What to Eat Before a Workout?

what to eat before a workout - pre workout meal - Fitness Revolution Rowlett

This has to be one of the biggest questions that I get as a trainer.

I’ll admit that it’s a good question because depending on the type of workout can influence what a person should or should NOT do before their training session to maximize the results of their workout.

These can range from types of food, timing and supplements which can make your progress a lot easier.

I’ll keep the supplement list very basic but as you progress with your fitness and goals you can get pretty serious about certain types of supplements you can take to enhance your performance or fat loss progress… but ONLY if you are covering your bases already.

Again I emphasize that I’m still a believer that if you are eating like poo and not doing the basics then you will not get the full benefit of the supplement. [Read more…]

Pedro’s 90lbs

Pedro [Read more…]

Sit-ups Build Legs

Sit-ups build legs, not abs    

Seriously you may challenge me on this but I want you to think about it. How many times did you do sit-up or decline sit-ups and have to stop do to your abs burning so bad? Honestly, I can admit very few really do experience an extreme ab burn during decline sit-ups, in fact most probably notice that their hip flexors start burning more than anything.


What you didn’t know about the Hip Flexors

First off your hip flexors are NOT just one muscle they are a group of muscles that are responsible for flexing the femur (thigh) towards the torso, think of bringing your knees towards you.Hips Flexors and and sit ups - Fitness Revolution Rowlett

If you were to look at the image to the left these are ALL the muscles of the hip flexors… if you notice that the abdominal wall is NOT one of them.

These are the PRIME movers in decline sit-ups and most other sit up variations.

So doing countless reps and decline angles only further continues to improve the functionality and muscular development of the hip flexors, not develop the abdominal wall.

In addition to this I have seen this further tighten the hip flexors more than what most need. Guys I hate to say this but your hip flexors are probably tight enough as it is and they don’t need any reaosn to get tighter, if they do they will just hate you for it.

What ends up happening it that as they tighten up even further they begin to pull your hips down towards your knees and if you think you have hip problems now just wait till those things get tighter.

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An Understanding of Poor Insulin Sensitivity

Side Note: I had someone do a guest writing series with this blog and a few others, so let me know what you think!

There are many who suffer from diabetes. Poor insulin sensitivity is a problem that many people face. This happens when the insulin levels in your body stays the same because the body is unable to get sufficient glucose into the muscles. When this happens, this means that the pancreas will have to create even more insulin to handle the situation.


If you think that you are facing a problem with poor insulin sensitivity, there are a few things you should do. The first thing that needs to be done would be to talk to your doctor. They might want to do a glucose tolerance test. In order to do this, you will need to fast for about eight hours. When this is done, you then drink a sweet liquid and once that happens, they then test your blood sugar levels. They are looking to see if this results show a calculation of over a hundred. If they see this, it could mean a problem with insulin insensitivity.


For some of those who have found that they might have poor insulin sensitivity, this might require them to look at their lifestyle to see what could have been the habits that lead them to become this way. Some might have a family history of this problem. There will be some who find out the problem is caused due to the fact that they are overweight. Some will find this problem is caused by the lack of getting up and moving around. Some have also found that they have cardiovascular issues.


When you are deemed to have poor insulin sensitivity, you will need to then look at the levels of bad cholesterol in your body. They also need to look at what their blood pressure levels are like. In order for the body to not be so sensitive to insulin, they will find that they have to get their cholesterol and their blood pressure under control. In certain extreme cases, patients might have to go under medication to assist them with this issue. And most of the time, this medication is consumed throughout the rest of their lives.


Another thing that a person with poor insulin sensitivity might have to put up with is their energy levels and their emotional state of being. The fact that those who have insulin insensitivity feel tired all the time, and they will feel as though they don’t get enough sleep no matter how many hours they rest. This will cause them to lack focus in everyday tasks. Some will find that poor insulin sensitivity can cause their memory to go bad as well. Most of the time, patients do not know what causes this fatigue and low levels of focus. But once they are diagnosed, many people find it hard to accept the fact that thet are facing this problem. If this is something that you are facing, then it will be a wise decision to talk to someone about this sooner rather than later. Get tested because this can eventually kill you.

