personal trainer downtown memphis

April 28, 2017

Working with our clients at Energy Fitness over the years our personal trainers discover how limited most of the population is in spinal flexibility once we get them moving and doing functional and balance exercises. Your thoracic spine is the middle section of your vertebra between your neck and lower back and composes 12 thoracic vertebra and your rib cage.

Modern lifestyles and certain sports can lead to stiffness and poor movement which increases the natural “kyphosis” (rounding curve in upper back as shown in picture to the left) of the thoracic spine which can lead to decreased sporting performance, injury, and pain.

One new area that is becoming more researched, and is linked to thoracic spine stiffness, is changes to breathing.  Normal breathing requires the ribs to move like a bucket handle (they lift to the sides). The stiffer the rib joints are where they join at the spine means less movement can occur at this joint and this can make it more difficult to take a breath when higher breathing rates and breath volumes are required, meaning potentially less air breathed.

In part 1 of Spinal Rotation for Golf & Life blog post we showed you how to test your upper spine flexibility (your thoracic spine) by trying to rotate the spine and not move the hips. We gave you a few exercises to help improve range of motion.

In this blog post we show you examples of poor upper spine flexibility as it relates to the golf swing as well as a lunge with a twist that also helps improve balance and give you 2 great stretches.

Try the exercise below. Lunge! Once you have lowered yourself as far as your hip flexibility and balance can take you twist your body left as pictured rotating your spine completely.You may find that you need to use a faster speed to get into position to get that extra stretch. Now repeat on the other side by bringing the back leg (right leg) forward into the lunge position and twist to the right.

The client below performed the lunge twist first for about 8-10 reps in each direction before we moved to putting a golf club in his hand. (See video at the bottom of this post).

My analysis: his follow at the top of the golf swing has room for improvement in flexibility of the upper spine. 





Now look at the pic below. See how once the back leg is behind the buttock the body is forced to rotate in the upper spine. This client struggles to rotate and it looks as he feels he’s going to fall over? He benefits from balance and spinal rotation exercises.








Now, I’m going to throw myself under the bus and analyze my form in a left handed golf swing and right handed (as I can do both and need to just pick a side already!).






Left Handed Golf Swing Analysis: smallest picture on left is during a lesson with golf pro instructor Doug Barron in Memphis, TN.

1st pic: Rotation is great looking at my right shoulder lined up with my left foot “at the top”

2nd pic: Two weeks later (pic in the middle) I’m back to my bad habit of taking the club back too far & being more upright to try and compensate for my lack of upper body spinal flexibility. (I tend to do this weird thing with my wrists.  I know that my foot is not lined up with the ball correctly in case you observed that as well.)

3rd pic: my follow through is terrible as you can see, my left foot doesn’t rotate because I didn’t rotate my hips or keep my weight on my front leg heel.

Right Handed Golf Swing Analysis: For kicks on the last hole, 2 weeks after the golf lesson with Doug, I borrowed a friend’s right handed golf club and hit a few balls right-handed.  I took 2 shots and killed it with a straight line drive.

4th pic from left: Rotation good “at the top” as left shoulder lined up with right foot.

5th pic-last pic (far right): Observe the terrible follow through with the back foot not getting up on the toe just like the left handed golf swing. This was a 150 yard shot!

Here are 2 stretches for you to improve upper spine flexibility! Chair stretch and triangle pose stretch. Hold each direction for 30-60 seconds.










Go be fit to break par, breathe stress free & improve daily activities.

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April 21, 2017

How often do you perform exercises in a twisting motion? Let’s take it a step further… how many do you perform without rotating at the hips? Without rotating my hips…huh? Often times I see clients, as well as myself, doing an exercise and letting the hips open to avoid working on the flexibility of the upper spine.

Test yourself…. Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart and place your hands on your hips. Now try to rotate through your lower back without allowing your hips to move. Not as easy as you thought it would be, huh?

If you don’t have the best posture rotating the spine correctly can be challenging.

Think about your lifestyle and exercise routine if you have one. Do you rotate your spine during a strength training session, during sports play, stretching routine or a cardio session? If you run, cycle, walk, jump rope, run stairs, do machines such as elliptical or row machine you are using your body in only one plane (frontal).  You may be creating weakness in muscles and tightening others by avoiding moving your body in different directions.

The 2 exercises are below as pictures & video. They will help you increase spinal flexibility. Make sure to prevent any motion in your hips and lower back.

Towel Low to high Notice I put my knees in to avoid rotating hips. You can see I lack upper body rotational flexibility and need to work on. Try 10 reps each direction. The stability ball is a great way to see improvement as it also works on weight shifting.








Low to High Chop/Twist (use either towel or if more advanced use medicine ball or cable as pictured left). If it is too hard to stabilize your hips then widen your stance a bit and/or lower the weight.



