation of endogenous blood sugars, through excessive carbohydrate consumption is a sure fire way to keep your body soft and pudgy.

My famous analogy is: If you put 16 gallons of gas in a 15 gallon gas tank it will spill over onto the floor, right? If you put excess sugar into the body, insulin will shuttle the excess into the fat cell, which stores glycerin or sugar and fatty acids. When too much glycerin or sugar is stored ,the fat cell will expand in size, and the human body simply gets fatter and bigger.

Chronic Stress:

Chronic stress places the body in the fight or flight mode. When this occurs , the body’s homeostasis falls out of kilter. Metabolism, blood sugar, thyroid regulation hormones and sex hormones react abnormally. Once the body’s systems fall out of balance ,weight gain will ensue. It is not uncommon to see women with estrogen domination, secondary to stress. The end result is gynoid obesity. Another reaction from stress is increased craving for food and binge eating.

Thyroid burnout:

The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system which regulates your metabolism. Since the primary job of the thyroid hormone is to operate the body’s metabolism, it is no wonder that people with this condition will experience symptoms of a slower metabolism. If thyroid metabolites are too low, a condition known as hypothyroid will occur ,and you will gain weight, feel fatigued ,and maybe depressed. Left untreated, the symptoms of hypothyroidism will progress. In some rare instances, complications including severe depression, heart failure ,and coma can occur.

Unknown food allergies:

Unknown food allergies is one of the most common reason why individuals have difficulty with weight loss. Internally the body is fighting an inflammatory response, or a immune response as a result of consuming a incompatible food. The most common food allergies are eggs, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. The only proven treatment for a food allergy is to avoid the food. If you suspect you have a food allergy, consult an allergy specialist.

In summary, these are five main medical conditions which interfere with weight loss. It is essential to make lifestyle changes when trying to lose weight. Somagenesis Health & Fitness always suggests to their clients to get a complete physical exam including a SMA-12 to rule out any unknown health issues. As a rule of thumb we also like to compare follow up SMA-12 values at 6 months to make sure our clients body systems are working well. Besides repeated chemistry panels are a wonderful way to show that clients that there health is improving from the inside out.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

San Diego's Best Personal Trainer's Guide To A healthy Body and wallet

Here in beautiful San Diego CA, Somagenesis San Diego Personal Trainers stand at the forefront of health and fitness education. We have seen considerable changes in the lifestyles of native San Diegan’s as they struggle to stay healthy and fit in American’s very difficult economic climate. The following information offered, is in good gesture and is our expert opinion. Most of us are aware that the stock market is way down, but prices at the grocery store are way up. Go figure? Just thinking about it can piss you off, or even make the unsuspecting, fall off the health and fitness wagon by beginning to eat inexpensive fat laden or sugary foods.

Many nutritionists fear that the rocketing food prices will make many Americans fall off the health wagon, and create a nation of extreme corpulence. Now a days it is not unusual to see people snacking on Pop Tarts versus a healthy apple. Healthy restaurants are closing their doors, and McDonald’s and Burger King booming beyond belief in this wicked economy.

But, nutritious foods don’t have to be so costly. Here are some excellent choices to keep costs down.

1. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables - Frozen is much cheaper and may even be better for you than fresh. This is because frozen produce is frozen when it is at it ripest level. When produce is at its ripest levels, its nutrient content is also at its peak levels. Yes, some nutrients become diluted in the freezing process, but the higher levels to begin with, more than compensate for the loss during the freezing process.

2. Give up organic - Yes, organic produce is better for the environment than nonorganic, but there is no evidence that it is better for your health. And God only knows it can drain your bank account.

3. Think about substituting juices - Canned or bottled juices can be an excellent way of getting similar vitamin levels of whole fruits or vegetables, although juices often contain a bit more sugar and sodium, so calories go up. Although not the perfect substitute, it is better than nothing.

4. Buy large carrots versus baby carrots - Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A, and do promote rhodopsin production for better night vision. But, there is no difference in vitamin levels of baby versus large carrots. However, there is a huge price difference between the two, just to hide the flaws that are inherent in large carrots.

5. Buy the inexpensive parts of the chicken or even the whole chicken - Yes, chicken breast is the least fatty part of the chicken, but is also the most expensive cut! Simply remove the fatty skin from the thighs and drumsticks and convert them to low fat, while drastically cutting the price. Your best deal is to always buy the whole chicken.