Side Note: I had someone do a guest writing series with this blog and a few others, so let me know what you think!


In Health and Awesomeness,




Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, CES, RBT is the owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.

P.S. – If you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends using the social media buttons below.

P.P.S. – Please ask a question or share a comment with us in the Leave a Comment section at the very bottom of the page.  We love your feedback and will use it to develop future blog posts.



How to get a body like HER

I want to look like HER - Fitness Revolution RowlettSo, who is “her”?

We each have one of those women that we see in the gym or magazines, these are the ones that you feel are the epitome of a fit, healthy, sexy body.

The most common things you’ll hear about these women are:

“I want to look like her”, “I want legs like her”, “I want her a$$”, “I want her abs”, etc… the list goes on.

The definition of “her” is always different for everyone but no matter what, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

When I first started to begin really making training a full time career I was living in San Antonio, TX, working for a big health club. For some reason, I don’t know why, about 60% of my clients were rather attractive woman, and I will say I NEVER complained. In fact it was a joke at my gym that if she was hot she was most likely going to train with Travis… like I said, I NEVER complained 😉

I had some reasonable success in getting these women into stellar shape, in my opinion some of my best physique work was back then. 90% of them had abs and amazing legs when we were done, a few landed some pretty large modeling deals and I even had one that ended up in Playboy (so not kidding about that). [Read more…]

Fasting and Muscles

Intermittent Fasting and Muscles - Fitness Revolution RowlettSlowly IF (intermittent fasting) is getting a bit more of a buzz in the weight loss industry, this is awesome because honestly IF just makes sense. Give your body a break from food; give it a break from having to constantly digest and breakdown what you feed it multiple times a day. The majority of our body’s energy systems are spent breaking down the constant bombardment of calories and is rarely ever given a chance to just work on itself.

Look at it this way; imagine that you are working 12-16hrs a day and never given a day off. Don’t you think you would hit a burn out period and things in your life would start suffering? Well if you’re eating ALL the damn time don’t you think that your body is going through something similar with you always asking it to breakdown calories? Give your digestive tract a damn day off lol. [Read more…]

Biceps Like a Gymnast

Fitness Revolution Gymnast BicepsThis is dedicated a bit more to my ‘meat head’ readers, those that just love big showy muscles… I’m one of them! lol

About every four years the Olympics roll around and one of the big eye catches is the physiques of the elite athletes. The v-tapers of the swimmers, low bodyfat levels of a sprinter and for all those muscle heads out there the arms of a gymnast.

In my opinion gymnast have the strongest biceps pound for pound than any other competitive sport and what’s crazy is that these guys don’t lift a damn dumbbell!

What do they do though is hang from the rings hours a day.

Now what most guys really don’t comprehend is that the biceps work alongside the muscles of the forearms and upper back, but majority of bicep exercises and machines are designed to take those out of the equation and focus strictly on bicep movement. To help explain that concept better it’s like just doing leg extensions to build impressive legs instead of squats or lunges. [Read more…]

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks

I love my kicks

Change the pace a bit I wanted to go over one of the most over looked, and to some degree, under looked pieces of equipment that we use in the gym.

Our kicks (“shoes” for those that aren’t caught up with kids new lingo).

I’ve have seen all kinds of shoes used in day to day gym work, ranging from flip-flops to steal toed construction boots… heck I’ve even seen some EXTREME high-heals (my clients called these hooker heals lol) used for workouts in the gym.

People eventually do come around to asking me what kind of shoes they should get, well the most common shoe that I personally recommend is the New Balance Minimus.


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Top 10 questions I get as a trainer

10 of the most common questions I get asked as a personal trainer

After doing this blog post I feel that over the coming months I’ll need to dedicate a blog or two to each question, what you see below is just scratching the surface. If you have any others that you have leave a comment below!

1. Can you just give me a routine?

Me: (Now I have mixed feelings about this). My usual answer to this is “no”, and its really for the big reason that I don’t know anything about that person. I don’t know their movement patterns, background and health history, their comfort level with exercise, do they even know what exercise I’m talking about and even if I do show them will they continue to perform it correctly? Here is what I usually tell this person: I do wish it was as easy as writing a program for you but I don’t know enough about you and a program HAS to evolve with your needs over a period of time. Not all programs are created equal and not all fit everyone BUT I never leave anyone emptied handed so here is one below that I feel is a good starter for most beginners looking to add some muscle (or tone for the ladies) and lose bodyfat.

