All About Fitness

Are you active? Do you like to exercise? Do you want to know the best fitness plans for your goals? All About Fitness is here to help you identify the most effective workout programs for your needs. Pete McCall has been educating personal trainers around the world for more than twelve years and is now using that experience and knowledge to help you with your questions about exercise. The primary purpose of All About Fitness is to explain how exercise can slow down the aging process allowing you to add years of enjoyment to your life. A longtime spokesperson and media resource Pete has been quoted in Men's Health, Shape, Muscle and Fitness Hers, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and numerous other periodicals. In addition, he has written textbook chapters for two of the largest personal training certifications and works with many popular fitness brands as a consultant and educator. If you want to maximize the results from your time spent sweating then be sure to catch each episode of All About Fitness.
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Jul 17, 2017

The past six Presidents of the United States, Barak Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Cinton, George HW Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, have had one thing in common: each enjoyed exercise. The past number of White House residents were each shown participating in favorite fitness-based pastimes from jogging to basketball to weightlifting to mountain biking and from selecting Arnold Schwarzenegger for the President's Fitness Council (HW Bush) to hosting yoga on the White House lawn (Obama) each played an active role in setting a positive example for health and fitness. 

Both in and out of office President George W. Bush has set a positive example for an active lifestyle.

On this episode of All About Fitness, Assistant Professor of American History and Co-host of the Past-Present podcast, Natalia Petrzela, and I discuss the role that Presidents have played in establishing promoting a healthy and fit lifestyle. This is based on the excellent article that Dr. Petrzela wrote for the Washington Post on President Trump and his well-known diet which is does more to expand the waist line than shrink it and is far from a positive example of healthy.  

President Reagan with Arnold Something-or-other

The discussion specifically focuses on the role that the occupant of the Oval Office has played in helping set a positive focus on health and fitness. From Teddy Roosevelt boxing with his Secret Service protection to John F. Kennedy calling Americans 'soft,' over the years most Presidents have understood that they have an important role in promoting good health in our nation. If you are both a history and fitness buff you will really enjoy this discussion of Presidential fitness habits on All About Fitness.

President Carter and his wife walked the 1 mile (or so) from Capitol Hill to the White House during their inauguration in 1977


Follow Dr. Petrzela on social media:

Twitter: @NataliaPetrzela

Listen to her Past-Present podcast.


Questions/Comments/Book a guest:

Twitter: @PeteMc_Fitness

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness


Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

ActivMotion Bar

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness

Jul 12, 2017

Why would you hire a personal trainer? Would it be based on looks or knowledge? Just because a trainer looks great does not mean that he or she has the skills to help you optimize your level of health and fitness. It's important to remember that exercise is stress applied to the body; when done correctly you can achieve awesome results. If applied incorrectly exercise can cause injury or be fatal. When it comes to working with a personal trainer you want to make sure you select one who knows what the heck he or she is doing. On this episode of All About Fitness I interview Matt Berenc, the Director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute (EFTI) about the education process required for ALL of their trainers.

Matt Berenc giving a talk on how to optimize human performance.

Equinox is widely for having one of the best, most comprehensive education programs in the fitness industry. The company knows that education is the best way to enhance the member experience while strengthening employee engagement and retention. If you've ever wondered why you should hire a personal trainer and how they could help you maximize the results from your workout program you will enjoy this insightful episode of All About Fitness.

Matt using his favorite piece of exercise equipment.



To find an Equinox in your area visit: 

Follow Equinox: @equinox on both Twitter and Instagram

To find a nationally certified personal trainer in your area visit one of the following fitness certification organizations: 

American Council on Exercise 

National Academy of Sports Medicine 

National Strength and Conditioning Association


Contact me:

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness



Visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

Terra Core by Vicore, Better Products for Better Results; use the code AAF to save 20% on the purchase of a Terra Core

ActivMotion Bar - the first weighted bar with a dynamic, shifting mass, Let the resistance move YOU!

Jul 8, 2017

Not all health clubs are the same; many have similar types of equipment like treadmills, free weights and machines, but what really sets one health club apart from another is the environment, the education of the staff and how that creates a unique member experience. When was the last time someone from your health club or gym talked about understanding how exercise affects the human genome? David Harris is the Vice President of Health and Human Performance for Equinox, an upscale health club company with locations in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. Among his other duties for the company David chairs the Health Advisory Panel for Equinox which includes neurologists and molecular biologists who study how exercise affects the human body down to the cellular level.


David Harris, Vice President for Health and Human Performance, Equinox

The purpose of All About Fitness is to introduce you to the thought leaders and companies who are making a difference in how fitness is delivered to you, the consumer. As a health club company Equinox provides a variety of programs and services beyond just being a place to sweat. On this episode David and I speak about the role that exercise plays in preventative health care and how Equinox is positioning itself to offer a variety of lifestyle solutions that will help members maintain optimal health. In addition, we talk about the core pillars that establish Equinox's unique brand of fitness, why they exist and how they can help you to enhance your overall quality of life.  

To learn more about Equinox or to find a location near you, visit: 

To learn more about Equinox's unique brand of fitness, visit their blog: Furthermore

Twitter: @equinox 

Instagram: @Equinox 

If you work for a health club or studio that is offering unique programs for members, contact me: 


Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness

Terra Core by Vicore - Better Products for Better Results; use code AAF to save on the purchase of a Terra Core

ActivMotion Bar - Let the Resistance Move YOU!


Jul 8, 2017

Did you know that currently ZERO states require personal trainers or fitness instructors to have a license? Did you know that you need a license to cut hair or do nails (non-living tissue) yet anyone can simply call his or herself a 'fitness expert' and begin dispensing advice that could potentially be deadly? On this Quick Fit Tip of All About Fitness I explain the fitness certification process and why you should only work with instructors that have earned an accredited certification or have a college degree. As someone who currently does freelance work for two of the largest fitness certification organizations and teaches personal training courses in college (ok, junior college, but still) I offer unique insight and background into the process and why you should only be working with certified fitness professionals.


For 15 years I've been educating personal trainers and fitness instructors around the world to help them earn and maintain their professional certifications.

Back in the early 2000s the fitness industry agreed to an accreditation standard for fitness certifications (the National Commission for Certifying Agencies - NCCA run by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence - ICE). Since then health clubs have been advised to hire personal trainers and instructors with a certification accredited by the NCCA but this is only a suggestion and NOT a legal requirement.

