Armond Willis

The WHEY to Maximize Your Workout

The WHEY to Maximize Your Workout


Often times we go to the gym consistently, change our workout routines before hitting a plateau, yet still cannot achieve the results we want. You are dedicated to a life of health and fitness by eating right and exercise, yet others seem to outperform you. If you are looking for a competitive edge, let’s explore how choosing the right foods at the right time can help you make the “gains” you want.

Did you know that you can get THE BEST pre and post workout foods from your refrigerator? That’s right! You don’t need fancy supplement powders, liquids or gels to achieve the most muscle protein synthesis (aka muscle gains).

Instead, invest your time and money in foods that will give you the greatest return. There are a few key principles when fueling for performance.

First, fuel appropriately beforehand to ensure you have the energy for your workout. Typically, about 30 grams of carbohydrate is enough for a 60-minute workout, depending on intensity.

Remember, foods with the least amount of ingredients work best! A great example of a pre-workout snack would be a banana and some almonds. If you find that you do not have energy to complete your workout, take a look at the carbohydrate quality and amount then consider making adjustments.

During your workout, make sure you are hydrated so your coordination, power, agility and mental acuity are at their peak. You start to see performance declines with as little as a 2% change in body weight from fluid loss.

Hydrating with water is preferred for workouts lasting 60 minutes or less. When working out for longer you can add an electrolyte beverage like Gatorade or Cera Sport to help replenish electrolytes lost through sweat. Look for something that replenishes sodium because that is the main mineral lost in sweat.

Lastly, after your workout is complete, refuel with 20-30grams of whey protein. Research has shown that whey protein is best when it comes to muscle protein synthesis. Consume this within 2 hours of your workout for optimal recovery. Consuming more than 40grams does not contribute to further muscle gains.

More is NOT better. Optimal sources of whey protein include milk products like cottage cheese, milk and Greek yogurt. You could also include recovery foods like chicken, eggs, and beef.

Focus on carbohydrates before your workout and protein afterwards. Try this for 10-12 weeks and tell me about your results.

If you want more individualized nutrition recommendations, please schedule a chat with me or reach out by email. I’d love to help you reach your performance and health goals.





My Thoughts on Heart Rate Guided Training for Fitness

My Thoughts on Heart Rate Guided Training for Fitness

The other week I was asked on what my thoughts were on using Heart Rate monitors to completely to guide training.

There are some users who believe that it is the end all be all of getting great results, while others like myself think it can be effective if used correctly.

Like I always say when I am asked about a particular modality when it comes to training, there is a time and a place for everything.

It depends on what your goal is.

For elite endurance athletes, keeping tabs on heart rate before, during, and after training sessions will reveal a ton about how the athlete is adapting to the workout. This is important to know because cardiovascular strength for endurance athletes needs to be at a certain level in order to maintain elite status.

Endurance athletes rely mostly on the aerobic energy system, so seeing heart rate fluctuations provides great insight.

For general fitness, using heart rate guided training is a different case.

It has its benefits, and it has its drawbacks.

There are certain programs that are based on the premise of keeping your heart rate at a certain level in order to have a perceptively effective workout.

The intention is to keep the heart rate in a” fat burning” zone by doing high intensity activity with little rest. Orange Theory is well known for this mode of training, with more and more gyms adopting the same concept of using heart rate monitors to not only visually see heart rate on a screen, but motivate clients to “keep up” with the pace of others and beat a score.

Often time what you will see is compromised form or technique for the sake of doing more movement or activity just to get a higher score.

This can be absolutely effective, however, is this a way you should train every single workout? Everyday?

Do you really need to send your heart rate through the roof 5 days per week if you are just training for general fitness?

No not really.

There are multiple factors that go in to this like fitness level, your training goals, even your schedule.

A truly well-rounded fitness program will have a global approach, meaning you will not only focus on workouts emphasize a high heart rate aerobic capacity, but also focus on building strength, power, stability, and movement quality.

Training for max strength is just as much neurological as it is muscular. If you are training to increase your overall max strength, then it’s necessary to have increased rest times between sets (or complexes) so that the nervous system is close to fully restored.

The same is true for increasing max power. Rest should be increased for the nervous system to be nearly fully restored; hence, you don’t want to work against fatigue. This means it’s not necessary for your heart rate to be up. As a matter of fact, this can work against the intended effect of increasing max strength or max power. The primary energy source here is the ATp-CP system (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate-Create Phosphate).

