Category Archives: Quick Tips

Write Stuff Down (goal action plan)

Want to make things actually happen in your life?

Tell 3 people a goal you have for this week, and 1 for this month. Tell them right now and ask them to ask you about it every day.

I just got back from a conference of fitness professionals in Providence Rhode Island. AMAZING to be around the greatest minds in the industry. Do you know what the most common thread all of these guys had in common?

They talked about writing down your goals and telling people about them.

This serves 2 main purposes.
1) All too often we let ourselves off the hook, or give ourselves too much of a break when it comes to staying committed with a healthy eating plan and consistent workout regimen.

The beautiful thing is that when you put your intentions out there for all the world to see, people WILL hold you responsible! If you know your weakness is “sticking to it”…then own it (don’t beat yourself up over it!) Put strategies in place that will MAKE YOU stick to “it”, no matter what!

E.g. A coworker (whom you already told your goals to) says- “Hey Jack, you’re probably going to get a quinoa salad for lunch today because you are on your serious health kick right? I am so jealous of you boy! Lets go to lunch, I want to be good like you.”

Wooooooo see how that works!

2) The 2nd purpose of telling 3 people about your goals is that you have proclaimed it OUT LOUD to the universe. Now, what was once a little dream in your brain, a distant desire you prayed for, a not-so-serious “something” you will eventually get to “someday”… has finally come to life!

There is SERIOUS power in proclaiming what you want in life to people around you. 99.999999% of everyone out there “wants to get in shape.” When you actually take the necessary steps to do it, watch how fast goals turn into RESULTS.

Try this. Now.
Your Fun, Finatical Fitness Expert,

Laura Miranda, MSPT, CSCS


4 Biggest Workout Lies You’re Telling Yourself

***Warning: DO NOT READ THIS if you are easily offended***

Lets face it, these days you’ll find no shortage of shameless lies and down right ludicrous claims put out there by weight-loss industry marketing “masterminds,” IE Shake Weight, Colon Cleanse and Exercise in a Bottle (pills),
to name a few.

(Before I forget: Gay Mens Boot Camp starts up again on 5/2 in NYC>>>>)

But for a change, that’s not who this blog post is aimed at. Actually, I would like to turn the microscope around on YOU. (Dun dun DUNNNN!) EVERYONE has the potential to get in shape no matter your past or current life situation. The problem is that we cling to our excuses, or our “STORIES” as ways to explain away our faults. Change your mindset, guys, and you can change your current state. It all STARTS with getting real with yourself, creating a plan and taking massive ACTION.

Allow me to sound a little harsh for a second…but I am sick of the excuses! So right now I’m going to expose the silly white lies (stories) we tell in attempt to make ourselves feel OK about why we are over here (where we DON’T want to be) and not over there (where we WANT to be.)

The top 4 workout lies you are telling yourself AND the no-nonsense solution for all:

1) “I don’t have time to workout”

Simply put, this really means “I DON’T WANT TO FIND THE TIME.” SOLUTION: Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. Prioritize your life by eliminating time suckers (IE social networks, email, negative people dragging you down) and get serious about what’s important to you. Commit to a serious plan of 30-60 minutes of exercise early before work. Get up, get it done and be MORE productive during your day. Period. Early morning workouts have a natural “side effect” of cleaning up and eliminating the BS the night before because they force you to make smarter decisions about bed time, pointless happy hours, and mindless TV reality show-athons. GAY BOOT CAMP is at 6am. Lemme see you TRY to come up with an excuse for “not having time” for that!

2) “I Do abs EVERY workout b/c I’m trying to lose my stomach.”

If you’ve read any of our articles about the secrets to losing your stomach you will know that ab work DOES NOT spot reduce fat, it’s scientifically impossible and is probably the MOST INEFFECTIVE exercise to choose if you’re trying to decrease decrease your gut.

: To burn fat, your precious time is better spent doing heart pounding, sweat inducing exercise moves that burn massive calories and build lean toned (calorie incinerating) muscle. ORRRRR you can continue to just flex at the waist 20 times while in the lying down position (*sarcastic tone*:) See what I’m sayin? Try the moves in the video for getting a better ass or ripped sexy arms that we regularly in gay boot camp in NYC.

3) “I’ve tried exercising, it didn’t work for me.”

