Sunday, December 30, 2007

Why Exercise Protects Your Memory!

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-ZineDecember 30, 2007

Why Exercise Protects Your Memory

Recent research shows that a regular exercise program can help to prevent some of the loss of memory that comes with aging. A part of your brain called the hippocampus is the control station for memories that you store in other parts of the brain. Another brain structure called the prefrontal cortex is the central station that assembles data from other parts of your brain when you want to recall something from your past. Aging causes the brain to shrink and you lose synapses that transmit messages from one nerve to another. Exercise causes the brain to produce a substance called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BNDF) that strengthen old synapses and causes new one to grow (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2007). Researchers used MRIs of their human subjects to show that an exercise program of an hour a day, four days a week for three months caused new neurons to grow in the hippocampus. Several previous studies showed that exercise enlarges the hippocampus in rats and doubles or even triples the rate of the formation of new nerves. However, one way that rats differ from humans is that most of them like to run and need no encouragement to spend several hours a day on a treadmill. There is also emerging evidence that physical activity may be protective against neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, Parkinson's disease, strokes and spinal cord injuries. If you are not a regular exerciser, check with your doctor and get started.

New FEAR's Resolution

Over the past few years, I've noticed a trend in fitness as well as society in general.

People are afraid to commit to a lifestyle change....

I remember a time when clients would come up to me excited about their new year's resolutions and would actually have a list of changes they were committed to making. But by February, the list and memory of had disappeared.

Did most of them fail?

Perhaps... but just because something didn't work the first time, does that mean we can easily throw out the statement, "New Year's Resolutions don't work"?

No, we shouldn't, we can't. Because you see, it's not that New Year's Resolutions DON'T work, it's that YOU don't work your resolution!

Whether it's poor planning, lack of self-control or discipline, work excuses, or simply caving to peer pressure at parties or outings, if we verbally or contractually commit to something, we need to see it through. Yes, even if that means the words 'sacrificial' 'pain' 'resist' 'abstain' 'discipline' come to mind.

As Americans, we don't like being told:
- what or what not to do
- we are wrong
- what to eat, wear, buy
- and we don't like being told we have to wait

We have to wait for the results of a disciplined life. Whether that means saving a little more now to produce financial freedom later, or eating healthy now to have a six-pack later. No matter the goal, you're gonna have to work, you're gonna have to commit.

Are you ready to take that step?

Are you ready to change your habits?

Are you ready to live life more richly?

If so, I challenge you to make a New Year's Resolution AND commit to seeing it through.

2008 can turn out to be EXACTLY what you decide it will.

Are you ready to own your outcome?

Happy New Year!

Jimi Varner

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chocolate Hazelnut Bites are HEALTHY?!?!

I must admit, I am a huge fan of Dr. John Berardi. If you have been a client of mine, you've undoubtly heard me speak highly of this guy. His approach to nutrition is second to none. Below is an article from his newsletter that I wanted to share with the readers of my blog.

Being the nutrition guy is tough sometimes. I got a sharp
reminder of that last week, when I was out to dinner with some
friends. When the waiter offered us the dessert menu, everyone
else at the table looked at me. If I could put that look into
words, it would be about half a permission-seeking, "Can I
please, pretty please?" and about half an angry, "Why the hell
did we invite this guy again?"

Look, once and for all: I eat dessert too.

Especially at Christmas. Growing up in an Italian household is
an experience this time of year, I can tell you that. The
pastries never stop coming. Cookies and cakes and sugar dipped
creations that I don't even know the names of.

But my favorites were these things called "baci," which in
Italian means "kisses." Every region in Italy has their own
version; in fact, you can often find the ones from Perugia in
specialty grocery stores. They're these bite-sized chocolate and
hazelnut treats that are unbelievably addictive.

And that's the problem. You can't just eat one. When I
mentioned this to Jason Grenci, our photographer for Gourmet
Nutrition (and an Italian kid himself), he knew exactly what I
meant. But he decided to do something about it.

He came up with a Gourmet Nutrition version.