This is the energy system primarily used for activity that lasts between 1-8 seconds. Shorter bursts, and can take up to 10 minutes to recover.

Strength and power endurance on the other hand allows for a little more increased heart rate as the goal here is to maintain power and strength output while resisting fatigue. This is the bread and butter of your Orange Theories and cross fit “style” programs.

A truly effective fitness program will cycle between the different modes of training and progressively build off the previous phase, no matter the fitness level.

When training for pure power, or strength, what the heart rate says really won’t mean much if the goal is to stay in a fat burning zone. You will be disappointed.

So my thoughts on using Heart Rate guided training is that it can be good, and it can be not so good.

Using them can be a step in the right direction. But when you solely workout out every single time just to keep a high heart rate, or get the highest amount of accolade points in a program, long term this can be problematic.

I will say that using them in a class setting does make you want to work harder and increases competition.

If you have set a goal, and what you are doing is working, then keep going. However, if it is not, then consider change.

I encourage you to cycle between different modes of training throughout the year so that you not only avoid plateaus but accrue results that last longer.

Use heart rate monitors sparingly. Consider how much stronger you have gotten, how much more flexible, improved balance, mood. Heart rate won’t tell you this ALL of the time.

How to Reverse Engineer Your Goals For Stronger Results

How to Reverse Engineer Your Goals For Stronger Results

Working backwards from your fitness goals is an effective method to getting you to the end goal.

Essentially, you are reverse engineering the process.

It forces you to consider the obstacles that may arise and do an assessment of your current circumstance.

If my goal were to drop another 15 pounds in 3 months, then I’d imagine to myself that I am already there.

Not to sound too cheesy, but you really would need to take a second and really envision it.

Once I spent a little time investment doing this, I would then ask myself:

“What would need to change RIGHT NOW, in order for me to get to that point?”

For this goal of weight loss, there are a few variables involved:

-Eating Habits

-Training Strategy


If we were to choose just one of these, say training strategy, then we again imagine the outcome that we want, and pose a little more specific question,

“How do I adjust my current training routine, so that I can hit my goal?”

Let’s assume right now you work out 2 days per week, you might consider upping the ante to 3 days per week for 12 weeks. That would equate to 12 more additional workouts to your current routine.

If we really want to get specific nutrition wise, you could reduce calories by 500 per day to average 1 pound per week of weight loss (since 3500 calories in a pound).

If you were burning on average 250 calories per workout, and eating 250 calories less on workout days, and manage reducing calories on “off” days 500 calories, you would be at a 3500 calorie deficit each week.

Now for the final 2 weeks, you could aim for 1.5 pounds per week to hit the 15 pound mark.

Now the next question would be:

What might be an obstacle in using this strategy for me?

You may deduct than meal planning might be the biggest one.

So you decide to designate time on Sundays to grocery shop, and prep meals for the week, and approximate the calories.

That would start with getting a simple calendar to stick on the fridge and writing down a menu of enjoyable foods.

Now you will have peace of mind knowing that each meal is productive.

To track “calories” burned from your workouts, now you could use your Fitbit or smart watch, link it to your phone, and keep tabs each workout.

Now you have your strategy and a for sure time frame.

Through reverse engineering on your goals, the simple question of what needs to be done to get to this encourages you to really look at the reality and see what adjustments you need to make.

This is just an example of fitness, but this can apply to any type of worthwhile goal.

So next time you set out to accomplish your fitness journey, instead of just saying you want X to happen, actually write it down, and then ask what would this look like if I broke it down into the smaller pieces necessary to get there.

Start small and let it accrue.

And if you are having trouble getting over that hump, and finding the best starting place for you, let’s hop on a short call and see how I can help you with the process.

3 Holiday Eating Tips written by Joanna Castriotta  MS,RD, CSSN, LDN

3 Holiday Eating Tips written by Joanna Castriotta MS,RD, CSSN, LDN

What is your favorite part of the holiday season? I absolutely love being with family. The laughter, creating new memories and sharing past experiences is something that I look forward to each year. For some, this can be a stressful time of year trying to make sure everything is perfect. At times, it seems like the holidays can come and go and the only thing that lingers is the extra weight gained.

