Archives for fitness

MFC’s Smilin’ Sam Alvey Weighs In on Fitness: MMA Fun for Everyone

MFC's Smilin' Sam Alvey Weighs In on Fitness:

MMA Fun for Everyone

Mixed Martial Arts is a challenging sport. It is mentally and physically draining, requires hard work, dedication and sacrifice. And the matches between fighters while often extremely technical and requiring hours of intense training, are brutal and not for the faint of heart.


However, as the acceptance of MMA as a sport continues to grow, we have been seeing more and more gyms pop up bearing MMA in their listed services and even full blown MMA training gyms appealing to the masses.

Though increasingly popular, Mixed Martial Arts continues to be an intense sport and you may be asking yourself what does MMA have to do with physical fitness for me?


I recently had the opportunity to interview Smilin’ Sam Alvey, Middleweight Champion of the MFC.

1-sam alveySmilin’ Sam currently holds a record of 21-4-2, with his next bout and first title defense scheduled for tomorrow night, May 9th in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada at the Shaw Convention Centre.

Sam hasn’t always been a fighter. Aside from doing a bit of wrestling in high school, he only started training in martial arts a little over 6 years ago.

After discovering he had some natural talent for fighting and with a few amateur fights behind him, he landed his first professional fighting contract with King of the Cage.

Now, with 27 fights already under his belt and 3 more scheduled in the next two months, Sam’s professional fighting career has been keeping him more than busy.

But when he isn’t battling it out in the cage or preparing for his next fight, Sam can be found at Dan Henderson’s Athletic Fitness Center, helping people from all walks improve their physical fitness.


Sam has been working as a personal trainer for just about 10 years, starting in his junior year of high school with a certificate from ACE. He began teaching MMA shortly after discovering his natural aptitude for it and currently teaches amateur and professional fighters as well as the general public.

He has since combined his knowledge and experiences from the two into the fitness training programs he teaches at DHAFC. Sam offers personal training, one-on-one training for fighters, group fitness classes, adult Pankration, and even a program for kids MMA.

He is a talented fighter, dedicated and hard-working, and his work ethic extends into his job as a trainer. He definitely lives up to his nickname, always wearing his famous smile, but when it is time to train he takes his job seriously and will motivate you to do the same.

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Sam is a family man devoted to his wife, McKey and daughter, Reagan, and his love for teaching and working with children shines through while coaching the kids MMA classes. He is both firm and gentle and deeply cares for his students and their overall well-being.

This can be seen in the way he works to help not only the students in his kids classes succeed, but also in the time he dedicates to each of the members in his adult classes.

I asked Sam if the training he teaches in his fitness classes is similar to the training his fighters go through, to which he responded,

“It is hard to do anything intensely for 15 minutes and when you are fighting you are put in the most uncomfortable positions possible and still have to be able to perform. So while training to be a fighter does require peak physical fitness, it is also A LOT of mental training. The training I teach to people in the fitness classes is based on their personal goals and is a lot more functional and less strict than how I train the fighters.”

Along with the Kids MMA program, and the newly added Adult Pankration classes at DHAFC, Sam runs a class called Quest Ultimate Fitness.

One of the most popular classes offered there, Quest Ultimate Fitness is a group class that incorporates a mix of functional fitness movements, circuit training, and a bit of punching and kicking. These fast-paced, high-intensity classes utilize movements that promote muscle development, burn fat, and are scalable to all fitness levels.

1-quest ultimate

But most importantly, this type of training works.  According to Smilin’ Sam,

“Training in these types of classes is one of the best things because it keeps your mind occupied, and is easier than just running long distances. We work out in a group setting that is not super strict, but is effective, and people continue to come because it is more fun.”

As anyone who has ever started a new fitness routine knows; you will only get your desired results if you actually continue to do it.

Having a class environment that is different than what you are normally accustomed to, teaches you how to use your body in new ways, and provides a fun way to get together with friends and burn some calories is a sure way to achieve the results you want without feeling like you have to work as hard to get them.

You will likely find multiple gym locations near you offering classes such as kickboxing, introduction to boxing or MMA, and even Jiu-Jitsu wrestling.

These classes are usually open to everyone, done in a group setting, very physically challenging, and a whole lot of fun.  So, while MMA may not be for everyone, a group-based fitness class with a bit of MMA flair could be just the thing you need to kick your training up a notch.

