Why I skip breakfast.

Why I skip breakfast.

Over the years I have gone through various phases and dietary habits to find the ones that best work for me. One habit that I adopted about 5 years ago is skipping breakfast. You may have heard of this concept, but am sure that you have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Opinions are pretty strong and studies are quite divided on this, but form me it works.

So how does it work for me and why?  Is it for my performance? Yes. Is it to stay lean? Yes. Is more convenient for my lifestyle? Yes. Is it because it offers a range of health benefits? Sure does. Does it just work for me? Once again, yes.

With that said I wanted to share with you my top 5 reasons why I don’t eat breakfast. Keep in mind that there are studies

and views that are divided. Some outcomes may be correlated to lifestyle and habits that may not be exactly causation.

1. Being full while training is uncomfortable – Since I’m in the fitness/wellness business my days start pretty early and are often active in the early part of the day. I am often working with clients in a very interactive way demonstrating bodyweight exercises and techniques of our training system Aeroga Movement. This work often entails a great deal of full spectrum movement, twisting and exercises that would feel quite uncomfortable on a full stomach.

2. Fasting BenefitsIt’s a good time for me to take advantage of the benefits of being in a fasted state. Since it has been over 12 hours since the last time I have had a meal, I am generally entering a fasted state. Do I consume anything when I wake up? Yes. I am all about the “Bulletproof Coffee” thank you Dave Asprey. I have always enjoyed coffee although I have always been a little sensitive to caffeine – the added butter and coconut oil tempers the effect of the jitters while giving me laser like focus. More on that later.

A few added benefits of intermittent fasting;

a. It promotes stronger insulin sensitivity and increased hormone secretion, both are good for weight loss. If your skeptic, I’m not the only one telling you this. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting/

b. Immunity Boost – When you cut food out for 15 or more hours your body is not under attack by the germs and bacteria from the food you eat.

So you are actually giving your immune system a break, as a result your immunity will be boosted thanks to the fast.

c. Digestive Reset – It takes energy for your digestive system to process the food you eat. During this fasted state you are giving your digestive system a rest so energy can be more put to use in activities. When you eat again your digestive system will be able to pick up and start working at full speed again.

d. Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste from cells

3. It simplifies my day In the morning there are to many tasks with getting the kids ready for school, preparing for my training/work day. Rather that spending the time preparing a quality breakfast and cleaning up after, I can enjoy my coffee, connect with my kids and quickly mix my green tonic drink that I will sip on for the next few hours during training hours. More on that at a later time.

4. Prepared for survivalWhile fasting is like tapping into my primal being, I feel more prepared for uncertainty whether feast or famine and not really stress myself out on exactly when I am have my next meal. People can often spend quite a bit of energy on wheat and when to eat next. I know I spent some time and energy over the years when really trying to dial in my nutrition to perform better and it didn’t always pay off. In the end I was stressed and unsatisfied.

5. I enjoy working out in a fasted stateWithout a sufficient amount of glucose and glycogen to pull from (since it has been depleted in the fasted state) my body release of the only source of stored energy available – the fat stored in the cells. Great for staying lean!

What happens when you work out in a fasted state? As the glycogen stored in your muscle and liver so your body can burn as fuel when necessary is depleted during sleep and even more while working out or training, also increases insulin sensitivity. This means that what you eat immediately following a workout will be stored most efficiently. Most of the energy stores as glycogen for muscle stores, burned as energy quickly to aid recovery, at the same time a minimal amount is stored as fat.

Bonus Tip: I actually feel more focused and alert on the morning for a couple of hours. Makes sense since intermittent fasting helps brain function


Here’s my morning routine:

  •  Get out of bed do a short wakeup movement routine.
  •  Crank up some organic morning brew (coffee) make my Bullet Proof concoction. Sip on that while I prepare my green tonic. Recipe Below:


  • Macro Greens – 1 scoop
  • Fresh sliced ginger – size of my thumb
  • 1 whole fresh squeezed organic lemon
  • 16 oz of artesian spring water


Peel and slice up a thumb size of ginger root, cut a whole lemon in halves, squeeze into 16oz of water, blend and serve over ice. Sip and enjoy.