Let me tell you something: these things are delicious. He found a
way to turn them into a true Anytime meal: just 9 grams of carbs
and over 22 grams of protein per serving. Unreal.

I've just made a batch for Christmas Eve, and if you're looking
for a nutritious dessert that can fool ANYONE, this is it. Here's
the recipe.



2/3 cup roasted hazelnuts
4 omega-3 eggs
3/4 cup Splenda
1 tsp espresso coffee powder
5 scoops chocolate protein powder
2/3 cup crushed pecans
2/3 cup crushed walnuts
2/3 cup crushed unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. On a baking sheet, spread hazelnuts and
roast them in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes. When finished, pull
hazelnuts out of the oven and place onto a towel. Put 8 of the
hazelnuts aside for later. Next, use the towel to rub the skin
off all but the 8 hazelnuts you put aside.

With an electric mixer, mix together the omega-3 eggs, Splenda,
and espresso coffee powder. Next, add protein powder, one scoop
at a time, mixing thoroughly. Finally, add the de-skinned
hazelnuts (leaving the 8 full hazelnuts aside), pecan meal,
crushed walnuts and peanuts. Mix well. The mixture should
become thick and dough-like.

With wet hands, separate the mixture into 8 equal portions. For
each portion, place one of the 8 hazelnuts set aside earlier into
the center of the portion, rolling the portion into a small round
shape until it completely covers the hazelnut in the center.
Place each bite-sized shape onto a baking sheet lined with
parchment paper. Place the sheet into the oven for 10 minutes.
When complete, pull from the oven and allow to cool. These can
be eaten warm, or stored in an air-tight container in the fridge
and served cool later.

Makes 8 servings.


Calories: 394 kcal
Protein: 22g
Carbohydrate: 9g
Fat: 30g
Saturated: 3.1g
Monounsaturated: 15.8g
Polyunsaturated: 11.2g



John M. Berardi, Ph.D.
Author, Gourmet Nutrition

Monday, December 03, 2007

Jimmy Smith does NOT have portion distortion!

One of my friends in the fitness industry, Jimmy Smith of had a quick post on his blog reminding us of the simplicity of portion control. Check it out below:


Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Portion Control 101

An issue with eating out or eating in general is portion control. Here’s a quick reference guide so that you don’t go overboard and don’t have to think too hard.

Fruit-1 serving is the size of a baseball
Vegetables-1/2 cup is ½ a baseball
Pasta or Rice-1/2 cup is ½ a baseball
Fish or Chicken- 1 serving is a deck of cards
Peanut Butter-2 tablespoons is a large marshmallow
Salad Dressing-2 tablespoon is an ice cube

Can't get much easier can it?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Bloated-for-Life Remedy - Jillian Michaels

Okay, it's only been a few hours since you overindulged on all your childhood favorites and made your family and friends question whether you've ever seen food before. That being said, I thought I would pass along some bloat-insurance from Celebrity Personal Trainer, Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser:

60 oz distilled water
1 tbsp of sugar-free cranberry juice
1 dandelion root tea bag
2 tbsp of lemon juice

Drink this 7 days in a row and you can easily drop 5lbs of excess water bloat.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Black & White is made Grey

After 8 years in the fitness industry, I am more confused than ever.

After training almost 20,000 client hours in corporate, home, and gym settings, and reading just about everything I can get my hands on, I am left with more questions than I am answers. Perhaps it's because I am trying to boil it all down, put it in a nice neat n' clean package, and market it to EVERYONE. As fitness professionals trying to help everybody, I think that's where we get ourselves in trouble.

The debates are endless over:

- macronutrient breakdown
- intervals vs. straight sets
- steady-state cardio vs. HIIT
- high reps vs. low reps
- nutrient timing
- meal frequency
- etc....

The problem is this: Each position has it's research to back it up. Much of it may or may not be valid. Who's got time to look it all up? Where do you stand when it comes to research vs. experience? Who's right, who's wrong? Is everything a hint of grey?

Everything dies the death of a 1,000 qualifications! Or does it?

Okay, it's time for another piece of apple pie.