I have a few tips and tricks that will help you avoid this unwanted weight gain.

Often, there is so much preparation involved for holiday meals. You can spend all day in the kitchen only to devour the meal within a few minutes.

In fact, the average person consumes 3000-4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. For some, this is double the caloric requirement for weight maintenance. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season with shopping, decorating, parties, cookies and cocktails. With all of the hustle and bustle, it’s no surprise if your exercise routine changes as well.

You might be too busy to get to the gym so make sure you have a back-up plan like using the WPT virtual coaching program or have someone keep you accountable for meeting your exercise goals.

Here are 3 tips that can help take the holiday focus off of food and on to making memories.

  1. Eating quickly could lead to overeating. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to receive the signals from your stomach that you are full. Take at least 20 minutes to eat your meals. Take your time, chew, swallow and repeat slowly.
  2. Did you know that putting food on the table and having it in plain sight increases your intake? During the holiday meals, sit away from the food, or leave the food in the kitchen. Whatever you do, don’t be the one sitting in front of the pumpkin pie. Chances are, you will eat it! I use this in reverse in my house. I leave the healthy food out and within reach while the unhealthy food is up high and out of sight.
  3. Are you the type of person that takes a bite and has food on your fork ready for the next bite before swallowing? Put your fork down between bites and savor the flavor of the meal. This trick will help slow your intake allowing your brain to receive the signals that you are full. If you are feeling ambitious, you can try using a small fork to decrease the amount of food your fork can hold.

It is almost inevitable, at some point the holidays will be stressful. But take the small moments to enjoy your family and friends by talking, laughing and catching up so you can bring in the New Year with gratitude.

For more tips and tricks on keeping a consistent caloric intake over the holidays, schedule a time to chat with me. I’d love to help you reach your health goals.


3 Resistant Band Pulling Progressions to Add to Your Workout

Plenty effective exercises can be done with minimal equipment using a simple resistant band.

Bands offer an accommodating resistance as tension increases the more the band is stretched, recruiting more muscles to complete the range of motion. Depending on body position, and the angle and height of the band, you can recruit more muscles on the “core”, which will add a different dynamic to your core training.

Below are 3 exercises that you can add to you exercise repertoire to increase pulling strength, core strength, hip and leg strength.

1.) Single Leg Single Arm Isometric Row Hold

Make sure to stand upright and firm, squeezing your upper back. Squeeze your glute, and flex the quad of the support leg, keeping the knee locked and extended. Raise the “lifted” foot to opposite knee height, big toe flexed and locked in shoe. You can vary the height of the band !

2.) Single Leg Single Arm Band Row (Hip/Knee Flexed)

A slight progression from the isometric hold. Now we are actually pulling the band. Make sure to keep everything stable, keeping your shoulders square to the anchor point while going through the pulling motion. The only part of your body that should be moving is the rowing arm.

3.) Explosive Switch Lunge Band Row


An advanced version of the first 2 exercises, now we are adding a coordination and timing aspect to the row. Stay level during the switch, while taking off and landing in a loaded split lunge position. This can be done continuously, or with a pause between reps depending on your intention.

These are great additions to add to your exercise arsenal. Great for full body days and each of these challenges the core, upper body days, OR lower body days.

And if you would like us to help you outline an exact program for you to follow and ensure you great results that you can do from anywhere, ask us about our Virtual Fitness Program or schedule a short call with us here.

Have a good workout!

3 Recovery Supplements to Try After Intense Training

3 Recovery Supplements to Try After Intense Training

I often tell my athletes and clients, that when they hit the gym, you aren’t actually getting stronger WHILE you work out.

You get stronger in the days you rest away from the gym.

This is why, aside from having a legitimate training program to follow, that you have proper recovery strategies in place to really maximize your gains from training.

Whether you are trying to increase your overall strength, get faster, or even just training to get leaner, proper rest and recovery is crucial.

There are multiple aspects to recovery that range from:




-Stress management

And even though EACH of these plays a major role in recovery from strenuous training and or competition, we will highlight 3 Key supplements that can expedite the recovery process and position you to be better primed for your next sessions, and help take you out of a catabolic state.


  • Creatine

Creatine is known to support strength, hypertrophy, and performance for athletes and avid gym goers. However, creatine is also adequate for recovery.

