Monday, September 28, 2009

If you want to do it, you'll find a way

One of my newest clients, Kristin, recently decided to set up her own version of an exercise we do at the Sports Club of Novi. It's called the 'Hip Over' and 'Hip Under' exercises on the Smith Machine. I learned of these movements from Boston-based Trainer, Eric Cressey, but took them to a whole new level. Here is a picture of Kristin's Home Gym version.

Kudos to Kristin for taking the time, using her imagination and creativity, to find ways to succeed and reach her goals. She is truly a winner and I applaud her efforts. Way to go girl!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How to get rid of the 'beer gut'

Hey Jimi,

How are you doing? I hope that everything is going well. I, however, am starting to become discouraged with some of my results though. For approximately the past five weeks, I have been exercising between 3-4 times a week for about 45 minutes to an hour. I have begun to notice some results in my arms but my main concern is my torso and abdomen. I feel that I still have the "beer gut" and I have tried several different exercises including the ones that you put for my on my workout schedule. My question to you is what more can I do to get rid of the "beer gut"? Also, I wanted to get your thoughts on any vitamins, supplements, or pills found at like a GNC or something that would help me get rid of it. Please email me back at your earliest convenience. Thanks JImi, and also, Happy Belated Birthday!


Hey Phil,

Thank you for your birthday wishes.

I truly wish that I had exercises or movements that would get rid of the 'beer gut'. The truth is, results are going to be seen ONLY when your nutrition is in check. First Nutritional concern is that you are creating a caloric deficit. Unless your calories in are LESS than calories out, you won't lose fat in the midsection. Have you kept tabs on calories? If not, journal what you consume for one week and count the calories, and send me your results. Once we create a caloric deficit, we have to look at the quality of those calories, making sure that you are consuming more unprocessed, whole foods. We can get deeper into the process once we know your caloric intake.

Jimi Varner

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Great Article

Tips for Grocery Shopping

To have a well balanced nutritional lifestyle it must start with good habits at the grocery store. Having something healthy in your household could be a challenge if the right food and ingredients are not purchased during your trip to Stop and Shop, or Shaw's. Here are some tips that can guide you in the right direction while food shopping.

Create a list, plan for success. It will probably take a little bit of time, but it will save you time in the long run if you forget something.
Try to be unique and choose a different fruit or vegetable every week.
"Splurge" into the produce aisle if there is an aisle to "splurge" into, chances are a good snack to be made on the run will be from the produce aisle ( carrots, sliced apples, etc.).

Spend the most time in the produce section; think colorful fruits, and vegetables!

When, or if you are going for any type of cereal, or grain choose something that is "least processed". For example your choice of cereal should include something whole grain, at least 4 grams of fiber per serving, and the less sugar, the better.

Meat, poultry, and fish. The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends 2 servings of fish per week, which is a great source of omega 3's. Any type of meat or poultry should be lean cut, skinless, and always be aware of your portion sizes.

Dairy, good sources of calcium, and vitamin D. Plenty of nonfat/low fat options available. Yogurt is a great choice in the dairy section. Go for Greek non-fat yogurt.

If the produce section isn't looking too convenient because cooking vegetables, or slicing fruit is time consuming, no problem, go for the frozen fruits , and vegetables section.

Avoid the aisles that say "chips and cookies"!
Lastly avoid the foods that contain more than 5 or 6 ingredients, artificial ingredients, or ingredients that you can't pronounce.


Questions about the article? Ask the author!
Contact Anthony Morando at

Saturday, August 01, 2009

MetaCardio in China? Oh, it's true!!!

Okay, I'll admit it, one of my clients recently moved to China, but it's still cool to see my workout system making it's way around the globe!

"Tough workout this morning. Meta-cardio with 2 min / 10% incline / legs. From Shanghai"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vote for the Sports Club of Novi!

Hey gang, the gym where I train at, The Sports Club of Novi, is trying to win the WDIV Click on Detroit Best Gym Award. You can help us win the title by casting your vote for us here:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting Rid of Belly Fat!