Train Hard and Nourish vs. Diet and Exercise

We have long been conditioned to the phrase that if you need to get in shape, lose weight, or get advice from your doctor it will sound like this: “I suggest diet and exercise”. It may not sound so inspiring, it sounds somewhat like a chore to me… 

Two ways to look at it and two different approaches:

One is restrictive while the other is more motivational and performance driven. Think about it like this… if you set forth on a new “diet and exercise” program, your thought process will usually begin like this..

  1. I need to cut out this, cut back on that and eat only those.
  2. I can’t be around this, and I need to stay away from that.
  3. I will have to exercise for this long every day.
  4. I have to lift weights and do cardio X days per week.

Now let’s look at the approach of  “train hard and nourish”. You probably will approach the mission with this kind of thinking…

  1. I need to find food that will best nourish and support my performance, make me feel good, and help me burn fat.
  2. I am going to look for this, I am going to surround myself with an environment that will inspire me.
  3. I will train with intensity and variety that will make me feel good, show me the best results and keep me motivated.
  4. I will train all energy systems (anaerobic and aerobic), I will explore my body’s capability and aim to improve overall performance (strength, power, mobility and endurance) since it will relate to a better lifestyle.

Aesthetic vs Functional driven.

One of the major differences of the diet and exercise approach vs. the train and nourish approach is that the first is aesthetic driven and the second is functional driven.

When aiming for aesthetic first you are more likely to find yourself doing it all for the six pack or “great ass”. This is all fine and motivating until you have set yourself up for something unsustainable or unattainable. Just think of starving yourself for six weeks while doing monotonous cardio and taking fat burners. It sounds like living on the edge of insanity while anxious and drained — all in the quest of that six pack.

By letting function drive you it is more than likely that you will be seeking training methods that will improve on the performance that will translate to your favorite sports or activities. I like to call this a “Train for Life” approach.

Conditioned thought of “Diet” vs “Nourishment”

Diet – Through life many of us have been conditioned to attach the idea of  “diet” as restrictive, depleted, demotivating and somewhat rewardless. Humans naturally seek out reward somewhere in the process of making a change. If the reward is losing weight and/or looking better than it can be motivating and rewarding (if you get there). The question is, what if you never get there? I mean, what if you go through a period of time of restriction and depletion and your do not arrive at results you anticipated, chanced are that you will probably begin to think, “I am not enjoying this”, “this is not living”, or “I was happier before dieting”. Most likely you will then ditch the whole dieting thing altogether.

Nourishment – A completely different approach would be to seek out flavorful foods that give me more energy, more mental clarity, perform better and lose unwanted (bad weight) all at the same time. With this approach you can begin to look at food and eating much different. Grass fed butter  is ok and gives me energy? I can nuts and fruit and because I will get digestive enzymes and healthy anti-inflammatory benefits? Awesome! Let me find what I can eat that will allow me train like a beast later.

Let’s Exercise vs Let’s Train – The idea of exercising is often understood as getting off the couch and moving. Yes – of course its better than staying on the couch and playing Xbox, but it dose not always guarantee that you are hitting the intensity necessary to elevate your level of fitness. I personally don’t find the term exercise very motivating. If you where to say, “let’s go get some exercise”, I’m not very fired up from that. Now, if you where to say “let’s get out and train” I really want to get after it with intension to rise to my ultimate potential. I am fired up and thinking of all the possibilities that may translate to other areas of my life.

Feel good first – One of the most important messages that I try to extend to instructors and clients is  get addicted to feeling good from training. If you are training all in the quest of getting that 31″ waist or the perfect arms and six-pack you may fall short of your goal. Falling short of your goal may derail you from your journey. We have become very conditioned from all the marketing an infomercials that say “you can get a six-pack in 90 days simply following this routine”. Yes, these images do sell us on the ideal of looking good and feeling good after. True, you will feel better when you look better… how about feeling good first and getting hooked on it. If you are hooked on training because you feel so good and looking good becomes the byproduct of all that training you have just set yourself up for a fit feeling good lifestyle. I’m sold on that! Sometimes we can just change our phycology on our own and not wait for the marketing geniuses to brainwash us.

