Tag Archives: Health

Spin-Does It Help You Outdoors?

12 Jun

Spinning Spotlight: Chris Olsen taking ZenGo Italian Alps style Рfrom the top of Passo Stelvio at 9000 feet!
After 5+ months of steady ZenGo training, I left for a week-long trip to Italy to cycle in the Dolomites and the Alps. Our group climbed many of the same mountains that the professionals climb in the Giro D’Italia, widely regarded as the most grueling professional cycling race in the world. I knew going in it would be a challenging trip, but it ended up being far more difficult than I anticipated – 7 days of 60+ miles of riding with significant elevation gains every day. Here are some stats to give you a flavor of the trip and the riders with whom I was matched:

4400 – highest calorie burn in a single day on the trip

3180 – average calorie burn per full day of riding

3 – the time in hours it took to make it to the top of the Stelvio Pass – miles and miles of road heading straight up to 9000 feet of elevation

6 – the minimum number of guys on the trip who shaved their legs for additional speed (no, I am not one of the 6)

250+ – the number of energy gel packs consumed while cranking up the mountains (yuck – can’t even look at a gel pack now)

48 – the speed in mph on one of my descents

1 – the minimum number of guys who had their names engraved on their bikes because they get paid to ride (as you might suspect, this is a subset of the shaved leg number)

1 – the number of guys on the trip who used a cycling studio as his primary method of training ūüôā

The only reason I survived this trip is ZenGo. Over the course of several months of work, I dropped enough pounds and gained enough aerobic capacity and fitness to conquer the toughest cycling mountains in the world (ok, maybe not conquer, but I did manage to make it to the summits!) I owe a debt of gratitude to Marc and all the ZenGo instructors, including Kelly, Madeline Dolente, Melissa K. and Melissa C. Special thanks to Kelly from whom I took the majority of my classes and who always insisted on maximum effort (with the added bonus of top-notch teenybopper songs!). If these guys can get me up the Alps, they can help you accomplish just about anything!

In Health and Happiness,



Wedding Weight Loss

1 May

Yesterday I was at one of my good friend’s bridal showers and a few of the bridesmaids asked me how to lose 5 ¬†pounds¬†in¬†a week. ¬†The bridesmaids dresses we will be wearing on Saturday are very form fitting so any extra baggage will be completely obvious. ¬†That being said, 5 pounds more or under can make a pretty significant difference for someone weighing 125 pounds.

I usually recommend losing 1-2 pounds a week for people looking for long term weight loss.  If someone loses 5 or more pounds in a week and is of a normal weight, they are most likely losing water and very likely to gain the weight back.  That being said, if you are desperate to lose a few pounds before a big event, here are my wedding weight crasher secrets.

My Weight Loss Coach

1. ¬†Don’t eat carbs after 7pm.

2.  Avoid sugar like a plague.

3.  Forfeit bread, pasta, cookies, and any other starchy carbs.

4.  Drink a gallon of water a day.

5.  Fill up on veggies and protein.

6.  Eat salads with vinegar.  Forgo fatty dressings, cheese, and croutons.

7. ¬†Avoid soup. ¬†It’s loaded with sodium which will cause you to retain water and appear puffy.

8.  Avoid carbonated drinks, gum, and broccoli.  This will cause you to be gassy and bloated.

9.  Exercise an hour a day.  Sweat it out with intervals.

10.  Record everything for the week and review each day to keep you motivated.

Song of the day: Burning Up by Ne-Yo

Free download: http://mp3skull.com/mp3/burning_up_ne_yo.

In Health and Happiness,

Madeline Dolente


Finding Time

24 Apr

It seems like the biggest reason people don’t exercise these days is due to lack of time. ¬†That’s what everyone told me this weekend and it’s often the same excuse I hear on a daily basis. ¬†Yes, there is never enough time in a day to do everything, so if you want to make it happen, you have to make it a priority.

