Sleep: The "Magical" 8, Quality or Quantity

Sleep: The "Magical" 8, Quality or Quantity

The issue usually is not the amount of sleep as measured in time, but the quality of sleep that you have, and this goes back to your habits and rituals if you will tha your have established over your lifetime. There is usually no preparation for sleep time, and if you are over the age of 10 years old you have not had a ritual for sleep time that has worked to help you sleep in over 20-30 plus years, but even with that said we still fought the idea of going to sleep “early” before 9 pm. I remember when I was around 8-9 years old and it was the beginning of the school year and the time had not changed and it was still light at my bedtime( 6pm) and I literally had a temper tantrum in the bed kicking and crying because I could hear the other neighborhood kids playing outside and here I was being put to bed like a baby.

3 Options To Help you lose that last 20 lbs

You are well on your way to hitting the 30 lb weight loss goal you set for yourself on January 1st 2019. You are 1 month and 15 days into your training and nutrition regimen, and you are 10 lbs down (that breaks down to about 1 lb -1.5 lb per week).

Here are the Atlas Pro Training’s top 3 options to help you lose that last 20 lb over the next 12 weeks so you can be ready for the summer by early May 2019!

1) Intermittent Fasting -

This is a basic form of calorie restriction. Although there are several different versions of intermittent fasting, they all have the same fundamental rule; No Food or drink with a caloric value are to be consumed during the fast.

One of the most popular versions is the 16/8 method where you fast for the first 16 hours of the day, then you eat during the last 8 hours of the day consuming 1-2 meals.


  • Reduces insulin resistance - which is key in helping manage certain metabolic issues

  • Reduces inflammation

  • May improve Heart health

  • May improve brain function and health


  • May interfere with Mood (for the first few days or weeks)

  • May interfere with social eating

  • Digestive issues - Constipation due to limited fluid consumption

  • This is a true trial and error and behavioral modification method

2) Increase Workload/Intensity -


This is tried and true way to increasing your energy expenditure to 525-625cal of energy per day. This could possibly help you hit that 1 lb- 1.5 lb fat loss per week. However, the 1# rule to remember is that you can not train yourself out of a bad or inconsistent nutrition/diet routine. The key in any exercise plan is have some variety and different variations of physical activity that match your goals and your personality. For example, some people like to lift weights and hate cardio (that’s me :-)) and vice versa. For example, you could increase your workload, ie., distance of running, increasing the weight that you lift, increasing the amount of reps, etc. You can also add or increase a different type of physical activity to your training program, ie., add more running/ walking/ sprinting to your training program, reduce your rest times between sets to less than 30 sec. (This adds a “cardio” element to your weight lifting session , which can help you increase your energy expenditure leading to more fat loss). You can incorporate a weightlifting circuit in your daily training program. Doing so will improve strength level and allows you to gain more lean muscle. This action will increase your metabolic rate and your increased energy expenditure will lead to fat loss.


  • This method increases your physical activity

  • Adds variety to your training routine

  • Can help create balance within your training program


  • Adds time to your training session

  • This training method works best when it is combined with a diet and or nutrition plan

  • Requires additional effort to track results

3) Track & Count Macros along with Body composition Testing analysis

This is a more holistic way of planning out your weightloss program, and in my opinion, this should be the first method you should try to lose unwanted fat.

Tracking and counting your macronutrients (i.e. Fats(9 calories per gram), Protein(4 calories per gram), Carbohydrates(4 calories per gram), can take the guesswork out of planning your meals in regards to calculating an accurate caloric balance that fits your lifestyle and or training program.

Body Composition testing and analysis - This is an essential element to reach your fat loss goals. When combined with tracking your macros, these tools can help you create a nutrition program that fits your lifestyle, health, and fitness goals. Body Composition testing gives you hard, accurate numbers that will allow the necessary adjustments to your health and fitness plan. This helps you see your total fat loss not just your weight loss

InBody270 pix.png


  • This method is accurate

  • With the assistance of a Professional you can help hold you accountable to your goals

  • This method can be applied to everyone


  • This a labor intensive method and requires your full attention

  • You have to obtain access to credible body composition testing equipment

  • Counting Calories - Need I say more

Stay Ahead of the Game and Away from Pain

Stay Ahead of the Game and Away from Pain

You jump in Feet first with out hesitation doing Burpees, Jumping Jacks, Sprints, and dozens of other movements to get you moving towards your goal. Then 10 days into the process all of sudden your start to get this pain in you lower back, your knees start to hurt around you kneecaps, along with several other painful issues that you may have experienced before. So you decide to fight you way through the pain and discomfort only to have the pain intensify until one morning you can’t even walk because of the pain in your joints. So you decide to rest your body for a week, then that week turns into two -three four weeks. Then life happens you get out of rhythm and you don’t return wasting your time money(which some gym count on) and then you are back to square one