My Top Three Bodyweight Exercise Alternatives. [Expanded]

Here is a post for 2013. As I stand strong in following three exercises as my top bodyweight alternatives, I wanted add 2 bonus exercises that should be added to the mix. So enjoy the following, if you are already familiar with the following  jump down to the [expanded] section. Enjoy!

I often hear people say that they have been a bit banged up from lifting weights and are looking for some alternative methods of resistance based training. My suggestion is that bodyweight training may be a great alternative. Some of the benefits include: improved joint health, increased mobility, and enhances neuromuscular adaptation (adapting the the movement patterns). Although a new routine may seem daunting at times, but with a daunting task often leads to great rewards.

Some rewards are mearly just getting more bang for your buck, you can often burn more calories in less time. In a recent study funded by the American Council of Exercise, researchers found bodyweight training can burn up to 16.2 calories per minute in men and 13 calories/minute in women. (That’s almost 1000 calories per hour.)

Another benefit is that you can workout anywhere. Since often no equipment is required for bodyweight exercises you are less dependent on relying on a facility equiped with the latest technology. We are often conditioned to believe that we need to move heavy objects or operate intricate exercise machinery to achieve a desirable physique. And why is this? Well.. it’s profitable. If the mission of many fitness clubs is to profit from the equipment, sales and membership fees then marketing and advertising is not likely geared to educate you on its alternatives.

So.. If someone where to ask me.. “Chris, if you where never to lift a weight or touch another machine again and you could only choose three alternative bodyweight exercises, what would they be?”

Well, here is my answer…

1. Alternative to Bench Press – Push-Up

How to do it: Kneel down on all fours and place your hands slightly beyond shoulder-width apart. Set your feet together and straighten your arms and legs. Your body should form a straight line from ankles to head. Keeping your elbows pulled in toward your sides, lower your chest to an inch above the floor, and press back up. That’s 1 rep.

Keep in mind this is not just a chest exercise. The exercise targets all the muscles in our upper body while building optimal strength in the forearms, shoulders, chest. The push-up is also a great for the ladies too. When done properly, the push-up also puts emphasis on building a strong core by stabilizing all layers of the abdominals and back. There is even some benefits to your hip joint, quads and hammies.

Are push-up exercises to easy..? Not always..

There are many variations of push-ups on of my favorite advanced push-ps is the Brazilian Twisting push-up.
How to do it? Assume a pushup position, but form fists with your hands so your knuckles are flat against the floor. Rotate your hips to the right and cross your right leg in front of your left. Then lower your chest toward the floor as you would for a standard pushup, being careful not to let your hips touch the floor. Push back up and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg.

2. Back Exercise Alternative – Recline pulls

How do I do it? First find or place a horizontal bar at a lower level (waist high) then lie with back on ground so bar is lined up with chest.
Next, hold bar with shoulder-width grip and pull your chest to the bar, keeping body straight and heels on ground
Lower with control; repeat.
A great goal would be (10 to 12 reps.)

If you need more of a challenge try mix it up by elevating your feet or adding a plyometric component. Trust me, they’re harder than they look!

3. Single Leg Squats Instead of Weighted Squats.

Ok on paper it looks great if you can squat 300lbs but is it necessary or even effective for balance, deceleration or force transfer?
I will leave that debate for another time. One thing I can tell you that a heavy back squat can pose more of a risk of injury than a single
leg bodyweight squat.

How do I do it? Downward Movement: With your weight balanced on the right foot and the toes of the left foot still on the floor, slowly begin to bend forward at the hips. Keep the abdominals braced. Do not allow the torso to shift or rotate. Keep your back flat and head aligned with your spine.

Upward Movement: Keep your bodyweight in your right side, exhale and slowly push the right foot into the ground to straighten hip and knee and return to start position. The core should be bracing through the entire movement to support the spine; keep the hips level and control balance.

Perform an efective number of repetitions. Change sides and complete another set of repetitions on the other leg.


note: the next two exercises involve gymnastic rings (still bodyweight exercises)

4. Dips With RTO (Ring Turn Out)

Not your average dip… This is much more challenging. I challenge you to at least 5 slow reps with a proper turnout at the top. The top you will be engaged in a support position. Visualize the lines of your knuckles pointing to the 10 and 2 o’clock at the apex, perform this without bending at the hips or leaning your torso forward. This will require good shoulder extension at the bottom. In the beginning just begin with a RTO hold (basically just hold the top or apex position.

