An Elite Personal Training Facility That Puts You First
PEX Health and Fitness
The February, 2022 Edition of the NLB
Happy February folks! I can't feel my toes, it's still dark out at 4pm, and I'm running on caffeine even more than usual...but hey, we're all in this together, right?

We hope everyone out there is pumped to start off this next month strong! And what a better way to start off your February than with everyone's favorite Newsletter-Blog! (I am not even sure there are any other Newsletter-Blogs out there, but hey, who's counting?!)
This edition's blog post is brought to you by PEX's own Alex Badlissi, owner of Forged Boxing and Fitness and fitness extraordinaire.


M & B & ?

PS - Someone new is helping Mike & Bianca out with the Newsletter...who could it be? Dun Dun Dun - Anonymous
Putting the "Pro" in Protein
By Alex Badlissi
Owner of Forged Boxing and Fitness
Protein is one of three macronutrients your body needs to survive and thrive. Not only is it vital for building and repairing muscle tissue, it also helps with hormone and enzyme production. When it comes to muscle development, protein intake is extremely important. Questions I typically hear from clients include, "How much protein do I need?", "How much can I consume at one time?", "What type of protein powder is best?" and, "What are the downsides of consuming too much?"
How much protein one needs depends on a few variables. The person's weight, goals, and lifestyle all factor in to how much they will need to consume for each meal they are eating. The general rule of thumb is you should strive for 1 gram per pound of body weight. A study published in 2017 found that the ideal intake was 0.7 grams per pound, while a study published in 2018 found that 0.7-1.1 grams per pound was sufficient. I typically tell my clients that someone with a lower body fat percentage will need to stay on the higher end of protein intake, while someone with a higher body fat percentage would be able to stay on the lower end.

As far as how much the body can utilize in one sitting, varies from person to person. Studies from 20-30 years ago claimed that a person should only consume 15-25 grams at one time. A meta-analysis from 2020 has found that the body can metabolize and utilize far more than that. It is now believed that closer to 45-55 grams can be consumed at one time and the body will make use of it. It is hard to pinpoint an exact gram per pound range given many studies provide conflicting conclusions, and everyone's body is different.

Drinking your protein post workout can be a great way to feed your muscles and promote protein synthesis. There are so many options when it comes to protein powders, that it can be hard to know which type is best. In my own opinion I generally try to promote whey isolate. Isolate goes through more rigorous filtration to remove fats and impurities. For people who are vegan or vegetarian, plant-based proteins can be a great way to make sure you’re getting your daily protein requirement.

For years many critics of a high protein diet claimed that is caused issues with bone density and development and could be harmful to the kidneys. The bone density claim came from a study in the 1980’s but has been disproven since. The study was disregarded because it didn’t account for the participants previous health issues or diet. It also couldn’t be duplicated in two other peer reviewed studies. The concern that high protein intake can affect your kidneys has never been proven in any study to date.
Still weighing the pro's?

Lean into the facts here with a simple yet informative video breakdown of why we need protein, and just how much we might need, in order to help us reach any particular goal we might have set for ourselves.
How about we take it back to the basics?

Pop through to the "I Scream for Protein" podcast and learn why protein is so important to incorporate in your diet, and what it really does for our bodies.

& there you go! Its everything you need to know, if you want to be a protein pro!
Why DOES Mike Say "Smooth" All of the Time?

If you haven't noticed it before, you will definitely notice it now. And you will also notice that I literally say this...all of the time. Sorry, not sorry. It's important though, I promise! And no, I didn't refer to myself in the third person above, our anonymous NLB editor wrote that tagline. And I liked it.
I love the military adage, "slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." (I usually add my own quip to the end "and speed kills," but that's what 10+ years of competitive fighting will do to your brain, I guess.)

To me, the definition of smooth is almost like the definition of athleticism, "you just know it when you see it." And, on the contrary, you definitely notice when someone is not moving smoothly, or athletically. But why do I think it is so important to move smoothly, especially during complex compound movements in the weight room?