60% of Americans quit a newly started exercise routine within the 1st 30 days. (These people are holding on to those failure stories for dear life!) Often times people underestimate the consistency and effort it actually takes to make a lasting change due in part no doubt by the aforementioned lose-weight-fast scams seen all over TV, the web and magazines. Put it in perspective: it took YEARS of dirty eating habits, poor decision-making, and lack of commitment to get you to your current health state. To believe it will only take 3 weeks or even 1 month to undo the damage is a 1 way ticket to crazy-town.

SOLUTION: Set a realistic goal that is 2 months away; work backwards from there realizing that the SAFE average weight loss per week is 1-2 lbs with consistent exercise and total overhaul of your eating habits. Craft a OCD-like, DETAILED PLAN of action spelling out which days you will do what, for how long and with whom. Just like we exercise our muscles to gradually make them stronger and leaner, starting a healthy routine is exercising your decision-making skills & habits in order to become better at turning down those fries/packing your lunch for work/sticking to your workout routine!

4) “I only do long-duration cardio because I’m trying to drop fat.”

Look people, if you are still in this mindset then you are following outdated workout trends from the 80’s.

SOLUTION: In a world where no one has time for anything, short bursts of intense cardio-strength moves is not only a superior way to burn fat, (metabolic training Gay Boot-Camp-Style) it’s the most effective AND proven science for at least the past 10 years. Diversify your workouts with this kind of training and of course sprinkle in the other fun stuff like bike rides, running and the like. BUT, IF YOU DON’T CLEAN UP YOUR DIET in conjunction with the workouts, you are fighting a losing battle and may as well just take it easy for 45 minutes on the elliptical. (*Sarcastic tone*)

Granted, a lot of these “lies” you tell yourself is due in part to misinformation from either uneducated fitness trainers or you just following along with what everyone else is doing. Get yourself a serious plan of action and commit to making BIG changes. Read the rest of the no-nonsense articles on this blog because I uncover all of the BS out there and give it to you straight. If you are in the NYC area and want to kick your routine into high gear…

BOOT CAMP IS BACK OUTDOORS STARTING MONDAY 5/2 in the West Village, NYC on the Christopher Street Pier. We give you a plan, we motivate you to make a change, we have FUN. Only a few spaces left…! 646.454.0777

Protein. Who cares, So What?

(3 COMMON Protein Myths REVEALED)

If the thought of protein & exercise conjures up images of Rocky chugging raw eggs after a workout…think again, that’s ancient history.

I am here to show you why you need it, how much of it to have, and how easy it is to get it. PLUS I will SMASH 3 ridiculous and VERY COMMON misunderstandings about my friend, protein.

The 2 questions I get asked most often from boot campers —>

1)I want to build muscle, how much protein is enough for one day? 2)What are your thoughts on protein bars & shakes.

Great questions! It is recommended* that “recreational athletes” consume .5-.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight, endurance athletes .6-.7 and strength athletes .7-.8.

Applying this to the average “recreational athlete’s” situation,  he will need .7 (g/Lb) or so.  So if he weighs  190:

.7 x 190 = his body will require 133g of protein per day.

MYTH 1: Eating  protein correlates directly to building large bulky muscle.
– The stimulus of consistent HEAVY weight training for months at a time makes you BIG, not protein in and of itself! Mass comes with equal parts eating and exercise. We are talking months of a focused, periodized, and well thought out program in conjunction with unwavering effort and consistency. NO ONE said it was easy.  (GET YOUR OWN customized workouts delivered daily to your inbox with our Online Training Program!)

MYTH 2: Supplementing protein (shakes, powders, bars) provide additional benefits above and beyond real food.
-Bars & shakes can provide a quick dose of protein but often have too much sugar and processed carbs to be worth it. REAL FOOD can supply the same amount of protein PLUS the added benefits of key FAT METABLOIZING ingredients such as whole grains, fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. TIP: Use the fake stuff in a worst case/on-the-go scenario, but be aware of diet-killing ingredients contained within.

MYTH 3: Excess protein will CAN NOT make  you fat (that’s “fat” & “carbs” job.)
– Excess anything beyond what your body can use up will get stored as fat! More bad news is that high protein diets wreak havoc on your kidneys b/c of the amount of  water the body requires to process protein. Unfortunately the science does not support a muscle-building effect from “protein loading.”