5. Hinge Rows

This is an excellent option to really lighting up your mid traps and external rotator muscles, which are used in many gymnastic exercises. Visualize pulling yourself up to a double biceps pose while holding onto the rings the entire time. It may sound confusing but its actually pretty simple. Here’s how it goes.

1. Set up a pair of rings to hang about a foot above your head when your sitting on the floor.

2. While sitting on the floor, grab the rings. Keeping your heels on the floor, lie on your back with your arms straight and lift your hips off the ground, focus on keeping your body straight from head to heel.

3. Sit up (pike) until your head is in-between the rings and then hit the double bicep pose. You should be bending at your waist and elbows about 90 degrees.

4. Slowly lower yourself back down. Repeat 5 – 15 times.

Overall Benefits:
More unilateral strength, become more efficiently loaded for locomotion. Single limb strength movements tend to require more stability and can activate the deep core muscles to help keep your body stable and balanced. You will use stabilization muscles that are not usually targeted and can remain dormant when training bilateral movements. Unilateral strength exercises can help to build an all around stronger, more stable, and faster body.

A good way to get started with bodyweight exercises without completely abandoning the weights is to take a hybrid approach. For example for your first target set go for the traditional exercise like a dumbbell bench press and then unload the chest with a bodyweight back exercise like the recline pull.

Christopher Vlaun | ©2016

“American Council on Exercise’s Pro Source”
“National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Essentials of Personal Training”; Roger W. Earle and Thomas R. Baechle; 2003
“Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications”; George A. Brooks, et al.; 2004

Want to get ripped: Do Sprintwork

So – after recently welcoming a newborn son, time has become extremely limited. With consideration that I must find a way to still fit in some intense workouts, sprint work has been my 2x a week got-to workout. Now take a second and think about the guys and girls who were the most ripped (i.e. lowest amount of bodyfat relative to the amount of lean body mass carried) In football, running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs. On the track, sprinters who ran events 400m and shorter. I have to admit that have noticed many significant benefits over the last six weeks. Here is a quick list of the most dramatic changes:

Peak Power

Since sprinting over the last six weeks I have noticed some significant gains in my peak power. I can jump further and higher with more frequency, hence increased power endurance. Studies have shown that seven weeks of sprint training (2-3 sessions per/week) enhanced maximal sprint-peak power, lengthened time to exhaustion at maximal sprint-exertion, lowered blood-pressure, and increased incremental VO2 peak during exertion in healthy male subjects.

Stronger AB’s

Think about running 100 meters, you are taking roughly 55 – 65 steps. A world class sprinter would take roughly 44 – 47 steps. Those steps taken at a very aggressive rate in combination with constant tension and maximal power output. Now all that aggression and relaxation is triggered from the core in response to the ground force reaction. Now think about the abdominal activity related to this movement. How do you reveal this abs? The more sprinting you do while decreasing your body fat persentage the more toned your abdominals will appear.

Torch Fat

When thinking about burning fat you need to think about metabolism. First, high-intensity sprint work increases the rate of metabolism  during the activity and well after. Yes, that means you are still burning it up hours after your done. So consider this a great one/two punch. Sprinting burns the fat layer off while simultaneously building up and developing the muscle underneath. EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption): The after burner – Many people believe that doing low-intensity exercise for a long period of time burns of the most amount of fat. Although your body uses about 50 percent of your calories from fat during low-intensity exercise, the number of calories you burn is much lower than that of high-intensity exercise, which uses about 90 percent of its energy from glucose. Some studies have shown, the effects of EPOC from doing sprinting and other high-intensity exercise will help you burn fat after exercising.

Save time

For me at this time, time is everything. Since having a newborn, my time has been mostly occupied by dirty diapers, washing bottles rocking the baby to sleep – if I’m lucky I will find success… So going for a 5 mile run is not an option, but banging out 10 x 110m bursts, sprints, or pick-ups (strides) with 90 seconds rest is doable. Now that can be accomplished in about 20 minutes or less. I don’t know too many people who can tack on a five miler in less than 20 minutes (hence a 4 minute mile). The other thing to think about is the maximal output repeated 10 times. Thats like doing 10 all out sets of abs and more with 90 seconds rest. Yes, thinking of it that way seams like a beast of a workout – because it is! All in 20 minutes or less, you are reaching an aerobic and anaerobic threshold. Basically gettin’ it all in under 20 min.