As a lifestyle coach, I have had the pleasure of coaching people to find balance. ¬†What I have found is that many people let their jobs control their life and then one day they wake up wondering why they are unhappy. ¬†They didn’t make time for exercise, love, and to enjoy all of their other passions. ¬†Seize the moment and create your life by focusing on what is important to you.

I believe exercise is important for everyone.  It keeps your body and mind healthy!  YOU choose how to spend your day, so if exercise is important to you, make it a priority.

Below are some tips to find time for exercise:

1. ¬†Make your workout an appointment and don’t let social events interfere with this appointment.

2. ¬†If your day doesn’t go as planned and you get stuck in the office late, think something is better than nothing. ¬†Even 5 minutes of exercise is beneficial.

3. ¬†Don’t let a rainy day keep you from exercising. ¬†There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. ¬†Put in an exercise dvd or head to the gym!

4.  Do it in the morning.  This will ensure that no matter what occurs in your day, you got your workout in.

5.  Enlist your friends.  If you have other people who will be meeting you for a workout, you will most likely be successful.

6.  Multi-task.  If you have reading material, bring it with you as you walk on the treadmill or elliptical.

7.  Maximize your time by going to an intense 45 minute class that will give you an incredible workout and burn 500 calories.  Check out a cycle class at http://www.zengofitness.com or METCON at Equinox.

8. ¬†Focus on the benefits. ¬†Even when you don’t feel like working out, think about how good your body will feel and look after you’ve exercised. ¬†Nothing else will give you the same effect.

9.  Sign up for a race or give yourself a goal.  By focusing on a goal, your workouts leading up to that race will have to be a priority.

10.  Plan out your day!  If you have a plan, you are most likely to achieve your goals!

Song of the day:  Burning Up by Ne Yo

Free download: http://mp3skull.com/mp3/ne_yo_burning_up.html

In Health and Happiness,

Madeline DolenteImage

Weight Loss Tips

20 Apr

On Monday the New York Times had an article about brides using a feeding tube diet to lose weight. The May issue of Glamour, had an article about women so desperate to lose weight that they getting an operation called POSE, which is a surgery similiar to Gastric Bypass surgery, just to lose 25 pounds!  These surgeries cost anywhere from $1000 to $12,000 and are not even FDA approved.  No one knows what the long term effects will be.  I have personally seen women with chunky patches or lumps on their legs and thighs from liposuction.  Those are just the visible signs, but what about the patients I have trained who have had gastric bypass?  There are numerous health complications from that as well.

Surgery is a short term fix and will not result in long term success without a lot of effort. ¬†I will admit that looking great takes a lot of effort in today’s society. ¬†Portion sizes are enormous, we work too much, and it can be hard to fit in exercise. ¬†Unless you get a spot on the Biggest Loser or go away to a weight loss camp, you will have to make constant efforts to lose weight. ¬†It’s worth it because the healthier you feel, the better your life will be. ¬†YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Below I have listed my top 10 weight loss tools to get you started and if you incorporate them into your daily lifestyle, you can be sure to keep the weight off for good!

1.  Exercise 60 minutes every day and change it up.  Run, hike, cycle, lift weights, jump rope, row, swim, dance.  Choose activites you enjoy and enlist your friends.

2.  Eat small meals often.  Think 300 calorie meals 5 times a day for women and 500 calories at 5 times a day for men.  Men have more muscle mass so they burn more calories at rest than women.

3.  When you get hungry, drink water first.  Your body has a hard time differentiating between thirst and hunger.  If you satisfy your thirst first, you will be less likely to compensate and overeat.

4.  Go fresh.  Your body is better at digesting real foods which often has less sodium and carbohydrates than the processed versions.

5.  Aim for protein at every meal and most of your carbs during the day to give you energy.  At night, your metabolism may slow down so this is a better time to eat less carbs and more protein.

6.  Do interval training.  When you are working out, add a minute or so of high intensity, all effort pushes and then recover.  This will help you burn more calories and increase your anaerobic threshold.

7.  Avoid sugar.  Fruit is good for you during the day, but too much of any other type of sugar will lead to weight gain.  The quick bursts of energy will often leave you tired and craving more and becomes a vicious cycle.

