Friday, May 29, 2009


So like many of us who are working on self-improvement, you want to make positive changes in your life, maybe you struggle with regressing back to your old ways. Ever wonder what could be an underlying cause or factor?

Think of your habits and how they affect your life. Are they good habits, neutral or are they destroying you? Look, habits are a big deal and we need to keep them in check for our own personal gain as well as realize how they affect the important people in our lives. We are in control of our habits and only we can make necessary changes if needed. Evaluate your habits and determine if they are making a positive impact in your life; if not how can you modify your habits?

The following is definitely the best explanation of a habit that I have ever heard:

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me, and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great men; and, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine; Plus, the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I am a HABIT!
- Author Unknown

Which of all the habits do you choose to be yours? Monty Moran

Share your habits. What are some good habits that you have? What are your bad habits that you would like to change? What are some ways you have thought of to reverse those habits? If you are unsure on how to change them - list the habit and I will try to list suggestions to help you out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Join Monty this summer for an intense workout experience. This is a traveling boot camp, in which we will visit multiple outdoor locations throughout the summer around the Fargo-Moorhead area. Each boot camp will be two hours long and consist of a warm-up, challenging workout, and cool-down.

No gym membership required.

Single Session - $50
Monthly Rate (Current Clients) - $70
Monthly Rate (non-client) - $80
6 Sessions - $200

Summer Boot Camp Dates:
June 6, 2009
June 20, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 25, 2009
August 1, 2009
August 15, 2009

Contact myself by phone or text at (701) 261-9636 or by email at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Recommended Site - Spark People

Looking for a great site for tracking your meals and workouts?

Try, I recommend it to all my clients. It’s set up like FaceBook where you can join groups, add friends, enter your daily meal diary and exercise log. Then it will give you reports as to how you faired with your nutrition and energy expenditures for the day. The following is an excerpt from a SparkPeople article.

Keep the Weight Off with Daily Weigh-Ins

Sometimes the hardest part of weight loss is keeping it off. It can be daunting to know that within two years, most dieters regain two-thirds of what they lost! But researchers at Brown University Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island studied 291 people (mostly women) who had lost at least 10% of their body weight (an average of 44 pounds) in the previous two years. Participants were given scales (and encouraged to use them daily), as well as different levels of support (either a monthly email, an internet chat group, or face-to-face meetings).

At the onset of the study, 40% of the dieters were weighing themselves daily. After 18 months, 65% of those who chatted online and 72% of those who received face-to-face support weighed themselves daily, while those without support weighed themselves less. On top of that, 68% of dieters who did NOT weigh-in daily gained five pounds or more over the course of the 18-month study.

Action Sparked: This study shows the importance both social support (either online or in person), and keeping track of your progress--even after you have already met your goal. You can get (and give!) plenty of support on the SparkPeople Message Boards, from your exercise buddies, trainer, family, and friends too.

When you weigh yourself regularly, you're more likely to catch weight gain early on--and do something about it. Give yourself about a 5-pound range to stay within, and continue to watch your calories and get plenty of exercise after you meet your goal. While daily weigh-ins might not be necessarily for everyone, you can still keep yourself in check with consistent, weekly weigh-ins, body fat tests, or other measurements (such as waist, hips, etc.).

Exercise Extra: Muscle weights more than fat, but takes up less space. So don't be surprised if you end up gaining some weight as a result of exercising.

Monty’s comment
This study is proof that we can’t do things like this on our own. Support, consistent feedback and accountability are key ingredients for weight loss success.

In regards to the “Exercise Extra” Section. This is a misleading statement. One pound equals one pound whether it’s muscle, fat or sand. Yes muscle is denser than fat and does take up less space. Meaning a person can gain 20 pounds of muscle and lose only 10 pounds of fat and still look thinner even though they weigh 10 pounds more. That’s the definition of a toned look.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Is All Olive Oil Created Equal?

Definitely not.

To begin with, there are several types of olive oil, each determined by the m
ethod of processing.