Outer Thigh presses /Hip Abduction Working the abductors is helpful to help keep the hips open and strong.

Try a moderate resistance band and do 2 – 4 sets of 50 reps. Make it more challenging by not sitting and be more in a squat position so the quads (front of the upper thighs) can feel the added burn. This exercise is great as it adds that lateral component and can make your golf swing more powerful and runners can feel their hips more open leading to a more efficient running gait. I always have a great run the day after walking 9 holes of golf.









How often should I do these exercises? 

2-3 times per week

See if you notice a difference in your golf swing on on the back swing and follow through. How many of the exercises or sports below can you add to your lifestyle or routine that require some degree of spinal rotation?

  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Tennis
  • Soccer (with the lateral running)
  • Golf
  • Badminton
  • Bowling
  • Racquetball
  • Rollerblading or skating
  • Baseball or Softball
  • Ice Skating
  • Taekwondo / Marital Arts
  • Basketball (lateral running combined with running forwards & backwards)
  • Weight training – chop squats, ball knee rotations, lateral shuffles and leg raises

In blog post Part 2 of Spinal Rotation for Golf & Life, I will include pictures and video of me demonstrating a golf conditioning/spinal rotation exercise while a client follows my lead, as well as 2 stretches. You can do these as a warm up before golf or running.

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January 30, 2017

The McKenzie Method is a reliable assessment process intended for all musculoskeletal problems, including pain in the back, neck and extremities (i.e., shoulder, knee, ankle etc.), as well as issues associated with sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, muscle spasms and intermittent numbness in hands or feet. Developed by world-renowned expert physiotherapist Robin McKenzie in the 1950s, this well-researched, exercise based approach of assessment, diagnosis and treatment uses a comprehensive and clinically reasoned evaluation of patients.

Developed by a New Zealand physical therapist named Robin McKenzie, this method emphasizes self-treatment for pain in the back, neck, and peripheral joints. In 1980, he published his first book, “Treat Your Own Back” as a self-help guide to relieve low back pain caused by spinal misalignments and over-stretched ligaments. The McKenzie Method, also known as MDT (Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment), is a system that includes assessment (evaluation), diagnosis and treatment for the spine and extremities.

image from:

These exercises would be great for runners as they tend to have tight hamstrings, hip flexors, lower back, and abs. Performing stretches that bend the body backwards (the opposite way runners tend to bend) can help counteract the effects if done on a daily basis. Try a couple for a few minutes each day and let us know how you feel!

Not a client? Live in town and interested in our personal training or nutrition coaching? Click here for a FREE Consult (value $87) or give us a call at 901-466-6242

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Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

Energy Fitness, 552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

April 21, 2016

No wonder Energy Fitness clients & most of the population are confused about nutrition & specifically fats. Having Metagenics (clinical based supplement company) as our partner helps us understand how to help our clients & you to achieve optimal nutrition & wellness.

By the end of this article we hope that you will have gained a greater understanding on fats and which nuts are better for and why. Balancing the good and bad fats can help increase your overall cellular health by a bio marker called Phase Angle. We measure phase angle and numerous other bio markers onsite with our our BIA machine (bioelectrical analysis).

Currently, most people understand the differences between the good (unsaturated fat), bad (saturated fat) and ugly (trans-fat) fats. Oils derived from animal fat are not good for our health due to their high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, and that oils derived from plants are generally good for our health due to their unsaturated fat content. However, not all unsaturated fats are healthy. Many plant seed oils such as sunflower, peanut and corn oil are rich in inflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and devoid of anti-inflammatory PUFAs.

On the other hand, some plant seed oils such as olive oil, grape seed, and avocado have balanced PUFAs and are considered healthier. Therefore, it is important to distinguish between the types of PUFAs in dietary oils for optimal health. Notice I didn’t include canola oil in the plant seed oils as popularly believed to be healthy.  Did you know it’s typically extracted and refined using high heat, pressure, and petroleum solvents such as hexane.  Most canola oil undergoes a process of caustic refining, degumming, bleaching, and deodorization, all using high heat and questionable chemicals. Even worse, all of this high heat, high pressure processing with solvents actually forces some of the omega-3 content of canola oil to be transformed into trans fats.

The basics:  Omega-3 and Omega-6 are two types of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are both required for the body to function but have opposite effects when it comes to the inflammatory response and cardiovascular health. Omega 3’s and are anti-inflammatory & Omega 6’s and are inflammatory. Omega 3’s & 6’s compete with electrolytes (sodium & potassium) to get inside the cells. Too much Omega-6 and too little Omega-3 are among the causes for many diseases in modern society.