Finding The Function in Disfunction: The Foundation of Functional Training

Finding The Function in Disfunction: The Foundation of Functional Training

The assessment that I use to evaluate the movement of my clients is inspired by the FMS and there are elements of the FMS in my 4 point movement assessment. What I am looking for with my basic knowledge of human movement and kinesiology is making sure that the athlete has good, ankle, hip, and shoulder. I also assess Thoracic mobility and stability which affects everything from your breathing to your shoulder and lower back health. I started producing a series of videos showing exercises that I use to improve the strength and the mobility of these three key areas, here is one of them......

Create Your Environment or Your Environment Will Create YOU

Create Your Environment or Your Environment Will Create YOU

As I continue my journey as a father, coach/trainer, (ex-husband lol) and entrepreneur/business owner, sometimes I can have in a bit of a negative disposition, if I allow these short-term situations within the surrounding environment around me control my attitude and my approach towards my daily activities that negative environment will  influence my behavior to a certain extent and if I don’t recognize this negative influence my  environment will create my reality, which will influence my behavior and when that happens my environment is creating who I am..... Unless I make a conscious effort to maintain a positive environment.

Energy System Development Series: How to Increase Muscular Strength and Size

As I discussed before in the previous blogs in this series about Energy System Development (EDS) training you can create a training program that is specific to your training goals by training specific energy systems. In this final series, I am going to talk about training within the ATP-CP and glycolytic energy systems with resistance exercises that are programmed using a couple of different training methods.   

Lifting heavy weights to become stronger is one of the most popular reasons to lift weights. But the combination of using various weightlifting principles and program variations to improve muscular Hypertrophy (increase in muscular tone and size) is even more effective and fun. Lifting to increase muscular size helps individuals improve not only their physical appearance but also their physical performance. One of the factors that are important is the use of set and rep manipulation. Which means programming different sequences sets and reps to increase the stress applied to the muscles that are being trained and. In theory, the number of sets should be about 2-4 sets and the reps should be 8-12 reps using 65%-85% of the maximum weight you can lift for 1 rep for that exercise to achieve hypertrophy. One other important factor is limiting your rest in between sets to less than 1 minute. This limit in the recovery time will increase the stress on your muscles which increases the growth response your muscles have during the recovery process. THE MAGIC HAPPENS IN THE RECOVERY!   

For example, John 1 rep maximum for the Squat is 305 lb, for John to lift for muscular Hypertrophy his squat workout could be programmed in a linear progression either in a progressive overload fashion or in a regressive load fashion or a Drop set.

Linear Progressive Overload

1st set - 65% 198 lbs for 10-12 reps

rest 30-45 sec 

2nd set - 70% 214 lb for 10-12 reps 

rest 30-45 sec

3rd set - 75% 229 lb for 10 - 8 reps 

rest 30-45 sec

4th set - 80% 244 for an AMRAP or 10-8 reps 

Linear Regressive Loading (Drop Sets)

1st set - 80% 244 for 10-8 reps

rest 30-45 sec

2nd set - 75% 229 lb for 10 - 8 reps 

rest 30-45 sec

3rd set - 70% 214 lb  for 10+ reps 

rest 30-45 sec

4th set -  65% 198 lbs for AMRAP

These are just a couple of examples of the type of set/rep manipulation that can be applied to your training program, but there other ways that are used to achieve the same result depending on your training schedule and or training goals. I primarily use the Tier system and a combination of Undulating Periodization for the majority of my clients.    

There are numerous ways to create a training program the fits your training schedule and access to training equipments the fits your specific training needs. But the most important ingredient is CONSISTENCY. Over the last several years as a health and performance coach I have been apart of some amazing transformations and some disappointing results, and the common tread that all of my successful clients have in common was consistent effort and discipline with their nutrition and rest habits. The common thread in the disappointments and misses was inconsistency, excuses, and looking for a magical drink or pill that would get them out of the working hard and changing their behavior in order to get the results they want to achieve. Everything costs and your time is the most important commodity you have to give, there are no shortcuts that will help you sustain the results your want long term, it will just lead to disappointment in the long term.  