Every cell in your body is made up of protein (heart, hair, biceps etc.) You must consume the right amount in order to recover, grow and improve.

LOOKEY HERE:  Your body doesn’t change WHILE you are working out. The magic happens AFTER exercise when proteins are summoned to repair your tissue from the beat down you just gave yourself. THEREFORE if you workout like a beast day in and day out, but you are not consuming enough protein….

…your body will eat away at your precious muscle tissue as a source of energy. Not good. All of your hard work will be for not! (Plus you will look loose and skinny, not hard and jacked. Yuck!)



Dairy products – egg (6g) cottage cheese, milk, yogurt.
Soy :
(non animal products) tofu (10g), edamame, soy milk, soy nuts
Land animals: chicken (30g), steak, pork
Fishies: tuna (40g),  shrimp, salmon, white fish, cod
Beans & Legumes: chic peas (15g), lima beans, green split peas
Nuts: peanuts (25g), almonds, cashew, brazil etc (and their “butters”)
Whole Grains: whole wheat bread (9g), brown rice, oats.

WANT MORE info on the exact formula to eating right in order to lose weight or tweaking your already awesome diet? Join our next Grocery Shopping Tour @ Tribeca WholeFoods (NYC) 8/24 at 7pm. SIGN UP HERE!

(*Protein recommendations are taken from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 3rd Addition.)

100 Calorie Snacks (Bad News or The Greatest Invention this Side of the Mississippi)

100 calorie packWhen choosing a between meal or a snack it is important to remember that all calories are not created equal. Let’s look at 100 calorie snacks from Nabisco, for instance. Great, 100 cals. Doesn’t sound like a lot, and in fact its not. Unfortunately those calories come from simple starches that your body breaks down very quickly. If you don’t use that energy up in that next half hour or so , it gets stored as excess energy: FAT. (On the flip side, complex carbs take longer to break down in the body, therefore can be burned off all day long and therefore have less of a chance to be stored as fat.)

Ergo (never say “ergo”) you want to shoot for food made up of “complex carbs” = whole grain, high fiber items.

Lets take a look at those 100 Calorie snacks a little more closely:
*There is little to NO FIBER (to keep you fuller longer, keep the digestive tract running appropriately if you know what I mean.)
*NO PROTEIN (to help build back the muscle that you broke down in class therefore leading to muscle wasting and slow metabolism.)
*NO VITAMINS/MINERALS/ANTIOXIDANTS (to replenish what you burned off, rebuild skin/organ/immune system, fight cancer diabetes/heart disease/high BP.)
*HIGHLY PROCESSED, LOTS OF SUGAR & CHEMICALS to maintain years shelf life (leave you feeling dehydrated, drained of energy when insulin/blood sugar peaks then plummets, nudges you towards seeking out another poor choice.)
*TONS of SALT -upwards of 250 mg of salt for a handful of food is OUTRAGEOUS (leaving you bloated accounting for daily changes on the scale, dehydrated, tired and “thirsty” [no pun intended] for a sugary drink.

Look, if you are used to eating brownies as a mid day snack, then yes, 100 calorie snacks (cheese nips, oreos, snack mix) are the way to go! You have made a smarter choice here b/c these packs teach you portion control. Unfortunately that’s all they teach you.

BOTTOM LINE: I can stick 100 calories worth of cheese fries in a bag and market it as a “100 calorie snack” and I wouldn’t be lying, but is this healthy? NO! You wouldn’t be fooled by that so why get scammed by 100 Calorie Snacks??

AWESOME snacks that will leave you full, help replenish protein to build lean muscle, give you energy, hydrate you, contain calcium, make you happy etc etc:
low fat yogurt plain flavor (with fruit or nuts on top)
nuts (unsalted of course)
all the fruit you can handle! grapes, apples, peaches, bananas, etc etc
sliced veggies with olive oil and vinegar drizzled on top (takes 3 mins cut the night before, or no minutes if you did a batch of them already on sunday night)
natural peanut butter by itself or on fruit/1 slice of wheat toast
tuna fish with lemon (keep a can opener in your desk at work and lemon in the fridge
avocado and beans
oatmeal (with fresh fruit/nuts/berries on top)
low fat cottage cheese (NOT fat free, too much salt) with something fun on top
sweat potato (can easily be thrown in the microwave at work)
small salad with protein on top
salsa (read the label! some have tons of salt) and veggies

Once you break the sugar addiction, realize that you must plan these snacks the night before, and get away from the quick fix options you will see a world of difference. This difference will manifest in not only the way you look but the way you feel!