Example beginners workout

Begin with a dynamic warm-up: Example 2x 30 meters each:

  • Walking quad stretch
  • Walking side lunges
  • Walking high kicks
  • high knees fast pace
  • high knee skips
  • but kickers fast pace

Sprints: 3x 60 meter Build-ups/accelerations. (start at 60%, build up 10% per 10 meters)

Sprints: 3x 60 meter Acceleration/glide (accelerate for the first 30 meters glide/overstride for the second 30 meters)





Soul Meets Body

Have to say thanks for the opportunity to work with such a great team Mega Mace and Cyberobics. Here is a sneak preview of one of the newest courses. Photo Credit: Cyberobics

Back To The Basics: My Top 5 Health Happiness Essentials

As an entrepreneur in the health and wellness arena I am so overwhelmed at the amount of information (good and bad), fads, science (good and bad), diets, detoxes, workout systems (good and bad), – where would someone possibly begin? So I sat down and decided to reflect on what I believe are the top five basic principles for living a healthy and happy life. Sure, there are definitely much more, but I want to break it down to the five essential. I always say the best way to make progress is to have a simple formula with consistent execution. So here are my top five – not in any particular order since they are all equally essential.

1. Simple Exercise 

Nature takes away anything we do not use, so let’s use it all. Full spectrum movement and comprehensive bodyweight exercise is one of the ways to maintain a strong and balanced physique while being tuned up for many sports activities. Breathing is another very important component of fitness. Deep breathing through your nose during exercise oxygenates your blood in an amazing way. Many say that disease cannot exist in an oxygenated environment because studies are finding that disease manifests in places of the body that are not well oxygenated. My wife and I developed Aeroga Movement as the perfect formula to harness all of the essential aspects of fitness, breathing and full spectrum movement.

2. Connection With Nature

The idea that spending time in nature can make you feel better is intuitive. I would like to consider it an innate wisdom that we all carry. Researchers are amassing a body of evidence, proving that wisdom we all know to be true: nature is good for us and has both long and short term mental and physical health benefits. Today many may be a little more removed from that wisdom than a few hundred years ago. Exposure to nature is such an important part of our life harmony for the spiritual experience, breathing, mental clarity, sunlight, immune system and more. Hiking in nature for instance, is often very scenic and very rewarding. You experience deep breathing at a sustained heart rate with all of the benefits of fresh air like negative ions. Negative ions have been shown to help lift mood, alleviate depression and seasonal affective disorder (winter depression or SAD).

3. Traditional Diets

Recently traditional diets have been embraced by elite athletes (such as LA Lakers), Olympic Athletes, Paleo Movement (at some degree) and are getting finally the popularity they deserve. Traditional diets are built on the concepts of choosing foods preparation and foods quality that we were consuming over 100 years ago.

Foods that are part of the traditional diets have disappeared from our tables, especially in the USA, but thanks to the popularity there are more and more of these foods are available. The missing foods in our modern diet is the reason why many people eat healthy, everything organic and spend tons of dollars in supplements but seem not to feel or perform at their very best.

The benefits of the traditional diets include:

  •    More anti inflammatory
  •    Probiotic rich which support intestinal flora and the immune system
  •    Stronger gut health, bones, joints and ligaments
  •    More energy and vitality
  •    More nutrient dense
  •    Better skin and mood

Traditional diets foods that are missing in our modern diets includes

Naturally Fermented beverages (kvass, orangina, lemonade, sauerkraut juice, ecc.): particularly rich in beneficial probiotics, prebiotics and vitamins needed to sustain our gut flora and immune system.