Let's break it down. *cue music*

How To Be Smooth 101

  • Being able to consistently complete the full ROM, in a controlled and safe manner. ("You control the weight, don't let the weight control you.") Simply starting and stopping in the same position without compromising your form is the most effective way to know that 1) the correct muscles are being used, 2) the motor units are being recruited in the correct and appropriate order relative to the intention of the exercise, 3) you understand the exercise, and 4) you can maintain, and consistently repeat, that level of recruitment.

  • Being able to glide through the sticking point in the exercise. Sticking points occur during the hardest part of the lift (usually around the 90-degree position in a given joint). Here are some examples: performing a bicep curl, and getting "stuck" in your elbow as the weight comes up, in your knees as you come up through a squat, or your elbow/shoulder as you perform a chest press. Smoothly moving through the sticking point indicates to us that the muscles and joints involved are working together properly, and that you do not need to rely on momentum, or secondary/tertiary muscles (aka not the muscles targeted for the specific movement), to get the job done.

  • No jerky movements. Unless you are purposefully engaging in a maximum intensity ballistic/plyometric movement, or a max-effort lift, the speed of your movements should be similar throughout the entire lift. If you find your body having an almost spastic, or jerky, response to an exercise - this is usually a sign that you should lower your weights or take it down a notch!
When you hear "smooth," it means everything is positively responding to the stimulus. Steadily completing an exercise also increases your joint strength, in addition to the smaller muscle groups and stabilizers. As you progress through your ROM, those areas are working harder to maintain its direction, thus adapting for future movements with heavier weights.

All in all, having a strong foundation will provide you with the greatest outcomes in strength, mobility, and even flexibility. It's not rocket science - if you can perform an exercise cleanly and smoothly, I'd say that's a job well done.

MC Hammer -- Over & Out

Muscular Strength VS Muscle Size

Muscles. We got a lot of 'em, almost 600 to be exact.

When we imagine a person who is "strong," we typically think of big biceps, legs that resemble Quadzilla, and a booty like no other. Think of people like The Rock, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Rhonda Rousey (and obviously, Mike and Marjus). There is an aesthetic associated to being strong. Not to say they couldn't lift any of us in an overhead press *shivers* but, muscular strength doesn't ALWAYS correlate to muscular size. It comes down to each specific strength training style and what the fitness goals are. So, what is the difference?
Poll question of the day: which character is Mike, and which character is Marjus?

Ultimately, your training style stems from your personal goal - growth or strength. Whether you have experience lifting or not, your muscles are going to grow, just from motor recruitment and muscular activation alone. Once your body gets up to speed with the movement patterns, proper form, etc., the exercise will allow you to experiment around with heavier weights/different sets and reps.

MUSCULAR GROWTH = Volume (Sets x Reps x Weight)

Obtaining bigger muscles is all about volume. This means you can lift lighter, but continue through additional sets/reps OR lift heavier for fewer sets/reps. So long as the volume remains the same, the outcomes are pretty similar. Depending on your limitations and level of training, it allows almost anyone to successfully gain muscle mass in a safe and healthy way. Increasing unit recruitment + protein rich caloric intake = increase in contractile proteins (muscle mass).

MUSCULAR STRENGTH = Intensity (% of 1RM)

Having big muscles doesn't ALWAYS mean being super "strong." Lean muscle mass is a huge driving force for many people because they don't want to look "bulky." Again, it all comes down to how you format your workouts.

When training strength, it's important to focus on a higher percentage of your 1RM (the heaviest amount of weight you can successfully lift without sacrificing form/tempo). The goal is to aim for a higher percentage (~85% or above) alongside fewer reps to optimize your gains.

A training program that targets both growth and strength is what will maximize your overall fitness progression. Whether it be conditioning, strength, or power-based, each program is going to be slightly different, varying in volume/intensity. This is why you might have the exact same program (exercise wise) as someone else, but the results for each of them might be completely different.
To get right down to it, never judge a book by its cover. Size doesn't always matter...
Foam Rolling - Is It Worth It?