A healthy diet should contain a balanced Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio of about 1:1. The standard American diet (SAD) exhibits Omega-6:Omega-3 ratios ranging between 15:1 to 17:1. Americans get almost 70% of their PUFA (mostly omega-6) from oils, shortening, and margarine and just 6% from beans, seeds, and nuts, 1% from eggs, and 13% from meat, poultry, and fish. So when we talk about Omega-6 intake, we’re really talking about french fries (cooked in vegetable oil), packaged pastries (made with shortening), and processed, high-sugar, high-(vegetable)fat junk food intake. Epidemiology and dietary intervention studies have concluded that while an exceptionally high Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio promotes the development of many chronic diseases, a reduced Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio can prevent or reverse these diseases. Just eating some salmon, sardines, mussels, and pasteurized eggs can undo a lot of the damage.

Now that you have brushed up on the difference between the ratios of fat you will understand my statement of why I may never eat Walnuts again.

o3-o6-ratio nuts

fats in nuts

Since all these nuts have much more Omega 6 than Omega 3, we want to choose nuts that have relatively low amounts of PUFAs in order to limit the Omega 6 / Omega 3 imbalance we are exposed to. From the chart above you can see that the least Omega 3/6 imbalance risk is in macadamias, with only 1.5% coming from PUFA’s, and almost 60% from monounsaturated fats! The second best would be cashews and almonds. Walnuts have the worst Omega 6 / Omega 3 imbalance. Ironically, walnuts have the best Omega 3 : Omega 6 ratio and cashews have the worst ratio, but walnuts are the worst in terms of Omega 3 / 6 imbalance. The Omega 3 : 6 ratio does not have much significance when comparing nuts because none of these nuts have what we consider a “good” Omega 3 : Omega 6 ratio (i.e., at least 1:2). Although walnuts do contain a bit more Omega 3 than other nuts, they are also 47% PUFAs, and therefore contain over 5 times more Omega 6’s than cashews. That means you would have to eat a lot of foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids just to counteract the inflammatory effects of walnuts.

For all you calorie counters out there I have included the chart below so you can see micro-nutrients for 5 nuts so you can add appropriate amounts to your diet based on your metabolism and activity level. Nuts not listed that aren’t really nuts but seeds that also have good ratios are flax and chia seeds.


Still confused and need to take a supplement to counter the Omega 6 imbalance you may have? Check this supplement out on my Metagenics website.
metagenics fish oils
FAQ on fish oils and purity click below:
references: Mark’s daily apple,
Like the info we provide?

Not a client? Live in town and interested in our personal training or nutrition coaching? Click here for a FREE Consult (value $87) or give us a call at 901-466-6242

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

Energy Fitness, 552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

February 12, 2016

Swimming can be relaxing & a great cardio workout once a person feels comfortable in the water and not gasping for air. If you are new to swimming and wondering where to get more information so you can incorporate it into your fitness regimen then this article is for you.

Why should you listen to me? I was introduced to swimming for fitness in high school in 1989 by a fellow track member that was also a swimmer. I participated in swimming for one year and only did freestyle & backstroke. For me, swimming was great cross training for cross country and track. I was pretty terrible looking back because as soon as I arrived at college swimming was one of my courses for my degree. My teacher said my form was terrible and often there was the teacher and the athletic trainer correcting my form at the same time. We worked on all the strokes and had to pass at certain proficiency level. After I learned the right way I really took it to the next level and became certified as a lifeguard and American red cross swim instructor in which I taught kids during the summers at a local pool.  After graduate school I became the Physical Director at a YMCA which required me to become a certified lifeguard instructor and the Y swim instructor certification. I had to supervise instructors making sure they were teaching correctly.  My days of regular instruction pool side are past and now I use my passion for swimming participating in triathlons and cross training and doing articles like this to help others.

I’m going to break this article into equipment, terminology, breathing, form, warm-ups/stretches, nutrition and workouts. Strokes discussed will be freestyle also known as front crawl, backstroke, breast stroke, side stroke and briefly discuss treading water.

 I like to get some equipment at either or

Swim Suit: ladies get a fitness suit as swimming in a bikini just doesn’t work.  Men: if comfortable try getting the mid-thigh spandex or boy shorts that are fitted to create less drag.

swim capCap (silicone or latex) Worried about your hair color? While taking a pre-swim rinse off make the water luke-warm to chilly as to not open the hair follicles. Next put a little conditioner in your wet hair to help keep the pool chemicals from soaking in your hair and stripping your color.

