How Much Money Do You Waste On Supplements?

We’re deep in the throes of post-holiday ordinariness and Resolution Season. Not quite the middle of January, so most people haven’t given up on their resolutions. Yet. (Note: that’s unscientific speculation on the part of yours truly.)

Grocery store ads are replete with healthy food, fat burners, energy boosters, basic fitness essentials, and other “health” products.

Are any of these products worth the cost? Nicole Akers delves into the subject of wasting money on vitamins and supplements in her latest blog post, Stop Wasting Your Money on Vitamins and Supplements:

medications-money-cure-tablets-47327-Nicole Akers

Nicole blogs frequently at She also has some healthy recipe books you will enjoy.

I’m not a pill taker. I down a pain killer reluctantly. And I do take a multivitamin daily as an insurance policy against a day of poor nutrition or inconsistent eating. Oh. And a baby aspirin per my physician, since my family has a history of heart issues. But that’s it.

Supplements… just one. Protein powder. Why? It’s faster and more convenient than having to cook something early in the morning when I’m battling cats and the clock to get to my first appointment. And it’s most convenient as a post-workout fuel when mixed with simple sugar. My favorite concoction is lemon lime Gatorade and vanilla flavored protein. It’s a tolerable taste.

Do you swear by any vitamin or other health supplements? Let me know in the comments.


Dave Kwiecinski

I’ve been a personal trainer for more than twelve years.  Despite being active for most of my life, I’m not and never have been a fitness fanatic.  I play racquetball, golf, and tennis.  I enjoy weekend basketball during the warm months with family and friends. We used to play an annual tackle football game until a big injury to one of the younger adults ended the fun.


My passion for a truly healthy lifestyle evolved over the last two decades.  The pursuit began with a desire to learn how to eat right. It led to a decision to become a personal trainer.  I explored a Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology at Benedictine University. We had three kids in college at the time. I decided there was enough on my plate between business and personal obligations. But what I learned was life-changing.

I’ll show you how simple proper nutrition and sensible fitness can be. We’ll develop a routine that complements your goals and lifestyle, no matter your fitness level.  I’m passionate about motivating you to enjoy life, set goals, and get results.

My personal passion is strength training. You’ll be amazed at your results with simple, consistent effort.


I live with my wife, Kathy, and way too many cats in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois. We’re blessed with five kids and eight grandchildren. They all live in northeastern Illinois. They keep up plenty busy. And happy.

How Can I Help?

My goal is to help you get what you want, any way that I can.  You can contact me personally at 847-845-1026 or by e-mail at

Health and Fitness Resolutions: Quick Fix or Permanent Solution?

So often…


Too often

you and I approach the start of a commitment to “get more fit” or “get in shape” with the wrong mindset.

We look for the magic potion, the secret formula, the quick fix.

We speak in platitudes. We talk about toning flabby arms and running an eight-minute mile.

We hear that – after all these years – the real reason nobody is losing weight… the real reason we have an obesity epidemic… is because we didn’t have the right weight-loss pill. But now, this awesome new pill, not available to the public until 2012, has come to rescue all of us! And now that it’s available with one simple phone call, all you have to do is pop the pill, wait for it to expand in your stomach, eat next to nothing, and you’ll feel full and satisfied. Weight and fat will fall off your body when this expanding pill fills your tummy, you’ll lose all the weight you want, and life will be blissful.

Who would have ever thought weight loss was this easy?

I’m not naming names, but there are at least four such “remedies” available today, if you want to waste your money.

Hall1898adTooFat - public domain

Have you ever considered how preposterous weight-control and weight-loss advertising claims are? Yet how many times have you wanted to try one, hoping against hope that this might be the one that actually works?


Because we crave the quick fix.

You and I grew up in the television age. The age of 30-minute sitcoms. Dramas and mysteries that were resolved in 60 minutes. Results need to be immediate. We became a microwave society. We have no time to be patient. Our food needs to be done sooner rather than later.