Virgin olive oil is produced only by physical means, rather than by chemical treatment. The best stuff comes from only ripe olives (as green and overripe olives produce bitter and rancid oil, respectively) ground into a paste using millstones or steel drums. By definition, a virgin olive oil has not undergone any processing other than washing, decanting, centrifuging, and filtering (although none of these are required for virgin oil, nothing else is permitted). Some heat can be applied and, as long as it doesn’t alter the composition of the oil, the process can still be dubbed virgin pressing.

Refined olive oil is poor quality (either due to acid content or other defects) virgin oil that must be refined if it is to be edible. Refining is usually done with charcoal filters or chemical processes. Refined olive oil is more shelf-stable, but it’s also essentially flavorless.

Olive pomace oil is extracted from the olive solids (pomace) leftover from the pressing, usually with chemical solvents. This isn’t really olive oil, and it’s definitely not meant to be eaten. Most olive oil-based soaps you see are made with olive pomace oil.

Blended olive oil is, in my opinion, to be generally avoided. While it can be a blend of different olive oil varieties, it’s usually blended with canola or some other vegetable oil. You’ll get increased shelf life and polyunsaturated fat content along with less monounsaturated fat. No thanks.

Light olive oil isn’t actually less caloric; it just lacks flavor. Besides, why would anyone want to eat less monounsaturated fats?

Extra virgin olive oil is widely regarded as the pinnacle of olive oils. According to the International Olive Oil Council (of which, beware, the United States is not a member), extra virgin olive oil must contain at most 0.8% acidity, with a “superior taste.” Extra virgin can also be unfiltered (which deepens the flavor and reduces shelf life) or cold-pressed (wherein the pressing is slow and gradual, without generating much frictional heat, and which results in better flavors). Extra virgin also contains the most polyphenols, which are some of my favorite antioxidants.

What to Look For – A Few Things to Keep in Mind About Olive Oil
Just because something is labeled “extra virgin,” though, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good. In fact, rather than buying a mid-priced or inexpensive bottle of Italian or Greek extra virgin olive oil, you might look for a local – or at least domestic – brand. Those extra virgins are fragile oils, and the journey from the Mediterranean can result in a bland bottle. I’ve also read that a lot of the extra virgin that makes it over here in mass quantities isn’t worth it (and that’s been my experience, sadly).

When choosing an oil, treat it a bit like wine and engage your senses. Smell it – it should smell like olives, very clean and almost like grass and apples. Don’t rely too much on sight – the color of an oil is easily manipulated. Instead, go with the one that really matters: taste. Take a half teaspoon or so into your mouth and swirl it around (again, like wine). First and foremost, it should taste like olives, but there are other flavors in the best oils. Grassiness, apples, even fennel are pretty common in really great olive oil. If it’s metallic-tasting, it’s probably rancid. If it’s light, delicious, and barely coats your mouth (without feeling greasy), it’s probably great stuff. And then my favorite part, the finish. The best oils from the first harvest with the highest antioxidant content will leave a spicy finish on your throat, like mild peppers.

Just experiment. Keep trying them until you find one you like. The different varietals are all unique, so your journey might be a long one.

The thing with olive oil is that you need to use it the right way. The best extra virgin, unfiltered, cold-pressed olive oil should never be used to sauté something because heat can mar the delicate flavor. Instead, use high quality stuff as a finisher. Cook with butter then top the dish off with your prized extra virgin oil. That way, the taste and nutritional benefits are retained without wasting any of your precious nectar on a cast iron skillet.


Store your oil in a cool, dark place. Heat and light are now your biggest enemies (be sure to buy an oil in a dark bottle). Extra virgin is the least stable, so keep it at a good temp (somewhere between 57 and 65 degrees, like a wine cellar). You can refrigerate other olive oils if your kitchen is too hot, but refrigerating extra virgin olive oil can disrupt the delicate flavors. If you get extra virgin that’s tasty enough, of course, you won’t have to worry about long-term storage – you’ll be guzzling it straight out of the bottle.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Rings: Part 1

Getting bored with push-ups, and the pec deck? Try this.

