Follow by Email

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kuzora Fitness now offering boxing/kickboxing!

Boxing and Muay Thai
Kickboxing Training

Brought to you by: Martinez Boxing

Learn the “sweet science” of boxing / kickboxing while increasing fitness and conditoning levels!

Key Benefits:

Learn the fundamentals of boxing / kickboxing
• Learn how to properly throw a punch without injuring yourself
• Increase balance and mobility through basic footwork drills
• Learn how to use heavy bags, speed bags, coordination bags, and other boxing equipment
• Increase localized muscular endurance in the muscles of your upper body
• Increase hand-eye coordination
• Learn practical self defense skills
• Lose fat and increase conditioning levels
• Define the muscles of your arms and shoulder

Instruction for people of all fitness and skill levels!

Programs and Pricing:

Classes (up to 15 people)

• 1 class/week - $59 or $45 on auto-bill
• 2 classes/week - $99 or $79 on auto-bill
• Unlimited - $119 or $99 on auto-bill
• Drop-in - $20

Semi-private (groups of 2, 4, or 6)

• One offs - $38
• 6 sessions - $179
• 12 sessions - $299
• 18 sessions - $359

One on One

• One offs - $60

About your instructor:

Robert Martinez has been teaching /coaching boxing and kickboxing in North Carolina for over ten years. He also has 22 years of competitive experience. Highlights include:
• Amateur record of 141 win against only 7 losses
• 6 time international champion
• 2 time national champion
• 3 time golden gloves champion
• Bronze medalist in the 1979 junior Olympics

Call us today to learn more!

919-435-1960 |

Friday, September 24, 2010

Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption

Originally published October 12, 2009 By John Kuzora

There are two ways that physical activity can help you lose body fat. First, you burn calories while you are actually doing the activity and create a calorie deficit. This one is pretty self explanatory. If you walk for 30 minutes and burn 300 calories you have created a calorie deficit. Theoretically if you eat the same and create this 300 calorie per day deficit you would lose approximately 2.5 pounds per month. Of course things rarely work out that way for a number of reasons. Your body adapts the stress of the exercise, you subconsciously eat more to compensate for the calories you are burning, or the intensity of the exercise simply isn’t high enough to force your body out of homeostasis.

But there is a second, more powerful way that exercise can help you lose body fat. You continue to burn calories for a period of time after exercise. This known as excess post exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, and maximizing this metabolic boost can be a powerful tool in body composition.

EPOC is the calories expended above resting values after exercise. After activity, the body needs to perform several metabolic functions to return to a rested state. These include replenishment of oxygen stores, resynthesis of phosphagen, removal of lactic acid, among other things. Studies show that it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours for the body to fully recover. Most studies show that the intensity of exercise has more effect on EPOC than duration. In other words, working really hard for shorter amounts of time seems to increase your metabolism longer than slowly pounding away on a treadmill at 2.5 mph.

For a more detailed discussion of EPOC please visit

The following workout fits the bill perfectly for maximizing EPOC and boosting your metabolism to new heights:

The 60 yard shuttle

The 60 yard shuttle is a simple yet brutally effective anaerobic conditioning workout. It will improve your VO2 max, agility, and speed while burning calories and speeding up your metabolism.

To perform the workout, set up three cones 5 yards apart. The participant starts from one end, runs 5 yards and back to the start, 10 yards and back, then 15 yards and finishes at the start line. A total of 60 yards is completed. The person is required to touch the line with their hand at each turn, for a total of five touches.

Make sure you warm-up before starting this workout. Some general cardio (jogging or jumping rope for five minutes) and some dynamic flexibility exercises (leg swings and marching inch worms) will do. Start with anywhere from 6 to 12 repetitions. For example, someone new to interval training may start with 6 reps completed in 30 seconds followed by 90 seconds rest. At 30 seconds, you will be running, not sprinting, but this may be appropriate if your body is not used to 100% efforts. In this example progress first by decreasing you rest, then increase your speed, and finally add reps.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you are already in great shape and are looking for an intense challenge try completing 12 reps in 12 minutes each under 12 seconds. The intensity of this 12 minutes workout will amaze you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another Reason to Limit Carbs

I stumbled across a study from 2004 this morning that was very interesting. In a nutshell, increased blood sugar levels (measured by HbA1c levels) increased the risk of mortality significantly in men and women.