Happy Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fall Back

Today, November 4th, 2007 is the day where we turn our clocks back one hour. I don't know about you, but I personally used that extra hour to catch up on some valuable sleep! What did you do with your hour?

Now that Fall is upon us and everybody is scrambling to get things done before the holidays arrive, what are you going to do about getting into shape?

Are you going to:
a) Just 'bulk up' until January 1st?
b) Raise your personal standards and 'man up'

I'm going to man up, how about you?

Monday, October 15, 2007

MH Marathon Blog Post Response

My thoughts on Marathon Running

This is a reponse to the following Men's Health Blog Post:

In 2002, I ran the Detroit Marathon and finished in just over 4:20. I had a strong sense of accomplishment, but felt like crap for the next 30 days. Over the course of 4 months, I lost strength, actually GAINED two inches on my waistline, and lost 15 scale pounds (not sure about the fat-to-muscle ratio)

Would I run another Marathon? Not on your life. It took over 2 months for me to begin feeling 'normal' again. I wasn't myself for a while. My strength was low, motivation was not the, and no, I don't believe I had post-event depression. My body was tired, depleted, over-trained, etc...

I agree with Adam Campbell's research on the dangers of Marathon running. So my take is not only from the scientific perspective, but also from personal experience.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's all good

Sometimes in our efforts to find the 'perfect' training program, the 'perfect' diet, and the 'perfect' time to start it, we end up doing nothing.

This week, my 1st child was born. Edwin Fredrick Varner. I took the week off work, and found myself eating whatever was convenient, especially since I was sleep deprived and working out was out of the question. I spent a lot of time reviewing my DVD collection, which includes Dr. John Berardi's Nutrition DVD, Cosgrove's seminars and bodyweight exercise DVD's, Juan Carlos Santana's Dumbbell DVD's, and a crappy DVD that came with the book, 'You on a Diet: The Workout' with Brian Harper.

It was good escapism between changing dirty diapers, cooking and cleaning, and yawning. The one thing that stuck with me was something Berardi said, "With all the information out there, do we really need MORE? Or do we need to simply find a way to apply what we already know?"

Berardi is right.

How much more information do ANY OF US really need?

I mean, are you applying what you know right now?

Neither am I...

That is, until now.

Tomorrow is Friday, and when I return to work, I am going to train my 10 clients, uh, make that '11' (myself)

I am not going to overanalyze and strategize myself out of simply picking up some heavy weight, or, as Dan John says, 'Just Lift It'

Here's to you Dr. Berardi and Mr. John....(the name with 2 first names:)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You gotta laugh at yourself sometimes....

The following video is a real crack up! Enjoy...

Friday, August 17, 2007

THE TRUTH: Reducing fat on your Stomach!

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-Zine
August 19, 2007

Spot Reduction Exercises are Not Effective

Many people believe that if they do enough sit-ups they
will get rid of belly fat, but your body does not work that way.
Exercising a specific muscle does not get rid of more fat over
that muscle in comparison to the rest of your body. If it did,
tennis players would have less fat in their tennis arms, and this
does not happen. Strength training strengthens weak muscles,
but it cannot remove fat specifically over the strengthened
A recent study from the University of Connecticut
showed that men who exercised one arm against heavy
resistance for 12 weeks appeared to lose more fat in their
exercised arm than their inactive one when fat was measured
by a caliper that calculated skin thickness (Medicine & Science
in Sports & Exercise, July 2007). However, when the same
authors used an MRI machine to measure fat underneath the
skin, there was no difference between the exercised and non-
exercised arms.
When you take in more calories than your body burns,
you store the extra calories as fat. More than half of the fat in
your body is stored underneath your skin and over your
muscles. Your stomach will look better when your belly
muscles are strong, but sit-ups or crunches will not remove
extra fat from your belly. The only way to lose fat from a specific
part of your body is to lose weight overall.

Get a sneak peek of the all-new

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lose Weight in 8! Released Today!

Hot off the presses, my 4th title, "Lose Weight in 8!"