Be sure to catch Smilin’ Sam Alvey as he defends his Middleweight Title against Wes Swofford at MFC 40 tomorrow night, airing live on AXS TV. You can follow Sam on Twitter: @SmilenSam.


Introducing Our Newest Program, the 10K Mud Run Training Program!

Our newest program has been added and is up in full...

Introducing the 10K Mud Run Training Program!

10K Mud Run

Our 5K Mud Run Training has been a very popular workout routine, but one of the requests we have frequently had was to add a new training program for the longer distance mud runs. We have finally got it finished and it is now available for you to try out and let us know how you like it.

We wanted to bring you a challenging workout that would adequately prepare you for the intensity of a mud run as our first program did.

We also wanted to create this new one in such a way to allow you to improve not only your overall strength and endurance for tackling a mud run, but also to be able to run the full 10K distance while plowing through the obstacles.

Here was what one member had to say about our 5K Mud Run Training Program:

My wife, son, her best friend, and I all did the 6 wk training and easily finished our first mud run in Conyers, GA on Aug 17th. The training plan was very challenging, but doable for most people. We were totally prepared for the race and quite honestly were ready to make a second lap since it was only a 5K due to the AWESOME training program on this site. We are already increasing our mileage past the program and preparing for our 2nd mud run in Lagrange, GA in Oct and this one will be a 10K. The only changes we will make with the upcoming mud run is buy shoes made for these races (better traction than old sneakers) and have protection like athletic sleeves for our elbows and knees (crawling through the mud can still cut and take skin off). Thank for a great training program!!!

Monte Monte


Go Check out our 10K Mud Run Training Program and let us know how it stacks up against our other programs!

Also, a new exciting feature that was just added to the site, is the ability to convert your weekly workout plans into PDF and printer-friendly versions! Once you are logged into your account, you simply go to the week you are on, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Print button. You will then be able to click to delete parts of the page you don't want to print, omit pictures, and  even create a PDF you can download and save!

Lastly, we want to give a great big Thank You! to our first round of Pre-Launch participants. You guys and gals have been a great help and we were so happy to be able to offer you access to our programs in exchange for your feedback on how we can improve our services.

If you completed your surveys you will receive an email later this week with further instructions on how to obtain your free gift. If you are still working on those please get them in to us as soon as you can to ensure you don't miss out. In the meantime you will retain full access to the site so keep hitting the pavement, keep moving your bodies and until next time continue to Eat. Sleep. Live. Fit!

TWR Episode 001: “Belly Fat – The Safe and Effective Way to Lose It”

Episode 1: "Belly Fat - The Safe and Effective Way to Lose It"

lose belly fat

On today's episode, the very first episode of Health and Fitness Podcast, we will share with you some very important answers to the question of how to lose belly fat. We will be sharing the fundamentals in order to help you achieve your health and weight loss goals in a way that is not only safe, but also realistic for maintaining without sacrificing all the many things in life that you enjoy.  The topics of discussion have been outlined below for you to easily follow along. Please leave us your comments and questions below, as well as any new topics you would like us to cover in future podcasts. Enjoy!

Key to Losing Belly Fat:

You can NOT spot lose - in order to lose belly fat, you must lose body fat all over.

There are 2 parts to Fat Loss:

  • Nutrition - this is the most important aspect of weight loss, and more specifically, fat loss.
  • Fitness - This serves as a supplement to nutrition, though they do go hand-in-hand and will yield better results when incorporated together

Our main focus for today will be on Nutrition.

Nutrition - Also has 2 parts: Quantity and Quality. Both are very important, but when looking to achieve fat loss, our main focus getting started is on quantity. (Disclaimer: This does not mean that we believe you should forsake the quality of your foods and strictly focus on quantity. It is simply where we begin when creating your fitness plan. Our philosophy on food is that food is fuel for our bodies and we should feed ourselves high-quality fuel. We will go into further detail on food quality at a future date.)

Quantity - how many calories minimum do you need each day?

Knowing this is the key to successful fat loss (especially belly fat), muscle gain, increased performance, etc. When first setting out on a fitness journey to accomplish weight specific goals (muscle gain, fat loss) you need to find out what your maintenance needs are.