8. ¬†Don’t keep junk in the house or your car. ¬†If it’s not there, you can’t eat it. ¬†Throw the twinkies in the dumpster outside of your house.

9.  Buy small portions.  The larger the bag, the more likely you will eat more than you should.  Look at the portion sizes and put single portions in small baggies so that you eat 1 portion at a time.

10.  Journal.  Record your food intake and exercise so you can see what behaviors are helping you and where you can make some changes.

Weight loss is a process and if you are committed and willing to make some sacrifices, you will successfully reach your goals.

Discipline is the key to achieving great things!

Song of the Day:  Concrete Angel by Gareth Emery &  Christina Novelli

Free download:  http://mp3skull.com/mp3/concrete_angel.html

In Health and Happiness,

Madeline Dolente


The Skinny on Heart Rate Training

26 Feb

I’ve had a lot of questions regarding heart rate monitors in the last several weeks so I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to the low down on heart rate training. ¬†Heart rate training is quite popular among endurance athletes like marathoners, cyclists, and triathletes.

I first learned about heart rate training when I started training in Spinning back in 1992.  In the beginning it seemed like too much information to me, but after using heart rate training for racing and training athletes, I started to like what I saw .  Heart rate training showed me a lot about my clients.  It taught me when I should push them, when I should force them to go slower, and when they needed rest.  It also made me realize that there was a big difference between how hard the heart was working and how hard people thought they were working.  Through heart rate training I helped people achieve more and learn more about their bodies and abilities.

In many group exercise classes, I teach by RPEs, which is an individuals Rate of Perceived Exertion.¬† If someone has a heart rate monitor on, I can give them target heart rate zones, but I don’t always like to do that because most people don’t truly know what their heart rate training zone is.¬† Why?¬† Because there is a magic formula that most people use that does not account for their fitness level. ¬†What is that magical formula? ¬†220-age will give you your maximum heart rate. ¬†However, if that is the only information you needed, how can you tell me that couch potato and the marathoner have the same heart rate during one of my spinning classes? ¬†You can’t, which is why, if you have a heart rate monitor, you should be using the Karvonen formula, which is the goal standard, to determine target heart rate zones.

Below I have listed an awesome calculator for you to use, once you know your resting heart rate.¬† All you need to do is enter your resting heart rate and the rest is calculated for you.¬† To truly determine your resting heart rate, I would advise sleeping with yoru heart rate monitor on a day when you don’t have to set an alarm, which for most people would be a weekend day. Once you wake up, look at your heart rate.¬† Repeat this on another day and that should be your resting heart rate number.¬† The reason you don’t want to do it the day you set an alarm, is that your reaction to the alarm could cause your resting heart rate to be much higher.¬† It could also be higher if you are not well rested.¬† The lower your resting heart rate, the better.¬† Keep in mind, genetics do play a role in determining your resting heart rate, but so does does training.¬† I can remember training a local celebrity who had an extremely low resting heart rate.¬† Her husband could not understand why hers was lower than his.¬† She was in excellent shape and her numbers proved it!

To find out your max, you can use the equation, 220-age or when you are working out, sprint as fast as you can and use the highest number you see.  Your max heart rate may differ from one sport to another.  Your maximum heart rate is genetic.

The calculation you use for the Karvonen formula is listed below or you can plug your numbers into an online calculator (see the link below).

The Karvonen formula:

The¬†Karvonen method¬†factors in resting heart rate (HRrest) to calculate target heart rate (THR), using a range of 50‚Äď85% intensity:

THR = ((HRmax¬†‚ąí HRrest) √ó¬†% intensity) + HRrest

Example for someone with a HRmax of 180 and a HRrest of 70:

50% Intensity: ((180 ‚ąí 70) √ó 0.50) + 70 = 125 bpm
85% Intensity: ((180 ‚ąí 70) √ó 0.85) + 70 = 163 bpm