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine
July 19, 2009

Getting Rid of Excess Belly Fat

Sit-ups will not get rid of belly fat because you cannot
get rid of fat in a certain area just by exercising the muscles
underneath that fat. You will lose the most belly fat by exercising
intensely in any sport (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,
November 2008). Three groups of overweight, middle-aged women who
suffered from Metabolic Syndrome completed 16-week programs of:
(1) continuing their existing levels of activity with no change;
(2) low-intensity exercise training five times a week at a level
that did not cause breathing hard; and (3) high-intensity
exercise training with three days a week hard enough to become
short of breath and two days a week at an intensity not becoming
short of breath. Cat scan X rays and air displacement
plethysmography studies showed that the high intensity exercisers
lost belly fat, both underneath their skin and inside their bellies.
The low-intensity exercisers lost no measurable belly fat.
Storing extra fat in the belly causes people to become
diabetic. Full fat cells produce hormones that prevent the body
from responding to insulin so that blood sugar rises too high,
causing sugar to stick to cells and damaging cells anywhere in the
body. Those who store fat primarily in the belly are the ones most
likely to suffer high rises in blood sugar. If you store fat
primarily in your belly, have high blood levels of triglycerides
and sugar, and low levels of the good HDL cholesterol, you meet the
definition of Metabolic Syndrome and the odds are that you are
diabetic, or will become diabetic soon. You are likely to suffer
a premature death unless you make major lifestyle changes: lose
weight, exercise, avoid refined carbohydrates (except during
exercise), and make sure you get enough vitamin D.
Exercise can cause heart attacks in people with blocked
arteries, and intense exercise increases the risk. Almost
80 percent of diabetics die of heart attacks. Check with
your doctor before starting a new exercise program or increasing
the intensity of your existing program.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Dad's Backyard Workout!

Okay Dads, I decided that all you fellow fathers who write in complaining that you have 'no time' to get to the gym for a workout, well, you needed a quick, not-so-easy, workout that you can do this summer while in your backyard. The following video is a real world situation that I found myself in this evening. Click on video to watch!

Friday, July 03, 2009

HIIT Training is the way to go!

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine
July 5, 2009

Vigorous Exercise Protects Your Heart

This week, Norwegian researchers reported their findings
that high intensity interval training maximally improves every
conceivable measure of heart function and heart strength. It also
helps to prevent both the pre-diabetic metabolic syndrome and
the heart damage it causes (Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews,
July 2009).
This is more evidence that older people who compete in
vigorous sports, such as biking and running, live longer and
suffer less disease than people who exercise at a more casual
pace. The most intense exercise includes interval training:
running or cycling very fast to become severely short of breath,
then resting and repeating these almost maximum efforts several
times in the same workout. Controlled interval training is now a
treatment for heart failure. High-intensity interval training
raises the good HDL cholesterol far more than less intense exercise
(Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, March 2009).
Intense exercise for older people is still a controversial
subject, but these new results concur with many earlier studies.
Intense exercise is far more effective than casual exercise in
preventing and treating diabetes (Circulation, July 2008) and
reducing belly fat (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
[MSSE], November 2008). Vigorous exercise protects obese
people from heart attacks and prolongs their lives, even if they
don't lose weight (MSSE, October 2006). Intense exercise is
more effective in preventing heart attacks than less intense
exercise done more frequently (MSSE, July 1997). Death rate
from cardiovascular disease is lowered by high intensity activities
such as jogging, swimming, hiking, tennis and climbing stairs, but
not by lower intensity activities such as walking, bowling, sailing,
golf and dancing (Heart, May 2003). Paul Thompson, of the
University of California at Berkeley, showed that the faster aged
runners run, the lower their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood
sugar levels (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,
October 2008).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to lose weight....revisted

Okay, how many blogs, newsletters, videos, books, and magazines do we need to read before we finally 'get it'?

Face it, you are still wishing for the day when you are able to eat anything you want, in any quantity, not exercise, throwing all caution to the wind.... and lose 10lbs.

Aren't you?

Liar...admit it, so am I

But the truth is, that day won't come in our lifetime or any thereafter.

The simple rules of Fat loss:

Eat Less - eat a little less than you are currently eating, approx. 250 calories a day

Move More - whatever form of exercise you find enjoyable, do that more often or longer than you currently are

Repeat - basically, be consistent. Do it everyday, following an 80 - 90% compliance rate.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Great Advice from Mike Morelli

As many of you know, I trained Mike from Season 7 of 'The Biggest Loser'. Below is a post-finale interview Mike did with NBC.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday, June 18th Free Online Seminar with Jimi

Cheryl Heppard of Michigan Health Coach will interview Jimi Varner, personal trainer from Varner recently trained The Biggest Loser runner up contestant, Mike Morelli from South Lyon. Varner will give training tips to get in shape this summer, and share the behind the scenes training strategy he designed for Mike Morelli.