Some health clubs have rigorous standards for hiring personal trainers and fitness instructors and offer extensive continuing education to ensure they are delivering the highest level of service possible. However at other health clubs trainers and instructors are often hired based purely on their appearance and are allowed to teach or train without having any existing credentials.

Why does this matter? Exercise is physical stress applied to the body, when done correctly it can impose the desired adaptations such as weight loss, muscle growth or improved definition. However, if an exercise program is too intense or too technically challenging at best it could cause an injury and at worst it could be fatal. On this episode I explain the education and certification process and tell you what you should be looking for when seeking the services of a trainer or fitness instructor. As one of my favorite quotes says: 'Now you know and knowing is half the battle.'*

Here are the largest (and most popular) certification organizations - in alphabetical order. Each one provides information on the certification process and has search engines to help you to find certified professionals in your area:

American College of Sports Medicine

American Council on Exercise

National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Strength and Conditioning Association

REPS - Registry of Exercise Professionals - You can check here to see if your trainer or instructor has an accredited certification. 


*Tweet me the source of this quote and you could win a free All About Fitness T-shirt! 

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Jun 29, 2017

On this episode of All About Fitness my former colleague from the American Council on Exercise and wellness expert Jessica Matthews returns to discuss her book: Stretching to Stay Young. There are three components of a well-designed workout program: strength or resistance training to increase lean muscle (and improve definition), energy system development (often mistakenly called 'cardio') and flexibility - often overlooked in favor of the other two components. In our discussion today, Jessica and I address the role that flexibility plays as an integral component of well-designed exercise program and how the right types of stretching can help reduce pain, improve physical performance and stave off the effects of the biological aging process.

It's always fun to catch up and hang out with Jessica when we're speaking at the same events

Jessica is a college faculty, PhD candidate, content contributor to well-known fitness magazines, international speaker and now a book author. I have known Jessica for the better part of a decade, consider her a good friend and have a tremendous amount respect for her contributions to our industry so I always enjoy the opportunity to sit down, catch up and talk shop. Besides discussing the science of stretching our conversation covers common mistakes could keep you from reaching your fitness goals.

Jessica in her happy place 

If you want to know how stretching can help you to stay young, then be sure to listen to this episode of All About Fitness. If you want to learn how to use foam rollers for myofascial release - a key component of flexibility and one that we mention in our discussion - check out my article for the American Council on Exercise HERE

Follow Jessica on social media:

Instagram: @FitExpertJess

Twitter: @FitexpertJess

Contact me:

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - Better Products for Better Results! Use code AAF to save 20% on the purchase of a Terra Core!

ActivMotion Bar - Let the Resistance Move YOU!


Jun 29, 2017

There are three primary components of any workout plan: strength or resistance training, energy system development (often mistakenly called 'cardio') and flexibility, or more appropriately, mobility training. Doing too much of any one of these components at the expense of the others could mean that your exercise program will not produce the results you want it to; additionally, if you want to how leaving a car in your backyard is relates to a proper, well-designed exercise program, tune in to the episode of All About Fitness.

Exercise should be a balance between strength training to help develop lean muscles, mobility training so they function properly and energy system development to ensure they have the proper fuel for activity. Or this is just an opportunity to stick in a gratuitous Arnold pic.

Strength training helps improve muscle force production. On the podcast I explain why cardio is a misnomer for how we exercise to improve aerobic capacity or anaerobic efficiency and flexibility is not exactly the most correct term to describe what is going on when we stretch. On this Quick Fit Tip I explain some of the proper terminology and why each component should be an important part of a successful workout plan. 

Quiz: True or False - this is the best way to stretch your muscles

Muscle imbalances can occur from repeating the same movement too frequently or from lack of regular movement; movement-based mobility exercise programs can help eliminate muscle imbalances and ensure proper joint function. To learn more see my blog on the topic I wrote for the American Council on Exercise.

There are two types of muscle tissue in the body: the contractile element responsible for generating force and the elastic component that distributes it around the body - to learn more about the difference and why we should be paying attention to our fascia read my article on the topic here




Answer: False, moving upright through a variety of different movement patterns, like in a Tai Chi kata, can be the most effective way to stretch and lengthen both types of muscle tissue.

Jun 24, 2017

How many times have you seen an advertisement for a fitness product or exercise program and wondered, "Does that really work?" On this episode of All About Fitness I talk with Clifton Harski about how to identify fitness programs that work and how to determine which ones are complete nonsense. We also talk about awesomeness - I'm not sure about you, but I am always interested in how I could be doing things a little better and Clifton is one of the most awesome guys I know so we discuss strategies on how to be more awesome. Clifton is the Director of Fitness Programming for Fitwall - a unique studio training concept THAT WORKS, as well as an educator responsible for teaching kettlebell and Animal Flow workshops to personal trainers. Clifton is a hella smart guy who knows how to design exercise programs that deliver results so his advice can help you identify workout programs to meet your needs.

Clifton is not only a cool guy, he's pretty freaking strong

I've gotten to know Clifton through his social media posts and consider him to be one of the most creative guys in our business; he creates killer, science-based workout programs for Fitwall and his social media videos and pics always crack me up so if you're looking for ways to make your life a little more awesome, he's the right guy to help you identify how. This video clip of Clifton recreating an old-time barbell workout from the era of physical culture is only one of the things that make him AWESOME! 



This pic of Mr. Harski in his 4th of July workout gear shows him in ALL of his innate awesomeness; a little cheesy? Yes - but having the confidence to pull it off is what makes it great!

Interested in what the heck a FitWall workout involves? Check out this video clip featuring Clifton and the FitWall team. Clifton is a Master Trainer, meaning he trains personal trainers, for both Kettlebell Athletics and Animal Flow.

Here's the backstory on this interview: as I started the podcast one of the pieces of advice I read was to have a couple of interviews saved for when you need to post a podcast and didn't have anyone scheduled. We had this conversation after a killer kettlebell workout next to the beach in San Diego and I saved it until now - the reason I'm launching it now is that Clifton and his wife (standing on his back above) just introduced a new bundle of awesomeness to the world, congratulations guys - hope you survive the experience. 