Even before 'A Trainers Dozen' is out of the box, I decided to release another title, 'Lose Weight In 8!" If you are looking to get into your best shape, and your nutrition and training haven't been all that it could be, you NEED this book. If you would like to: Lose 1-2 inches on those 'trouble' areas, lose some unwanted bodyfat, lose that bloated, chubby face as a result of water retention and tighten up the superficial layer to take on a tighter appearance, ....AND.... would like to do so in only 8 days, then this book has your name written ALL OVER IT!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Trainers Dozen Press Release


Personal Trainer & Author, Jimi Varner, reveals what it REALLY takes to be a successful personal trainer.

LIVONIA, MI—AUGUST 2007— Jimi Varner reveals how personal trainers can be successful in A Trainers Dozen in conjunction with Lulu (, the world’s fastest-growing provider of print-on-demand books.

A Trainers Dozen reveals the 13 principles that have helped Personal Trainer Jimi Varner double his income every two years, by delivering beyond customer expectation. The book is packed with 8 years worth of fascinating stories, underdog victories, as well as embarrassing defeats, embedded within the principles that will help trainers to deliver 13, when only 12 are expected.

Jimi Varner wrote A Trainers Dozen to help personal trainers increase their chance for longevity in the competitive market of personal training. A Trainers Dozen is available for purchase at and

“The average personal trainer earns LESS than $30,000 a year. 50% of new trainers don’t bother to renew their certification. I have overcome the odds and want others to do the same,” said Jimi Varner.

Link to Publication*:


Jimi Varner is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer, Corporate Fitness Consultant, Public Speaker, and author of several books and articles on nutrition, training, and motivation. A former professional wrestler, he teaches Health & Fitness classes in the Fitness Leadership program at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Michigan. This is his third book. His second book, titled The Dieter’s Deliverance, is available at or


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Click HERE to order Jimi's new book!

A Trainers Dozen: 13 principles for personal training success, reveals what it takes to be a successful Personal Trainer. Packed with practical & powerful tools from everyday, in-the-trenches experience, painful lessons, and motivating stories by 8-year veteran, Jimi Varner. In May of 2004, the median annual earnings of personal trainers and group exercise instructors was just $25,470. The average Personal Trainer barely earns $30,000 a year and 50% don’t even bother to renew their certifications! If you are thinking about a career in Personal Training, this book is a MUST READ.

You can order A Trainers Dozen by visiting the publisher at

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jimi Varner

Beware of "N.M.S!"

Beware of 'N-M-S'!
by Jimi Varner

While walking up to work one day, I noticed a member just sitting in the car and gazing off into space.

I had seen this look before.

This person had the 'deer in headlights' look about them, so I decided to go up and see if everything was okay.

Just as I had suspected, this person suffered from a common condition called, 'N-M-S', 'No Motivation Syndrome'. They were trying to get motivated to come into the workout room, but they just couldn't find the motivation to get out of the car.

Has this ever happened to you? It's like Sunday morning, you wake up and find that you don't have the energy to get out of bed and go to church. Sure, you can think of a million reasons why you shouldn't go, but if you can muster up the strength to put on that 'Sunday best', after the service is over, you are always glad you went, right?

Okay, back to business!
I have two suggestions to help you get and stay motivated to workout!

1. Hire a Personal Trainer - The benefits are many. Here as just a few:
Accountability - you are being charged AND the trainer is waiting for you!
Motivation - a good trainer will be able to draw more out of you during the workout.
Inspiration - our trainers have a long list of accomplishments that are inspirational.
Challenging - one of our trainers can design a workout that is both challenging and exciting.

2. Train with a friend/workout buddy - Below are some of the benefits:
Accountability - just see what happens when you don't show up at 6 a.m.!
Motivation - this is a great opportunity to spend time together.
Inspiration - share your goals and push each other to achieve them.
Challenging - they can bring out the competitive side of you like nobody else!
Unlike team sports or group activities, the weight room can be a lonely place of solitude. It doesn't have to be. The benefits of a well-designed strength training program are only productive if you actually do it.

With the Summer winding down and the kiddies going back in school, stack the cards in your favor this Fall! Consider this strategy for protecting yourself against the deadly 'N-M-S" virus and get into great shape in time for the holiday season!


