Archive | May, 2011

WattBike Class – Come Spin with Us

31 May

Fit is happy to introduce the WattBike!

FIT is offering a complimentary WattBike Class featuring Taylor Tolleson, FIT’s in-house Pro Cyclist.

When: Thursday June 2nd @ 6:30-8:00PM.

Where: FIT 600 Freemont Ave, Los Altos CA, 94024

Reserve Your Spot today! Call 650-947-9831 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            650-947-9831      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Client of the Month Spotlight May 2011

27 May

Client Name: Tamila Sayar

Age:  40
FIT member since:  I think August 2010

Goal starting your fitness program at FIT – My goal was and is to change my life style to promote better health.  My primary focus was, and continues to be weight loss.

Results: I have lost over 60 pounds, 6 sizes, definitely made long term lifestyle changes for myself and the family, and regained some strength and endurance.

What would you consider the keys to your fitness success? Showing up, taking it one day and one habit at a time, respecting, trusting connecting with my trainer (Matt) and the FIT environment, being ready to make the commitment, and having an exceptionally knowledgeable trainer to guide me.

How did you feel about your fitness and physique before starting your exercise program at FIT? Awful!!! Terrible!!!!

How do you feel about your fitness and physique now? I feel better, stronger, more active, and successful.

 What obstacles, if any, did you have to over come to maintain your commitment to fitness?  Given that I have 3 kids and the demanding line of work I am in, remembering to put myself first in order to show up every time no matter what, fearing failure, and self-consciousness. Having patience with the ups and downs in this process.

Want motivates you through your workouts? It’s the only hour in my day where I can just listen and do what I am being told to rather than giving the directions. I enjoy the discussions with my trainer and others as well as the challenges that each work out presents.

What motivates you to come back each day? For me, there’s no other option, I like to be challenged, I know I have to do it to continue to get results, I like the results I am getting and look forward to my sessions. I enjoy the environment and people at FIT, and LOVE  the post work out feeling.

Exercise Likes: Rowing, push ups and most other exercise activities.

Exercise Dislikes: That roller wheel thing Ab-Wheel

Personal Best:

  • PR 500 meter row: [1:53]
  • PR push ups: started at level 9 in the squat rack last August and is now performing pushups in sets of 10 from the floor with full range of motion!

What is your favorite workout music/song? Not sure since Most of the time I’m talking and not listening to music. I like a variety of songs.

What is your favorite healthy snack? Mixed nuts and berries with plain yogurt

What is your favorite non-gym physical activity? Swimming, walking on the beach

Trainers Comments: Matt – Tamila was a little bit intimidated when she first walked in the door, as this was something that she was wholly unfamiliar with.  While the first few sessions started out slowly, as soon as she started to see results, the enthusiasm increased, and now she’s more gung-ho than ever.  Missing a workout is not an option for her!  We have really tested her physically and mentally, taking her to new depths of what she thought she was physically capable of doing.  Really, there is nothing that she can’t do if she puts her mind to it.  It is great to have a client who won’t back down from a challenge and will fight a workout until the end to make sure she completes it.  Her hard work and dedication have definitely paid off.  Tamila has made amazing progress, and continues to improve every day – both in performance and in physique.

The WattBike

18 May

FIT is happy to welcome, what FIT founder Thom Downing says is, “the most dynamic, functional and smart piece of metabolic conditioning equipment to come onto the fitness scene since the Concept2 rower in 1976”, the WattBike.

FIT will be offering a free clinic on the WattBike, featuring FIT’s in-house Pro cyclist, Taylor Tolleson on June 2nd from 630-8pm at FIT.  Free spin scans will be given so come prepared to ride!

The WattBike was developed over 7 years and is the world’s first affordable indoor bike that accurately measures power (Watts). It has a unique, patented measurement system and ground-breaking software.

Launched in 2008, the machine was signed off by the English Institute of Sport as being accurate, and is now fully integrated into British Cycling’s Whole Sport Plan at all levels from performance through to participation. It is the first indoor bike that has ever been endorsed by British Cycling and it is now used as their frontline Talent ID screening tool.

Key features that make the machine stand out from others include the fact that it feels like ‘real’ cycling – on the flat and climbing – and it delivers accurate, repeatable and comparable results. The bike can be used for rehabilitation, general fitness, high level training, scientific testing, cross-training and competition.