To register for this free teleclass, click below

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

MetaCardio Question & Feedback

QUESTION: I love your all of your books, but I am especially enjoying MetaCardio.
What is the best way to add MetaCardio to a fatloss program -would you add to a resistance training day? I was going to do 3 resistance days and 3 MetaCardio days --is it too much?

ANSWER: Thanks for the feedback. I don't think 3 days of MetaCardio is too much, but, I think your body will tell you if it is. 3 days of resistance training a week is great for increasing resting metabolism, and 3 days of MetaCardio on opposite days would be the maximum I would add. If you find that you are having a tough time recovering, simply cut back to 2 MetaCardios and 1 long walk (45 minutes).

Let me know how you progress!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

No such thing as a stupid question, but this is close

Everyday I receive at least one question like this:

"I am looking to lose 20pounds by the end of summer because wrestling season starts and I want to wrestling the weight class of 141. what is the best way for me to lose the 20pounds?"

While the title of this post is somewhat misleading, as I don't really think there are 'stupid questions', I do think that there are 'thoughtless questions'. The answer to this and most questions where there is very little thought given by the person asking the question is, "it depends".

There are absolutely no details, it's extremely vague, so in turn, my answer will be as well. Here is it:

I don't know...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Biggest Loser Mike with Trainer Jimi Varner

Never skip breakfast!

This post is brought to you by our friends at Results Fitness, owned by Alwyn & Rachael Cosgrove

Never skip breakfast. Why?

Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism first thing in the morning. Any time you eat you'll get a slight bump in your calorie-burning rate, since it takes energy to digest food. The morning meal is particularly important. Research shows that breakfast eaters have an above-average metabolic rate; skippers have a lower than average rate.

You may not think of it in this way but while you sleep, your body is fasting. When your body runs out of nutrients from food it must cannibalize its own muscle tissue. After four hours without food, the body suppresses its ability to burn calories in order to conserve energy and goes directly after muscle tissue instead, converting muscle to glucose for energy. Over time, this slowly decreases the amount of muscle tissue that the body has, which, in turn, decreases your metabolic rate. Since muscle tissue burns calories not fat, it becomes more and more difficult to lose the fat and the weight. Eating breakfast first thing in the morning halts this cannibalization.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MetaCardio is now on

MetaCardio is now available at!

For those of you who were waiting for MetaCardio to be available on, your wait is over. I received an email from my publisher that due to our sales numbers, Amazon wants to help distribute our book. Awesome news! Here is a link below!

Remember, MetaCardio is in FULL COLOR and featured 50 unique workouts using over 100 different exercises!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Local 4 News - Biggest Loser Story

Here is the video from Local 4 News Story about Biggest Loser contestant, Mike Morelli and his secret weapon, Trainer Jimi Varner.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mike Morelli is NOT a loser

Last night, I sat in the 2nd row of the NBC The Biggest Loser Finale and watched in hopeful expectation that my client and friend, Mike Morelli, would win the title of "The Biggest Loser" Season 7. While Mike didn't win the title, losing by less than 1%, he did lose 207lbs, ending his journey at a lean and mean 181lbs! Congrats Mike, I am proud to be your trainer and friend.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Biggest Loser Week for Jimi

On Sunday night, 5/10, I will be featured on Local 4 News at 11pm in a story focusing on Biggest Loser, Mike Morelli's 'secret weapon', (shhh: it's me). I know 11pm is late for a Sunday night, so you might want to set the DVR

On Tuesday, 5/12, I will be at the Biggest Loser Finale show in Los Angeles. The show airs live on NBC from 8pm - 11pm. I will be there to support Mike Morelli as he is in the running for the $250,000 prize.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Below is a question that a reader of this blog had for me. I deleted the name of the gym he mentioned to protect the idiots who work there.

QUESTION FROM READER: I talked with Fitness(NUMBER 19 here) gym last night. They have a Personal Trainer, but they offer a 'special' where you work out with him for 2 sessions - then you're on your own to continue. I asked them if there isn't a benefit to having a Personal Trainer - and they replied that if I wanted to I could continue with the Personal Trainer, however, there really is no benefit if I'm able stay going on my own. Being a Personal Trainer, I would think you might see more benefits of having a personal trainer then just someone who calls the client to get them to the gym. Could you help me understand what that would be?