6. Buy canned fish instead of fresh fish - Canned fish is considerably cheaper than fresh fish. Still an excellent source of protein and vitamins, although some are lost in the canning process. experts believe, canned salmon is better since it is packed with bones intact, thus making it calcium rich!

7. Eat proteins from plant sources - 3 cups of kidney beans has and equivalent amount of protein as a 3 ounce steak. Although an incomplete protein due to lacking a few amino acids, you can make it complete by adding a small amount of animal or soy protein.

8. Drink nonfat or low-fat milk - They have all the nutrients of whole milk, minus the fat content and cost much less. Another low cost solution is nonfat powdered milk, although it is not as tasty to some people.

9. Use canola oil instead of olive oil - Canola oil is hands down, much cheaper than Olive oil, and both have nutritious mono-unsaturated fats and are good for you.

Although, these items don’t encompass everything on the grocery store shelves, they represent some of the more common components of the healthy diet. There is no reason to acquire a waist line disaster during an economic upheaval. It is important for all Americans to stay focused and take optimal care of themselves. Afterall, it certainly doesn’t look like Uncle Sam has any intention of making our lives easier.

For more information on how to implement and maintain the healthiest of lifestyles , even in the worst of economic times, visit Somagenesis San Diego Personal Trainers for a free lifestyle evaluation.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

San Diego Personal Trainer Rivak Hoffman asks, Are you working out your body, or wearing it out?

Today is daylight savings time, and I decided to get in an early morning workout, to avoid the Sunday gym crowd. While doing an hour on the StairMaster Gauntlet, I observed numerous people performing random, ballistic, bio-mechanically incorrect movements with machines, barbells and hand-weights. I just shuddered in disbelief closed my eyes, and re-focused on my cardio workout.

When planning a time consuming gym workout, it would be wise to pre-plan your workout on paper or in your mind ,and follow through with it as intelligently and constructive as possible. With a plan, you will not make adequate gains and do more harm than good.

Try thinking carefully about why you are investing precious time doing cardio or resistance training. Are you really getting your heart rate elevated, or are you under the impression that the few beads of sweat on your forehead brow means your getting in a rip roaring workout. Think again! Unless your sufficiently getting your heart rate elevated, or feeling winded, you probably are not getting in a sufficient cardio program. My running coach Ron Pate once told me “if you can, speak a complete sentence when running, then you are NOT hitting the cardio zone” Looking around the gym at all the people gabbing away, I am habitually in a state of wonderment.

The same applies to your resistance training program. Think about what you are doing. Your goal is to challenge and stimulate a specific muscle group to promote a higher metabolic rate. This doesn’t mean 1 set of bicep curls or 10 Trapezius shrugs if your trying to shed pounds. Conversely, it doesn’t mean that you should go crazy with uncontrolled ballistic movements, resulting in joint hyper-extension and impairment. This is a sure fire way to put yourself out of commission for future workouts.

When I work with a client who has a thick midsection, fat backside and flaccid arms, I customize a program which incorporates a cardiovascular, lipolytic, multi joint and core stabilizing effect. This affects the total body in a three dimensional way. For more information about my training style, contact me at Somagenesis Health and Fitness. You can also find numerous detailed articles related to health and fitness.

I am a firm believer that well constructed fitness program can be done in 1 hour or less. Your weights and sequencing of sets must be coordinated. If done correctly your resistance program can promote a cardio response while strengthening your body. The net effect is time consolidation and a smarter way of training. This is exactly what CrossFit training emphasis’s. A 20 minute Crossfit WOD (workout of the day) can burn just as many calories as 1 hour of leisurely working out, but really conditions your heart and all of the skeletal muscles of the human body.

Point being, be proactive and research specific fitness programs that suit your individual needs. Example, If you have a nagging chondromalacia of the knees, which is exacerbated by running, stair stepping, lunges or plyometrics, then avoid these exercises! Don’t commit yourself to implementing these exercises in your routine, because Men’s Health wrote on the benefits of them. Remember in the real world of health and fitness ” All Pain equals No gain”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Management of your health during stressful economic times

The last two weeks have felt overwhelming for most Americans including myself. Watching the financial sector on Wall Street suffer a severe blow, with a ripple effect on the stability of most business’s. On top of that, many of Americans including myself have watched their 401K’s plummet to a 66% loss in profits. Times are tough and Americans are feeling the heat, with no end in sight.

Is is so easy to get caught up in the dramatic spin on business TV CNBC Squawk on the Street, Fox Business and the Bloomberg station. The media should be censored. In my opinion, they are largely responsible for disrupting the emotional well being of Americans. I believe it is best to turn them off!