If you are frustrated over the hardness/density of natural
peanut butter, try the following tip:
After your whole-grain bread is toasted, immediately put
a portion of your hard, but healthy NATURAL peanut butter
on the hot toast, wait 45 seconds, the peanut butter will
have softened by the heat of the toast! Enjoy, don't forget to
sprinkle lightly with cinnamon!


If you are looking to curb the nighttime ice cream
cravings, freeze some red or white grapes in a
freezer bag and pull a few of them out during
those weak moments. A handful of grapes
will save you several hundred calories.

Foods you WANT to eat!

Foods you want to eat!

Chicken breasts
Lean red meat
Cottage cheese
Milk protein isolates
Whey protein isolates
Green vegetables
Low glycemic index fruits
Sweet potatoes
Mixed grain bread
Fish oil, flax oil, olive oil
Mixed nuts

Now, here's a list of foods that you'd want to try and avoid:

Fatty meats
Fatty dairy foods
Most lunch meat (processed)
Whole milk
White bread
Refined sugars
Most cereals
Fruit juice
Fruit bars
Vegetable oil
Corn oil
Heated or fried oils in general

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Trainers Dozen Book Cover

Okay guys, I think this is the REAL new book cover. After going around and around, this just might be it! Email me your thoughts @

Here is what some are saying about "A Trainers Dozen"

"The book, I think , is great! Made me think about a couple of things for
sure. We (I) get so comfortable with my clients......cannot forget that
they are paying customers and I need to be giving them their $$ worth. I
think that it flowed , very informational and honestly I do not know what I
would change!!" - Mollie M. - Personal Trainer

"I think it is really good... it is definitely thought provoking - and will be especially to the new PT...for the more experienced and good personal trainers out there who may read it, they will say to themselves - "I should have written a book!" kudos to you for moving forward with it and doing it!...great testament to you!" - Rob G. - Athletic Trainer - Boston, MA

"Great job!!!!! Just finished reading your book.

It is a wonderful "how to" be successful in personal training." - John K. - Novi, MI

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Are you considering a career as a Personal Trainer?

This Fall, my new book, "A Trainer's Dozen - 13 Principles for Personal Training Success" will be available! I am very excited about sharing the principles that have made me successful as a Personal Trainer.

Did you know that 80% of personal trainers made LESS THAN $30,000 a year.

More than 50% never renew their certifications.

Over the last 8 years, I have made my living as a full-time Personal Trainer. My day-to-day, in-the-trenches experience qualifies me.

In the book, I will share the 13 principles that have made me successful.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The greatest things in life are on my blog:)

Jimi's World Famous Protein Bars!

1 Cup of apple sauce
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups of oatmeal
1 cup of protein powder
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
(dried fruit, nuts, etc.. to taste)

Beat apple sauce, sugar, and egg whites. Add rest of ingredients and mix together. Spread mixture in a 9 x 9 pan sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown approximately 15 minutes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Instead, ...ask

Instead of asking, "Which supplement will help me lose weight",
ask, "Which foods should I eat that won't increase my appetite?"

Instead of asking, "How much cardio should I do?",
ask,"What type of cardio will help me reach my goals?"

Instead of asking, "Which diet should I follow?"
ask, "How should I eat to lose bodyfat?"

Think for a change.... any questions? :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Book for Trainers

I am currently working on a book that will serve as a valuable resource for Personal Trainers and those interested in becoming one. The title is, "A Trainer's Dozen" and will contain stories, principles, and lessons I have learned over my 8 year career.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Rhonda Hart died yesterday. She was a very special woman who gave me my first radio interview two years ago. My thoughts and prayers go out to her husband Eric and the WMUZ 103.5 FM family.

She knew Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, and soon, each of us who know Him will join her in heaven.

R.I.P. Rhonda..... I'll miss you.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New and Improved Look

Hi everyone. As you can see, I have updated my blog and will be posting more regularly. I encourage any and all feedback and look forward to sharing my thoughts, views, and opinions regarding the fitness industry and its future.

Real before and after shot!

Real before and after shot!
Over 50lbs of fat....GONE!