HbA1c is a lab test done to measure long term blood glucose levels. Higher HbA1c levels indicate higher average blood sugar levels over the past four weeks or so (the exact amount of time HbA1c levels reflect is debated).

Blood sugar levels increase after meals. High carbohydrate/low fat feedings (such as a plain bagel, pretzels, or pasta with red sauce) increase blood sugar the most. Protein can also increase blood sugar, although to a much lesser extent than carbohydrates. Fat has no effect on blood sugar.

Typically HbA1c tests are used to measure long term blood sugar control in diabetics. But even in people without diabetes high HbA1c levels increased mortality. An increase of 1% increased the risk of death by 26%!

As a reference, the American Diabetes Association recommends HbA1c levels stay below 6.5%

Here are the results of the study: (free abstract here)

"In men and women, the relationship between hemoglobin A1c and cardiovascular disease (806 events) and between hemoglobin A1c and all-cause mortality (521 deaths) was continuous and significant throughout the whole distribution. The relationship was apparent in persons without known diabetes. Persons with hemoglobin A1c concentrations less than 5% had the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality. An increase in hemoglobin A1c of 1 percentage point was associated with a relative risk for death from any cause of 1.24 (95% CI, 1.14 to 1.34; P < p =" 0.02).">

Monday, September 20, 2010

Eastern Carolina Farm Tour

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association farm tour was this past weekend. I visited four local farms with my daughter. We had a great time feeding and petting the animals and learning about sustainable agriculture.

My daughter Sophia

Although there are many reasons to buy food from local farms, here are my top three reasons:

1) Taste - Produce fresh from a farm simply tastes better. The onions are so sweet you can take a bite out of them and the cantaloupes are so juicy you need to eat it over a sink. After spending this summer eating farm fresh tomatoes I can't even bring myself to buy them the grocery store. The taste just doesn't compare.

2) Variety - Many of the local farms raise animals and grow produce you can't get in supermarkets. Cherokee purple tomatoes, rosa bianca eggplants, and Muscovy duck are a few of the unique foods I've enjoyed from the Wake Forest Farmer's Market this year.

3) Health - Studies have shown that grass fed beef has 40% more Omega 3 fatty acids and 50% more conjugated linoleic acid than traditional corn fed beef. Eggs from pastured chickens have twice the vitamin A and five times the vitamins E and D than conventional eggs* found in supermarkets. There is not as much evidence that local produce is healthier, but it is typically fresher. Studies have shown that the vitamin and mineral content of produce begins to drop as soon as it is picked from the ground so there is likely a benefit from eating food that hasn't sat on a shelf for a week.

Although these pigs are free to roam the woods in
90 plus degree weather they prefer the shade!

Vollmer Farms in Bunn

If you'd like more information about local farm please email me or check out one of the following websites:

Eat Wild NC - Listing of local farms and what they produce
Turtle Mist Farms - Pastured and grass fed livestock and eggs plus fresh, seasonal produce
Vollmer Farm - Pick your own berries, a farm stand open daily, and "The Back Forty," a farm themed autumn amusement park

Friday, September 17, 2010

Answer to the Trivia Question

We had four people answer our trivia question. One person tried to guess what the beverages were, while three people took a chance and guessed which beverage was healthier and why. All three had very similar answers:
"...I really have no clue when it comes to nutrition labels, but would guess B is healthier because it has no sodium and does have some protein. Carbs and sugars are a wash. I couldn't even hazard a guess as to what these are." - Brian Tucker
"I think it is B because even though it is a little higher in calories and same carbs, it has protein in it." - Ami Tucker
"I would guess B would be better (given relatively equal values in calories, carbs and fiber) because B derives at least some of it's caloric intake from protein." - Dawn Gaug
All three win $25 off their next training package. And as it turns out all three were correct (although they would have won either way).

I thought this was a very good answer, although I was anticipating people would pick beverage A for the following reasons:

1) less calories
2) more vitamin A
3) more calcium

Of course if I was asking the question, there had to be a "trick" to it.

In general, I don't like the concept of deciding which food is "healthier." There are too many compounding factors and it really depends on the person eating the food.

But most nutritionists, if forced to give an answer, would use a concept called nutrient density.

Nutrient density is basically a subjective assessment of nutrients per calorie. Using this concept foods like spinach, which have very few calories but high amounts of vitamins and minerals, are considered the "healthiest."