Advertisers took advantage. The snake oil salesmen of yesterday became the weight-loss pill pushers of today. “Lose 20 pounds in a week! If your weight loss results are too dramatic, cut back to one pill per day.”


How many people do you think are going to do that? Faster is better! People hear that they can accelerate their weight loss results and they’ll take more pills, not fewer!

What a shrewd way to sell more “snake oil?”

As we careen toward a new year, will you feel compelled to make yet another health and fitness resolution? Will you opt for permanent, healthy change or yet another quick fix?

Which one do you think will make a difference in your life?

Why Should You Listen to a Pudgy Kid and “Recovering CPA” for Fitness Advice?

Why should you listen to a “recovering CPA” for fitness advice? How can a pudgy grade school kid, a kid who avoided the high school and college weight room like The Plague, help you navigate the food and party frenzy that awaits almost all of us in the next two weeks?

Am I’m the right person to get you to the other side of New Year’s Day without the usual regrets? No weight gain? Minimal stress and anxiety?

Short answer, yes.

Longer answer begins with a question.

What have you tried in the past?

  • If you’re tired of not knowing how to handle the stress…
  • If you’re resolved to “do more” for your health and fitness over the next two weeks…
  • If you’re planning to starve yourself all day long, stuffing yourself at the holiday parties, coming out the other side feeling fatigued, bloated, gaining weight, and feeling completely deflated…

… you should listen to me.


I’m a regular guy. Comfortable behind a desk. In front of a computer at the local coffee shop (like now). Actually kinda nerdy.

I’m not training for marathons or triathlons. I’ve run one 5K. I hate to run. I’m not a gifted athlete. I’m not a lifelong fitness fanatic.

Did I just describe you? That’s okay!

  • If you’re concerned about your health…
  • If you can’t stand the way you look in your body (or the way you look in your clothes)…
  • If you’re worried about what your doctor has told you…
  • If you can’t stand your aches and pains…

That’s okay. There’s a solution. And it’s simpler than you think.

Let’s be clear. I’m not a doctor. Don’t even play one on television or on stage. Or YouTube!

But I can help you make your doctor happy with what you’re doing for yourself.


Click the link to the right. Name your own price. Get it for as cheap as a  buck. You’ll be glad you did.

It IS Your Fault!

I have HAD it! ENOUGH with the commercials telling me that it’s not my fault.




Does anyone take responsibility for anything any more?

This is crazy!

You can’t lose weight but it’s not your fault.

You can’t find a job and it’s not your fault.

You’re addicted to junk food and it’s not your fault. It’s the potato chip’s fault. Oh. And advertisers. And the evil manufacturers. Probably even the president of the company!

You can’t perform in the bedroom and it’s not your fault.

Your child’s behavior is not your fault.

Your divorce is not your fault.

Your crappy password is not your fault.

Neither is your lousy golf swing.

Even being buried in credit card debt is not your fault.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to blame you for everything that happens to you. Don’t confuse me with the guy who blames the woman who is raped or abused. Don’t think I deny medical evidence of uncontrollable weight issues or physical incapacity. Don’t discount what I have to say because you know people who had ‘this condition’ or ‘that misfortune’…

That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about being willing to take a little personal responsibility.

Sometimes, when you can’t lose weight, it’s because you don’t really want to lose weight.

Sometimes, when you can’t stop overeating, it’s because you don’t want to stop eating.

Sometimes, when you’re unhappy with the way your body looks, it’s because you’re really not motivated to do anything about it.

Sometimes in life – and I dare say, quite often – it IS your fault!

It’s not because you can’t. It’s because you won’t.

We live at a time when culture and society want to explain away any and every negative experience as just another injustice done to us. We can’t help our reactions. We can justify our actions by what it happening around us or to us.

And none of it is our fault.

Bullshit. (pardon me)

I’m sick of it.

If you haven’t noticed, we live in a world of propaganda. You have to search for real news. You need to dig deep to evaluate whether what you’re hearing is fact, or someone’s interpretation of what happened, or has been deliberately skewed to make you think a certain way.

