Archive by Author

FIT Members in Action – Glenda Dorchak

9 Aug

Glenda has been training at FIT for almost 4 years and is disciplined and dedicated to her health and fitness.  She trains with Danielle 2-3 times a week, and walks the Los Altos hills on alternate days. With the busy schedule of a CEO, Glenda wanted to improve her physical fitness but was challenged with finding the time.   When she first walked in the door at FIT, she was not participating in any physical activity.  Her goal was to increase her strength, endurance, and overall health and fitness.  Glenda has improved in all areas, especially her strength.

Currently, Glenda is deadlifting 75kg, back squatting 50kg, and bench-pressing 27.5lb dumbbells.  Additionally, she is performing 3 sets of 8 assisted pull-ups with a resistance band.  One of Glenda’s goals is to deadlift 1.5 times her body weight, which is approximately 85kg.  She is almost there!  Check out her 75kg PR in the deadlift (accomplished on 7/9/11)

Congrats Glenda! Your hard work and dedication are paying off!

Avon Breast Cancer Walk in San Francisco

1 Aug

The Avon Breast Cancer Walk was held in San Francisco on July 9th and 10th. Ruth Patterson and Paula Rini, both members at FIT, attended.

We walked a marathon on Saturday and a little over a half-marathon on Sunday, completing a total of 42 miles and raising over $10,000.  It was an inspiring and emotionally empowering event, and one we were
proud to be a part of.

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful walk through San Francisco: starting along the waterfront, winding through downtown, North Beach and Pacific Heights, and then crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.
Our lunch stop was Fort Baker at the base of the bridge; although chilly and windy, the views back to the city were spectacular.  Finishing lunch, the course took us through Sausalito and along Richardson Bay to Mill Valley and Corte Madera.  All along the way we were cheered on by the sweep vans, bicycle police in pink polo shirts (with boom boxes strapped on the bikes), and volunteers on motorcycles sporting pink wigs or tutus.  It was a joyful and celebratory atmosphere.  The walkers felt so appreciated, especially when residents along the route came out to offer us fresh strawberries or small chocolates to boost our energy.

Through this amazing event, more than 4.2 million dollars was raised for the Avon Foundation.  These donations will go toward medical treatments for women and men diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as research to help find a cure.

Paula Rini

Things I got from the Avon Walk:

By Ruth Patterson

  • A wonderful gift for my mom – 90 years old and doesn’t want things – doing this walk in my mom’s honor really meant a lot more to her than any physical gift. She talks about it all the time!
  • Appreciation for my family and friends – so supportive
  • Amazement  at the widespread impact of breast cancer on so many lives – a new diagnosis every 3 minutes is sobering
  • Hope for the research and steps taken to fight the disease
  • Admiration –  for the courage and determination of so many survivors and current patients
  • Thankfulness for my own good health and fitness
  • An uplifting experience with my awesome friend Paula
  • Another example of how great a trainer Danielle is! (we were SO prepared)


  • My “Fight Like a Girl” T-shirts from FIT – worn on the walk

It is not too late to donate if this is a cause you want to support:

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.          


24 Dec


Enjoy time with family and friends 🙂

How to Integrate Exercise into Your Demanding Lifestyle?

1 Oct

We all have commitments, such as managing your household, succeeding in your profession, spending time with family and friends, and engaging in extracurricular activities.  Most of us do not have the time to spend hours on end in the gym.  Research has shown that short duration, high intensity workouts are one of the most efficient ways to lose body fat, gain lean muscle mass, and optimize health.  For example, Arthur Weltman, Ph.D., found greater reduction in abdominal adiposity with the inclusion of high intensity exercise (~75-80% of V02max) three days a week when compared to exercising five days a week at lower intensity (~50-60% of V02max).  Martin Gibala, Ph.D compared the effects of high intensity training with continuous endurance training and found remarkably similar changes in muscle oxidative capacity and exercise capacity.

The solution
Schedule four to thirty minutes in your busy day for a short duration, high intensity workout (remember, intensity is relative and should match your current level of fitness).  Then, try one of these full body workouts to get more “bang for your buck.”  Meaning, the workouts will incorporate all major muscle groups, and use all three energy systems: the phosphagen system (anaerobic), glycolysis (anaerobic), and the oxidative system (aerobic) which will eventually increase your metabolism (burn more fat and calories), strength, endurance, stamina, and quality of life.

Note: Please check with your physician before performing these workouts and always properly warm-up and cool-down before and after each workout.  Also, technique and safety is very important for performing all these movements.  If you are not comfortable with these movements, I would highly suggest seeking advice from a professional.