Follow Clifton on Social media:

Instagram: @Cliftonharski

Twitter: @Cliftonharski


My social media tags:

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness 



My blogs for the American Council on Exercise:




Jun 21, 2017

Adding muscle, improving definition or just simply looking better are popular reasons for starting a workout program. The past few episodes of All About Fitness have featured guests who specialize in a movement-based approach to exercise because, whether in sports or activities of daily living, moving better is the foundation for everything else from performance to appearance. Exercise programs that focus on movements like squats, lunges, pushes and pulls as well as multi-planar patterns are not only important for athletic performance but can also help produce a shredded physique. In an effort to discuss how the two approaches can merge to produce the results you want from your workouts I reached out to professional wrestler turned personal trainer and health coach: Giovanni Roselli.


Giovanni aka Romeo Roselli doing his thing in the ring

This was a fun interview for me because as a kid growing up in the 80s I was a huge (at the time) WWF fan. To me the wrestlers were real-life superheroes capable of amazing feats of strength and athleticism and were one of the inspirations for starting on my fitness journey in the first place. Giovanni and I met a few years ago and while I don't follow professional wrestling anymore I still have a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women who put it all on the line for their fans. It has been fun getting to know Gio and talking training, specifically how to balance the competing interests of training for performance AND physique.

As a wrestler Giovanni competed in the WWE and other circuits under the name Romeo Roselli; he now works as a personal trainer and health coach to help other people learn how to practice healthy behaviors like exercise and getting a good night's sleep. Gio is not just a personal trainer, he is also a master trainer responsible for teaching workshops on how to use exercise equipment like the ViPR and Core-Tex as well as being an ambassador for Pt on the Net - the leading online education resource for personal trainers. If you're not familiar with the ViPR, a relatively new and unique strength training tool, check out this video of Gio with the Trevor and Shawn from Genesis Performance.

As a trainer Gio created the Fully Loaded group fitness program for Equinox health clubs.

On this episode of All About Fitness we talk about how he trained as a wrestler - a major challenge given the travel and appearance schedule and how he exercises now that he is working full time in the fitness industry. We also talk about the importance of exercise programs that can help you to both look good and improve your overall quality of life. Getting results from strength training requires more than just lifting heavy - it's also extremely important to know a few training strategies that can help ensure proper muscle adaptation.

In this episode Gio and I discuss a number of exercise programs, including:

Institute of Motion and the 4Q Model of Exercise Programming and

Animal Flow


Follow me on:

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness 


Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

ActivMotion Bar - let the resistance move you.

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - Better products for better results! Use code AAF to save on the order of a Terra Core.

Jun 21, 2017

How can we judge the best athletes in the world? On this Quick Fit Tip edition of All About Fitness I talk about what it takes to be the world’s best athlete and what that means for your personal exercise program.


CrossFit positions itself as the sport of fitness. Ironman Triathlons and Ultradistance events challenge individuals to use their own energy to travel for more than 100 kilometers during a single competition. Endurance athletes, as well as CrossFit competitors, can be extremely fit and well conditioned, but these sports are based on cyclic, repetitive actions that don't require reacting to an opponent’s movements. Having the cognitive ability, speed, agility, strength, power and stamina to react to — or anticipate — an opponent’s movement can significantly elevate the demands of a competition.


Extreme sport athletes like big wave surfers, free climbers and mountain bikers have incredible skills and risk their lives for the love of their sports but may not always have attributes of endurance, strength and power required to truly be considered the best in the world.


My personal vote for the best athletes in the world may surprise you. Keep in mind that an extremely important component of athleticism is reaction - how do you react to a constantly changing environment or opponent? it’s one thing to be able to run an incredible distance or lift a tremendous amount of weight but in most of those competitions there is no reaction to the movements of an opponent trying to get the best of you.


You can learn from some of the best athletes in the world how to make your workout program more comprehensive so that you not only improve your overall fitness but have more fun in the process.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on who are the fittest athletes; Tweet your thoughts to me: @PeteMc_fitness 


Have a story idea or interview you'd like to pitch? Contact me:

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness


Jun 15, 2017

On this episode of All About Fitness I reach out to another connection from my DC days and talk about bodyweight strength training and how to make fitness more inclusive with an old friend: Jim Bathurst, currently the Master of the Training Universe for

His name is Bathurst, Jim Bathurst

Jim and I met a number of years ago when we both were doing some work with Balance Gym (one of my favorite places to sweat - EVER). He always impressed me with his positive attitude, approachable demeanor and he could do some KILLER bodyweight exercises that are a true testament of strength.

Over the years it's been fun to watch Jim evolve into a leader in the industry where he is now playing an important role for an important website working to make fitness more inclusive for people who might not normally be considered exercise junkies. Nerd is working to gamify fitness to make it more accessible for people who might prefer interfacing via computer as opposed to real life.

Our discussion today talks about tips for bodyweight strength training and how we can make fitness more inclusive for everyone, especially those considered nerds (in the interest of full disclosure I consider myself a nerd of exercise science). 

Follow Jim: contact info:

Instagram: @Beastskills


Jim is well known for his physical strength including 1 arm pull-ups and 1 arm handstands #impressive 

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - Better products for better results! Use code AAF to save on the order of a Terra Core.

ActivMotion Bar: The first weighted bar with a shifting mass - let the resistance move YOU!

My e-mail address is:

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness

Youtube: All About Fitness Podcast (product reviews coming soon!) 





Jun 12, 2017

On this episode of Quick Fit Tips I talk about how exercise and fitness should be inclusive for every single person, no matter what they look like or the size of his or her body.

The point of exercise is to improve one's own health and wellness; not for how you look on a social media post or dating website. In my twenty years of working in the fitness business the only negative feedback I have is that we are an industry that is driven by image, not necessarily by message.


Fitness is for every BODY - regardless of age, size or socio-economic background!

Far too often companies will use images of fit, lean, muscular models (I'll hit this topic on the podcast) as a means of marketing a product or service. I get it - companies want to create the image that if you use their product or service then you will look like the models featured in the ad.

Why is this important?

Why are we in the fitness industry so driven by appearances?

In my opinion fitness is having the physical ability (physical literacy +work capacity) to do what you want to do when you want to do it. That's it.

In this Quick Fit Tip I talk about why inclusivity is so important and why we in the fitness industry have an obligation to be welcoming to every person regardless of existing physical condition or appearance. 

The next time you see a heavy or overweight person working out in a health club think to yourself: "we all started somewhere." A person in a health club is taking the right steps (often literally) on a journey towards self-improvement, we have an obligation to be supportive and encourage their efforts.


We all have our 'why.' Yours may be different than mine, but we are all working on making ourselves better one day and one trip to the gym at a time.