It features a unique ‘polar display’ that provides immediate feedback on the cyclist’s technique and all bikes are factory calibrated identically, allowing them to be linked together for accurate racing. It delivers a new level of depth and accuracy of data all of which can be viewed in real time and saved for later analysis.

At one extreme, it is an exercise bike, and at the other, it’s a highly sophisticated sports science analysis bike, making it suitable for everyone from recreational cyclists through to Olympic champions.

The Wattbike provides safe, 24/7 gym use and can be used for regular exercise, group exercise or competitions in gyms across the UK. It is also available to buy for the home and offers a great alternative to a turbo trainer or an upright bike.

Beyond cycling, the Wattbike has broader appeal. It is a superb cross-training and talent ID tool for a wide range of sports that want a high quality training alternative, delivering objective data. It is currently being used as an initial screening tool for Girls4Gold and Pitch2Podium – UK Sport’s Talent ID programmes for girls and released football players.  British Cycling also see the Wattbike as becoming a fundamental feature within secondary schools as a gateway activity to the sport of cycling, and as part of the solution to the lack of physically active lifestyles in society today.

FIT’s Head Cycling instructor Taylor Tolleson got his start racing in triathlon at the early age of 14. In 2005 after 4 years of racing in the ITU, Xterra and National circuit attending 3 triathlon world championships and 3 duathalon world championships he decided to pursue a profession in road racing. After only a few months he got picked up on the US National team where he raced and lived in Europe. Shortly thereafter he received his first professional contract to start in 2006. While racing on prestigious professional teams such as BMC and Garmin-Chipotle, Taylor was able to work very closely with the best coaches in training and power analysis, Max Testa and Alan Lim.  After a tragic hit and run accident in 2009 he has decided to focus on coaching and wattage training.

Career Highlights:

(2008) 1st Tour de Leelanau

(2007) 1st Stage #6 International Tour de Toona

(2006) 2nd Best Young Rider Competition Tour of California 2-Time X-Terra World Champion


2nd Merco Cycling Classic Road Race


1st Tour de Leelanau

4th Stage #2 Ronde Van Brisbane

8th Stage #7 Tour de Georgia

1ST copperopolis


1st Stage #6 International Tour de Toona

2nd Stage #3 Tour of Elk Grove

2nd Red Trolley Classic Criterium

5th Under-23 National Criterium Championship

10th Under-23 National Road Race Championship

18th Stage #6 Amgen Tour of California

19th prologue Amgen Tour of California


2nd Best Young Rider Competition Tour of California

16th Prologue Tour de Normandie


1st Collegiate National Mountain Bike Short Track Championship

1st NCAA National Team Time Trial Championship

1st Stage #5 Cascade Classic (Bend, OR)

3rd Stage #6 Cascade Classic (Bend, OR)

6th MIPS Technologies Mt. Hamilton Road Race

6th NCC Road Race National Championship

7th Copperopolis Road Race (Milton, CA)


1st X-Terra World Championship

1st X-Terra U.S Championship

1st Collegiate National Mountain Bike Short Track Championship

3rd Trek Bikes Collegiate National Criterium Championship

3rd Trek Bikes Collegiate National Team Time Trial Championship

About FIT

The F.I.T. experience is unique from the level of coaching, to the attention to your individual needs, to the support that is palpable as soon as you walk through our doors. Located in the heart of Los Altos, California, F.I.T. is a school of fitness, focused on all factors of health, with the intention of living a longer and better life.  Through a variety of services we offer, ranging from personal training to group CrossFit classes, we focus on functional training through optimization of the physical competencies in each of the 10 recognized fitness domains:

Cardio-respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy.

The F.I.T. coaches adapt to the fitness level of their students while providing instruction, guidance, and support.  Our student body is extremely diverse ranging from ages 10 to 93, in experience from novice to elite, and in life, from executives to stay-at-home moms to children to athletes of many varieties.

Where Americans Get Their Calories

16 May

Check out the following infographic from  It’s a startling demonstration of what we have been eating over the past 40 years.

You will need Java to view the interactive graphic.

Sports Equipment Drive

10 May

Awaso Hope Academy

All donations will benefit the Awaso Hope Academy Physical Education Development Program in rural Ghana, Africa.