To make it simple, use these five training zones:                                                  1.  Recovery=60-70%                                                                                             2.  Endurance=71-80%                                                                                        3.  Strength=81-85%                                                                                             4.  Intervals/Race pace=86-90%                                                                         5.  Speed/Shorter Racing=91-100%

Try doing the equation or plug your numbers into the online calculator:


I have also included a link on where you can get one and how much you can expect to pay.¬† I would NOT recommend any heart rate monitor that does not use a chest strap.¬† Chest straps are for accuracy, so if it doesn’t have a chest strap, I can’t say it’s accurate.¬† I have been using Polar heart rate monitors since 1996 so I highly recommend any Polar heart rate monitor.¬† If you are looking for a monitor that just does heart rate training, I recommend a simple model, the Polar FT1 Fitness Heart Rate Monitor, listed in the link below, which is only $41 online.¬† Other models may include the number of calories you burn and more.¬† If you are a triathlete, you may want to consider a Garmin, Timex, or Polar watch that monitors your heart rate and also has a GPS functionality.

Go to this link to see the different models and prices:


The 411 on the chest strap, wet the center of the plastic piece with some water from your water bottle.¬† Women, put it at the bottom of your sports bra and men, place it right above your rib cage.¬† Once you wear it a few times, you will get used to having it on.¬† Try to keep the chest strap in the same place so you don’t lose it.

More questions?  Post a comment to this blog or send me an email at Madeline@Madfitness.com

In Health and Happiness from Jamaica,




27 Jan
English: Holiday Edition bottles of Diet Coke

Image via Wikipedia

Today during lunch I stopped to get some gas and I got that craving for something sweet and needed a little boost. Deciding that it was too early to stop at the bar for a Long Island Ice Tea, I went into to the Royal Farms for a Diet Coke. ¬†I only wanted a sip, so as I looked through the large selection, I saw the regular 20 ounce and then a mini 12.5 ounce. ¬†How sad is it that 12.5 ounces looked like the kids’ version to me! ¬†What has happened with portion size in America? ¬†I think it has truly distorted peoples’ perception of what a normal portion should look like.

In America we are fortunate to have so many opportunities and it is a society where more is often perceived as better. ¬†More cars, more homes, more clothes, more surgeries. more jewelry, more luxuries, more food…you get the point. ¬†However, when you travel to Europe, you will often see the opposite. ¬†Overseas, less is often perceived as more and yes the portion sizes are often 1/2 to 2/3 less than here in America. ¬†With smaller portion sizes and more active people, you will see less obesity. ¬†With larger portion sizes in activity, we see more obesity. ¬†It’s obvious what happening. ¬†I’m not asking you to save the world, I’m asking you to save you and your family.

I got the 12.5 ounce bottle of Diet Coke and didn’t feel the need to finish it. ¬†It’s part of my less is more kick. ¬†My goal is to choose smaller portions, by doing so I will no longer drink a 20 ounce bottle of Diet Coke just because it is there. ¬†Who really needs an XL soda or a large coffee??? ¬†If I feel like eating a cookie or nuts, I will get a smaller bag. ¬†My body doesn’t need 10 cookies at one sitting nor a pound of nuts. ¬†It needs good nutrition so I can run a strong marathon and teach a great class. ¬†It’s about making1 change at a time for a healthier and happier life!

How will you downsize in 2012 or what change have you made that has helped you lose weight and feel great?  Let me know!

Best tune ever:

In Health and Happiness,

Madeline Dolente


20 Jan

No, I am not talking about food, I am talking about the key ingredient to achieving your goal, yes, the key ingredient is CONSISTENCY!¬† You can do anything half fast, but consistency is the key to achieving so many goals.¬† Consistency is what takes weight off, what makes you smarter, what makees you better.¬† Consistency is the key to making relationships stronger and the lack of is what often causes breakups and divorces, how?¬† Let me show you a few scenarios and then you take a moment to think about it, and bet you’ll agree.