My good buddy Jamie Atlas, the owner of Bonza Bodies in Denver and the tallest Aussie I know, recently posted an important meme: 

for those reading on iTunes the meme says:

"Making fun of a fat person at a health club is like making fun of a homeless person at a job fair. Don't make fun of people who are trying to better themselves." 

Whether it is in a health club, studio, indoor cycling room or outdoor workout at a park - What can you do to be more welcoming to the next newbie that you encounter? We are the lucky ones, we LIKE to sweat and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment at the end of workout; let's help others get to that same place. 


Here's the story about the former model who received probation for taking a picture of a woman changing in a health club locker room. SHAME on her (GoT reference):



Jun 1, 2017

If you have been a health club member for the past twenty years you may or may not have noticed a major shift in how fitness facilities are laid out and the type of equipment used for workouts. Up until the early 2000s gym culture was heavily influenced by bodybuilding culture, most of the equipment was designed for muscle isolation because that's what consumers wanted. Nowadays when you walk into a commercial gym you are likely to notice a lot of open space and a lot less equipment; my guest on episode 40 of All About Fitness is Juan Carlos Santana a gym owner, strength coach and educator who has had a major influence on this evolution in the modern fitness culture. 

Juan Carlos is the owner of the Institute of Human Performance, which has been named as one of the top gyms in the country by Mens Health, he is an international fitness educator, the star of numerous fitness videos and the author of many articles and books including Functional Training (which I highly recommend if you're looking for some ideas to kickstart your training program). 

Juan Carlos Santana 

Let's face it, training for a bodybuilding competition or even to look like a bodybuilder takes a tremendous amount of work and simply isn't relevant to how many people live. What happens is that often people will focus on their favorite muscles or the ones they think will most impress potential suitors and the result can be an overuse injury or muscle imbalances. Using one muscle group at a time is a great way to get a pump but just isn't that exciting or engaging for people who only have the ability to workout a few times a week. 


Someone's been skipping leg day!

In the early 2000s Juan Carlos was one a number of fitness educators  promoting the concept of functional training which can be described as training for a purpose. The principle of specificity tells us that our body will adapt to the specific forces imposed upon it; sit in a machine to isolate a muscle and only that muscle will get strong. Using your whole body to move in all three directions is a much more effective way to develop strength in many muscles at the same time. 


A big component of Juan Carlos' education was how to take the strength and conditioning techniques normally used by high performance athletes and apply them to the average adult population. This was ground breaking stuff in the early 2000s One of the most significant features of functional training is that it focused on training multiple muscle groups at the same time via using movement patterns as opposed to the bodybuilding approach of focusing on only one muscle group at a time. If you work with a trainer today, whether or not they know it, they have been influenced in some way by Juan Carlos.

Juan Carlos was a major influence on my career; it was an honor to sit on a panel with him at the ASIA Fitness conference in Bangkok in 2015

I think I went to my first workshop with Juan Carlos back in '99 or '00 where he actually put me through something call the dumbbell matrix (I volunteered for it) which was a multi-directional circuit that got my heart rate cranking using only 25 pound dumbbells, that got me hooked. From then on I learned as much as I could about functional training and focused on helping my clients move better using equipment like stability balls, medicine balls and resistance tubing. My clients loved the fact that they were getting a great workout using their whole body instead of just sitting in a machine pushing a lever or lying on a bench struggling with a weight.


In our discussion today on All About Fitness, Juan Carlos and I talk about recent fitness trends, the benefits of training like an athlete, the pitfalls of training like a Kardashian and, most importantly, how exercise can slow down the aging process; since IHP is located in Boca Raton, FL and Juan Carlos works with a lot of older adults - he kinda knows what he's talking about.

If you're a regular listener of All About Fitness please take a moment and give us a rating on iTunes - you know the deal, the better the rating, the higher the standings, the more listeners and the better content we can bring you. Thank you!

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Instagram: @PeteMc_fitness

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness 

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness

use code AAF to save when ordering a Terra Core


Use code PM30 to save 30% on your next order



May 29, 2017

Once upon a time when you walked into a commercial health club you saw row after row of treadmills and strength training machines. The only constant is change (someone smart said that, but I'm not sure who), nowadays when you walk into many health clubs or fitness studios you see a lot of open space and very few, if any strength training machines.


That was then: commercial fitness used to be machine driven


The original health clubs and fitness facilities were influenced by the bodybuilding culture so the focus was on equipment for muscle isolation so users could get their swoll on and hit their GAINZ. Over the past fifteen years or so there has been a tremendous shift and while many commercial gyms still have some strength training equipment they have gotten rid of extraneous pieces to create open spaces for members to move. 

Episode 39 of All About Fitness talks about how this change came about, who influenced it and, most importantly, how it benefits YOUR fitness program!


This is now: many modern facilities feature plenty of open space and lots of different types of free weight equipment to challenge ALL of the muscles in your body at the same time

(This is from Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning; Mike was a guest on episode 34 and his facility has repeatedly been voted one of the top gyms in the US by Mens Health) 

Thanks for tuning in!

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness 

May 25, 2017

Image may contain: 12 people, people smiling

From teaching group fitness to designing group fitness class formats to receiving an Emmy nomination for exercise programming as the VP of Programming for Daily Burn Lisa Wheeler is one of the backbones of the fitness industry. Today on this episode of All About Fitness we talk about how to identify the best fitness instructors for your needs and how a streaming service like Daily Burn can be a great resource for your fitness needs.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky, cloud and outdoor

Lisa doing what she does best: 'encouraging' people to sweat

Whether you are looking for a way to start an exercise program or a total fitness junkie looking for killer instructor-led workouts you will get a lot of information from this episode on how you can reach YOUR fitness goals.


Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness


To see myself and other guests teach live workshops on fitness techniques visit us at a SCW Fitness conference; use the code McCall17 to save money on registration.

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness::

SKLZ Performing products. Be ready! Use code PM30 to save 30% on your order.


Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - Better products for better results! Use code AAF to save on the order of a Terra Core.







Apr 19, 2017

One interesting thing about the fitness industry is that media and non-industry friends are always asking about the newest, latest, great workout product or program. For some reason when it comes to the commercial fitness industry it seems like we're always on the lookout for the 'next big thing' whether it's a product like the TRX or branded program like CrossFit; as a result we often overlook what really works to establish a foundation of good health: consistent exercise and smart nutrition choices. 