Awaso Hope is developing a P.E. program at Awaso Academy International, an independent elementary school in rural Ghana, Africa.  This program will accompany the new area that will be seeded with grass so that the children and play and learn organized sports and games.


Saturday, May 21st


FIT Parking Lot, Rancho Shopping Center


The Awaso Hope Academy needs your help providing their children with the following:

  • Soccer Shorts (black xs-m)
  • Frisbees
  • Collapsible Soccer Goals
  • Small Cones for Drills
  • Jump Ropes
  • Gertie Balls, rubber balls
  • Pinnies
  • Any K-3 Appropriate Sports Games


If there are any sport-related items that your kids have outgrown or you have extra of  that you could donate, it will be appreciated.  If you cannot make it to the event, please consider making a donation toward the program at  and click on make donation.  No donation is too small.  Proceeds will be used to purchase the needed equipment.  These children have nothing to play with or be active with.  Anything will be appreciated.

FIT members Liz and Jack Weingart  are traveling to Ghana this summer with their family and will be hand delivering anything we collect to the children!!!

Hope you can stop by.  We are also assembling first aid kits, and giving our kids a chance to write letters to the students there.

We are FIT

9 May
IMG_8979_2 by traceydowning
IMG_8979_2, a photo by traceydowning on Flickr.

Today, I Brought it!

Seasons of Change

9 May

This month F.I.T. turns 10!!!  It seems like only a short while ago that Thom, myself, Jason and Gabe opened the doors and anxiously awaited the first few clients to walk through our doors.  Yet, looking at how much we have evolved as people and professionals, as a facility and a community, I have a hard time believing that’s all taken place in 10 short years.

We have serviced over a thousand clients through the years and hopefully have positively impacted the lives of most of them.  For those who have been here all the while, as well as those who are newer to the fold, we sincerely thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you on your pursuit of long-term health and lifelong vitality.

With growth and evolution, there is a natural transition of staff.  Many of you were sad to see Analisa leave a few months back and now we are preparing for Jimmy’s departure.  I can assure you that members of our team ‘leaving the nest’ hit no one harder than Thom and I.  We believe the ‘secret sauce’ at FIT, that is palpable from the first moment you walk through the door, is the sense of community or possibly even family.  It is for this reason that I liken the transition of staff to what a parent must experience when a child goes off to college.  They are ready, it’s time, but it’s hard, very hard. 

Sticking with the analogy, we experience a great deal of pride in learning about the success each individual achieves, much like a parent would.  So, to brag for just a moment . . .

Jason – Product Manager, Apple Inc., CA

Josie – Executive Assistant, Sequoia Venture Capital, CA

Kellie – Owner, Moylan Training, WV

Trey – Performance Director, Velocity, TX

Katy – Franchisee, Stroller Striders, TX

Todd – Performance Director, Velocity, VA

Kris – Medical Device Rep, Stryker

Manny – Educator and Exercise Specialist for Chronic Pain Management, Feinberg Medical Group, CA

Herm – Ranger, US Army deploying 2012

Johnny – Program Director, The 3rd Door, CA

Analisa – Owner, Training Business, CA

Jimmy – Owner, Training Business, NV

Scott – Director of Wellness, Hunter Laboratories, CA

Jen – Owner, Buddies in Action, CA

In addition to these pursuits, Karen and Matt are currently working to complete their Masters degrees.

With each individual’s departure there has been sadness and stress as we all, clients and staff alike, adjust to their absence and adapt to the new faces that have replaced them.  The good news is that with each new person to join our staff, we evolve a little further.  We recently hired Michelle Watson, whom some of your will remember from the year she interned with us prior to pursuing her degree in Kinesiology.  In addition, we are currently interviewing a number of remarkable candidates and will go to great lengths to ensure that these new staff members are of the same caliber you have come to expect.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to hold on to our trainers as long as we do (5x the industry average) but it seems that we are currently amidst a season of change.  And change is never easy, but F.I.T. is and will always be a place where both clients and trainers come with a set of expectations and leave achieving so much more.  We are both inspired and inspiring.  The term development is often used when referring to fundraising or philanthropy, but a definition I recently heard applies to the spirit of F.I.T. . . .

Facilitating discovery of shared values.

Growing a community of individuals who care about a common cause

Just by walking through our doors you have committed to the common cause of living longer and living healthier.  And the discovery of shared values comes into play every step along that journey.  Thank you for supporting us over the years and for continuing to allow us to support you.