Do you want to improve your mobility and flexibility?

Do you want to improve circulation for greater muscular activation?

If the answer to any of those questions is "yes!," then FOAM ROLLING might be a good place to start!

Foam rolling involves using self-myofascial release (SMR) as a technique to aid in the relief of fascia restrictions around the body. IT HURTS SO GOOD. Iykyk. Think of it like you're giving yourself your own personal deep tissue massage. Your choice of pressure comes from the amount of bodyweight you decide to use while rolling.
Foam rolling can aid in the following:

  • Muscle Tightness

  • Increasing Blood Oxygen Levels

  • Increasing ROM

  • Relaxation or Stimulation (depending on the intensity & breathing type)

  • Exercise Performance

  • Alleviating Back Pain

Rollers come in all shapes and sizes, each with a particular focus in mind. If you decide you want to incorporate foam rolling into your workout routine, make sure to understand WHY you need one and what its intended use will be. Here are some options that could help:

Smooth Rollers - For general, every day use. Evenly coated in either soft/hard foam, you're basically rolling your muscles out with a giant rolling pin.

Textured Rollers - For working deeper into the muscles. Textured rollers have knobs, grooves, and differently shaped surfaces to get after knots and tension.

Handheld Rollers - Great for larger, easy to reach, areas such as the upper back and legs. Using a handheld roller allows an easier application of pressure as well.

Foam Massage Balls - Best for targeted areas rather than specific muscle groups. Many tend to substitute a lacrosse ball because it is more sturdy and can handle someone's full weight, whether you're laying on the floor or up against the wall.

Whichever type you end up using, the methods remain the same - slowly work/roll along the direction in which the muscle runs. Once you find the spot that provides you with slight/significant discomfort, you remain on it for just a few seconds before continuing on with the movement. Always breathe deeply as you are rolling - just like you would when receiving a massage.
At worst, a good pre-workout foam rolling session, along with forceful deep breathing, will stimulate the nervous system, and your muscle cells, getting you amped up for your workout of the day.


Mark your calendars everyone, it is officially happening! We'll be softly opening up our brand new location at the end of February but we are SO EXCITED to get started and build the next phase of PEX with our amazing new team of 7 trainers! If you have friends/family who are interested in coming to check out the brand new PEX Medfield, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our Medfield webpage will also soon be up and running.

More information will be sent out here in the next few weeks regarding events, our team, and what you can expect moving forward.

Thank you all so much for your patience over the last few months. It means the world to us.

2) Five Hello's and a Goodbye

There are some new faces here at PEX in Needham. We're beyond pumped to welcome to our team, Abby Carnevale, Jon Burr, Paul Hagerty, Derek Durkin, and Rafael Rivera! Stay tuned for some trainer highlights on our social media and web pages. Please feel free to reach out to us, to schedule an appointment today!

At the end of January, we also said goodbye to star PEX coach and owner of Parsons Sports Performance, CJ Parsons, as CJ hosted the grand opening of his own sports performance facility in Norwood on Tuesday, January 26. We are super excited for CJ to begin his own venture and we are proud to have been a part of his professional journey! Congratulations, CJ!

3) PEX Renovations/Updates

Come check out our newly updated lower level, new fitness equipment, and soon, our revamped boxing area for boxing classes/programs!

4) Small Business Pop-Up

PEX is excited to be planning a holiday pop up for small businesses to showcase their products or services in the gym; we decided to postpone the holiday event to an, "End of Winter Small Business Pop-Up". The event is currently scheduled for March 12, 2022 from 11AM-2PM. Keep an eye out for more information regarding in your inbox! We hope to see all of you there.
In Conclusion
In the words of the legend himself, Ron Swanson:

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."

Dang, now HE'S smooth.

PEX and Recreation
To send cash and diamonds
1451 Highland Avenue,
Needham, MA 02492