Children cannot be trusted with the facts any more. They have to be taught how to think, what to think. Powers of reason are trampled in favor of popular thought.

And when I say children, I’m not limiting the definition to preschoolers and early grade school. Middle school, junior high, high school curricula are peppered with propaganda.

Even colleges and universities trample honest reason and debate.

What’s wrong with us?

Being taught what to think. Personal responsibility takes a back seat to being taken care of… because we can’t take care of ourselves?

Is it possible that we can’t lose weight because we eat too much?

Is it possible I eat too much junk food because I enjoy it?

Is it possible I could learn how the body works and make changes to my lifestyle that can help me get and stay healthier than I’ve ever been in my life?

Can you?

I challenge you to try.

In my early forties, I changed the way I ate. I studied, evaluated, and experimented with every popular diet and “eating plan.” I learned that what and how I ate made a difference. I learned that I could eat what I wanted to eat, within reason, but I also discovered that choosing to eliminate certain types of food from my diet made a significant difference in how I felt.

I changed the way I approached fitness. No more run around the racquetball court for an hour and think I’m in great physical condition. I learned that my concept of cardiovascular exercise as a fitness tool was all wrong. I learned why strength training was not just for meat heads and egomaniacs, but an essential part of long-term health.

I eliminated post-lunch drowsiness, my chronically cold hands and feet, and many minor physical ailments. I didn’t get sick as often. I ate more and felt better than ever. I actually even liked the way parts of my body looked that used to disgust me.

I learned that certain people weren’t born with a good metabolism and that I could even change mine.

And I can change yours, too.

Don’t want to change?

Then maybe it IS your fault.

I’m not always this cold. In fact, ask my clients. I never come across like this working one-on-one with them. But I heard “it’s not your fault” one too many times today.

And I snapped.

Step One of the Journey to the Healthiest, Happiest Body You’ve Ever Had!

–  Decide! Make the commitment to go!  –

So often…


Too often…

you and I approach the start of a commitment to “get more fit” or “get in shape” with the wrong mindset.

We look for the magic potion, the secret formula, the quick fix.

We speak in platitudes. We talk about toning flabby arms and running a ten-minute mile.

We hear that – after all these years – the real reason nobody is losing weight, the real reason we have an obesity epidemic is because this cool pill that expands in your stomach wasn’t invented until 2010. And now that it’s available with one simple phone call, all you have to do is take the pill, eat very little, and you’ll be full and satisfied! Because this expanding pill will fill your tummy and you’ll lose all the weight you want and you’ll be happy and life will be blissful.

Who’d a thunk?

When you’re preparing to go somewhere, how much thought do you give it? How committed are you? When you’re planning a vacation, a trip to the grocery store, going to a party at a friend’s house, or even getting ready for work, you need a certain level of commitment.

Even if you don’t want to go.

Let’s say an acquaintance from work is throwing a party. You really don’t know the crowd. You’re not enthused about going…

You still make a commitment.

You’re not just throwing on a pair of ratty jeans and the sweatshirt you wore to clean the bathroom. There’s a minimum level of preparation that takes place before you walk out the door.

Let’s say you’re getting ready to trudge off to that job you can’t stand…

You still make a commitment. Even if it’s a fixed routine after all these years. Married? Children? Gotta dodge the spouse and kids and maybe the dog as you make your way around your place. No dependents or pets? Still have to make yourself presentable, eat breakfast (or maybe it’s “where’s that coffee?!?”), pack a lunch, make the commute…

You have a routine.

Let’s say you’re planning a vacation…

You decide where to go.

You decide when you’re going to leave.

You decide how you’re going to get there.

You decide how long you’re going to stay.

You decide how much you plan to spend.

You decide how much or how little structure you want in each day.

You decide if you’ll visit friends or family or try to stay as alone as you can.

You’ll also think about the fun you’ll have. Or how relaxing it will be. Or maybe anticipate the stress.

And all of these thoughts and decisions will impact your decision to go. In one way or another.