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is a success” – Henry Ford

Spring Cleaning: Identify your cleaning habits

9 May

Spring is officially here.  It is time to clean out the closet, garage, toy room, attic or whatever appears to be overflowing in your house.   Some tackle this project every year, some are on the five-year plan, while others go in about every three months and eliminate a few things.  If you are like me, you just move every year and that solves the clutter problem!  Regardless of what your de-cluttering strategy is, one thing is for sure, there is something refreshing about making that goodwill drop-off.  It is something that no one can do for you because 1) you would not get the same feeling of accomplishment and 2) they may give away those favorite pair of sweatpants from high school that you are just not ready to part with.

Is there a relationship between spring-cleaning habits and attempts to make dietary/lifestyle changes?  I think so.  Is one habit or strategy better than the other?  Not necessarily.  What is important is to identify what your habits are and identify the most realistic path to get to your goals. 

Every couple months do you throw a little away?

You may prefer to remove or reduce one thing at a time; slowly make dietary changes, such as that daily latte.  There is something to be said for gradual consistency.  However, this constant cleaning out may be masking an overwhelming sense of fear, or a way to skirt around what really needs to be done.  If you feel like you are constantly attempting small dietary changes but are not reaching your goals, you might be better off making one big change.

Are you actually eliminating the stuff that is taking up the most space?

Do you constantly sort through the small unassuming pile of t-shirts instead of tackling the massive amounts of shoes you trip over every morning?  Many people give up or get rid of the things that are easiest to part with.  For example, it might be easier to part with the occasional ice cream indulgence, but eliminating the nightly glass of wine may have more impact.

Do you get rid of stuff only to replace it with something new or similar?

This is fine if your goal is not to make a dent in your closet or in your diet.  An updated pair of Lulu’s is definitely better than the worn out pair of spandex.  You can say it’s better to swap rice for nutritionally dense Quinoa.  Sometimes replacing something can be positive (and necessary), for example a piece of fruit instead of a piece of cake.  However, be mindful of what you are swapping because it may be more calorically dense and actually “take up more space.”

Do you opt for the once a year spring-cleaning swoop?

You go for it.  Get rid of all the clutter and see the difference right away.  You are probably willing to make big dietary changes with the hope that you will see the results in a short amount of time.  Many start a challenge, such as the FIT 30-day challenge, with the mindset, “it’s only 30 days.”  Make sure you have a plan for after the 30 days.  Watch out for over indulges and the vicious yo-yo cycle; we all know yo-yo dieting does not work.  If you have never made drastic changes, try it at least once.  It is one of the best ways to identify your true dietary needs.  But if you are constantly in an purge and binge cycle, it’s time for a little moderation.

Do you choose a strategy or habit that you prefer or the one that you know is truly best for you? 

It is not always about breaking habits; it’s about identifying your habits, and, yes, probably changing or removing some old ones.  But, it’s also about understanding how to work with your behaviors in order to reach your desired goals.  It’s about identifying barriers, such as stress, travel, or busy schedules, and knowing how to make changes that work with your lifestyle.

Whether or not you embarked on FIT’s 30-day challenge, take time to identify your eating habits.  At FIT, we can help you identify a path, make suggestions, and provide support, but we can’t clean out your closet for you.  You have to do the work and the results will be due to your own actions. 

Have you ever regretted a trip to Goodwill?  I doubt it.  Go for it.  Try to eliminate what you think you NEED (your daily latte, glass of wine, etc) and yes, the first couple weeks will be hard, but in the end you can make the decision whether you really need it, whether you should swap it for something new, or whether it should even be a part of the “junk in your trunk.” 

PrimalCon 2011

9 May

A couple of weekends ago, joined with Tracey, Angelo, Shaun, and Serena, I had the opportunity to attend Mark Sisson’s (author of The Primal Blueprint and Mark’s Daily Apple) PrimalCon 2011. 

PrimalCon is a health and fitness retreat with the purpose of bringing us back to basics, back to the beginning, referring to our ancient ancestors of the Paleolithic era and how they survived as hunters-gatherers. How is this relevant to us, you might ask.  Mark’s philosophy for primal fitness is simple: sprint, lift heavy things, play, rest, and then repeat.  And of course, it’s also supposed to be fun.