Workout #1: Manmakers
Select a pair of dumbbells that you know you could perform multiple movements with, without putting the weight down.  Perform one repetition of each movement five times for one round. Rest 30-60 seconds and repeat for a total of four rounds.
•    DB Push-Up x 1
•    DB Renegade Row x 1 (each arm)
•    DB Clean x 1
•    DB Push Press x 1
•    DB Overhead Lunge x 1 (each leg)
•    Reposition and start over.
Click here to see Manmakers video

Workout #2: Tabata
This high intensity intermittent training method (dubbed Tabata) belongs to Dr. Izumi Tabata and other researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sport in Japan.  Tabata uses a four minute interval training cycle of 20 seconds of maximum work, followed by ten seconds of rest, and repeated eight times.  You can do this workout using bodyweight exercises, such as squats, push ups, and pull ups, as well as cycling, running, rowing, and jump roping, or even the elliptical.  For the workout below, all you need is a stop watch, a pull-up bar, and a floor mat.
(20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest x 8 = 4 minutes for each exercise.  Rest 60 seconds and move on to the next exercise for a longer workout).
•    Row
•    Rest 60 seconds
•    Bodyweight Squats
•    Rest 60 seconds
•    Pull-Ups
•    Rest 60 seconds
•    Push-Ups
•    Rest 60 seconds
•    Sit-Ups

Time should not be an issue when you can incorporate one of these fast and efficient workouts into your daily routine.  Set aside a small amount of your day to improve your health and get the results you have always wanted.

American College of Sports Medicine, 2008.  High Intensity Exercise Best For Improving Body Composition.  Retrieved by:

Gibala, Martin J., (2007). High Intensity Interval Training: A Time-efficient Strategy for Health Promotion?  Current Sports Medicine Reports, p 211-213.  Retrieved by: Gibala_CurrSportsMedRep-6_2007.pdf/C58EA28C-18C0-4a97-9AF2-036E93DDAFB3/Gibala_CurrSportsMedRep-6_2007

Exercise for life

7 Aug

Physical activity is one of the vital pillars of longevity.  In fact, studies have found that a well-rounded fitness program can lengthen an individual’s lifespan.  At F.I.T., we recommend an active lifestyle that not only includes low to moderate physical activity on a daily bases, but also incorporates exercises that require greater skill and higher intensity.  An example would be a multi-directional movement where all major muscle groups are being used while completing full range of motion, such as an Olympic-style lift.  This type of movement not only improves muscle activation and coordination, but also optimizes metabolic responses.  The key is to an active lifestyle is to participate in a variety of activities that include all aspects of fitness: cardiorespiratory, muscular, flexibility, speed, agility, reaction time, and coordination.

5 Tips to fit activity into your life:

  • Change Your Lifestyle: Make the decision and then make the change.  According to the American College of Sports Medicine, ideally you want to get in 30-90 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine.  This may be challenging with your business, so try prioritizing and scheduling physical activities.  You are more likely to fit in physical activity if it has a designated day and time.
  • Set Goals Big AND Small: This may be the most important activity immediately following your decision to be more active.  Have a big goal, like becoming more physically fit, and then get simple and specific like accomplishing one strict push-up or climbing the stairs without getting out of breath. Create stages for your goals so that you can slowly chip away at them.
  • Get a coach: You might not know where to start or need a little guidance; there are people out there who can help maximize your efforts and help you reach your goals successfully.  Coaches and personal trainers not only assist with developing an appropriate exercise program, they can also be great motivators and provide accountability.
  • Partner train or join a Group: Change up or recharge your routine with a partner, group session or CrossFit! In a group setting, you are surrounded by like-minded individuals who become part of your support system. The group will get you energized, which will create a fun, competitive, yet safe atmosphere where you are working harder than you never thought possible. The camaraderie of people/partners pulling for you and saying “good job” does more than you realize for your motivation and sense of well-being.
  • Play: Make it fun.  Everyone defines play differently, so get creative and get active.  It can be a sport like softball or soccer, training for a charity event, playing with the kids, flying a kite, coaching a youth sport, or even walking/running with your dog.  Try something completely new that your body has never experienced.

Now, get out there, extend your life, and be active!
Disclaimer:  Before you get started in any exercise program, please contact your physician.

American College of Sports Medicine, 1997.  Guidelines for healthy adults under 65.  Retrieved by: HTMLDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=7764
Paffenbarger et al, (July 1994).  Changes in physical activity and other lifeway patterns influencing longevity.  Medicine and Science in Sports Medicine, Volume 26, Issue 7.  Retrieved by:

Upcoming Weightlifting Meet in Sacramento

18 Jan
  • What: PWA Championships
  • Where: Sacramento High School – Sacramento, CA
  • When: January 20, 2010
  • Who: Contact  Dave Swanson – (916) 768 – 9616