Tools Needed for Calculating Maintenance Needs and for Gauging Fat Loss:

  • Scale
  • Body Fat Calipers

To find out your current Maintenance Calorie needs we use a very simple equation recommended by the NFPT which subtracts your pounds of body fat from your total weight in pounds and then multiplies that number by 11 to calculate your absolute bare minimum daily caloric needs. (Current Weight - (Current Weight x Body Fat %) = Lean Body Weight(LBW). LBW x 11 = minimum daily calories.) From there we are able to figure out how many calories a day you will need for fat loss, maintenance, and/or muscle gain. Please keep in mind that each person has individual needs and these calculations serve merely as an estimated starting point. Your needs will vary based on many factors and will need to be adjusted according to those needs. 

There is a secondary equation from the National Association of Sports Nutrition that we recommend if for some reason you are unable to obtain your body fat %. This equation will simply use your current weight, current age, and sex to estimate your recommended daily calorie needs for fat loss. This equation provides a pretty good estimate for calculating your fat loss calorie needs, but is not as accurate as using your body fat % will be.


  • Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything and wearing as little as possible.
  • Take the simplest Body Fat % measurement possible. (ONE measurement - rough estimate that gives a starting point that will be useful for you to track your progress.) Using the simplest measurement makes it easier to get a more consistent measurement each time you take it and allows you to do it yourself.
  • Take your measurements (weight and body fat) on a weekly or bi-weekly basis at the same time of day and under the same conditions
  • Do not base your progress strictly on what is shown on the scale. This measurement is the least reliable for tracking FAT loss and for that reason can be very discouraging. When incorporating resistance exercise into a weight loss plan, you will experience muscle gain as well as fat loss and so the reading on the scale is not a good indication of progress. That is why we HIGHLY recommend getting body fat calipers and using them to track your fitness progress.

Ex. John is a 200lb male with 20% body fat

current weight - 200 lbs

(estimated) body fat% - 20%; LBW - 80%

body fat in lbs - 40 lbs. Fat

current weight - body fat in lbs = 160lbs LBW

 John has a Lean Body Weight of 160lbs - To find out John's minimum daily calorie needs: 160lbs x 11 =1760 calories - we should have had our calculation already done before recording. 160x11 does not equate to 1900 calories. =)

If John eats less than 1760 calories, his body will start to break down muscle. To cover daily activities such as work, walking around, running errands, etc. (workouts are not included in this) we need to add 500 calories to his bare minimum needs. So John should eat 2360 (not 2400) calories a day to maintain where he is at.

 3500 calories = 1 lb body weight

Create a deficit of 3500 calories a week in order to lose 1lb - cut 500 calories a day - does NOT include calories expended working out

While on a weight loss program, it is up to you whether that comes from fat or muscle stores.

If you add resistance training into your weight loss program, you remind your body that you need the muscle and so it will not pull from muscle to make up for the deficit. However, since you already created a 500 calorie per day deficit with your diet, you need to eat back the calories that you burn during your workouts so that your body does not break down the muscle you are working hard to build.

Ex. John is eating 1760 calories a day in order to create the 500 calorie per day deficit needed to burn 1 lb of body fat for the week. On Monday, he completes a Circuit Training workout that burns 500 calories. So on Monday the total number of calories he needs to eat is 2360 calories. This will leave him with a net calorie intake of 1760, which creates his 500 calorie deficit from his maintenance needs in order to lose that 1 lb of fat.

To achieve a lean, tone, strong, healthy body the key is a balance between a healthy calorie restricted diet and an exercise program that incorporates both cardio and resistance training.

Do NOT do extreme dieting for long periods of time. Extreme cutting may cause a big drop in your weight in the beginning, but after too long you will cause your body to switch into starvation mode and as a result is your body will slow down your metabolism, hang on to fat, and not allow you to lose weight. If you want to build muscle and burn fat you need to adequately fuel your body.

reduce belly fat with a healthy weight loss program

While on a new weight loss program, especially when changing your eatinig habits as well as exercising, you may see greater weight loss on the scale during the first week or two that will then slow down and usually taper off to the 1-2 lb a week loss thereafter. This is where utilizing body fat calipers to track progress will be even more important. A lot of the initial weight lost in the early weeks of a program is water weight, as your body begins to flush out the excess. This will be the case especially when you are adequately hydrating your body. If you drink enough water, your body will not hang on to excess water.