Ear plugs: I just buy regular ones from any drugstore and put in before doing the pre-swim rinse off (not the wax or swim specific ones as they are sub-par for me and actually hurt my ears). Just squeeze them out and let them dry to reuse several times.

gogglesGoggles:  get an anti-fog and if you are swimming outdoors get a sun reflective pair.  I prefer the suction silicone goggles instead of the foam gasket ones.  I also prefer the individual eye goggles as to the mask as it’s disorienting for me to use a mask.  Personal preference is key here for you to get most enjoyment from swimming. Prescription goggles are available as well.


speedo finsFins: these are great for developing leg strength, improving stroke and kick as well as gets you through water faster breaking up the monotony of swimming.  If I swim a mile then I use the fins for about 10-15 laps of combined kickboard, freestyle and backstroke & breast stroke.

swimming pull bouyPull buoy is a flotation device placed between your upper thighs while you drag your legs and don’t kick.  This is great used early in your lap swimming workout to help you get into good arm stroke form for the rest of your freestyle laps.

swim kickboardKickboard: these are great for holding during different kicks to improve your form and can be used as a break to catch your breath between full body strokes.


swim glovesHand webs or paddles: I personally don’t like to use these but many swimmers do to help their stroke and use resistance for their laps.  Use caution if you have shoulder issues and if you don’t have a good stroke or try to power through strokes with bad form and fast as you may develop shoulder issues if done wrong.  Search internet for instructional videos.

Watch:  either time your workouts or go by laps.  Tracking will help keep you motivated and inspired.

Water bottle: I fill mine with water and L-Glutamine for energy and muscle recovery.

Music: there are water proof headphones and players.

Post workout shake: important for recovery within 30 minutes post all workouts

Pre-nutrition/supplements: want to burn fat?  Don’t eat carbs before workout.  Get some amino acids and coconut water if you can bear the taste (it has a 4 to 1 ratio of potassium to sodium).

Pre-workout warm-up / stretches:  check out this to my video Dynamic Warm up

Shampoo/ conditioner: swim specific shampoo is helpful to keep the pool chemicals from weighing your hair down and blondes to keep from turning green.

Wetsuit:  (if you’re going to compete in open water swims)


Length is the distance from one end of the pool to the other

Lap is the distance from one end of the pool to the other AND back to your starting position

Distance– some pools are measured in yards and some are in meters. In general just over 18 laps is about ½ mile and 1 mile is 35 laps.

How do I keep up with how many laps or length I’ve done?

I previously used lots of kickboards to count laps before I had fins and just move one over after every 5 laps until several times I noticed while I was in the middle of a lap another swimmer would grab one of my boards not knowing I was using them to count.  That messed with my relaxation aspect of swimming so had to find a new method.

Now, I like to count every five as my mind wanders when I’m swimming so 5 works for me and I don’t want to pause swimming any more frequently to track.  I have 7 objects that I stack in a pile and after every five laps I move one to the left or right depending on my mood for the day.  This counts out 35 laps.  If I swim 1.5 miles then that means all by objects move to a new pile to the right and when I have completed 5 laps past 1 mile then I move another object to the left. (FYI…my objects are shoe, shoe, pull buoy, water bottle, fin, fin, kickboard).

I’ve seen other swimmers push the lane rope buoys towards the side of the pool marking their laps.

Turn:  the transition of how to turn around when reaching the end of the pool and return to the other end smoothly. I will only discuss two turns for this article. An open turn is when 1 or both hands touch the wall in combination with both knees pulling towards your chest as you rotate your body to use your feet touching the wall to power squat off the wall towards the other end of the pool in a glide underwater position. An open turn is usually for breast stroke & butterfly. A flip turn is when you do a front somersault when you are just about arms length from the pool wall.  This one is a bit more complicated and not a swimming 101 article teaching point. Search for some flip turns on the internet.

Catch: this is the point at which the stroke begins after a glide. On the freestyle this is when the hand enters the water overhead and in line with the midline of your body.

Pull: this is the middle position for strokes and should be smooth.  This the point for inhaling air for both the breast stroke and freestyle.

Finish: the position your hands are in (outside your thigh on freestyle & backstroke).  This is where the power of your stroke comes from; however, beginners usually think it’s the catch phase.

Propulsion:  comes from a good catch, pull and push. It means you go further on each stroke as you are propelling yourself forward better.

Low drag comes from a good body position, a straight body and an effective kick. Low drag means you go further on each stroke because you slip through the water more easily. This is a good factor in a long stroke.

A glide in the stroke means you pause and wait a while before performing the next stroke, gliding a bit further off the last stroke. When you add an element of glide into your stroke you introduce a pause which unless you have great timing and rhythm will not be an energy saver as you may think. Remove the glide, don’t decelerate between strokes and it’ll feel easier and you’ll be faster.

Pullout: This is used to travel 5-10 yards under water after the wall push off and before getting past the flags.  It is important to be as streamline as possible during this pre-glide phase.