It is important for you to be cognizant of the calorie/fat/salt/protein content of your food. AND you have to also go another step and read the ingredients to uncover what is behind those numbers. They say “the numbers don’t lie” but when it comes to food, most often they do.

Good luck, and if you want more info like this then ask me!

Leave me a comment with other healthy snack ideas that you want to share>>>>>>>>>>>>

Is Fat Contagious?

Spoiler alert: the answer is Y-E-S

This time of year those resolutions start to creep in again because the temp has FINALLY broken the 60 degree mark. The summer looms as we all begin to kick it into high gear at the gym. Yet, if your progress is slower than a line of tourists trying to purchase a metrocard, then it might not shock you to hear that FAT is CONTAGIOUS.

Does your sphere of influence include friends who gripe about never being able to lose weight, lazy coworkers who indulge in take-out and Costco sized bags of  chips,  or partners or family members who only know how to bond over food and drink?

Wait a second, could your mom have been right after all? “Show me your friends and I will show you who you are. You are who you surround yourself with.”  Aggghhhhh. Fine, you were right! Happy now?!


A recent SCARY study at Harvard Medical School found –
Your risk of becoming obese increases by

  •  57% if you hang with a friends who are obese
  • 40% if your siblings are overweight
  • 37% if you are married to someone who is overweight

Now, I’m not saying axe all of the friends who would rather meet for all-you-can-eat brunch and bellinis than have a sweat-fest in spin class. But, in order to set yourself up for success you must create a healthy environment to do so. 

The moral of the story is that just as your social network can make you FAT and unhappy, it can also inspire and motivate you to be fit, thin and healthy too. Change your body by changing the people around you with these 3 steps:

1) Seek out friends who have alternative methods of FUN and socialization that goes beyond the usual drinking/eating. What about  rock climbing, skate boarding, belly dancing, or hiking! Limit  brunch, shopping and kvetching to 1 Sunday a month.
2) Join a local group of like-minded men. Find fellow fit-friends in local business networking groups, on, in an all-gay fitness boot camp, or gay sports league. There are TONS of motivated people who are already changing their lives with a little help from their friends.
3) Take a good hard look at the men (and women) that are in your circle of influence right now.  If they don’t inspire you to be BETTER every day, dump em! Or, 1st try to invite them on your wellness journey. Read MSN’s article quoting me on How to Lose Weight With a Partner for some ideas. If after your suggestions they pull their “business as usual”, then you have my permission: de-friend from Facebook, erase their number, and ignore their texts. Life’s too short. Your body will thank me.

PS- Invite a friend to the next GAY MENS BOOT CAMP starting on soon in the West Village of NYC!  

Laura Miranda MsPT, CSCS
Miranda Fitness Concepts, INC

The Uncomfortable Workout (and why you need it)

Can someone say Uncomfortable...Are you comfortable at the gym? Can you carry on a full conversation while doing cardio? Do you barely break a sweat? Do you do the same 3 sets of 10 on the same cybex machines with the same comfortable padded seats?

Way too many people believe the only way to make a workout harder is by increasing the weight.  I am here to show you the big gay way! Check out my  5 fast tricks that will PUNISH your muscles and add insane intensity to an otherwise mundane workout routine.

guy with sign copyWhether you are a daily gym rat or a once a week-er, we all can afford to maximize the time spent amongst the metal and machines.  Getting more bang for your buck with these 5 workout tricks  can be the difference between a long drawn out hour and a half and a sick-ass 45 minute body wrecking workout.

By using the tips below you will not only have to spend LESS TIME in the gym, you will get MORE out of the time you do spend which will get you to your goals that much faster.Wooo hoooo!