Creatine can enhance fuel replacement, increase post workout protein synthesis, reduce exercise induced muscle damage and inflammation, and stimulate genetic growth factor. It has also been found to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), prevent reduction in range of motion after heavy lifting, and can accelerate creatine resynthesis in muscles.

Though we normally like to think of creatine as only for the extreme athlete or bodybuilder type individual (or over eager high school gym rats), when taken strategically, it can really accelerate the recovery process for anyone in heavy training.

  • Curcumin

Curcumin is the active ingredient found in the Indian spice turmeric and has been shown to be a natural anti-inflammatory. Curcumin can potentially reduce muscle soreness and inflammation.

One study done on athletes who had done eccentric training when taking 400mg daily of curcumin 2 days prior and 4 days after a high intensity muscle bout, pro-inflammatory markers of muscle damage were reduced by 48 percent. A separate study found that curcumin reduced Delayed Muscle Onset Soreness significantly 24 and 48 hours after high intensity training.

  • Gelatin and Collagen

Collagen is the main building block and protein in bone, tendon, and cartilage. Recent studies have shown that when gelatin is taken in conjunction with Vitamin C, collagen production increased threefold. When taken 1 hour before training and or rehab, and combined with 40-50mg of vitamin C, it doubled the amount of type II collagen.

When 10mg are taken daily, it has also been shown to improve cartilage thickness in the knee, as well as reduce knee pain in athletes, making this a great supplement for those athletes and individuals rehabbing from knee injury. This would also be great for individuals dealing with osteoarthritis.

Though the long term benefits of what collagen can truly yield have yet been discovered, the continuing research looks promising for athletes.


Remember, your recovery is multidimensional. Even though these supplements have been proven to accelerate recovery on a cellular level and get you back primed and ready to perform, supplements should be taken in tandem with other recovery measures like sleep and proper nutrition.

BUT, if you are working out pretty hard, give these a shot.

And if you are really looking to kick your training into the next gear, and accelerate your results with a true expert coach to lay out a training blueprint for you, check out our Virtual Fitness Development program. We customize programs for frustrated gym goers to help streamline results using our mobile training app where you get one on one guidance from a qualified coach, using proven training systems. Schedule a short call HERE with us and see how we can help you get better results!

Make a Plan to Succeed

Make a Plan to Succeed

Have a plan in place.
Research has proven that when we EXPLICITLY formulate a plan for attaining a goal, you are more likely to overcome the obstacles that may arise.
That means if you want to create better conditions to succeed, being intentional with your planning is key.
It will take more than just SAYING you want something and working aimlessly.
In a university study, 2 groups were asked to write a report on how they spent their holiday.
One group was asked to specify how, when, and where they were going to write their report.
The other half was not asked to specify.
Of the participants who made a plan as to when, where, and how they would send in their report, 71 percent sent a report back in to the researchers.
Of the ones who did not create a plan, only 32 percent sent back a report.
Making plans serve as a self regulatory tool, having a profound impact on helping people to achieve their goals.
Make sure to have a plan and strategy in place before setting to pursue ANY type of goal.
YES this ESPECIALLY holds true for health and fitness..
And speaking of following a plan, I’m running a 100 percent virtual training program that is in it’s “pilot” phase.
Currently looking for 5 former collegiate or high school athletes who are now working professionals (corporate, sales, nurse, retail etc) who WANT to drop 5-10 pounds and lean up in the next 60 days!
The going rate will be less than have the planned price.
Just comment “ME” below if interested and Ill reach out with details.

SNACK ATTACK: How to Create Good Snacking Habits Throughout the Day

SNACK ATTACK: How to Create Good Snacking Habits Throughout the Day

Written By Joanna Amstelveen MS,RD, CSSN, LDN

Many of us have seen the Snickers commercial with the signature phrase, “You aren’t you when you’re hungry… grab a Snickers”. Besides being a funny commercial, I think there is some truth to it.

Who do we become when we are hungry? I become impatient, cranky and have trouble focusing, which is not productive. While grabbing a Snickers is not the best choice for a snack, it can be overwhelming to find the ideal snack with so many options available.

A snack is defined by the American Heart Association as something containing less than 210 calories. A lot of foods fit that criteria, but they still might not give you the sustenance you need to get you to your next meal.

Imagine a snack as a bridge to get you from one meal to the next. Ideally, a snack should keep you satisfied for 1-2 hours.