American’s are working harder, more hours and spending less time doing the things they typically do to relax and lower their stress levels. Many American’s are losing sleep, worrying about their lives, and wondering where the next paycheck will come from. I just listened to video clip on CNN discussing how libraries are booming in this economic climate, due to unemployment and people researching job opportunities at the local library.

The cumulative result is an abrupt negative change in peoples overall health, to include insomnia, poor eating habits and lack of physical activity and exercise. All these effect the integrity of the heart, change in blood pressure and an increase in endogenous corticotropins. Corticotropins stimulate the adrenal cortex to secrete hormones. The more common adverse effects of corticotropins include cardiac hypertrophy, fluid retention and electrolyte imbalance. All life threatening health risk factors.

Being the President of Somagenesis Health and Fitness, a physician assistant and Master Personal Fitness Trainer, I too feel many of the stress’s and emotional triggers that many of my clients and friends experience. As a business owner I wear three hats, and am responsible for keeping my staff financially solvent and happy during these difficult times. The big difference are the tools I use to numb the pain of depression, anger and or stress. After all there is not a whole lot we can do as individuals to lift this ominous economic cloud and stop the bleeding. What we can do, is focus entirely on ourselves.

Here is what I do and recommend to my clients and friends:

Control nervous eating behavior - Eat as clean and organic as possible. No sweets as they will only plummet your blood sugars and leave you feeling weak and lethargic. Moreover fast food and toxic calories will only slow you down and make you less alert, in a time where you need to be on your toe’s.

Exercise at least 45 minutes daily - A great way to enhance physical and psychological well being. Exercise can also promotes a deeper level of sleep, and induce a natural morphine drug-like effect.

Avoid Alcohol consumption and drugs - Alcohol is a depressant and can only exacerbate what stress’s. Now is the time to do what it takes to promote a psychological well being.

Get at least 7 hours of solid sleep - Quality deep sleep always makes you feel refreshed, alive and ready to take on new challenges. You will be surprised how mood enhancing it is. Studies have shown that individuals who are sleep deprived are more apt to commit suicide that those who get restful sleep.

Journal your thoughts and anxieties - Starting a blog or a personal diary is a great way to express deep seated subliminal thoughts. Journaling can greatly alleviate stress and anxiety. Journaling can also help you problem solve and plan for future events in a methodical way.

Spend time with love ones and friends - Commiserating and discussing life crisis’s can be very therapeutic to your emotional well being. Studies are shown that couples who isolate themselves during trying times are more likely to end up divorced, than couples who discuss their problems openly.

In conclusion, I believe the American economic crisis will improve in time, as it has done in the past. Don’t allow the haphazard behaviors of Washington politicians and Wall Street CEO’s destroy your physical and emotional life. Without good health, everything we work for or plan becomes a moot point. Be selfish, accept the hard times and go with the flow. Get to the gym, eat healthy, stop and smell the roses. This is your moment in life, to give your health and body and mind a tune-up! For more information on how to fine tune your life with San Diego’s best, peruse our “Award Winning” website Somagenesis Health and Fitness.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Leg strength training can ruin your lower back.

Lower back injuries, specifically the region of the lumbar spine is an area that is easily susceptible to disc compression, nerve root impingement and facet syndrome. When performing exercises from the vertical position it is imperative to keep the spine C-1 to S-1 in a straight non rounded posture. This can often become difficult if you suffer from excessively tight calve, hamstring and gluteal muscle. The end result is “butt winking”, a thoracic rounding and/or an anterior pelvic tilt greater than 15 degrees. The end result is extreme focal points of pressure which can squeeze the intervetebral disc’s out of alignment, often a posteriorly. Moreover, between each vertebrae, facets which are the bony wing-like structures which run up and down the vertebral column often impale soft inter-cavernous tissue. The end result in an acute very painful, debilitating, inflammatory response which can keep you flat on your back and out of the gym.

To reduce the likelihood of one of these injuries, leg specific stretching routines must be performed before during and after an aggressive leg workout. The culprit muscles which must be stretched are the quadriceps,gluteals, hamstrings, hip flexors and the two muscles of the calve known as the gastrocnemius and soleus. It is also beneficial to perform a mild core workout to encourage spine stability.

If you make a contentious effort to bring these muscle groups back to their acceptable resting length, then you will stay pain free. (remember strength training makes muscles condense and often inflexible) I have worked with numerous very lean athletes who are exponentially more powerful than the average man. It is not unusual to see a cyclical pattern of injuries when the athlete omits the critically important between set stretches. I myself have suffered from numerous lower back injuries due to lack of leg inflexibility.