Flags:  these are the flags usually located 5 strokes away from each end of the pool.

Lane ropes:  these divide the lanes

Timing clock: sometimes found on the side of the pool and great for timing your intervals or rest breaks

Line at bottom of pool: this is great to help you swim straight. If you are sharing the lane looking at it helps you to swim between the lane rope and the outside of the line.

Short course (for 25 meter or 25 yard pools):  the lane buoys change color at the 15 meter mark.

T at the end of the swim straight line: this helps alert swimmers the end of the lane is less than 5 meters away and usually when swimmer is atop of the T denotes a good time to tuck into a flip turn.

Starting blocks:  these are what experienced swimmers or swim team participants use to start all races except for the backstroke in which case is started with the swimmer in the water holding the side of pool or the handles located under an official starting block.

Efficiency of stroke:  typically a good stroke rate more info on this check out  Count how many arm strokes it takes you to swim one length.  A rate of 22-26 is within acceptable range for low drag and higher efficiency.

Other videos to see strokes (Speedo international)

Fingers:  keep them together and in fact a little scooped or cup like

Sharing lanes & Swim etiquette:  when trying to get the attention of a swimmer in which you wish to share the lane and they do not see you trying to get their attention it is acceptable to place a kickboard between the swimmer and the wall to get their attention when the swimmer is about 7-10 yards away from the wall.  Ask to share the lane and if they want to same side swim or circle swim. It is not acceptable to circle swim when one swimmer is clearly faster or slower than another. Stay at least one body length behind the swimmer ahead of you.

Strokes & Form

Freestyle also known as front crawl is regarded as the fastest of the four front primary strokes. It is one of two long axis strokes, the other one being the backstroke. A flutter kick is used with this stroke.

Breaststroke is performed face down in the water without rotating the torso. The arms stay in the water and move synchronously, while the legs perform a whipkick. It is possible to keep the head elevated out of the water throughout the stroke, although the head usually dips in and out.

Backstroke also known as back crawl. Similar to the front crawl, but done while lying on the back. One arm reaches behind the head with a pinky finger tip entry while the other arm is by the side. I do old school version and have thumb exit water and rotate wrist quickly to enter water above head with pinky. Tips for tracking straight..1) look towards your feet at end of pool 2) cut your eyes to one side so you can see a lane rope 3) if covered pool look at ceiling and stay on one side of beam or other sighting point.

Sidestroke is performed on the side, pull the water as if with a rope with arms going out and stopping in the middle, while ensuring that the strokes are most hydrodynamic when moving towards the desired location, and pushing the most water when moving away from the location. In addition, the legs are performing a scissors kick, which is like breaststroke kick, but sideways.

Breathing – When should I breathe?

Take your pick depending on your fitness level and comfort level, speed and the stroke you are doing. When doing freestyle stroke keep your head in water enough that your eyebrows are below waterline but always be looking ahead with chin tilted toward direction you are swimming.

Freestyle: 1) Every stroke breathing all on one side (try breathing on your right side going to one end and your left side returning 2) Every third stroke breathing alternates breathing on your right and left as you travel to the ends of the pool 3) Every forth stroke breathing requires that you breathe on same side each time.  This is great when using the pull buoy for breath control.  I don’t recommend the forth stroke breathing  for beginners or people that don’t have a great cardio base as it doesn’t offer your body enough air for you to keep good timing and rhythm.

Breast stroke breathing you lift your head every stroke and breathe or every other stroke.  Kickboard breathing can be done either with your head looking straight ahead or with your head turned sideways with your ear resting on your outstretched arm during the freestyle kick.

Sidestroke breathing is easy as you will have one ear in the water and your face and mouth not in the water but slightly directed forward and up.

Open water swimming breathing: search the internet as this is not for discussion in this article.

Treading water: is in the water head up and feet down. Different kicks, such as the eggbeater kick also known as the rotary kick, and hand movements are used to stay afloat. This is useful to keep the head out of the water for a better view or to catch an object as for example in water polo. A slow and wide scissor kick can be used as well.

(lap counts equal half-mile to total mile just double to get to 35 laps)
For a pdf version of this article including these workouts click here.

How long should it take me to do these workouts? When racing freestyle I can complete a mile in about 26 minutes doing flip turns as they are faster. I have tested myself swimming a mile not racing to see the difference and it’s usually about 35 minutes but still with flip turns. So depending on your level of comfort in your strokes, length of rest breaks and your level of fitness the half-mile swim workouts should range from 20-30 minutes. When you progress to swimming a mile or just 3/4 of a mile plan on being in the pool around 50 minutes or less.