Naturally fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchee, and asparagus) : do not confuse them with those found in the stores because they are not fermented and pasteurized). Particularly rich in beneficial probiotics, prebiotics and vitamins needed to sustain our gut flora and immune system. Especially sauerkraut is the only vegetables to contains the available source of vitamin K2 (plants contains vitamin K1 which as humans we absorb poorly)

Sprouted/germinated grains (corn, brown rice, quinoa,ecc), flours, legumes (beans, lentils, etc.), nuts (almons, walnuts, ecc.) and seeds. These foods even Organic naturally contains inhibitors such as phytic acid which bond to minerals and enzymes causing digestive difficulties and low mineral intake. Sprouting and germination brake down these inhibitors (including gluten and lectins), make them more digestible and open up their nutrition. Sprouting and germination is another form of fermentation.

4. Spiritual connection

Generally, spirituality is the opposite of materialism and implies a sense of connection – connection to a reality greater than perceived physical world which may include an emotional experience of religion, respect and reverence.

Overcoming Trauma

Dr. Steven Southwick’s book, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, describes how some people overcome  trauma—such as abduction, war, and imprisonment—by seeking comfort in spirituality or religion. He gives examples where spiritual people find ways to “meet the challenge and continue with purposeful lives…they bounce back and carry on.”

Spiritual connection with food 

If you are on a spiritual path, I recommend exploring benefits of truly exploring your relationship with food. Food is an pathway to spiritual growth, because how you experience food is how you experience life. A recently discovered quality of food that has a powerful impact upon cells in our bodies, is the electromagnetic energy emitted by fresh living foods. We’re all made of energy, and we therefore require the consumption of energy in the form of food, air and water for sustenance and good health. We also require thoughts made up of positive vibrational energy.

Spiritual people make healthier choices.

Adhering to a particular spiritual tradition may bring an indirect health benefit because many traditions have rules about treating the body with kindness and avoiding unhealthy behaviors. Research has show that people who engage in spiritual practice are less likely to over indulge on alcohol, drugs and other self destructive habits. People who engage in a spiritual practice are less likely to commit violent crimes or theft.

Forgiveness is medicine.

Letting go of blame and negative feelings after a hurtful incident is a practice that is reflected by a number of spiritual traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. Modern science shows the health benefits of forgiveness are numerous: better immune function, longer lifespan, lowered blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, and fewer feelings of anger or hurt.

5. Digital Detox

Our world is speeding up at an overwhelming place. We are now in an age where there is a sea of information at your fingertips. Many people are spending as much as 11 hours per day staring at a screen. I don’t think we were originally wired for that. Now just think about what’s happening to your body from a physical level if you are sitting staring into this space of digital reality day after day. How is it possible to have a sense of calm, ability to focus, and let me get started on your vibrational energy.

As quoted By digitaldetox.org : “WE LIVE IN AN EXTRAORDINARY TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY  We are more globally connected than ever before, but life in the digital age is far from ideal. The average American spends more than half of their waking life staring at a screen. The negative psychological, social and cultural impact is real. Things need to change.”

Few Facts:

  • 33% of people admit to hiding from family and friends to check social media

High Social media use can trigger an increase in loneliness, jealousy and fear

  • 95% of people use some type of electronics in the hour leading up to bed.

** Artificial light from screens increase alertness and suppress the hormone melatonin by up to 22%

– negatively affecting sleep, performance and mood.

  • Unplugging for just one day can give some users mental and physical withdraw symptoms

Disconnect to Connect.

As we disconnect from our devices, we reconnect with ourself, our community, nature and the world around us. Without initially disconnecting it is difficult to find the clarity and awareness to pick up on the beauty and nature around us. Disconnecting from devices and technology allows us to begin to cultivate mindfulness and awareness practice techniques that help us stay grounded. As you create the time to digital detox, you will find more time to decompress and reflect. Along with the time and reflexion you will find more clarity and enhanced creativity.

The good news is that people are beginning to catch on and there are some great retreats and workshops that cater to activities “device free”

© Christopher Vlaun 2016: V Art of Wellness – Founder 



My 5 Reasons You Should Bodyweight Train

Bodyweight training has been a key foundation in my own personal fitness for years. Since I like to practice what I preach, all of my fitness clients have experienced many progressions of bodyweight exercises. Although there are so many amazing forms and benefits in bodyweight training I decided to share with you my top 5 reasons for bodyweight training.