You’re making similar decisions in the other journeys of your life. They’re more subtle. They may not be conscious decisions any longer because they’re so routine.

But they’re there.


When you decide that it’s time to get in (or back in) shape, your decision is not independent of what you do with the rest of your life.

Something compels you to make a change.

Is it a voice in your head?

Is it your doctor or trusted adviser or friend?

Is it your spouse?

Is it your kids?

Is it a feeling you get when you’re with other people? Maybe a loved one,

or friends,

or at work,

in public,

when interacting with others,

maybe when trying to keep up with your kids or your peers?

What’s compelling you? What’s the voice saying to you? What picture are you painting in your mind? What are you feeling?

Don’t ignore those prompts.

Not only are they real.

>>>> They are the reason. <<<<

Michael * didn’t ignore the reason. He is an active man in his sixties. He loved to take long bike rides and swim. But back, wrist, and shoulder issues were limiting his mobility. He had a young grandson and another grandchild on the way.

For Michael, the reason was his ability to interact with his grandchildren. To roll around the floor with them. To be an active grandfather.

His decision was not about losing weight. Or “getting in shape.” Or shedding body fat. Or “staying fit.” Or any of the countless other clinical reasons or “sounds good” rationales that so many of us use as “motivation” for making a permanent physical change.

* – I have changed the client’s name to respect his privacy.

What are your prompts? What’s your reason?

Marty had a toothache. He hadn’t been to the dentist in years. He knew he was supposed to get his teeth cleaned and examined twice a year. He heard the hygienist tell him years ago that he should brush and floss at least twice daily. And visit the dentist as least twice a year.

But it wasn’t important to him.

He often joked with friends and acquaintances about the flossing advice.

Yeah, I know it’s important, but I’ve got better things to do with my life. And I’ll bet 100 years ago, people weren’t too worried about flossing!”

His teeth were fine. He never had much of a problem. The dentist discovered an occasional cavity over the years, but even those didn’t really hurt.

This was different. He needed a dentist. NOW! The pain was too intense to ignore. Too agonizing to see straight.

Marty’s decision was not about preventing gum disease or tooth decay. His decision was immediate and urgent.

He also had little choice.

The niceties of prevention weren’t compelling enough for him. The urgency of pain was.

Dig deep to find, to discover, to uncover your reason.

Don’t settle for simple, safe responses to your why.

Low Calories

As I sit here licking my lips from the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I just devoured (hey, even fitness studs like me — NOT!!! — have breakdowns every now and then), I’m going to pick on an e-mail I received today from my favorite coffeehouse.  They shall remain nameless simply because I’m going to pick on them.

Just a little.  And playfully.  Citing their e-mail only as an example.

First of all, the PB and J… yummy.

I was starving.

Well, probably not literally.  But my little (?) tummy was growling and I felt the need to torture the cats by eating something they don’t like.  I spied the loaf of Natural Ovens Bakery Hunger Filler bread (100% whole grain, 4 g of fiber, 2 g of sugar, 4 g of protein per slice), and the worst thing you can be is anything edible when I’m hungry.  Two slices toasted, slathered with natural peanut butter and Smucker’s grape jam (yes, it’s true… high fructose corn syrup; even I’m not perfect), and the leftover cup of green tea, reheated for, like, the fourth time.

A tasty little snack that satisfied the hunger pangs.

So here’s the takeaways:

  1. Strength training means never having to say you’re full.  Well, that’s not exactly true, but it sure makes it seem that way.  I never feel full (except at Thanksgiving and on Christmas Day).  The point is, burn a lot of calories, build some muscle, and it requires more calories to fill you up.
  2. Nobody’s perfect.  If you eat an occasional non-supportive meal, the world will not end.  The sun will rise in the morning (even if obscured by clouds).  You will have another opportunity to get it right tomorrow.  And the sandwich wasn’t that “non-supportive.”  Well, except for the high fructose corn syrup.  That’s why it’s best not to even have it in the house; it got in between me and my empty stomach.
  3. If you’re hungry and you know you’re hungry, eat!  I’m not an expert on emotional eating, but I know I’ve done it and will probably do it again.  But after you get in the habit of eating supportive meals on most days of the week and spacing your calories throughout the day, you get in touch with your body’s needs and you know when your body is craving calories and you’re not using food as an “outlet.”