I never really liked this concept because taken to the extreme a multivitamin would be considered a highly nutrient dense food. In addition, certain processed foods are fortified with certain nutrients. Examples include Vitamin D being added to milk or some B vitamins being added to breads and breakfast cereals. This puts natural, whole foods at an immediate disadvantage.

Using the nutrient density concept alone would make someone pick beverage A.
But in reality without knowing what the beverages are it is really difficult to answer the question.

But if you knew beverage A was Tang and beverage B was orange juice, you wouldn't even need to look at thenutrition facts, would you?

Only one person ventured a guess as to what the two foods were. Here is his response:
"Awesome trivia game! I love that idea. Do more.

I'm not going to answer the first question since it's clearly a trick but I will try to guess the drinks.

I know that since you wrote the question, the two drinks are almost indistinguishable nutritionally, but one has a good reputation and one has a bad reputation.

So A is orange juice and b is Tang.

I guess OJ because of the calcium. I don't really know where the protein comes from in B because I would expect some fat unless it was a vegetable drink but I couldn't think of one that fits the challenge. Beer wouldn't have the vitamin C... Most vegetable drinks would have more nutrients. Dairy would have some fat. I know it's not obscure because that wouldn't be fair, nor is it supplemented. Soda wouldn't have the vitamin C either.

So I'm going with OJ and tang. Maybe tang has some soy protein as a thickener." - Mike Stoler
Mike is a friend and business partner who has known me for about 20 years and he used psychology as much as nutrition to make his guess. Even so, his answer was very impressive. Too bad he mixed the two drinks up....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Trivia Question

Compare the following two nutrition labels (both represent 8 oz of a beverage) and then answer the following two questions:

1) Which beverage is healthier?
2) Why?

Email me with any answer by 5pm Friday September 17th wins a coupon worth $25 off any Kuzora Fitness training package! Correctly identify both beverages and win an additional $25 coupon!

Just to be clear, email me with ANY ANSWER by Friday at 5pm and get $25 off your next training package!

You don't even have to be correct. So just give it a try, you have nothing to lose!

Contest Fine Print:

Email answers to
ANY ANSWER wins you $25 off your next training package
Correctly identify both beverages and win an additional $25 off
Your answer needs to be in my inbox by 5pm Friday September 17th
Sorry but Kuzora Fitness cannot responsible for email delivery failures of any type

Beverage A:

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*

Total Fat 0.0g0%
Saturated Fat 0.0g0%

Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 2mg0%
Total Carbohydrates 24.6g8%
Dietary Fiber 0.1g0%
Sugars 22.6g
Protein 0.0g
Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 100%
Calcium 9% Iron 0%

* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Beverage B:

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Carbohydrates
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 99%
Calcium 2%Iron 0%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Tabata Method

Tabata is the name of a Japanese researcher who discovered an interesting way to increase both anaerobic and aerobic pathways at the same time. It's an excellent program for any looking to lose fat quickly.

This training method is so simple, yet so incredibly difficult. What is it? It's simple: take one exercise and perform it in the following manner:

1) For twenty seconds, work at maximum intensity

2) Rest for ten seconds

3) Repeat seven more times

That's it! Although it sounds easy, it's guaranteed to be the hardest four minute workout of your life.

Try this method with any of the following exercises:

1) Rower

2) Jump Squats

3) Thrusters (Take two dumbbells and hold them at shoulder height. Squat down while keeping the dumbbells on your shoulders. As you rise up, press the bells to the overhead lockout position. Ten or twelve pound DB's should work for most women. Men can try twenty-fives or thirties)

For the nerds: here's Tabata's original publication:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Raspberry Breakfast Smoothie

In our country breakfast seems to be synonymous with processed carbs. Cereal, toast, pancakes, bagel, etc. The thought of breakfast without these foods is almost sacrilegious. Even bacon and eggs isn't complete without some toast and hash browns.

But eating a breakfast high in processed carbs will start you off on a blood sugar roller coaster sure to cause energy crashes and hunger attacks the rest of the day. If you are trying to loss weight, I'd rather you skip breakfast than eat the traditional "healthy" breakfast of cereal with toast and fruit juice.

A breakfast consisting of eggs, meat, nuts, and low glycemic index fruits such as berries would provide steady energy throughout the day. Problem is, a buffalo patty with some macadamia nuts and hard boiled eggs just isn't that palatable for most people first thing in the morning.