Fitness is only part of the puzzle, other lifestyle habits like nutrition, amount of time spent sitting, sleep, hydration and total amount of daily physical activity all play important roles in helping to create optimal health. When it comes to which exercise program works the best, here's what ALL good, educated fitness professionals know: EVERYTHING works, if you do it the right way and you adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors at the same time.  

That said, it is fun trying to predict future trends. When I first picked up a kettlebell in 2003 I know it was going to become popular but I didn't think I'd be able to buy one at big box retailers. When I did my first CrossFit workout in 2005 I thought it was a fun, challenging workout to provide the benefits of high intensity training but I never thought that we would be watching CrossFit competitions on TV. The point is that I can sometimes tell when things are going to be a popular fitness trend but I underestimate how popular.

14 years after picking up my 1st kettlebell and I'm still swinging away

Whenever I’m at a large fitness event like the IHRSA trade show or IDEA World Conference I always ask colleagues and other attendees about any new equipment or trends that are catching their eye. As people tell me about the products or programs they’re noticing, or sharing their ideas for what the next fitness trend will be, one thing always occurs to me: rather than always looking for the next ‘best thing’ in fitness we should be focusing our efforts on doing the basics right. From Ashtanga yoga to indoor cycling to Zumba it seems as if the popularity of fitness is at an all-time high yet we seem to always be looking for the next trend. 

It can be tough to guess exactly what will happen in the future (if I could do that I’d be working on Wall Street or fleecing the casinos in Vegas) but here are my best educated guesses on the fitness trends we’ll be seeing over the next year or two.


1.  In 2017 the online workout-video-on-demand category will expand as companies evolve from offering pre-recorded workouts to providing instructor-led workouts live-streamed from a popular studio in real-time as they’re happening. Popular video-on-demand service The Daily Burn is leading the way in this category allowing three friends in a living room in Decatur, Georgia to follow along with a live workout being taught in a studio in mid-town Manhattan.


2.  What is old is new again. Thanks to products like the Mace from companies like Onnit one of the recent trends has been a return to ‘ancient’ strength training techniques used by the original generation of strongmen and militaries. Various militaries, like Germany in the 1700s, were the first to popularize group fitness as a means of preparing soldiers for battle. The Mace is a heavy tool used for hand-to-hand combat but it also creates an extremely effective way to train for total body rotational strength. Yes, my first glimpse into the future is all about new tech and this one is all about a return to ancient techniques; but when it comes to fitness there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution meaning different modes of exercise will be attractive to different types of people.  

The one arm press was made famous during the era of physical culture; Arthur Saxon could lift over 200 lbs. (95-ish kilos) with one arm.

3.  Social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope and Facebook Live provide fitness professionals with the opportunity to promote their individual brands and connect with thousands of people around the world. Over the next year we will see more trainers use social media platforms to extend their ability to get people moving. In addition we will start seeing trainers and fitness models who have cultivated a strong social media presence (think tens of thousands of followers) leverage their extensive networks of followers to create revenue streams for themselves by promoting various fitness products.


4.  Building community through health clubs. One reason why Starbucks has been so successful (besides selling legally addictive stimulants) is because it creates a third space that is neither work nor home but a location to hang out, spend some time catching up with a friend or a good book. Health clubs provide the same opportunity; they're not just a place to get sweaty but they create a community of like-minded individuals interested in exercise. Ok, I'm biased because I met my wife at a health club


5.  In the coming years we will see more health clubs and fitness equipment companies align their products and services with popular professional sports leagues. UFC Gyms, which allow members to exercise in an environment that replicates how MMA stars train for competition, are experiencing rapid growth both in the United States and internationally (listen to All About Fitness podcasts episode 16 with Rob McCullough, the director of fitness for UFC Gyms and episode 18 with Tamar El-Guindy, the VP of international franchising for the company). Also in the MMA realm, Reebok, a major sponsor of the UFC, has licensed their name to Power Systems for a line of high intensity strength training equipment. In addition, there are rumors that a health club company may be a partnering with professional sports teams to develop health clubs branded with the teams from each particular market. Last year a consulting client told me about the development of NFL-themed health clubs and I have been on a non-disclosure agreement so I haven’t been able to talk about it, but as I was writing this blog this announcement about Jerry Jones opening Cowboy Fit was released. This is happening and is going to be AWESOME! 

 Health clubs and studios aren't just for sweating, they're a great place to connect and hang out with friends.

Who knows if all or any of these will become popular; if I could actually predict the future then I would have invested all of my savings in the stocks of Amazon or Priceline, each of experienced a fifty percent increase in value over the past year.


Apr 10, 2017

When most people think of 'strength training' they no doubt think of bulky, overly-muscled men like Arnold Schwarzenegger from his nineteen-eighties, action-movie glory days; but here's a little known secret about strength training - the biggest muscles aren't always the strongest muscles.

That's right; muscles may be large but that's not the primary determinant of strength. Muscular strength comes from numerous muscle fibers working together to generate tension; it is a function of the nervous system's ability to communicate with individual muscle fibers. The more fibers recruited to generate tension, the higher the levels of strength developed. If you're a fitness aficionado who wants to learn more about strength training you have a couple of choices: you could read the literature of the Russian Researchers or who could work with someone who has been trained by StrongFirst.

Brett Jones, Chief Instructor, StrongFirst 

Strength is a technical skill; if your goal is to get strong then you will want to work with a coach who knows who to properly develop the skill of strength. On this episode of All About Fitness I interview Brett Jones, Chief Instructor, StrongFirst about the benefits of strength training and how kettlebells can be used as a tool to develop both strength and power. In our discussion we cover numerous benefits of strength and power training; including one of the most important: that it can help develop lean muscle mass, which can be a key component of looking younger!

Find a StrongFirst educated trainer in your area with the StrongFirst Trainer Locator

Or if you are interested in StrongFirst education then hit this link to: StrongFirst Education and Certification courses

No matter what your personal fitness goal, improving strength will always be a key component of success!

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness  


Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

SKLZ: Performance training equipment - BE READY! Use code: PM30 to save on your next purchase!

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - the new workout platform that is changing the way people move. Vicore Fitness - better results from better products. Use code: AAF to save on the purchase of a Terra Core of your own!

ActivMotion Bar - the first weighted bar with a dynamic resistance; let the resistance move you!

Apr 10, 2017

On this edition of Quick Fit Tips I go into the most important benefit of strength training: It can slow down the normal biological aging process.

Until someone invents the flux capacitor for time travel (80s movie reference) there is nothing that we can do to stop the progress of time; however getting older certainly does beat the alternative. Strength training increases the levels of specific hormones which can act as a literal fountain of youth helping to mitigate the aging process.