Water is Very Important: especially during a weight loss diet.

3 liters - 1 gallon a day is recommended

Rapid Weight Loss is difficult, can be dangerous, and is very hard to sustain long term. There is no magic pill, magic diet, or overnight solution to weight loss. Slow steady weight loss and lifestyle changes will help you to lose the weight in a healthy manner and teach you a new way to live that is healthier and allows you to keep off the weight lost.

Lifelong changes are difficult and sometimes the slow realization of results can be discouraging, but the benefits you gain from making these changes and sticking with them are well worth it.

  • Less pain
  • more energy
  • ability to do things you weren't able to do before
  • better overall health

Find Motivation - Accountability partners, online communities, Before and After pictures/collages, group fitness classes, etc.

Don't Give Up! If you have a misstep in your program, pick back up right where you fell off the next day. Small bumps will come along, but your ability to keep moving forward and not be knocked off track will pay off big time in the long run.


Quick Tips:


1.  Go to They also have an app for your smartphone. This is an excellent tool for monitoring your calories. You can track what you eat and what you burn during exercise. Great for tracking and seeing what you are eating as well as how much you burn during your workouts. This is a great way to remain accountable to your program and your goals. There is also a social community.

2. Drink water - Make sure you are getting enough water for the day, and also that you are drinking it steadily throughout your day. This is great for your entire body and will help with your weight loss. Drinking enough water will ensure that your body does not retain excess water and will help to maximize your performance and your weight loss goals.



1. Ladies: Do not be afraid to lift! If you want to lose fat and achieve a lean, toned body, resistance training is crucial. If you are creating a caloric deficit for fat loss, it is very unlikely that you will "bulk up."  Generally, it is much easier for females to lose muscle than it is to gain. Muscle growth will speed up your fat loss and help you achieve the tone and definition you want.


Thank you for joining us and please comment below with any questions or comments about this episode as well as any other topics you would like to hear us discuss or questions you need answers to.

Until next time, Eat. Sleep. Live. Fit!


Just a Quick Update

1-IMG_8665This week marked the first week of our Pre-Launch Test Group. If you are still interested in joining in it is not too late to do so. Click here to fill out the interest form and official Terms and Conditions.

(If you have already submitted your interest but have not received your username, please check your inbox for an email titled "Pre-Launch Test Group Confirmation." This email provides the Terms and Conditions and allows you to set up your username. If you have not received this email, please contact us via the form below right away so we can get you set up.)

By now, most of our programs have been converted to the new layout as you will see by exploring throughout the site. We also announced the release of our very own podcast coming soon where we look forward to discussing the ins and outs of fitness and nutrition and answering all your most pressing questions and concerns. We are hoping to release our first episode in the next couple of weeks. Please send any questions or topics you would like us to discuss in future episodes in the form below and be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss the podcast once it is aired!

We are also working hard to release some new programs for inclusion with our Premium Services; two of which are the long anticipated Mud Run Training Extreme, for getting in shape for the grueling Mud Runs that boast lengths of 10K and greater, as well as our Circuit Training 2.0 which will be a step up from our first, and most favored Circuit Training program.

In addition to these and other programs we are also planning to bring you articles, reviews, Trainer Q&As and much, much more. We would love to hear from you and know what types of programs you want to see added to the site, as well as any other features you would like to see brought to Total Workout Routines in the coming months. Please feel free to send us your comments, questions, and requests so that we can tailor the site to best help you on your fitness journey.

Until next time, Eat. Sleep. Live. Fit!

Comments and Questions Welcome

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Build a Path to Better Health



We are currently in the process of building a path to a healthier, fitter, happier you. We are looking for people who are interested in losing weight, building muscle, or just looking to improve their overall fitness to participate in an upcoming Pre-Launch Group where they will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the tools and programs that will be soon be available with a Premium subscription.

We are asking that participants provide feedback, testimonies, and reviews of the services that may be featured on the website. In exchange for your reviews and testimonials for use on our site, you will receive a free 3-month subscription and access to all the new programs and resources that will be added.

If you are interested in being a part of our Pre-Launch Test Group, please fill out the form Here and you will receive an email with further instructions for setting up your username. Hurry if you are interested as we are taking only a limited number of users to participate in this opportunity and spots are already filling up!

Pre-Launch Application

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