Top 5 Ways to Make your Workout Uncomfortable
(and therefore more effective)

1)      “Move Your Body Like a Snake, Ma”

rotationIn life we very rarely move in a linear fashion – we twist, rotate and swivel our bodies to get things done. Even more rarely do we move one single joint at a time.  You need a wake up call if you are still spending all of your time training one body part at a time on a fixed-motion weight machine where you can sit comfortably and let the padded seat support you. Get the HELL OFF THE MACHINE and pick up a weighted medicine ball. This way you’ll make your legs support you as you work 5 -10 different muscle groups at ONCE while you train a “pattern of motion,” instead of a single body part.

TRY THIS: Rotational Chop  – Grab a medicine ball or a 10 lb dumbbell. Put the ball/weight over your head and to the right.  Lunge out with your left foot forward, with straight arms “chop” the ball (as if you have an axe and you are chopping a piece of wood) across your body and to the outside of that front knee. Your chest arms and shoulders should all be rotated to the left. Pause, and then return up to starting position.


Pause at the bottom of the motionWAY too often I see gym goers  RUSHING through their workout.  I call them the “see saw” lifters. You’ve seen them too.  The dumbbells fly up, down, up, down with lightening speed causing comfort and ease (and a breeze) to the guy who is working his EGO more than his bi’s with the 45 lb dumbbells. (Easy tough guy, you ought to be using half that weight.)

TRY THIS: At the hardest portion of each rep (top or bottom of the motion, depending on the exercise) – hold for a full 5 seconds. Squats: with the bar on your back, slowly lower yourself down into the seated squat position and hold here for 5 seconds,  then return to the standing position. You will COOK your quads/glutes with HALF the reps and time that it would normally take. (You’ll think of me for the next 2 days each time you get out of a chair or go down the steps. You’re welcome.)

3)   Go for Time!

You’ve all followed the guidelines of 3 sets of 10 or even 3 sets of 8.  But they are just that –  guidelines. Even if you are looking to build massive size – the key to success is to constantly vary your routine in order to shock your body. Shock the muscles by taking them out of their normal routine. (Ever carry a heavy box a few blocks from the subway and feel the soreness effects for a day or 2? THIS is your body  being “shocked” by the different stimulus of prolonged work.      Mimic this in your workout to get the most out of your next set.

TRY THIS: Do the bench press for 3 sets of 1 minute instead of only 10 reps.  Tip-  either start out with a lighter weight or be prepared to drop the weights down as the minute  goes on.

4)      Use the Treadmill for More Than the Warm-Up.

colbert_treadmillA nice comfortable TROT, a “canter” if you will on a moving surface will only challenge you if you dare to keep crank up that speed or the incline.  The little ole treadmill actually contains a high degree of  “uncomfortable potential” that can be used in the middle of the workout and not just as a warm up.  This crazy method is virtually UNTAPPEDby most gym goers. You see, the faster your heart is pumping, the more overall work your body will be doing (ie more calories burned)  in the same amount of time.  Cardio and Weights do not have to be mutually exclusive.

TRY THIS: Traps, Tris, Treadmill. Group 2 weight exercises together, alternate a set of each to fatigue then drop the weights and hop on the treadmill. SPRINT for 1.5 minutes. Hop off then do a second set of each of the 2 exercises (to fatigue), then SPRINT on the treadmill for another 1.5 minutes.  Repeat all 3 for one more set.

5)            You Can Rest When You’re Dead

Is this you: do a set on the chest press, read a quick article in your magazine. Walk over to get a drink, chat with the guy at the water fountain, do set # 2 on the chest press. Check out rest areathe cutie that just walked in, give cutie your number, get another drink, do set # 3. COMFY COMFY COMFY !! (AKA: waste of time, waste of time, waste of time!)

TRY THIS:Plan your workout by grouping 3 exercises together, for instance Push Ups with Feet on the Physio Ball, Tricep Overhead dumbbell extensions on one leg, Reverse Ab Crunches. Alternate a set of each while taking little to NO REST IN BETWEEN each set. This means that as soon as you do your last push up you’ve already got your hands on the dumbbells for the next exercise. This way your heart will be pounding, your muscles will be aching — you will officially be UNCOMFORTABLE! Well done.

Laura Miranda MsPT, CSCS

 So the next time you are bored in the gym or just sick and tired of getting no where with the same old workout , try numbers 1 -5 for a little spice that gives a powerful punch to an otherwise static workout. These methods are all employed in the workouts at my Gay Men’s Boot Camp in NYC (but shhh, don’t give away any of my secrets; I like to keep the boys guessing!)