2. I need to work my core, what’s the best exercise?

Me: Do you want to get it stronger for something in particular or do you want to have abs showing?

  • If you want have your abs showing then do cardio and eat cleaner
  • If you want to have a strong core, do the ab wheel
  • If you want both… well do both of the above 😛

3. Do I have to drink those protein drinks?

Me: Well I do recommend it to most people for the sole reason is that you need protein to not only build muscle, but to help with fat loss (yes protein helps you lose fat), it helps with nervous system function, just to name a few things. Whey protein is the most common after workout protein there is and it gets into the blood stream to the muscles MUCH faster than anything else. Now you can skip a workout shake but I have had clients that I have made consume them right after our workouts and I can say every one of them notices a big difference in the way they look and feel. In my opinion, if you don’t your missing out on a key part of you getting the results that you want. Not all are nasty there are some quite good ones out there 🙂

Here are the ones I personally use:

4. Is there a pill, like a fat burner, that I can take to help lose weight?

Me: The best fat burners only give you about a 6-7% edge in your fat loss and they all say that this MUST be done with a proper workout and diet plan. So if you don’t work out you may lose a pound or two but then put it back on next week. If you are doing everything right then you may notice a slight increase in your fat loss ability, but keep in mind what got you to lose those pounds in the first place was clean eating and busting your butt in the gym not a magic pill.

5. Can’t I just workout 20 or 30min three times a week?

Me: If it was that easy you would have done it already then. This answer is a double edge sword but yes and no you can work out 20min three times a week and reach your goals (your particular goal is a big factor in my answer on this one). SOME people can and it totally depends on their understanding of their own body, do they have movement disorders, have they worked out before, do they have good neural recruitment patterns, etc… If they are in tune with their body then yes they can, but if you have never worked out before then probably not. I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU WON’T SEE RESULTS because you will, but you may not look like that bowflex model.  An example that I used recently was is that lets say your back in school and you’ve been assigned to write a 5 page paper. Now if you were in 5th grade this may take you a week, but if you’re in college you may knock this out in an hour; your experience is a big factor. The same principle applies to working out.

6. Do I need to cut our carbs before bed?

Me: Depends on your bed time and depends on the type of carbs. To keep this simple I would recommend to stop eating complex carbs in your last meal and instead have vegetables, yes they are a carb but they won’t spike the insulin like some grains and other carbs would. Understand without specific goals and variables answers can vary. So whatever your last meal would be just have an extra serving of veggies, this will fill you up and help with fat loss.

7. How much cardio do I need to do?

Me: Just like anything else the answers can vary from person to person and goal to goal. My general recommendation for starters is 4 days a week, two days of steady state cardio and two days in higher intensity interval cardio. If we were to have a scale of 1-10 in intensity (10 being the highest) you would want your steady state to be at a 5 or 6 on that 1-10 scale. You know you’re working out but you can keep going for a bit of time. I would generally recommend this for 30min. On the other two days I would want two days of interval training. Do a warm up of 10min at your typical steady state then immediately after that alternate between 8 and 5 (on our 1-10 scale) for 30sec a piece. So do 30sec at an intensity level of 8 then 30sec at an intensity level of 5. Do this back and forth for 7-10 min. You’ll notice a big difference.

8. If I lift heavy weight won’t I get “bulky”? (This is mostly from the women)

Me: 99% of women don’t produce enough testosterone to garnish the same muscle growth as men, and don’t even think that you’re the 1% who does because you would have been diagnosed and on medications at an early age. For me to get a female “bulky” we would need some pharmaceutical help AKA anabolic steroids and lots of time. The women that you see with masculine figures trained themselves like that, it didn’t happen by accident. Other words they didn’t go to bed with 28% body fat then wake up the next morning looking the way they do. Have no worries ladies it won’t happen. From my experience the harder and heavier I train a female client the more shapely and tone they get.