You’ll need rings from, a pull-up bar or similar and a wall or something to put your feet on.

Here’s my recommended progression:
Lower the rings to about 2” off the floor. Start on your knees and perform push-ups. Next try chest flyes like you would on the pec Deck or with dumbbells. Then combine the two in a super set where you do as many flyes as possible then proceed right into doing as many push-ups as possible.

Once you gain stability in your arms make it tougher by going on your toes vs. the knees as mentioned above.

Next, try putting your feet on a bench or box. This progression keeps adding weight to your arms- more resistance.

Now before you try doing the feet on the wall version, I’d suggest practicing doing push-ups with your feet on the wall on hands on the floor. There’s a certain element of extra body stability required for this. Plus, you’ll learn that you’ll have to push yourself into the wall with your arms.

Got it down?

Now try the feet on the wall rings flyes and push-ups version. Once that gets easier you can add a weighted vest. And for those of you who are truly phenomenal… no feet! Then join a gymnastics team.

Friday, May 1, 2009

FAQ Session 1

There are so many confused and misinformed people that come to me for training.
Let’s address 5 questions I'm often asked.

1) I don’t want to bulk up so can I not do any weight lifting?

Okay, understandable. The majority of the population has no interest in bulking up. So if we keep the resistance high and reps and sets low, the result is stronger and leaner bodies. Conversely, when we do moderate weights and lots of reps and sets the muscles and tissues around the muscles adapt to workload by increasing mitochondria, glycogen and water storage as well as storing fat alongside the muscle cells for added energy storage (like an external gas tank). All these additions to the muscles will obviously make them bulky. Resistance training with high weights and low reps and sets simply stimulates the muscle to become stronger, not necessarily bigger. Sure the muscles will grow, but it usually results in that toned look that many are striving for.

2) How long will it take to lose all this fat (as they grab hold of their belly)?

Maybe the counter question should be, how long have you been fat and out of shape? Changing the body over to lean and strong depends on where you started from. Not an easy question to answer. I’ve seen people who have been in great shape prior to their set back and see a drop in their size in 3 weeks. More commonly it takes 4 months for true life changing results to happen. The secret is a 4-way dynamic: diet, exercise, rest and belief. You must eat clean and not over nourish. Exercise is something the body needs often and higher intensities work best. Lack of sleep is a leading culprit to weight gain as well as inability to recover from your hard work in the gym. You have to believe you are making progress, believe you are feeding your body the right foods, and believe you are truly a special person and taking care of yourself is the right thing for you and those closest to you.

3) How often do I need to workout each week and how long will the workouts be?
Cortisol is a stress hormone, frequent exercise can lower this nemesis. I say this because it’s unsavory effect on most people is adding fat to the mid-section. But hold on, hormones are delicate little things. Face it exercise is technically a form of stress. Once you get past an hour of training the Cortisol levels start to rise again. So the solution is to keep the workouts intense and under an hour. The other secret you see on weight loss reality shows is multiple workouts in a day. For most of us, it’s a session in the morning and another at night. Meaning you could be doing 10 workouts a week. I wouldn’t suggest 2-a-day everyday- remember the body needs to rest and recover. That’s why I don’t work on Wednesdays. It forces my clients to take a break during the week.

4) I’m too heavy to run can I do something else?
While I admit I’m not much of a runner, I do see clients get greater results when they incorporate running into their exercise regime. And sure when most start out in a severely de-conditioned state, running is not an option. Walking uphill is generally my first approach towards increasing exercise intensity beyond walking. Biking and elliptical machines are also supplements for cardio training but not replacements.

5) Why do you keep changing my exercise program?
"I like the one I’m doing now." I could talk forever about this but to avoid being redundant, I’m going to refer you to the blog dedicated to this topic: your 3 weeks are up. It's in the February archives.


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