Get a Tight(er) Stomach by THIS WEEKEND

Since we are already in the 2nd week of June , some may consider it “crunch time;” And that’s NOT  another ridiculous pun used to drive home a point (alright fine, it IS.) 

flatten your stomach with these tipsThough I am 100 percent officially against quick fixes when it comes to looking good, there are certainly a few trade secrets that you can use for some “last minute cramming.” I have perfected these tricks from 10 years time-tested practice with clients and through endless hobnobbing with trainers of the top Hollywood movie stars.

If you have been taking the lazy route all spring and staying clear of the gym – you may find yourself desperately trying to drop 5 lbs before, oh say this weekend. You know what I am talking about – you suddenly realize you have to be: half naked in Fire Island/shirtless in a club/    (insert your 911 emergency here.    )

Without further delay, here are the top 5 no-fail tricks to successfully look better naked  (BY SATURDAY.) Follow them strictly for 5 days (or more) to seriously reduce the “bulge” in your stomach:

1. Eliminate White Carbs Completely
and replace with appropriate whole wheat versions. Carbs take an insane amount of water to process in the body. Therefore, consumption of excess processed white carbs will leave you bloated and feeling doughier than the roll you just devoured. Replace with whole wheat carbs to reduce the bloat factor and ensure swift elimination (b/c of the  fiber.)  READ food labels to make sure you are eating 1 serving size:  a typical  serving size of a wrap is HALF the wrap.  Consume the whole thing and you’ve eaten ¼ of you daily carb allowance! That’s insanity! 

2. Drown Yourself drink TONS of water
The less water you feed your body (dehydration) the more it desperately hold on to whatever stores it has left  (bloating.)  To stave off hunger, prevent bloating and keep food “flowing” through the body as quickly as possible – drink 8 or more glasses of water a day. The more water you drink the less likely you will be to drink other sugary/empty calorie options.  Make your simple water more interesting by adding slices of summer fruit (mango, raspberries ), veggies (cucumber,  carrots), or even switch to sodium free seltzer.

3. RUN Forrest, RUN
Running  is quite frankly one of the BEST methods of cardio exercise. In a short amount of time you can expend massive amounts of calories with a run through the park. You are trying to make great gains (or losses) in a short amount of time right?  Why not make that simple jog into a entire body blasting routine by adding in a few sprints, arm sculpting push ups and butt lifting jump squats.  

4. (Don’t) Shake it Like a Salt Shaker:
Step AWAY from the SaltI m not even referring to the salt that  you shake on top of food here. The sneaky-sneaks of the food industry would rather you not find out that their jarred tomato sauce has 850 mg of salt PER SERVING (1/4 cup) when the tomato itself has only about 10. They would also prefer that you were numb to the fact that Fat-Free products (yogurts/cottage cheese/peanut butter) are pumped with TONS of salt to spruce up the taste after the fat is taken out.  Ever wonder why you feel or even weigh in at 3-5 lbs more than the day before? It’s b/c of the S-A-L-T. Your best defense: read labels!


5. No Restaurants for 5 days:
I was at Nobu in Miami the other weekend trying to eat a healthy appetizer in prep for the meal that was about to come. After a bit of nobuinterrogation the waiter un-apologetically admitted that they put a ton of salt in their salads. IN THEIR SALADS! (I repeated it for dramatic effect.)  Can you now imagine how much unnecessary salt (oil and fat, of course) is being shoved into your food when you least expect it at restaurants, delis and salad bars?  Don’t even get me started on the out- of-hand serving sizes that are officially causing you to consume 100% more calories than you  estimate (a few recent studies reveal.)  The time tested, surefire way to drop a quick few inches of excess buldge by this weekend is to get into the kitchen and prepare your meals for the next few days. Prepare in bulk to 1 item can last a few days (ie beans, grains, meats etc.)

To wrap it up , whether you have a big event coming up (party/a new hook-up), you are looking to jump start your weight loss, or just want to look better naked THIS weekend: try # 1-5 for the next 5 days straight.

Stop back to this blog and tell me what a damn genius I am when your stomach is flatter than ever. Do you guys have SAFE quick weight loss tips that have worked for you? I would love to have you share them with my readers.