All posts by gradelfitness

About gradelfitness

Chris Gradel is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer with a strong track record of helping clients achieve life changing benefits from their personal training sessions. Chris designs safe, fun, effective workouts but in addition offers impeccable customer service. He believes your results are more than just the couple of hours we spend together in the gym. You'll get tips and articles to meet your particular goals, accessibility outside the gym and dedicated one on one attention during sessions. You will feel like you have a partner in the process, not just a trainer. Email Chris at to set up a free consultation.

If you want to lose weight, build muscle and look younger, maybe you should add meditation to your routine.

Does this describe your typical day?
1.Wake up groggy after a poor night’s sleep. 2.Shuffle to the kitchen rubbing your eyes, making a b-line for the coffee maker. 3. As you slowly regain consciousness from the caffeine, an anxious feeling arises while you anticipate your morning meeting. 4.Turn on the television or go online only to be bombarded with nonsense and negativity. 5.Fight with your kids to wake up, eat breakfast and get ready for school.  6.Rush out the door, get in the car, drop the kids off at school, then sit helplessly in traffic on your way to work. 7.Deal with an unappreciative boss, idiot co-workers, an increasing workload and impending deadlines. Five o’clock finally arrives and the work day’s done, BUT YOU’RE NOT! You’re frantically answering emails during the commute home. 8. By the time you pick up the kids from practice the last thing you feel like doing is cooking a healthy meal when you get home. Instead you order out or pop something in the microwave. 9. You may have a drink or two with dinner to relax after a long, stressful day. You continue checking email while your plopped on the couch “watching” your favorite show. As you’re lying in bed,  you have trouble falling asleep. Maybe you take melatonin or another sleep aid to shut your mind off. The next morning you wake up groggy and do it all over again the following day.

For many of us this is a typical day. Every number in the above paragraph is a form of stress on your system. To the body, stress is stress no matter what form it comes in. The following are all forms of stress.
How many forms are you exposed to on a daily basis?
1. Poor Sleep
2. Caffeine
3. Anxiety Over The Future
4. Violent Images on the news & negativity on Facebook
5.Fighting with your kids
6. Sitting in Traffic
7. Work Demands
8. Poor Nutrition,
9. Alcohol and Prescription Drugs

When our systems are bombarded with stress through out our day, every day, it puts us in constant “fight or flight” mode. This creates a hormonal imbalance which leads to…
1. Getting Sick More Often
2. Difficulty Losing Weight
3. Lack of Results in the Gym
4. Decreased Energy
5. Decreased Sex Drive
6. Rapid Aging
7. Anxiety
8. Premature Death

A lifestyle that includes stress management techniques like meditation,  will have a positive domino affect on your health.
1. It balances out body chemistry, shifting our system to self healing mode. This will strengthen your immune system allowing your body to fight germs so that you get sick less often.
2. Stress signals an alarm to your body that it’s under threat. One of the body’s responses to that threat is it starts to stockpile fat just in case food becomes scarce. Meditation will turn that alarm off letting your body know that the threat is gone.
3. Another benefit to meditation is that it turns on the body’s rebuild and repair system. Meditating after a hard workout will maximize the benefits of your exercise program.
4. Being in constant stress mode robs our bodies of energy making us rely on caffeine. Meditation cultivates energy so you don’t have to reach for that coffee in the middle of the day.
5. When you’re stressed out the last thing you feel like doing is having sex.  Once you balance out you nervous system with meditation you’ll feel like your old self again:)
6. Chronic stress speeds up the aging process making you look and feel older than your age.  Meditation Is scientifically proven to slow down the aging process.
7. A lot of people including my self succumb to anxiety. An immediate benefit to meditation is that anxiety is gone!
8. Constant stress is really hard on your body. It makes it work overtime all the time! The harder your body has to work the shorter it lasts, it’s that simple.

Stress is evolution’s way of keeping us out of danger. It helped our ancestors avoid being a saber tooth tiger’s lunch and helps us today in true emergencies.  Stress is natural. It’s only  a problem when it’s chronic. Modern society unfortunately is filled with chronic stress. The body is always striving to reach a balance called homeostasis and too many of us are out of balance. For most of us  meditation is a great first step to help our bodies find the balance it’s looking for.


To Be the Best Mom You Can Be, Take Time Out for Yourself!

Stress is an unavoidable fact of life but it needs to be managed!
Here are 5 ways to manage your stress. Some of these techniques you may have heard before, some you may have not.

1. Diet more alkaline less acidic
It’s hard to imagine how diet can effect your stress levels buts it’s true; highly acidic diet consisting of lots of sugar, meats, coffee, breads, pasta, sodas etc. can make the body’s PH overly acidic. Eating foods that alkalize the body’s PH like broccoli, watermelon, cashews, onions, egg yolks, kale and more. Not only reduce stress but is a great weight loss tool. Below is a list of both alkaline and acidic foods.