1. Help Build and Maintain Lean Muscle Mass
As you may have heard, building strength is the key for maintaining a strong metabolism especially as you age, since it increases lean muscle mass that naturally declines as the years go by. Muscle mass plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy weight and general metabolic functions — for example, helping with insulin sensitivity, thyroid function and hormonal balance. Basically, the more lean muscle you hold on your frame, the higher your basal metabolic rate is, which means you need more calories just to maintain your weight on any given day.

2. It’s always a challenge
Bodyweight exercises are great because they’re easily modified to challenge anyone. You can add extra reps, change pace of the exercises, minimizing rest, or adding a ballistic movement (like a squat thrust or burpee in-between reps) are just a few ways to make the simplest workout tougher. Every time you add a modification, you can chart your progress.

3. Balance
When it comes to bodyweight training, sometimes increasing resistance means increasing balance, too. For example, a normal squat can be ramped up by swapping in a single-leg squat (a.k.a. a pistol squat). Functional movements like that one can improve balance through increased body awareness and control.

4 Flexibility 

Bodyweight training can go hand-in-hand with building strength and flexibility. Completing bodyweight exercises through a full range of motion ensures your joints are moving freely. Plus, it can lead to improved posture and might reduce the chance of exercise-related injury. Yoga, the fave no-equipment workout for many, is another great way to to improve flexibility while also significantly improving strength.

5. Improve Your Mood and fights Depression
Some people consider to exercise as the body’s natural anti-depressant, since it biologically reduces stress and is tied to improvements in self-esteem, confidence, the ability to problem solve, better sleep and emotional health. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, chemicals that give you a natural high and lift your mood, helping naturally remedy depression and improve low energy levels.

Additional benefits of bodyweight training

• More lean muscle mass
• Healthier blood cholesterol levels
• Healthier blood pressure levels
• Lower stress levels
• Better sleep
• More energy
• Increased oxygen use by muscles
• Reduced joint and bone pain
• Removal of metabolic waste from muscles during resting periods
• Increased insulin sensitivity
• Increased resting metabolic rate

Christopher Vlaun ©2016

Nature’s Therapy – Color, Light, and Endorphins

After earning a Bachelors degree of Art and Design, I understand that color and light play a vital roll in our world. Color and light can affect mood, change actions, sway thinking and suppress appetite. Color is a powerful form of communication, color is everywhere in nature and color is irreplaceable. Since I have always used fitness as my equilibrium for creativity I embrace all of the positive effects that color and light have on you especially while enjoying a great workout outdoors. Something about the mixture of a great workout on a beautiful colorful day really leaves you feeling recharged. Here are a few observations that may expound this…

First, nature’s colors can profoundly influence our minds and ways of thinking because they are pure and electrifying. I have found that it is an effective and inexpensive solution to use the lovely colors of nature for stress reduction. Such shades as the blueness of a clear sky, the greenery of the grass, the deepest shades of red in a sunset as well as the grayness of an overcast day can have a considerable influence over our state of mind. Research has shown us that specific colors bring balance to our physical and emotional systems. Chromotherapy (color therapy) is now being used as an alternative to Chinese acupuncture, achieving the same results in unblocking meridians without the discomfort of needles used in acupuncture.

Secondly, light is just as important as color. If there was no available light, we would not be able to see color since it is created by the reflection of light on an object. The Earth, our continents, oceans, in fact every living thing depends on light to be able to exist. Recent scientific evidence suggests that light is in fact emitted by every cell in our bodies called (biophotons). We live in a sea of energy where light is working within us. It shines with in our divine self, and radiates upon us from the sun.

Next, allow us to take a moment to shift our focus to endorphins. Serotonin and endorphins are the chemicals which give us a natural high. Serotonin also regulates sleep and appetite while endorphins act as a natural pain reliever. With these benefits it’s not surprising you might want to increase your serotonin and endorphin levels. The great news is that with exercise you can increase these chemicals naturally without any side effects. Exercise is one of the best natural ways to produce both serotonin and endorphins.

Step it up
Note* I suggest somewhat vigorous exercise since it puts stronger physical demands on the body and increases the release of endorphins. For best results, train for at least 40 minutes and alternate between high and low intensity circuits or intervals — I recommend outdoors, of course.