Would you believe that he is 62 years old?*

If you're in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s or even your 20s and are not currently exercising, you should think about starting. Not to lose weight or look a certain way, but to take control of the aging process; because regular physical activity combined with a number of other healthy lifestyle choices can help you maintain your youthful energy and appearance well into your later years.

Here is my blog for the American Council on Exercise on the types of exercise to do in each decade of the human life cycle:

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness 


Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

SKLZ: Fitness equipment for all of your training needs. Use PM30 for a discount on your next order.

the Terra Core by Vicore Fitness: Use code AAF to save on the purchase of a Terra Core

the ActivMotion Bar: Let the resistance move you!


*Not really, but exercise can help you to look younger well into your later years


Mar 29, 2017

Question: What can George Constanza teach us about exercise?


To learn the answer you'll have to listen to strength coach Mike Boyle and I discuss the most effective ways you should be working out. When it comes to developing and coaching practical, effective fitness solutions Mike has over thirty years of experience  helping both athletes and individuals to achieve extremely high levels of performance. On this episode of All About Fitness we discuss why the average person should be training like an athlete and how you can get started on a program to help you get fit at any age.

If you have kids that play sports or coach youth sports yourself then you will want to pay CLOSE ATTENTION to the first part of our conversation where Mike and I discuss the many mistakes being made in youth sports that could impede athletic development or lead to a career-ending injury.

When it comes to strength and conditioning Mike is a straight-shooter and one of the best in the business. He the author of New Functional Training for Sports and owns Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, MA which has been recognized by Men's Health as one of the top gyms in the country. Throughout his career as a coach, educator and author Mike has had a tremendous impact on myself and thousands of other fitness professionals who are working to make the world a healthier place.

Here are links to some of the things referenced in our discussion:

Core Performance by Mark Verstegen - one of THE BEST books for learning the how's and why's of fitness.

Mike Boyle's Fat-Loss for Adults workout program on 

Mike Boyle's Strength Coach Blog 

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness  Use code: PM30 to save on your next order.

Vicore Fitness: the makers of the new Terra Core fitness platform - Better Products for Better Results! Use code AAF to save on the purchase of a Terra Core ActivMotion Bar - the first weighted bar with a shifting mass that can be 170% more effective than traditional weighted bars!



Mar 29, 2017

If you exercise regularly, how do you decide which ones to do in your workouts?

If you're like most fitness enthusiasts then you are most likely following a workout program featuring exercises that focus on individual muscle groups or bodyparts. This approach to fitness comes from bodybuilders who use muscle isolation exercises like biceps curls or leg extensions in an effort to promote the highest level of growth and definition. 

The ViPR was designed for workouts that focus on movement patterns, not musclesThe ViPR was designed specifically to focus on movement-based workouts.


Hypertrophy is the technical term for muscle growth; exercise programs where the goal is improving hypertrophy should focus on muscle isolation exercises because they can be the most effective way to initiate the metabolic or mechanical stimuli necessary to promote muscle growth. However, if you only have a limited time for exercise you are better off following an exercise program that focuses on using movement patterns as opposed to exercises designed to isolate a muscle.

Here's some food for thought:

The only time a muscle works in isolation is in a machine designed for muscle isolation. Any other time you move numerous muscles are working together to produce and control the forces necessary to perform specific movement patterns.

Our brains are hard-wired to focus on learning the most effective movement patterns that can provide our daily needs for food, shelter, companionship or physical security. When creating a movement our brain and nervous system will engage a number of muscles simultaneously to execute the pattern.

Performing a movement-based exercise program that focuses on using patterns instead of muscle isolation exercises can help improve overall levels of strength, reduce the risk of injury from overuse and increase caloric expenditure (allowing you to burn more calories in less time). Today's All About Fitness Quick Fit Tip focuses on the differences between isolation and movement training and why you should be doing the latter and skipping the former. The most important benefit is that anytime you engage more muscles in an activity you can increase the level of energy expenditure.

Moving a weight through space is an effective way to increase total body strength.

Moving a weight through space is an effective way to increase total body strength.


Blogs I've written about the benefits of movement-based exercise:

ACE Blog: Training Movement, Not Muscles

ACE Blog: Training Movement, Not Muscles, part II

ACE article: Loaded Movement Training


Thanks for tuning in; for the next few months All About Fitness will be holding a drawing from all people who fill out a review on iTunes (or other hosting services). Each month we will select one person from all of those who write a review to win a prize - either an All About Fitness t-shirt or a product from a sponsor.

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

SKLZ - exercise equipment for all phases of the workout; use code PM30 to save on your next order.

ActivMhttps://activmotionbar.comotion Bar - the first weighted bar with a dynamic, moving mass that can be up to 170% MORE effective than using traditional weighted bars; let the resistance move you!

The Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - The Terra Core is a unique new fitness platform that can be used as a bench, balance device or conditioning tool. Better products for better results; use code PM30 to save on the purchase of a Terra Core.

(for more info on the Terra Core, read here)

Mar 7, 2017

We all know that nutrition plays a significant role in helping us reach or exceed our fitness goals. Between trendy diets, faddish flushes or dangerous detoxes there can be a tremendous amount of misinformation about the type of well-rounded, balanced, complete nutrition you need to be healthy.

Frances Largeman-Roth is a RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) credentialed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, author, frequent contributor to national TV talk shows and the former Director of Food and Nutrition at Health Magazine; she has a tremendous amount of experience in helping others learn how to eat right and make healthier decisions.

Today on All About Fitness, Frances and I talk about fad diets and some simple strategies and steps that you can easily implement to help develop and maintain healthy nutrition habits. From understanding the role of elimination diets to strategies for getting your kids to eat their veggies you will learn a number of helpful tidbits to help you make healthier choices for you and your family. 

Frances has written 4 books: Eating in Color, The Carblovers Diet Cookbook, The Carblovers Diet and Feed the Belly: the Pregnant Mom's Healthy Eating Guide (written from experience as the mother of 3).

You can also catch Frances sharing healthy recipes on her YouTube channel: The Milk&Honey Kitchen with Frances or through her social media handles: Instagram @franceslrothrd or Twitter @franceslrothrd


More about Pete McCall, the host of All About Fitness


If you want to learn more about fitness or nutrition, come to a SCW Mania Fitness Convention this year! Use the code PMcCall17 to save on your registration.