2. Meditation
You don’t have to be a Buddhist, monk or yogi in order to meditate. It can be way more practical than you think. “Get some head space” is a great meditation app. I prefer this app because Andy Pettibone, the narrator,  is not only very chill but very normal. You won’t be rolling your eyes thinking, “this is ridiculous.” It only takes 10 minutes and best of all, It works!

3. Be Mindful
Being mindful simply means being in the moment. Continuously obsessing about the past & future causes anxiety and literally makes you older (proven statement). When you are fully present, it’s impossible to stress or worry. I highly recommend the book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It’s a go-to read for me when I’m feeling overwhelmed (which is often).

A simple way to bring yourself into the present is to follow the rise and fall of your breath. As you slowly inhale through your nose, notice your belly rise and as you gently exhale notice your belly fall.
You can also count your breath.  Inhale count ” 1 “exhale  “2” inhale “3” and so on. When you get to 10 start over again at 1. (this works great as a sleep aid as well)

4. Be Thankful
Start your day with gratitude. Be thankful you don’t live in a third world country. Be thankful that you have food and a roof over your head. Yes, there are some people in the world who may have it a little better than you, but there are a lot more who have it worse. I try to remember this when I want to complain that my Starbucks green tea latte isn’t hot enough… Ooohh that makes me so mad!!!

5. Yin exercise
Any slow and rhythmic movements coupled with slow rhythmic breathing can be considered Yin exercises. The intensity should be mild enough that you can do it on a full stomach and not feel sick.Yin yoga, tai chi, qui gong are all forms of yin exercise. Yin exercise rebuilds and repairs the body and calms the mind. I take a yin yoga class at the Yoga Garden in Narberth. It keeps me sane! Type A moms who are always on the go will benefit immensely from these type of exercises.

Life’s tough! Sometimes it can be overwhelming. But there are techniques, like the five above, that can slow things down and make life more manageable. These techniques take practice but the payoff is priceless!

Here are a short list of benefits that can be experienced from these techniques:
Improved Mood
Gain Clarity and Peace of Mind
Reducing Anxiety Attacks
Increased Energy
Weight Loss
Chronic Pain Relief
Improved Immune System

Chronic Mom Pain Part 1

I come across a lot of young moms who experience chronic pain, usually in the low back.

Most chronic pain is from bad movement patterns over the years. The ways we stand, sit and even sleep have significant impact on the way we feel.
One example of this is when parents are standing and holding their kid on their hip, they tend to shift their weight to that side.  This posture throws their hips out of alignment, which overtime, can cause a domino effect of pain throughout the body.
Whenever you’re standing, weather holding your child or not, follow these four steps to strengthen your core, improve your posture and prevent back pain.
1. Stand Tall 
Elongating the body minimizes joint compression related pain such as osteoarthritis of the knees and hips and herniated disks in the vertebrae.
Press your feet into the ground, lengthen your torso and reach the crown of your head to the ceiling.
2. Activate Your Core
One of the primary functions of the core is to core is to stabilize the spine and pelvis.
Pull your belly button in toward your spine and lift those pelvic floor muscles up toward your belly.
3. Squeeze Your Butt
This sets your pelvic position putting your spine into alignment.
4. Screw Your Feet Into the Ground 
Externally rotating the thighs also helps stabilize the pelvis.
Have your feet straight and hip width. With your feet “glued” to the floor twist your thighs externally so that your knees are turning away from each other.
Your body is one interconnected system. When your pelvis and spine are out of alignment it throughs the whole system out of wack. These 4 steps, done consistently over time can, can eliminate low back pain and prevent injuries in the future.

Stabilize That Shoulder

When your arm is in a stable position you are less likely to experience shoulder pain when you are…

  1. Overhead pressing in the gym
  2. Lifting your child into her high chair
  3. Taking out the trash
  4. Turning your steering wheel
  5. Walking your unruly dog on his leash.

To put your shoulder in a stable position; rotate/twist your upper arms externally and keep your upper arm close to your body. To rotate your arms externally, start with palms down,arms by your side.  Raise your arms in front of your body, then twist your arms outward so that your elbows are facing the ground. From this position you can keep your arm straight or bend it, it doesn’t matter. As long as the upper arm is rotated externally you’re good. If you tend to have shoulder pain, try using this technique and notice if your pain is reduced.

Why sit when you can stand?

7 reasons why you should incorporate a stand up desk in your office.

  1.  Weight Loss
  2. Increases Blood Flow
  3. Increases Energy
  4. Improves Posture
  5. Decrease Risk of Heart Disease
  6. Reduces Risk of Cancer
  7. Lowers blood pressure
  8. Reduces chronic pain

Below is a link to a stand up desk infomercial