Satisfied, not full.

We are looking for something to get us from one meal to the next without leaving us sluggish, groggy or tired. I would recommend keeping your snacks to 150-200 calories to help you stay within your daily calorie allowance.

There are a few things to look for when choosing your snack.

First, select a snack with as few ingredients as possible. For example, an apple. Simple, just one ingredient.

Second, choose something that has carbohydrates, protein, and fat. At a minimum, choose at least two of the three macronutrients for your snack.

The optimal snack would include all three macronutrients for under 200 calories. This will insure your satiety for the 1-2-hour timeframe. A prime snack example would be an apple with peanut butter. The carbohydrates are contained in the apple, and the peanut butter contains protein and fat.

Peanut butter is considered calorie dense, it has a lot of calories in a small quantity, so limiting your serving to 1 tablespoon is ideal. If you prefer, swap out the peanut butter for a cheese stick to obtain about the same macronutrient profile.

As with most things in life, it is best to plan ahead. If you will be out of the house for extended periods of time pack snacks to take with you to avoid grabbing a Snickers!



Joanna Amstelveen and WPT are partnering to offer a full service solution for clients and athletes to have the elite expertise in training and nutrition to help maximize fitness and performance.

It is safe to say that nutrition plays a vital role in your body composition goals, as well as your performance goals. How you eat, train, and recover are the determining factors for your success.

With so much misinformation out on how to diet, and “what you should be eating”, it is easy to get lost in the noise. Education is key.

This is where Joanna comes in.

A former FIU classmate who currently resides in North Carolina, Joanna’s extensive experience and education in nutrition and sport has helped catapult her into a TRUE nutrition expert and powerful resource.

We will be partnering virtually through the WPT training app where, as well as virtual workshops, blogs, scheduled Q and A sessions for YOU, and extending her services to WPT clients and athletes as needed.

We are very excited about this step and what the future holds.

Joanna Amstelveen bio:

Joanna Amstelveen is originally from Jacksonville Florida where her family still resides. After obtaining her Bachelors of Science Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University in Miami, Florida, Joanna was hand selected for one of two available positions within the United States Air Force Dietetic Internship Consortium. This two-year program provided Joanna with not only her required Dietetic Internship, but allowed her to receive her Masters of Science Degree in Nutrition from Baylor University. Her dietetic internship provided her with a vast range of dietetic experiences while working at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio Texas, the Army’s largest medical center. After her internship, Joanna worked as a Registered Dietitian (RD) at the outpatient clinic and was given the opportunity to run with the Fort Sam Houston Army 10 Miler team in Washington, D.C. As a result of her hard work and dedication, Joanna was later promoted to Assistant Chief of Clinical Nutrition of a 320-bed hospital, where she oversaw 6 civilian and 1 military RD. As her career progressed, she became Flight Commander of the Nutritional Medicine Flight and was responsible for 41 enlisted members and 1 newly commissioned officer.

After Texas, Joanna began working as the Nutrition Program Manager at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany where she was the only dietitian on base. During this time, Joanna worked with the community to promote healthy eating on base while seeing patients individually. She also completed regular segments on the Air Force Radio to promote nutrition and health. Joanna provided one-on-one counseling, nutrition education and group classes to military members and beneficiaries in the areas of weight loss, weight gain, picky eating, fad diets, performance nutrition, energy drinks and caffeine, and supplements. In February 2018, she passed the exam to obtain her board certification as a sports dietitian. From Germany, Joanna moved with her husband to Fort Bragg, NC where she currently resides.


As an Air Force veteran and Army wife, Joanna has a passion for helping people eat well and feel their best. She opened a private practice in September 2019 to provide individual counseling and group education to children and adults. Joanna provides nutrition education on many topics to include weight loss or gain, child nutrition, vegetarian or vegan nutrition and specializes in performance nutrition as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD).

Thank you for partnering with us and offering your expertise in nutrition and health.


5 Tips to Help Beat Sugar Cravings (Video)

5 Tips to Help Beat Sugar Cravings (Video)

We all get them at some point (at least us normal people).

You all of a sudden crave chocolate, or that piece of leftover cake, heck maybe even a pack of sour skittles or a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch. Ok that’s me.

Either way it happens, and there are ways to better manage it.

Check out the 5 pieces of advice in this short info video on how you can help to overcome your sugar cravings.