It is VERY important to understand your bodies deficiencies in terms of strength and inflexibility. It is important for the athletic trainer / fitness specialist to take baseline measurements of all the leg angles of flexibility in all planes. Every 4-6 weeks re-evaluate for improvement.

A well designed leg conditioning program must be built around a safe and bio mechanically sound exercise prescription. Unfortunately not all fitness specialists are built the same and some therefore ignore the medical and potential injury effects of poor exercise design.

Somagenesis health and fitness trainers have strong foundations in medical anatomy physiology and application. For more information on how to create the perfect leg conditioning and flexibility prescription, contact us at or call 760-271-3064

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Magic Bullet for the Polymyocitis Patient

Polymyositis (PM) is found mostly in people over the age of 20 and seems to affect more women than men. Muscle weakness usually happens over days, weeks or months. The weakness begins with skeletal muscles closest to and within the trunk of the body. Neck, hip, back and shoulder muscles are examples. Some patients also have weakness in muscles farther from the trunk, like hands and fingers. Some PM patients experience muscle pain, breathing problems, and trouble swallowing.

I have been working with a Polymyocitis client named Beverly for over 2 years and have had great success in improving your overall functionality. She is more confident with her ambulation skills and has improved her upper body strength to the point where she can comfortable go on cruise vacations and drive her self around.

The most amazing changes are evident in her chemistry panel when looking at Creatine Kinase (an enzyme which degrades muscle fiber and soft tissue) Before Beverly began a formalized exercise program CK levels where through the roof as high as 1000! After several months of training they have plummeted to the low 100's A 90% reduction.

More recently she has taken up wheel chair dancing as a new hobby to inspire those less fortunate than her.

My exercise prescription for Beverly has been both aquatic in the early stages of therapy to more spine stability exercises, rotator cuff strengthening, and core stabilizing movements done on land.

These exercises are performed twice weekly and aquatic hip flexor and adduction exercise are done once weekly. Although there is a lot Doctor's know about Myocitis, they still have very little understanding on how to cure it. hardcore drugs like Methotextrate, steroids and IVIG make very little difference in comfort and functional levels. For some unknown reason therapeutic exercise when done correctly targeting the affected areas seems to have a rehabilitative effect.

For more information on how therapeutic exercise can improve the quality of life, log into our Award winning web site @

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Client Bob with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

I have had the dubious honor of working with MS clients in the past , but none so amazing as my new client Bob who has one of the worst forms of MS known as Primary Progressive MS. Aside from his disease he is the most positive upbeat warm hearted guy I have ever met. I can easily get attached to him, and always look forward to working with him.

Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis is a rare form of MS which is progressive from the start. It affect approximately 13% of the MS population. With PPMS, nerve function deteriorates steadily, although at different rates for individuals. In Bobs case the initial onset of leg weakness and dragging occurred in 1996, by 2000 he was a Tetraplegic. Bob has seen many physicians all over the US who have told him he has a single lesion on the spinal cord at C-7. Moreover he would never regain function of upper or lower extremities. I beg to differ.

I have been working with Bob for over one month now, and it has been an enlightening experience. I have seen many signs and glimpses of hope. After numerous sessions of flexibility enhancement, Bob has begin to fire up his legs. He can do a bilateral supine leg press equivalent of approximately 50 pounds of thrust. I have had him do 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg over the past 2 weeks and leg strength has improved exponentially. Moreover calf and ankle fasiculation has improved remarkably.

Perplexing as this may seem, I believe Bob has a good chance of coming around. Somethings medical science just cannot explain. I am glad I can be part of this metamorphisis He has a great attitude and never looks back at the negative. He always smiles, cracks jokes and is a wonderful historian.

I don’t know what to think in terms of Bob’s diagnosis. MS usually is represented by multiple lesions, not just one. A quadraplegic doesn’t move his legs, nor has the strength that Bob displays. I am excited for him, and plan on giving him my best.

Bob has really opened up my eyes about the realities of life. There are no guarantees and we should try to maintain the highest quality of both physical and mental lifestyles as possible. Reduce your stress, eat well,, exercise and sleep abundantly.
When i asked Bob what was the precursor to the onset of his MS symptoms, he claimed "An enormous amount of stress"

For more information on how medical exercise can benefit you or a loved one suffering from a neuromuscular disorder, contact or visit the Somagenesis website at