One solution is a breakfast smoothie. Berries, Greek yogurt, and protein powder provide plenty of protein and fiber without too many grams of processed carbs. Adding some ground flax seeds, coconut milk, and a greens drink will provide extra anti-oxidants and healthy fats to keep you going all morning long. The following recipe has about 40 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber with less carbohydrate than a small glass of orange juice! It is also high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. Try it one morning and see how you feel the rest of the day.

Raspberry Breakfast Smoothie

1/2 c Greek yogurt

1 c frozen raspberries

1 scoop whey protein powder

1/4 cup coconut milk

2 T ground flax seeds

1 serving greens drink (I use Barleans's)

1 1/2 c water (use more or less for desired thickness)


Use a blender to combine ingredients

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Featured Recipe: Jonny's™ Brainy Breakfast Scramble

Dr. Jonny Bowden is a nutritionist and weight loss coach I respect for his practicle approach and unbiased analysis of current research. I came across this recipe on his blog the other day and loved it! It's a tasty, high energy, health boosting way to start your day!

Featured Recipe: Jonny's™ Brainy Breakfast Scramble

Our youngest client...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wheat and the China Study

The China Study was one of the largest population studies on nutrition ever done. And while no link was found between saturated fat consumption and cardiovascular disease, some interesting statistically significant correlations were identified for wheat. Consumption of this popular American "health food" was linked to increased incidence of cardiovascular disease as well as increased body weight, body mass index, and high blood pressure. Check out Denise Minger's blog post if you are interested in more information.

Athletes: Beware of these common mistakes

1. Not understanding the demands of their sport. For example, tennis is an anaerobic activity. If you are running two or three miles to get in shape for the tennis season you’re missing the boat.

2. Lifting weights like a bodybuilder. Three sets of eight to ten reps may build muscle, but it’s not going to make you better at throwing a baseball.

3. Not addressing the strength imbalances caused by playing your game. For example, if you are cycling hard to prepare for the road biking season you better be doing extra posterior chain work in the gym. If you’re not, you’re risking serious injury.

4. Neglecting smaller stabilizing muscles. If you’re not strengthening your gluteus medius and your vastus medialis, you’re losing performance on the field.

5. Underestimating the importance of maximum strength and power. Performance in almost every sport, including track, football, basketball, and golf, will be improved by increasing strength and power.

Was everything I leaned in school wrong? Rethinking Fat

As many of you may know, my formal education was in nutrition not Exercise Science. As a student, I learned the conventional nutrition “wisdom” that was never to be questioned. One of the most strongly protected pieces of nutritional wisdom is that saturated fat is bad for you and will clog your arteries. But is this really true?

Almost every RD, MD, and Ph.D. believes it. Right? Not necessarily.

The role of saturated fats and heart disease is a hot button topic in nutrition today. This doesn’t filter down to the mainstream media, but many of the top minds in nutrition are re-examining this issue.

Just this month in the June edition of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition there is an editorial entitled “Are refined carbohydrates worse than saturated fat?” The editorial written by Dr. Frank Hu, a medical doctor and professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, contends that:

…diets that are typically low in fat (particularly saturated fat) and high in complex carbohydrates led to substantial decline in the percentage of energy intake from total and saturated fats in the United States. At the same time, it has spurred a compensatory increase in consumption of refined carbohydrates and added sugars-a dietary shift that may be contributing to the current twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

The changed landscape in obesity and dietary patterns suggests a need to reassess the dominant diet-heart paradigm and related dietary recommendations, i.e., the strategy of replacing total and saturated fats with carbohydrates.

This editorial references a study published in the May 2009 edition of the same journal that pooled the results from 11 American and European studies. In the study,replacing saturated fat calories with high GI carbohydrates actually increased the risk of heart disease!

Let’s look at one of the older studies often cited to support this hypothesis: The Seven Countries Study. Ancel Keys, a professor at the University of Minnesota, compared fat consumption in various populations with heart disease. The results were a nice and neat looking line graph. The data looked very convincing, but there was one huge problem. The databases Professor Keys used to plot the graph for the seven countries study contained data for 22 countries. When data for all 22 countries are plotted there is no correlation whatsoever between fat intake and heart disease.

The Framingham Heart Study is also frequently referenced, even though the data from this study shows no correlation between diet and serum LDL, HDL, or total cholesterol.

Yet Dr. William Kannel, the original director of the study, stated in a “clarification” of the results that even though there was no relationship between diet and serum cholesterol intake in the Framingham Study group, “it is incorrect to interpret this finding to mean that diet has no connection to blood cholesterol.”