I recently rebooted my workout program and I am going back to basics, relearning all the lifts that I learned over the past 30 plus years. the first time I picked up a weight was when I was 8 or 9 years old after my mom and dad divorced I was over my dad's house for one of few weekend visits. He had a two bedroom apartment where one of the rooms had turned it into a makeshift weight room with the old school Sears or JC Penny's weight set (I am not sure which one), it was one of those plastic plate weight sets with the skinny bar and bench that by today's standards would be recalled due to stability deficits. After a dinner of my dad's famous desert dry rump roast and instant potatoes washed down with a few liters of kool-aid went into his weight room just to check it out. I picked up a dumbbell and I have been hooked ever since.  Every time I got the chance to go in there on my weekend visits I would try "lift" weights (was lucky I didn't lose a toe). Then my dad moved to Chicago and my lifting weight days were over as far I knew it.

Fast forward to 1988 my sophomore year of High School after football season I meet a 5'10 280 lb Italian guy named Raul Denotti, he was a bodybuilder and part-time volunteer football coach. It was in the weight room talking and "working out" which was basically doing curls and triceps cable extensions in between sets of talking. Raul pulled me aside one day and asked me "what are you in here for?" I said something to the effect I want to bench press 300 pounds and get stronger for football. So Raul told me that you on the wrong track and wasting time talking and just doing "curls for the girls", I laughed but he had my attention. Raul then took me under his wing and gave me a basic training plan that was a "Three day Split", which is 3 training days out of the week (usually the days are Mon-Wed-Fri). He told me to start with the bar and work my way up to 135lb and when I could do 135lbs for 10 reps for 3 sets I would get stronger and be closer to my goal of joining the 300lb bench press club which was mostly upperclassmen. From that point on I was on a mission to be a member of the 300lb club, I started with the 3 day split, then it went to 4 days then I found myself in the weight room 5 days out of the week, if I could have lifted on Saturdays and Sundays I would have. I even began to hate holidays and days off from school because I knew that I could not lift on those days. I was officially a Meathead, without even knowing it. That love of lifting was stayed with me to this day.

With that said just because I love to lift weights does not mean I have been consistent over the last 30 year. I have had my issues with lifting weights,  I have even hated lifting (for a very short time) but the one thing that was never needed to reboot that love was motivation. Motivation was a word that was never mentioned to me by any of my coaches, one thing that was made clear was to give great effort and have the resolve to keep moving forward finish goals you set out to accomplish. All good faith effort will be rewarded, it may not be the a reward you were expecting all the time, but you will develop the grit to get things done even if I didn't want to. Motivation can be a good thing but it can also be the poison that kills your goals. Motivation has its place but it should not take the place of giving your best effort and having the attitude to finish. Motivation can get you out of the starting blocks but giving your best effort and some grit will get you over the finish line.  So F&#K YOUR MOTIVATION and remember why you started your journey keep the process simple and get to work. 

Inspirational info:







Energy System Development Series: Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Training For Fat loss

Energy System series pix-weight loss.jpg 1.0.png


Everyone (including myself) looks for an edge in the continuing battle to lose body fat. The key is to use those energy stores in the most effective way possible, specifically to maintain an balance that allows you lose body fat maintain or gain lean muscle in a healthy fashion. As I sated in the introduction blog post “ESD training should be the foundation of any training plan” which leads me into the question which form of ESD (Energy System Development) training is the most efficient when its applied to a weight loss plan? Some would say that long durations of slow steady state cardiovascular training such as jogging, or walking would be the best way to lose body fat, and technically that would be correct but these forms of training to lose weight will get you just so far on your journey to drop that last 20 lb. or dropping your first 5 lb. 

Just a brief overview of what Energy Systems Development training is by definition is training specific energy system to produce a desired training effect that is specific to the goals of the training program. There are there main energy systems that the body taps into to acquire the energy to perform tasks depending on the duration and the intensity the task. Here is a brief description the three energy systems:

·        ATP-CP Phosphagen energy System- used during short term, high intensity activities Ex. Throwing a Shot Put, Sprinting, Olympic lifts of 2-4 reps: Last 1-30 sec. Uses glycogen already stored and available in the muscles.

·            Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System - used during medium/high intensity activities, Ex. Strength/endurance: lasts 30sec-3mins. Uses stored glycogen form other tissues in the body such as the liver.  