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Workout 1
3 laps Freestyle easy
3 laps Freestyle with pull buoy easy
3 laps Freestyle sprints 1 length (rest at end 30 seconds) will total 6 lengths
3 laps Kickboard – Backstroke flutter kick
3 laps Kickboard-Freestyle (sprint down 1 length and easy back)
3 laps Backstroke – easy first lap, sprint 2nd lap and easy last lap

Workout 2
5 laps Freestyle moderate
3 laps Backstroke fast
3 laps Kickboard- free or back flutter(1 length fast & 1 length slow)
5 laps Freestyle down sprint & Backstroke back slow to recover
2 laps side stroke

Workout 3
3 laps Freestyle easy
10 laps Freestyle sprint (down and back rest 1 minute between)
3 laps Flutter kick freestyle
2 laps Freestyle sprint

Workout 4
10 laps Freestyle moderate
2 laps Breast stroke easy
2 laps Back stroke moderate
2 laps Freestyle sprint
2 laps Back stroke easy

Workout 5
5 laps Freestyle easy
5 laps Freestyle pull buoy (sprint length and easy recover back)
5 laps Freestyle (sprint length and easy Breast stroke recover back)
3 laps Backstroke kickboard (moderate to easy)

Workout 6
2 laps Freestyle easy
2 laps Freestyle pull buoy
2 laps Freestyle sprint
2 laps Freestyle kickboard moderate
4 laps Backstroke sprint
1 lap Side stroke easy
5 laps alternate between freestyle, backstroke, breast stroke, freestyle and backstroke

Not a client? Live in town and interested in our personal training or nutrition coaching? Click here for a FREE Consult (value $87) or give us a call at 901-466-6242

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

Energy Fitness, 552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

August 6, 2015

Have you heard of carb cycling?  What about calories cycling? As I talk to people that know I am a fitness and nutrition professional they often think healthy eating is just something they could never achieve.   It could be that they and you are looking at calories differently than others.  Think about how you view each new day in terms of “healthy eating”.  If I had a dollar for every person that tells me they “eat healthy” then I would be retired right now but sadly I am not.

I recently visited a family member and took a cooler filled with fish and turkey as well as veggies. I also had food that did not need to be in the fridge such as tortilla rounds, protein shake powder, rice cakes, almond nut butter, blue diamond round rice crackers and some flax and grain gluten free crackers I picked up from Costco.  Of course for my higher carb days I had packed with me gluten free graham crackers and other sugary treats like honey flavored chex cereal, marshmellows and some dairy free chocolate chips because I love sugar as do my kids.

So back to carb cycling and how it can help you lose weight and/or finally see those abs. I aim to break your line of thinking on this topic.  Just think of how body builders easily manipulate their weight up and down.  It’s really just meal timing, supplements and changing up the way you give your body energy.  Hopefully the statements below can start getting in your brain and accounts for different personality types thinking.

Think of carbs (carbohydrates) as pasta, bread, cereal, pastries, candy, sugar, potatoes (root veggies) & fruits.   A carbohydrate is the bodies preferred source of fuel and provides 4 calories per every 1 gram.  If you have carbs available and keep re-feeding your body with them then that is what your body will burn…not fat. Those phone apps are great but if weight loss is your goal then try changing your line of thinking to things like this:

  • I need to look at my diet in weekly terms instead of I want this today. This way I can look forward to my cheat days.Healthy High-Calorie Foods
  • I will go NO more than two days eating whatever carbs I want. (This is a good motto!)
  • I will notice how my body starts dumping water (frequent urination) when I cut back on carbs.
  • Is my body deficient in bread? If you are hooked on bread sub for tortilla, lettuce, cabbage or seaweed, rice crackers, or rice cakes.
  • Is this food I am about to eat supporting my nutrition goal for the day and for the week overall?
  • I will notice that I may need to actually add sodium/potassium to my food if my eyes are puffy and my urine is clear (loss of electrolytes which can make you have foggy brain, fatigue and irritability).
  • I will try amino acids in pill or powder form before workouts as I don’t know what to eat before working out! If you are doing more intense weight training you may want to try either a boiled egg or rice cake with nut butter.
  • I will learn to shop for foods with nutrient value in mind.  I need protein, green leafy veggies, good fats (avocados, nuts, healthy oils), fiber.
  • If I hate to drink water then I will consume some easy veggies that don’t need to be cooked such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peppers.
  • I will at least look at nutrition labels to start learning what low carb really means.  A low carb diet is 150 carbs per day.  A very low carb diet is 75-100 carbs per day.  A very very low (induction phase lasting 2-3 weeks) is 25-74 carbs per day.
  • I may be willing to try counting carbs every day using the method of adding 20 grams of carbs each day leading up to cheat day (usually consume 3 times the amount of carbs that you have been consuming).
  • I am just willing to watch my portions size. Example: Man at 200 lbs., 150grams of protein is equal to 600 calories, 60 grams of carbs is equal to 240 calories.
  • Tell myself “It´s a fairly simple diet actually! Eat when I’m hungry and until I’m are satisfied remembering that I don’t need as much food as I think I do.”
  • If I deplete my body of the several thousand calories of carbs stored in my body then my body will burn fat for fuel.
  • If I eat a lot one day or two days in a row then the next day I will be in the mindset of consuming minimal high quality calories and think of it as detox.
  • On my cheat days I can have these without going hog-wild crazy: Alcohol-Dry wine (regular red wine & dry white), whiskey, brandy, vodka, drinks without sugar and/or sweetener. Dark chocolate – Minimum of 70% cacao (everyday just a tiny piece if needed)