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

SKLZ Training and Performance Products: Be Ready! Use code PM30 to save on your next order

The Terra Core by Vicore Fitness: Better Products for Better Results: use code AAF to save on the purchase of a Terra Core

ActivMotion Bar: Let the Resistance Move YOU!


Mar 7, 2017

No matter what your fitness goals are, nutrition is a key component of success. The sayings: "abs are made in the kitchen" and "you can't out-train a bad diet," are absolutely, one-hundred percent accurate. 

Nutrition does not need to be overly complicated nor does it need to be some sort of strict diet but it is important to know a few strategies that can help you make healthier decisions. On this episode of All About Fitness Quick Fit Tips I offer a couple of simple strategies that can help you with your approach to nutrition.

A meal like this can be both nutritious and delicious!

First, it's important to know a little science, but keep in mind these are general terms, each individual is different, but these examples can help you to develop a slightly better understanding of how your body uses energy. If you want to know more about how your body burns fat then listen to episode 26 of All About Fitness where Professor Fabio Comana explains the physiology of fat burning.

Your body uses the food you eat for energy and to repair tissue. Protein is used to repair tissue while fats and carbohydrates are used to provide energy (among other things). The energy that is not used immediately will be saved as triglycerides in adipose tissue (body fat). Yes, most of the energy you use is to power your muscles for a variety of activities, but internal biological processes like digestion and tissue repair will also help burn calories.

A calorie is a measure of unit of energy - it is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one liter of water by one degree centigrade. There is some variance based on the amount of lean muscle mass, fat mass and overall fitness but in general the human body will burn approximately one hundred (100) calories to walk or run a mile.

If you take 12 minutes to walk a mile it will take you about 30 minutes to burn the energy from a 20oz bottle of Coca-cola (240 calories - according to the label). If you run a 7 minute mile it will take you half the time to burn the same amount of energy. 

My advice to clients is that when looking at a food label or calories guide on a restaurant menu determine how much activity you will need to do to expend the energy provided by that food. If something you're about to eat has two hundred calories then you should be prepared to do the necessary activity to use the energy it will provide. Otherwise that extra energy that could be stored as fat to be used at a later time. 

Taking the time to prep fruit and veggies at the beginning of the week can help you be healthier all week long.

If your goal is to lose weight then it is necessary to consume fewer calories than you expend - this creates a negative caloric balance. This doesn't mean starve yourself, it just means making smarter decisions about the quantity of food and your daily level of physical activity.

A pound of body fat has approximately 3500 calories of energy; if you can reduce your caloric intake by 300-500 calories a day and increase your caloric expenditure by 300-500 calories (the equivalent of walking 3-5 miles; it sounds like a lot but that can be accumulated throughout the day) then you will be on track to lose 1-2 pounds a week.

More importantly you will be developing the ability to make healthier decisions and practice healthier habits both of which are essential for long-term success.


There are many different approaches to nutrition; it is important to identify what works for you and your specific needs. My recommendation is to find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A RDN has five years of formal education before earning the credential which is important for helping you identify the most effective nutrition plan for your needs.

Pete McCall bio

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

SKLZ - Performance Training Products Use code PM30 to save on your next order.

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - use code AAF to save on the purchase of a Terra Core

ActivMotion Bar - the first weight bar with a dynamic resistance. 

Feb 18, 2017

Strength is the ability to generate muscular force against an external resistance. Strength training is more than just lifting heavier weights or adding more muscle; how you approach your workout program can provide a number of benefits not only for your physical health but for your overall outlook on life. 

On episode 30 of All About Fitness strength coach Dan John and I discuss a number of benefits of strength training. Besides being an expert on strength training and human performance, Dan teaches religion and philosophy so our discussion delves into a number of ways that getting stronger can improve your life both in and out of the weight room.

Strength training is a good metaphor for life; you have to work to overcome challenges. If you work hard enough and take the right approach you can accomplish great things. Some days you’re going to have the strength to overcome the weight, while other days the weight might get the best of you. In life it’s not what happens to us but how we react to it. That's just a little preview of this episode of All About Fitness - enjoy! 

You can read some of Dan's articles on T-Nation or Breaking Muscle; you can also pick up one of his books through On Target Publishing

Spartan Race

My personal approach to fitness is to have the ability to enjoy awesome activities like lifting heavy things and playing in the mud during a Spartan Race

If you want to learn more about fitness, exercise and human performance you can visit me at a SCW Mania Fitness Conference this year - I'll be teaching workshops on Core Training, Kettlbell training and the anatomy of human performance; use code McCall17 to save on registration.

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

ActivMotion Bar - Let the Resistance Move YOU!

SKLZ Performance products - use code PM30 to save on your next order.

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - use code AAF to save on the purchase of a Terra Core


Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness



Feb 17, 2017

Sled pulling, or in this case, car pulling is an excellent way to develop lower body strength.

When most people hear the term, 'strength training' they get an image of oversized bodybuilders lifting free weights to increase the size of their muscles. Muscular strength is the ability of muscles to generate a force against an external resistance. Did you realize that there are different types of strength training that can produce different effects on the body? On episode 29 of All About Fitness it's another Quick Fit Tip discussing the different types of strength training.

The text below outlines what I explain in the podcast, providing a little more detail with links to relevant blogs and articles I've written in the past. 

A motor unit is the connection between the nervous system and the muscles it controls; it is the motor neuron and the muscle fibers attached to it. When a motor unit is activated it will cause it's attached fibers to shorten and generate a force. To learn more about muscle motor units, read my blog here.

Hypertrophy is the technical term for increasing muscle size. Training for hypertrophy requires lifting a weight for a set of ten-to-fifteen reps until the muscle fatigues and is not able to perform another rep. Performing a higher rep range to fatigue will cause metabolic overload, the result of a muscle using all of its available glycogen to fuel the contractions. A muscle adapts by storing more glycogen which holds on to water resulting in an increase in muscle volume. To read more about metabolic overload, read this blog, and to learn seven techniques for promoting muscle growth click this link.

Strength training, lifting a moderate-to-heavy weight for up to eight reps, will increase the number of motor units recruited but not necessarily the size of the involved muscles. Have you ever felt your muscles shaking when moving a heavy weight? That is because heavier weights will activate more muscle motor units (and their attached fibers) increasing the electrical activity within that muscle creating the shaking sensation. To read about the different types of strength; check out this blog.