Let’s¬†call her Sally.¬† Sally works out 3 days a week for an hour and eats good when she can, but the weekends are spent without exercise and eating whatever fatty foods and sweets she wants.¬† She continues to gain weight because she CONSISTENTLY eats crap and doesn’t exercise on the weekends.¬† Now Sally and George have been dating for 3 months. He always tells her he is going to call her but doesn’t.¬† He always shows up late.¬† She has told him before that these things bother her, but his behaviors don’t change.¬† He consistently offends her, so she breaks up with him.¬† Jim then decides to start smoking to deal with the break up.¬† He consistently smokes 2 packs a day for three years and gets lung cancer.¬† So sad but The good news is that he is in remission and is dating another girl who is chronically late and never returns calls so I guess they never really offend each other or talk for that matter.

So I’m going to lighten things up a¬†bit and talk to you about one of the girls in my class at Zengofitness.¬† I remember the first time she came to my class.¬† She was hesitant, perhaps a bit nervous, and I didn’t think she was going to come back.¬† She had a little difficulty with the moves and the workout was very challenging for her.¬† (it’s challenging for everyone)¬†

I couldn’t teach this Thursday and was bummed because I thought about¬†this particular girl and how good she has become.¬† Last Tuesday I watched her on the bike, she had¬†incredible focus, her form was amazing and her movements were perfectly synchronized to the beats of the songs!¬† And I can see a difference in her body, yes she is rocking her Nike workout shorts!¬† She has become amazing because she consistently comes to class and puts in the effort.¬† She makes it a part of her schedule and rarely misses a class.

It’s all about consistency so think of one thing you’ d like to achieve and then an action you can consistently do to achieve that goal.¬† I am going to do a track workout every week till the marathon so I can get faster.¬† One week isn’t enough, it will take consistency.¬† What will you do?¬† Tell me, I’d love to hear it!

Wake Up Paula Dean

18 Jan

I was getting ready for bed last night when I saw the link posted on facebook about Paul Dean and I felt disgusted.  In fact, I was even more motivated to get some sleep so I would feel well rested for my run in the morning.  Why am I disgusted?  Because diabetes is a disease that can take over your body if you let it.  It can rob you of your limbs, your eyes, and your kidneys, that is, if you let it and Paula Dean spent 3 years ignoring her disease. 

The fact is, diabetes is a disease you can control, unlike many other diseases.  I lost my Mom to cancer and I watched it eat away at her.  How could you let diabetes take away precious thingslike eyesight, limbs, organs, and not try to prevent it?  Especially when you have children, grandchildren, and the world looking up to you?  Wake up!!!!

I spoke to the most amazing diabetes group on Monday evening at a hospital here in Maryland and I admitted that it is very hard to stay in shape in America.  The portion sizes are huge, we work all the time, and you can get anything done by the push of a button.  It takes effort to make your meals healthy.  It takes effort to get off the couch.  But, let me tell you something, YOU ARE WORTH THE EFFORT! 

The folks in the diabetes group I worked¬†with individually¬†wrote down a simple goal they are going to achieve this year by making a change and taking action.¬† What will you do this year to make your life better?¬† I don’t know Paula Dean personallly nor will I draw any assumptions as to why she took 3 years to tell the world she has diabetes or why she is now getting paid to be a spokesperson.¬† As the queen of comfort cuisine, her weight gain and diabetes cannot be all that comfortable.¬†

I would challenge Paula Dean to find ways to make her comfort food healthier for Americans.  I would challenge her to inspire people with diabetes to make healthier food decisions and to incorporate fitness into their lifestyle.  But, instead of waiting for Paula Dean, go ahead amd forget the comfort cuisine, and get comfortable with yourself and make healthier decisions to live a happy and healthy life. 

Here is the link to Paula Dean’s article and by the way, eating healthy doesn’t cost a lot, but it does require some discipline.¬† http://bites.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/17/10173727-paula-deen-diabetes-diagnosis-wont-change-how-i-cook

Song of the day:  Waves of Change by Samantha Jones

Free download:  http://mp3skull.com/mp3/waves_of_change.html

In Health and Happiness,

Madeline Dolente