ANSWER FROM JIMI: Obviously, Fitness(NUMBER 19) was trying the soft sell approach for their training. I totally disagree. As a 10-year, full time Personal Trainer, I understand the benefits that a good personal trainer can bring you. I am NOT ONLY a personal trainer by trade, but, I also use the services of other personal trainers to create my personal programs, keep me accountable, and give me honest feedback on how I am REALLY doing/looking. A good personal trainer can work with you based on your budget, needs, and goals. I have over 250 clients that use my services in a variety of fashions. Some train with me 3 times a week, others only once, but many others use my services once every 6 - 8 weeks. I design a program for them to use on their own. Once they adapt to the program (are no longer seeing gains in muscle, fat loss, etc..) we schedule another appointment and change their program. I offer these services to anybody who is willing to commit themselves and work hard.

* to check my availability, send me an email at with "Personal Trainer Request" in the subject line

Sunday, March 01, 2009

8 minute abs!

Another study confirms it, eat less!

I recently came across yet another research study confirming that regardless of Protein, Carb, and Fat ratio, less calories taken in means WEIGHT LOSS! Below is the article, which confirms what I wrote back in 2005 in my book, The Dieters Deliverance available at

Cutting calories key to weight loss: study By AFP - Thu Feb 26, 8:42 AM PST

Overweight patients cast a shadow at a weight reduction clinic. A new study has found that eating heart-healthy, low-calorie foods and exercising is the key to losing weight regardless of levels of protein, fat or carbohydrates.(AFP/File/Frederic J. Brown)

The research, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, seems to argue against blanket use of diets that do not necessarily limit calories but call for eating certain foods such as vegetables or proteins, at the expense of others.

The NIH study of 811 volunteers, 38 percent of them men and 62 percent women, aged 30-70 and either overweight or obese, looked at diets that have been popular in the United States in recent years, even as the number of obese Americans has soared.

The "Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies (POUNDS LOST) study found similar weight loss after six months and two years among participants assigned to four diets that differed in their proportions of these three major nutrients," said researchers.

"The diets were low or high in total fat (20 or 40 percent of calories) with average or high protein (15 or 25 percent of calories). Carbohydrate content ranged from 35 to 65 percent of calories.

"The diets all used the same calorie reduction goals and were heart-healthy low in saturated fat and cholesterol while high in dietary fibre," said researchers, whose study is published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Participants lost an average 13 pounds (5.9 kilos) at six months and maintained a nine-pound (four-kilo) loss at two years.

"These results show that, as long as people follow a heart-healthy, reduced-calorie diet, there is more than one nutritional approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight," said Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, director at NHLBI.

"This provides people who need to lose weight with the flexibility to choose an approach that they're most likely to sustain: one that is most suited to their personal preferences and health needs," she stressed.

Sixty-six percent of US adults are overweight and of those, 32 percent are obese, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another MetaCardio testimonial

This past Fall, I released a book titled MetaCardio, and the response has been huge. Since then, it has been our best-selling title. Below is one of the latest testimonials I've received.

"I originally hired Jimi to get me in shape for my wedding. My intention was to work with him for 90 days, get married, then go back to the gym and work out, as I have done for the last 20 years- working out on my own, in the typical fashion--weights 3 days a week with some cardio thrown in on off days. That was 2 years ago and I'm still with Jimi. Before I go on, I will mention that I met my goals for my wedding, not only for my weight but more importantly in the mirror. I find that Jimi's attention to my personal goals is astounding. Jimi will change my workouts to keep them fresh, make constant nutrition recommendations, follow up with emails when promised, and come up with the latest most advanced techniques available. The meta-cardio program is the best workout I've ever done. It's never boring as you can change exercisers per your goals, as well as numerous cardio opions. It's also a major time saver as I only work out 3 times a week, for 30 minutes at a time. I find myself wanting to eat more to give myself the fuel for next work out!!... dieting is a thing of the past !! My metabolism is in hyperdrive! Jimi has also been quick to point out, that the mirror and the tape measure are important when it comes to weight loss, not just the scale. I can go month to month and not lose a pound but my pants are loose, because there is muscle, where there used to be fat. These last 2 years with Jimi have been a very positive experience, not only for the excellent advise and the evolving workouts, but as a an overall positive force."
- Michael J. Hach

To learn more & order your copy of MetaCardio, visit:

Friday, January 02, 2009

Jay Towers interviews Jimi Varner on Fox 2 News

Real before and after shot!

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