Power training should be done with lighter loads to allow you to move at the fastest speed possible. Power training increases the speed at which motor units are recruited and muscle fibers shortened, the result is the ability to generate a high amount of force in a short period of time. To read more about power training, follow this link.


Towing a heavy weight can improve strength; towing a light weight (less than 10% of bodyweight) can help improve speed and acceleration - there is a difference.

Powerlifting is the sport where participants compete to see who can lift the most amount of weight in three lifts: bench press, squat and deadlift. 

Weightlifting, commonly called Olympic weightlifting, is the sport where athletes compete to see who can lift the most weight in the snatch and clean-and-jerk. 

Here's the paradox: Powerlifting is test of maximum strength - the ability to lift the highest weight possible regardless of velocity while weightlifting is a test of explosive power - the ability to accelerate a weight at a high rate of speed.

To learn more about the the different types of strength training and how they affect your body, listen to episode 29 of All About Fitness.

To see myself and other guests teach live workshops on fitness techniques visit us at a SCW Fitness conference; use the code McCall17 to save money on registration.

Sponsors of All About Fitness:

SKLZ Performing products. Be ready! Use code PM30 to save 30% on your order.

ActivMotion Bar - let the resistance move you.

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - Better products for better results! Use code AAF to save on the order of a Terra Core.

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness 




Feb 9, 2017

No matter how old you are, strength training can help you get results!


On this episode of All About Fitness I speak with Nick Tumminello about how strength training can help you reach a variety of your fitness goals. Nick is a personal trainer, strength coach and educator who was recognized as the Personal Trainer of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Nick is an expert in strength training and is a frequent contributor to publications such as Men’s Health, T-Nation and In addition, he travels around the world to teach personal trainers how to be more successful. 

Our conversation today focuses on the benefits of strength training for weight loss, the subject of one of Nick’s books, we also talk about a variety of topics related to working out in general and strength training in particular. in a field where a number of self-professed ‘experts’ claim to have the secret to success or promote workouts with little-to-no scientific validity it’s good to know that there are professionals like Nick who take the time to do the research so that when they dispense advice it is based only on the known facts about how the body adapts to exercise. 
Nick and I have gotten to know one another at various fitness conferences and meetings, at one point in our conversation I refer to Nick’s approach to fitness as ‘basic’ and I mean that as a compliment. Workout programs do not need to be overly complicated or use a variety of exercises better suited for an acrobatic routine to be effective. Knowing how to design a progressively challenging workout that applies the appropriate amount of stimulus to the body and how to properly recover from the workout so the body experiences the desired adaptations are two of the most important components of any exercise program. If you enjoy pushing iron or want to know the most effective things you should be doing in the gym you’ll get a lot out of today’s episode. 

Nick's books: Strength Training for Fat Loss and Building Muscle and Performance are must-have's for anyone interested in getting results from strength training.


Come see Nick, myself and other top fitness professionals at SCW Mania fitness conventions; use code McCall17 to save on your registration.

ActivMotion Bar - the first weighted bar with dynamic resistance to help you strengthen both your muscle and connection tissues; Let the Resistance Move YOU!

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - Better Products for Better Results Use code AAF to save on your purchase of a Terra Core.

SKLZ Performance Equipment: Be Ready! Use code PM30 to save 30% on your next order!

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness 

Feb 3, 2017

We know that exercise is important, but the type of exercise you do can make all of the difference in getting the results you want. There are three general types of exercise: strength training, cardio training and flexibility training. 

In short, cardio training is about improving the ability of your body to deliver oxygen to working muscles; flexibility training is improving the ability of your muscles and joints to move and strength training improves the ability to generate force with your muscles.

Strength training is the process of using an external resistance to help the muscles become more effective at producing and using force. When a muscle shortens it generates a force to move the opposing mass. When a muscle lengthens it is slowing down, or decelerating, the movement caused by an opposing force. For example, when standing up from the bottom of a squat the thigh and glute muscles are shortening to generate the force required to move your body up against the downward pull of gravity. On the way back down to the bottom of a squat the thigh and glute muscles are lengthening to slow the downward force created by gravity.

Because there is more surface tension between individual muscle fibers as they lengthen, a muscle can generate more force during this phase of muscle action which can help stimulate muscle growth and improve definition (this is the science behind super-slow lifting methods). Strength training can be done with a variety of equipment including machines designed to work on specific muscles, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and non-traditional implements like sandbags, kegs or heavy tires. No matter which equipment you use, the amount of weight lifted or the number of reps you do, the most important thing to stimulate muscle growth is to work to the point of momentary fatigue which ensures that ALL fibers in a particular muscle are being engaged.

Lifting is good for your brain!

Can strength training help make you smarter? Listen to find out!


On episode 27 of All About Fitness I review the benefits of strength training, some of which are well-known like improving strength or adding lean muscle mass, but I also address some of the lesser known benefits like boosting levels of fat-burning hormones or making you smarter. Listen for details. 

Finally, when it comes to strength training you'll get your best results by using different equipment and changing the exercises you do on a regular basis. When you change the type of equipment you use in your workouts, like switching from doing barbell bench press to dumbbell bench press, it can stimulate your nervous system to recruit different muscle fibers. Exercise physiology is not an exact science; research can help us predict how a certain type of exercise might effect your body, but there is no way to know for certain how your body will respond until you actually do the exercise. However, there is one thing that we do know: doing the same exercises with the same equipment for more than a few months at a time is a sure-fire way to become stuck on a plateau.

If you want to learn how your body adapts to strength training stay tuned for future episodes where I discuss the topic with some of the top strength coaches in fitness. In the meantime here are some blogs that I've written about the benefits of strength training to help you understand why you should be picking up heavy stuff: 


Evidence based solutions for muscle growth - this was written for personal trainers but you should be able to understand it.

Why you should be lifting heavy

Strength training starts with engaging the right muscle fibers: slow twitch v fast twitch muscle fibers

Seven different types of strength training

Get STRONG with Strongman training! (written for personal trainers)

One weight workout: the barbell


If you want to catch one of my workshops this year, please come see me at the SCW Mania fitness conference series, I'll be at every one EXCEPT NYC; use code McCall17 for a discount

Please visit the sponsors of All About Fitness:

SKLZ: Be Ready - use code PM30 for a discount

ActivMotion Bar - the first weighted bar with a dynamic, shifting mass

Terra Core by Vicore Fitness - better results from better products - use code AAF for a discount

Follow me:

Instagram: @PeteMcCall_fitness

Twitter: @PeteMc_fitness



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