Huh? The study found no connection between diet and serum cholesterol so how else can we interpret it?

Dr. William Castelli (Dr. Kannel’s successor as the head of the Framingham study) interpreted the data as “disappointing.” Here is his full quote, published in an article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine:

Most of what we know about the effects of diet factors, particularly the saturation of fat and cholesterol, on serum lipid parameters derives from metabolic ward-type studies. Alas, such findings, within a cohort studied over time have been disappointing; indeed the findings have been contradictory. For example, in Framingham, Mass, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol.

But even in ward-type studies that show an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL’s), there is also a proportional increase in good cholesterol (HDL’s). In addition, triglycerides are often lowered. Both high HDL’s and low triglycerides have been individually associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Any negative health impact from increased LDL’s is offset by this corresponding increase in HDL’s and decrease in triglycerides.

This would explain why in large population studies, a link between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease has never been shown. In both the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MR-FIT) no significant correlation was found between dietary consumption of saturated fat and cardiovascular disease! In both of these studies researchers admitted to being “disappointed” by the lack of results.

At first glance some studies will seem to support the ”saturated fat clogs arteries” hypothesis. For example, in one follow up analysis of the data from the Seven Countries Study researchers concluded in the abstract that “…saturated fat, vitamin C, and smoking are important determinants of all cause mortality.” But if you read thru the entire text you will see that the data showed no link between saturated fat consumption alone and age adjusted mortality. Only by grouping all three risk factors together (saturated fat, vitamin C, and smoking) were the researchers able to show a significant correlation.

“In controlled, long term studies saturated fat intake has never been linked to increases in cardiovascular disease or all cause mortality”

So what does this mean? Personally, I intend to stop worrying only about saturated fat and cholesterol. Other dietary factors, such as eliminating trans fats and other industrial seed oils, will have a much greater effect than reducing your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.

- John Kuzora, originally published June 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Killer Fat Melting Squat Variation

For my money, squats are the all-around most effective lift you can do. They add more muscle while burning more calories than any other weight training exercise. If you want to build muscular strong quadriceps or just tone and define your thighs and glutes, squats are the answer. More concerned with performance? Squats will help you jump higher, run faster, drive your golf ball further, and make your tennis serve faster.

Here at the gym, we do literally hundreds of squat variations. Powerlifting squats, Olympic squats, front squats, box squats, squats with chains, jump squats, Zercher squats, kettlebell front squats, single leg squats, etc. But here is a little-known squat variation that melts fat while it improves anaerobic conditioning and builds muscle in your quadriceps and calves: Metabolic Rhythm Squats.

To perform metabolic rhythm squats, load a barbell with a weight you would use for a set of twenty barbell back squats. Rack the barbell on your back and assume a shoulder width stance with your toes pointed forward. Perform ten quarter squats coming up onto your toes on each rep. Immediately perform ten more quarter squats, followed by ten more quarter squats to your toes, ten more quarter squats, and finally ten more quarter squats to your toes for a total of 50 reps. The amount of knee bend is small (four to six inches for most people) and the tempo is quick. The following video will help illustrate:

If fat loss is your main goal, try putting these at the end of a full body circuit. Here is one option:

A1) Front Lunge with Forward Reach (left leg) – 15 reps

A2) Standing DB Shoulder Press – 12 reps

A3) Front Lunge with Forward Reach (right leg) – 15 reps

A4) Negative Only Chin-ups – 5 10 second negatives

A5) Metabolic Rhythm Squats – 50

By the end of this circuit your heart should be pounding out of your chest and your lungs should be on fire. If they are not, you took too much rest between exercises or the weights you selected were too light. Perform four circuits, resting three minutes between each circuit.

If you are trying to increase muscle mass while getting cut up, try the following workout:

A) Wide Stance Box Squats with Chains (use a ten to twelve inch box) – 12×3 with 30 seconds rest between sets.

A good starting weight is 50% of your one rep max plus chains. If you squat between 250 and 350 pounds, use two chains. If your 1RM is over 350 use three. If your 1RM is less than 200 pounds focus on a more basic program like five sets of five: this workout isn’t for you!

When done correctly this should be a posterior chain movement. In other words, you should feel this one in primarily in your glutes and hamstrings.

B) Double Kettlebell Front Squats – 6×10 with one minute rest between sets.

C) Metabolic Rhythm Squats – 4×50 with two minutes rest between sets.

Be prepared to not walk right for at least four days!