Physical exercise is only half of Mark’s philosophy. Nutritional eating habits make up the rest (approximately 80%). However, this article will only focus on exercise.  With that, a way of implementing what Grok would do (Mark’s caveman mascot) on a weekly basis would be as follows:

Sprint (once a week, session length: less than 10 minutes)

Example: run, bike, row, even the elliptical with an all out effort.

Try Tabata intervals: (20 seconds of work; 10 seconds of rest; repeated eight times for a total of 4 minutes).

Lift heavy objects (1-3 times a week, session length: 7 minutes-1 hour)

Example: squats, pull-ups, push-ups, handstand push-ups, and planks.  More advanced examples include: deadlifts, push press, snatches, cleans, thrusters, kettlebell swings, and jerks.

A normal presumption is that you have to pick up something to count as moving heavy weights, but in actuality your own body weight can be just as effective.

Move frequently at a slow pace (2-5 hours spread across 1 week)

This is what should be called “Play Time.” It’s easy to moderate exercise that keeps you moving, gets your heart pumping (55-75% maximum heart rate).

Example: walking, rowing, biking, elliptical, jump roping, and dancing.

Other examples would be: hiking, swimming, playing outside with the kids, ultimate Frisbee, soccer, or channeling your inner Angelo.

 In conclusion

Mark’s philosophy for fitness is functional, realistic, simple, and fun. It’s what we try to achieve and implement into your training regimen at FIT.          

Gall Stones = Celiac Disease?

9 May

A few weeks ago, around four o’clock I received a phone call from my lovely girl friend stating she had mid-back pain since 11 o’clock.  She said that the pain had not minimized at all throughout this time and was accompanied by shortness of breath and slight nausea

At first we thought it might have been from some sort of muscle pain caused by a workout or holding something heavy for a long amount of time, but muscle pain would have minimized in five hours and she had not exercised strenuous enough to cause such pain.

After a couple more questions concerning what she had eaten for breakfast, I regretfully suggested that she might have gallstones.  She had no idea what those were or what might have caused them. Long story short and an ultrasound later, she was positive for gallstones.

The occurrence of gallstones has bewildered scientists for some time, and many within the scientific community believe that it involves an inherited mis-management of cholesterol by the liver.  For example, according to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center’s informational brochure on gallstones, “when there is too much cholesterol in the bile, it forms crystals which gradually enlarge to form stones. The amount of cholesterol in bile has no relation to the blood level of cholesterol.”

However, this explanation does not get to the root of the matter of what actually causes the gallstones to appear in the first place.  We eat cholesterol in food, such as seafood.  We manufacture cholesterol naturally in our liver.  So, why would it suddenly create gallstones?

 There is a theory in the world of science that gallstones are created in individuals that have undiagnosed celiac disease.  Celiac disease is defined as an autoimmune disease caused by gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and millet.  Grains contain a variety of proteins, some called lectins.  According to this theory, over time these lectins damage the villi on the wall of the small intestine.  When the intestinal wall is damaged, the chemical messenger that tells the gall bladder to release bile into the small intestine, called cholecystokinin (CCK), is not released.  When this signal is blocked, we do not properly digest our foods, particularly fat and protein. The lack of bile released allows cholesterol crystals to form in the gall bladder, which leads to gall stones.

Usually individuals with gallstones have their gall bladder removed and they may return to their old way of eating, which in this country consists of a high-carbohydrate, grain-based diet.  However, if the gluten-allergy-gallstone hypothesis is true, the sensitivity to gluten does not end even when the gallbladder is removed. Celiac patients still have sensitivity to gluten.  Just because there is less bile available to create the gallstones, reminding an individual of this sensitivity during a painful gallstone attack, the autoimmune disorder still requires nutritional caution.  Additionally, these people are at greater risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren’s, multiple sclerosis, vitiligo, Huntington’s, etc., which would require a gluten-free and/or lectin free diet, i.e. removing all grains, legumes and dairy.

Therefore, if the gallstone-celiac disease theory is correct, gall bladder removal may be viewed as a partial remedy to the problem.  Individuals may want to consult with their physician concerning a celiac test to determine if he/she may be diagnosed with a gluten-allergy.

 Personal Note

On a final note, this will be my last newsletter article for a while, due to time constraints in pursuing new challenges in the Wellness coaching world.  I have appreciated all of the dialogue and feedback over the last 8.5 years.