By cutting back on carbs and then having a re-feed, binge, re-fuel, cheat day you are telling your body that you are not in starvation mode and not to store fat. Now go out there and use this info to be your best self, cheesy but helpful we hope.

If you are not a client and interested in getting a FREE personal training or nutritional consult then give us a call at 901-466-6242 or request a free consult (value $87) by clicking here.

Energy Fitness, 552 South Main – Downtown Memphis Tennessee

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.


July 19, 2015

Energy Fitness is a boutique personal training and nutrition coaching studio located downtown Memphis since 2002.

We are so excited to have Forever Ready Productions produce a video showcasing our services with clients speaking and giving Memphis and surrounding area residents a sneak peek of our semi-private personal training sessions.

Look better and feel great. Give us a call 901-466-6242

We are located at 552 S Main Street in the South Main District just across from the Train Station and just down from the Arcade Restaurant.

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

April 1, 2015

Personal trainer Tonya Tittle of Energy Fitness Downtown Memphis often finds that many people seem to accept nagging knee pain as part of life.  She and her staff have helped many clients strengthen and stretch the muscles, tendons, and fascia around the knee, thus either reducing or eliminating pain.

In this blog post, we are going to specifically address knee pain on the outside (lateral) of the leg.  See picture below as well as Click on PICTURE TO SEE VIDEO OF HOW TO MANUALLY USE TRIGGER POINT THERAPY OR CLICK HERE.

trigger point for knee pain still shot

Often times our bodies get in movement patterns that create an imbalance or shearing force that can create referral pain.  Referral pain for example:  wrist pain caused by tight forearm flexors/extensor or pronator/supinator muscles (muscles right below elbow on thumb side).  Who gets these?  office workers, tennis or golf players.

Try these easy steps to eliminate/manage knee pain:

1) Perform trigger point therapy every other day as shown in video link (not everyday as tissue needs time to heal).

2) Get new exercise shoes – science tends to lean toward minimalist shoes so that your foot lands in the position most natural for your body mechanics. A flexible, almost fold in half type tennis shoes or shoes similar to vibram barefoot is what we mean by minimalist.

3) Warm-up before exercise using dynamic stretching (movement) as opposed to static stretching (holding 10 seconds to 3 minutes). Static stretching has been proved to reduce strength by 7% for 24 hours.  Static stretching is to be used for injuries or post workout. Think movement drills like what athletes  do when you think of dynamic stretching.  See below for pictures and a routine.

4)  Runner?  Don’t run on the same side of the street as the slant/incline as this creates constant stress/flexion on the muscles of the calves and shins.

5) Cross train because running on consecutive days doesn’t lend to tissue repair. If you run and cycle, just remember you are overworking your hip flexors and quads and thus lending to tightness in the knee and hip flexors which tend to pull on the IT (ILiotibial band).

Dynamic Stretching Routine

1 leg bike 2  IT band & dynamic hip open on back

Click here for easy downloadable PDF for 14 more pictures of exercises or copy and post into new browser

Not a client? Live in town and interested in our personal training or nutrition coaching? Click here for a FREE Consult (value $87) or give us a call at 901-466-6242

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

Energy Fitness, 552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

October 9, 2013

Should You Take This?

As a part of our Energize method of training  supplementation is one of the 6 components to success.  I have recently done extensive research on L-arginine and I am recommending it to several clients.  I’ve dropped an additional 2% body fat and lowered my blood pressure from 110/70 to 90/60 since incorporating L-arginine into my supportive fitness regime.  My resting heart rate has also dropped from 55 to 44 beats per minute.  As always, be sure to consult your physician before taking any medication or supplements of any kind.vitamin

What is L-arginine & Why It’s Important?

 L-arginine is an amino acid that is crucial for the body to make protein. L-arginine is found mostly in red meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. Your body converts L-arginine into nitric oxide and improves blood flow by expanding blood vessels with will alleviate chest pains, clogged arteries and headaches. It also encourages the release of growth hormone and insulin in the body.