9. What’s the best exercise to get rid of this inner thigh fat and bring my butt off the back of my legs? (Another common one I get from the ladies… but guys should pay attention)

Me: Fat distribution patterns are different per person, some carry it around their legs, some their hips, others lower abs and back. Unfortunately that is genetic and something that we can’t change, but to get rid of the inner thigh fat you need to lose body fat and build your legs. I would recommend looking at my sexy leg video series for my recommendation on the best leg exercises, increase you cardio and if not already begin eating very clean. If you do that you will notice a visible difference in how your legs look in a matter of weeks.

A sample exercise routine would look like:

10. If I stop working out won’t all my muscle turn to fat?

Me: It is biochemically impossible for muscle to turn to fat, they are two completely separate substances. It would be the equivalent of turning silver into gold, can’t be done. What you may think is that if you go for a long period of time (3+ weeks) without working out, the muscle just loses it’s tone, and eventually the muscle will leave all together. You don’t use it you’ll lose it.








In Health and Fitness,




Travis Merritt, BS, CPT is the owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.

P.S. – If you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends using the social media buttons below.

P.P.S. – Please ask a question or share a comment with us in the Leave a Comment section at the very bottom of the page.  We love your feedback and will use it to develop future blog posts.


Are you treating the symptom or the cause?

So over the past few weeks I’ve been having a number of consults coming my way with some form of joint issues (recently it’s been a lot of shoulder problems). Now when I have a person with a joint issue ask for help I’ll usually do a movement screen and what really gets the person is that I typically DON’T spend a lot of time looking at the joint that’s in pain… instead I’m assessing everything else around it.

Let me clarify a bit. I had a phone call with a gentleman that was diagnosed with bursitis. A quick anatomy here: the bursa is a small fluid filled sack in the joint area that helps cushion and lubricate the joint during movement. In the shoulder it typically resides at the edge of the clavicle right above the humorous (arm bone). Bursitis is caused by either infection or irritation of the bursa sac; after an MRI infection was ruled out for him. Now whenever I hear someone has bursitis in their shoulder I don’t even look at that area of the shoulder, instead I look at the muscles and movements AROUND the shoulder joint. Simple reason is that bursitis is a SYMPTOM… other words something in the body is constantly rubbing and irritating the hell out of it.

So this blog isn’t about shoulder issues (we could write books on that) but instead about fixing causes and not symptoms with exercise. We’ve all of head of this before; when you get sick with a cough that’s typically a symptom of something else going on. If you’re going through car tires in half the time they are rated for its can probably means that you suck at driving or your alignment is off. In both of those cases we could spend time taking medicine to fix the cough or buy new tires but eventually the same thing is going to happen or in fact worse.

In health if someone is overweight it’s not the fat that is the problem (that statement can be argued I know), the body fat is a symptom of something else going on, medical or most likely life style. If a joint hurts it’s probably not the joint but a muscle that’s attached to the joint or even further away, if you’re missing a big lift it can be lack of strength of an accessory muscle or a technique flaw.

So the question I want you to ask if your noticing something in the gym that’s not going the way you want it, a joint hurts or you’re not losing the weight you want take your gaze away from that and look around. Think if what you’re experiencing is a cause or is there something else that’s not letting you get the results that you want. If you need help determining this talk to a professional! This will save you more time and head ache than you can even phantom in the beginning; so find someone that has been through or specializes in what you are dealing with.

***A quick side note: with that being said I don’t want this mentality to turn into blaming something else game. Ultimately it’s your body and you have more control over it than you may realize so that gives you the ability to fix what you feel may be the cause of your concern.

So is it a Symptom or a Cause?

The next question you going to wonder about is what your experiencing a symptom or a cause…? Well I’ll make it easy for you. If your trying to treat it and its not getting better or it keeps coming back then its a symptom. If your running into this with ANYTHING I recommend seeking a professional, I promise it will get better much faster 🙂



In Health and Fitness,




Travis Merritt, BS, CPT is the owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.

P.S. – If you enjoyed this post please share it with your friends using the social media buttons below.

P.P.S. – Please ask a question or share a comment with us in the Leave a Comment section at the very bottom of the page.  We love your feedback and will use it to develop future blog posts.