·           Aerobic energy System- used during long durations of exercise lasting longer than 30 min to 1 hour. Uses oxygen to convert stored body fat into to ATP for energy. The byproduct of this process lactic acid which is also used as an energy source.

As you look at the definitions of each of these energy systems you might think that the best way to burn that unwanted fat is through the aerobic energy system, but you might be wrong. Lets face it Aerobic exercise is an affordable and easily accessible form of exercise in where this energy system actually uses stored body fat to convert it into usable energy (after about 30-40 minutes of exercise). But you must remember the aerobic system is not as efficient in actually conditioning the body to burn more stored fat, the only way to effectively burn fat for energy is to have enough lean muscle mass to increase your resting metabolic rate which should be the goal of any weight loss or body composition improvement program. 

This brings us to what most consider to be the sweet spot of energy system training which is the Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System. This form of energy systems training as compared to the aerobic energy system, which used primarily to improve the efficiency of the cardiovascular system in most training programs, it does not  help build and maintain lean muscle mass like the Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System does. This is a major flaw in weight loss training programs that primarily use cardiovascular training to improve weight loss or body composition. In fact in most cases aerobic activity maybe limiting the bodies ability to use stored fat as energy especially if the individual's nutrition is not balanced and up to par. As I mentioned before the only way to effectively burn stored body fat is by increasing lean muscle which in turn improves the individual's resting metabolic rate.    

Remember fat loss is about calorie expenditure and we are looking for the most efficient way to use or burn calories if fat loss is your goal. There is a simple element to training that everyone ignores or is ignorant of  is you want to train (or workout) to help your body work more efficiently in your normal every day activities (which is the inspiration behind the Atlas Pro Training tag phrase -Train With a Purpose-). You can never out training, out run, out lift bad nutrition habits, BUT you can kick your fat loss into high gear by training with in the second energy system listed which is the Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System. This is considered the sweet spot for calorie expenditure and fat loss due to the fact that this type of training has the potential to increase lean muscle mass which helps you burn more calories at rest and during low intensity activities such as walking, or lifting light loads. Also this energy system taps onto to the aerobic system when performed beyond the 3-5min duration with limited rest times of less than 1 min between movements. This allows you to get more bang for your buck in regards to time spent working out,

There are several ways you can tap into the  Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System listed below 



Author: Alwyn Cosgrove

November 18, 2013


FACT or Fable: Fat Metabolism starts after 20 minutes of  exercise

January 14, 2015 


Progressive Overload Principle


Definition: The gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during the execution of a movement.

Progressive overload is the key to training any training program. No matter if the goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, or prepare for the a sport or competition. The principle of progressive overload were developed by Thomas Delorme, M.Dwhile rehabilitating wounded soldiers after the second world war. Progressive overload is the foundation of my training programing whether this principle is applied to resistance training, EDS training (Energy System Development), or any form of stressor that is applied to one of my training programs. The principle of Progressive Overload is based on a simple scientific principle to increase the stress of the stimulus as the body adapts to the training stimulus. For example if the goal of the client is to improve there upper body strength and the movement chosen to measure their upper body strength is the bench press, as a trainer you would apply the principle of Progression Overload to the three main variables which are:

  • Volume- The amount of sets and reps programmed for the bench press

  • The Intensity- The amount of resistance or weight applied to the bench press exercise

  • The Frequency- The amount of bench press training bouts that are programed within a set time period.

Depending on the individuals training experience, fitness level, and or time available to train the principles of Progressive Overload allows the trainer to track and gauge the progress of the individual being trained, and show results as the training stimulus is applied. This is essential to helping the client set bench mark goals, to improve their confidence while training, and minimize the chance of injury. Applying the principles of Progressive Overload is key to increasing strength, aerobic fitness, mobility, speed, in most cases agility (depending on the level of fitness in the for mentioned areas).

As a professional trainer/coach I apply the principle of Progressive Overload to the all three variables of training mentioned above which are, Volume, Intensity, and Frequency (depending on time the individual has made themselves available to train) within my training programs, whichis applied due to various factors effecting the training program which includes but is not limited to:

  • the body adaptation to the training stimulus

  • the individual sustains a injury (which rarely happens within my training program)

  • the individual has limited time to train

  • to keep the training program interesting and fresh to the individual.

The Progressive Overload principle should be applied to all modes of training to improve the efficiency of the training program and allow the individual to reach there health and performance goals but to see holistic improvement in their muscular strength, endurance,  overall health and performance.