Now back to the e-mail…

This particular coffee establishment was advertising various breakfast and beverage items.  The title of their e-mail:

“Resolving to be healthier? (We) can help.”

How can they help?  Their advertised items are low in calories.

Is that a good thing?

We’re not going to get into your body’s metabolic needs in this post.  Suffice it to say, we have to consume enough calories — quality calories — so our body can function appropriately, so we don’t slow our metabolism.

Our body cannot differentiate between “cutting calories to lose weight” and starving.  If we don’t adequately fuel our body, our body will respond accordingly.

The e-mail got me thinking about the menu boards at restaurants like Panera Bread and McDonald’s, etc. that now indicate the number of calories contained in each food item.

That’s a nice start.

But it’s incomplete information.

For instance, in the coffeehouse e-mail, is the Small Lite Latte (under 200 calories) healthier than the under 300 calories Classic Oatmeal?

Seems obvious, right?

Maybe not to the calorie counter desperately trying to lose ten pounds.

How much fat?  Is it saturated?  How much sugar?  Any protein?

At every meal, try to eat a lean protein, a whole grain starchy carbohydrate, and a fibrous carbohydrate.  And try to limit empty calories from beverages (we’re not talking about meal-replacement smoothies here).

So, kudos to the coffeehouse.  They’re trying to be responsible citizens while trying to sell product at the same time.  Unfortunately, in their attempt to help, they’re adding to the confusion.

The focus should not be so much on the calories as on the nutrients: the fat, carbohydrates, and protein.  And the quality of those nutrients.

All that being said, if you’re hungry and you know it’s really hunger…



What’s Your Greatest Health or Fitness Challenge?

January is typically the time for new beginnings and lofty goals.  Often, they include some “get healthy” resolution.

“Lose 20 pounds!”

“Eat better.”

“Work out regularly.”

“Use the gym membership I just bought.”

Run 10 miles every week.”

Did you set a new year’s health or fitness goal?  We’re one week into the new year.  How’s it going?

If you haven’t yet started, it’s not too late.  Improvement doesn’t have to be perfection.  Just improve from day to day, week to week, month to month.

Are you struggling to lose weight?  Are you trying to lose body fat?  Is you health suffering because of neglect; could it be a correctable condition?

Are you trying to keep up with the kids?  The grandchildren?  Your spouse?

Are you struggling to get out of bed in the morning?  Is it difficult to tie your shoes?  Do you have nagging, chronic pain in your back, your neck, your shoulders?  Hips?  Legs?

Were you once in terrific shape?  Have you let yourself go?  Do you want to get back to that great body?

Do you know that it may not be too late for you?

Do you know that so many of the conditions I just described are correctable?  Some health conditions, even those that require medication, are reversible?

Do you know that you can have a better body than you did in your twenties?  And feel younger than your years would indicate?

It doesn’t take a new year’s resolution to make it happen, either.

Pressed for time?  It doesn’t require hours per day at the gym.

Hate to run?  It doesn’t require miles and miles of running.

Want to exercise at home?  It doesn’t require a major purchase of weights and benches and a lot of fitness equipment you’ll use once and never again.

All that is required is a decision.

Decide what you want to achieve.

Consider why that’s important to you.

Consider the consequences of not achieving it.  Where will you be three months from now if you don’t start?  Six months?  What will you feel next year at this time if you have done nothing to change things.

What’s your greatest health or fitness challenge?

Why is it a challenge?

What will you gain by confronting the challenge head on?  By doing something about it?

How can I help you overcome it?

Come on back tomorrow and the rest of this month.  Let’s discuss it together.

Let me know how you want to change.

I’ll let you know how to do it.