Now we can make sense of natures perfect mix, color, light and endorphins. If countless studies show that exercise increases the production of serotonin in the body, color and light can recharge us, it just make a lot of sense to spend some time exercising outside in the sunlight. Meanwhile, don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy the colors of nature, while exercising outdoors. I encourage you to be conscious of all the beautiful hues and grays will help keep the Qi “ch’i” or (life force) energy flowing in our bodies’ energy channels or (meridians). We can talk a little about “Ch’i”, energy channels and meridians later. For now, step outside, enjoy a great workout and raise your vibration.

©2016 | Chris Vlaun

Electrify Your Soul – Go Barefoot

If you want to get charged from the ground up, consider going barefoot.
Why is it that as soon as I get to the beach for a workout its time to kick off the sandals and sink my bare feet in the sand? It just feels good, right? True, but there is a little more to it.

Significantly over the last 9 years I have been training myself as well as most of my clients on Miami Beach barefoot. I have somewhat habitually urged that my clients/guests join me by being barefoot throughout the experience. Intuitively, I sensed that this was something they needed. I have often mentioned that studies have shown that lightning gives us approximately 20 flashes to the ground per second globally and therefore 1,728,000 flashes to the ground per day. This seems like a huge number, but it is necessary to maintain an electrical balance between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. Does this mean that we get charged up from this as well? I would say “yes”.

According to a new book called “Earthing” by Martin Zucker,  you were experiencing the flow of the earth’s electric energy connecting to your physical body, which has been scientifically proven to promote healing and create a deep sense of well-being within us. Grounding is simple and it is free. You simply connect your bare feet directly to the earth and enjoy the organic healing benefits.

Throughout generations cultures around the world have honored the connection to the earth. In Chinese Medicine it is called Qi or “Life Force”, Native Americans have a deep connection to the nourishing qualities of the soil. They also found that it has a mothering while soothing power that is all healing, cleansing and strengthening while walking sitting or running barefoot on her surface.

Dr. Daniel Chong states “The surface of the earth is teaming with a continuous supply of electrons. Unfortunately, standard shoes stop the necessary flow of electrons into our bodies. This separation can have a devastating impact on our health. When we’re not insulated from these electrons we literally quench the free radicals that accumulate in our bodies. Where do these free radicals come from? Everything from stress and manmade electromagnetic fields to toxins, infections and poor diets — all which contribute to chronic fatigue and inflammation”

How to experience the connection…

You do not necessaraly need to live on beach. Go barefoot outside for half hour and see if you notice your stress level begin to diminish. Begin to move, stand walk even sit on the grass, sand, gravel or unpainted concrete. Wood, vinyl or asphalt won’t work.

If you do live near the beach I suggest to step out on the sand and begin to connect to the earth’s life-force.

2016 Chris Vlaun | Founder V Art of Wellness

20 Minute Cardio – Power – Strength Interval.

Eliminate Boredom. People tend to start with all intensions to completely go full steam with a new fitness approach only to grow bored with the redundant nature of cardiovascular workouts and have difficulty fitting them into their schedule. Interval training is a great way to accomplish more in less time by combining short bursts of intense activity into your regular workout. By keeping the “slow” intervals at an even higher pace, it turns into high-intensity interval training, and may help you burn more calories in less time.

Here is a suggestion;

20 minute circuit with 4 consecutive exercises for one minute per exercise.

Begin with a bodyweight exercise like a push-up. Next try an intense power cardio exercise like a jack-squat or an Atomic mountain climber. Next a suspension resistance exercise like a TRX squat-row combo. Lastly a 20 yard shuttle run.

The benefits of interval training are only enhanced by boosting the intensity. You burn more calories because your heart rate climbs higher as you perform your circuit, and alternating intensity from all-out blast to a moderate pace helps the body exceed its anerobic threshold. Alternating power and endurance intervals allows your body to adapt faster to new circumstances, which may increase overall performance. Overall high-intensity interval training helps increase the amount of oxygen your body can process, allowing you to breathe harder and get more oxygen to your muscles without feeling out of breath. All of these benefits help you raise your overall level of performance which will only help you achieve your weight loss goals.