Benefits of L-arginine

Some benefits of taking L-arginine supplements include:
– Improved Cardio Endurance
– Improved Immune System
– Lower Blood Pressure
– Improved Sexual Health
– Increased EnergyL-arginine has also been used to boost the immune system, treat male infertility and when used topically, to increase blood flow to cold hands and feet and improve wound healing time.


Dosing adjustments may be necessary in people with bleeding disorders.

Caution should be used in those with diabetes.  Blood glucose levels should be monitored.

Use caution when taking phosphodiesterase inhibitors (Viagra®), due to a theoretical risk of additive blood vessel widening and blood pressure lowering.

Use with caution in postmenopausal patients, as night sweats and flushing have been reported.

Use with caution in patients with herpes virus, as L-arginine may increase the risk of herpes simplex cold sores.  This interaction can be mitigated by taking L-lysine supplements about 2 hours separately from L-arginine.

Arginine may cause bloating; diarrhea; endocrine changes; gastrointestinal discomfort; hives; increased blood urea nitrogen, serum creatine, and serum creatinine; increased inflammatory response; leg restlessness, lower back pain; nausea, numbness (with arginine injection); rash; reduction in hematocrit; severe tissue necrosis with extravasation; systemic acidosis; or venous irritation. In heart disease patients, arginine may cause high white blood cell count, increased post-heart attack deaths, lack of energy and strength, and vertigo or increased blood pressure (in heart transplant patients).

Not a client and want a Free Fitness or Nutrition Consult (value $87) or

interested in our Personal Training Services click here or call us 901-466-6242.

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

Energy Fitness trainers can help you get a tight and toned body with our 30 minute personal training sessions and our custom meal plans.

south main circle with tonya


September 27, 2013

Energy Fitness Personal Trainers in Memphis teach you how to do a fitness assessment on yourself .

Click here to download testing sheets, pictures and video so you can be as accurate as possible. Do a fitness assessment every 4-6 weeks.  See

additional tips at bottom of this blog and to register for a FREE Consultation (value $87).

Scoring Norms: (source-YMCA of Usa)

Resting Heart Rate: take for either 1 full minute or for 15 seconds and multiply x 4 – Healthy range is between 40-70 beats per minute

BodyFat  percentage if you get the tanita bodyfat scale as suggested in video:  Healthy Range for women 19-23%, men 16-20%

Push Ups: Female – on knees


Age: 20-29 years      30-39 years   40-49 years   50-59 years    60-69 years

90%    32 reps              31 reps             28 reps          23  reps         25 reps
80%    26 reps              24 reps           22 reps          17 reps            15 reps
70%    22 reps              21 reps           18 reps           13 reps            12 reps
60%    20 reps              17 reps           14 reps           10 reps            10 reps
50%    16 reps               14 reps           12 reps           9 reps              6 reps
40%    14 reps               12 reps           10 reps           5 reps              4 reps
30%    11 reps                10 reps            7 reps           3 reps              2 reps
20%     9 reps                  7 reps            4 reps            1 reps              0 reps
10%     5 reps                  4 reps             2 reps           0 reps              0 reps

Push Ups: Male – on toes


Age: 20-29 years    30-39 years    40-49 years    50-59 years    60-69 years

90%  41 reps            32 reps            25 reps            24  reps           24 reps
80%     34 reps        27 reps            21 reps             17 reps             16 reps
70%     30 reps        24 reps            19 reps             14 reps             11 reps
60%     27 reps        21 reps             16 reps             11 reps             10 reps
50%     24 reps        19 reps             13 reps             10 reps              9 reps
40%     21 reps        16 reps             12 reps               9 reps              7 reps
30%     18 reps        14 reps             10 reps               7 reps              6 reps
20%     16 reps        11 reps               8 reps               5 reps              4 reps
10%      11 reps         8 reps               5 reps                4 reps             2 reps

Inches Reached on Floor Stretch – FLEXIBILITY

Female                                                                 Male

80-90 %              21-22 inches                      17-20 inches
50-75%               17-20 inches                      15-19 inches
35-45%                15-16 inches                       13-14 inches
20-30%                12-14 inches                      11-12 inches
5-15%                   No Norms                            No Norms

tips:  we suggest taking photos of yourself at different angles and dating the pictures. we also highly suggest you watch the video above as we tell you extra tips to get the most accurate results for your Do It Yourself Fitness Assessment.

Not a client and want a Free Fitness or Nutrition Consult (value $87) or

interested in our Personal Training Services click here or call us 901-466-6242.

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

Energy Fitness trainers can help you get a tight and toned body with our 30 minute personal training sessions and our custom meal plans.

south main circle with tonyaEnergy Fitness, 552 South Main, Memphis, 901-523-2348 (BFIT)