Friday, August 26, 2011

Why Can't I Lose Weight? Learn the Secrets from Monika Tarkowska-Carter

You exercise, you diet, but still those pounds won't come off. Here's the answer as to why you're not losing weight. Get the low-down on weight loss, toning, and overall good health and well being.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Is Cardio Your Best Friend or Worst Enemy for Weight Loss? West LA Fitness Trainer Clues You In

West LA Fitness Expert and Personal Trainer Monika Tarkowska-Carter, owner of of Fitness Science, Inc. answers your fitness questions. Here she resolves the debate over the value of daily Cardio in a weight-loss plan? Get the low-down on weight loss, toning, and overall good health and well being.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011



By Monika Tarkowska-Carter, CPT, LWMC, HLC 2

Where did this come from? Well, there is some truth to it, but not in such an exact sense. Eating large meals at night is not healthy and not good if you are trying to lose weight. However, if you go to sleep at 11 pm or later (which is not healthy in itself!) eating at 6 would be very counterproductive not only to the way you’d be feeling, but also to the very quality of your sleep. Let’s say you go to sleep at 11.30 pm, as many people do. From 6 to 11.30, that’s 5 ½ hours. That’s way too long for your body with no food. If for some reason you truly need to, or want to, have dinner at 6 pm, because you have little kids, for example, and would like to have dinner with them, make sure to have a small snack later on – not a big one, but something balanced, with some protein, carbohydrate and fat. This way your blood sugar will remain steady during the night and you will have a much more restful night. And here’s the reason: when your blood sugar drops drastically during the night, your adrenals have to release cortisol, because this stress hormone has the ability to bring the blood sugar back up to normal levels. Unfortunately, this is not only very stressful to your adrenal glands, but cortisol is a “wake-up” hormone. In a healthy body, it is produced in large quantities in the early morning hours, to prepare you to wake up and get going. But when you have a sudden surge of this hormone in the middle of the night, it will wake you up unnecessarily, leaving you wound up and exhausted.

As far as eating in the evening is concerned…..a lot of people make the mistake of eating their largest meal at night and then being surprised that they have trouble losing weight.

The clue to successful weight loss is dividing your calories in a smart way throughout the day and eating MORE of your calories in the first part of the day, when your body needs them the most to support all your daily activities.  Breakfast and lunch should be fairly substantial, while dinner moderate. If you really don’t have much appetite for breakfast, have something small and then add a good size mid-morning snack, but never skip it. Research shows that people who skip breakfast have metabolism that is slower by about 10%-15%. That’s a lot, and over time it’s bound to show as unwanted, extra fat.

Sunday, August 7, 2011



By Monika Tarkowska-Carter, CPT, LWMC, HLC 2

It may work for a week or so, but you will eventually be tired and grumpy, and most likely hungry. Any liquid food gets absorbed very quickly. The body doesn’t have to work breaking it down, digesting, etc. The digestion process actually requires energy.  Absorbing shakes – very little. This causes you to not be satisfied or feel full, and people get off these kinds of diets very quickly. It is also very difficult to get all the important nutrients, minerals and vitamins in a few shakes, so you’re running a danger of being nutrient deficient. If you need to lose weight really fast for some important event AND are able to find a nutritionally balanced shake:  one that has enough good quality protein to spare your muscles, some good fat and carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up, as well as vitamins and minerals, go for it, BUT……only for a very short time. Depending on what’s in the shake already, you might want to take a multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement. Shakes, however, will never be able to compete with fresh, whole foods. And they will never be really satisfying. And that’s always a clue to being able to stick to any diet or food regimen – if you get bored with it, you are going to quit.
The exceptions here would be your post-workout recovery shakes, which are designed to enter the blood stream very fast to stimulate protein synthesis and glycogen storage in the muscles, as well as shakes used by people trying to gain big amounts of muscle. In these cases, they do come in very handy in addition to solid food, as it becomes very difficult to eat enough calories to support intense workouts and muscle growth. (Think Hillary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby”.) But these would be in addition to, and not instead of, meals.

Thursday, August 4, 2011



By Monika Tarkowska-Carter, CPT, LWMC, HLC 2

Well, not exactly. And yes, it is possible, but I like to teach my clients about their bodies and encourage them to experiment with themselves and observe how they are feeling on a daily basis. If I were to just give clients a menu to stick to, it might be OK for a short period of time but it will make them slaves to a particular plan. I like to know that my clients are educated enough about food that they can make good healthy choices no matter where they are and what situation they find themselves in. Giving menus can be very helpful when trying to bring someone’s weight down quickly in a very serious way – let’s say for a bodybuilding competition, but those guys usually already know what they are doing (which is not to say it’s always healthy!). It also sometimes helps for a short period of time, when a client needs to understand what a certain amount of food will look and feel like, or more specifically – what appropriate portion sizes are and how can they actually be sufficient. But in general, I am very against telling people what to eat, because it takes the power of their own choice and responsibility away from them and that usually backfires long-term, when there is nobody to hold their hand and be accountable to. Your health is your own responsibility and I like to teach my clients this simple truth from the very beginning of our relationship.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Secrets to Getting Ripped - FROM THE SERIES “ASK THE TRAINER”

By Monika Tarkowska-Carter, CPT, LWMC, HLC 2

Many people think that it’s easy to get great definition and be “ripped”. We see actors with perfect bodies all the time. What we don’t see, however, is the amount of hard work, proper planning and determination that goes into a beautifully sculpted physique. It takes a lot more than eating a healthy diet and exercising a few times a week.  Most importantly, it requires a lot of discipline which most of us don’t have. It requires not indulging in your favorite treats while others around you are eating what they want. Being diligent with the specific eating times and frequency, as well as amounts of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats). 

Many times it means measuring and/or weighing your food. Not something most of us are willing to go through on a daily basis. It takes grueling workouts, which wouldn’t even compare to our 30-minute leisurely walk on the treadmill or half-hour moderate intensity weight training. But if you are really determined and consistent, and have the right knowledge necessary for the process to be successful, you CAN achieve amazing results.

So here’s the RIPPED BODY “recipe” in a nutshell:  Click to Tweet

Proper, super healthy diet, just the right amount of food (watch as much for overeating as under eating!), proper timing of foods*, replenishing electrolytes, lots of good quality water, intense workouts, good quality sleep, enough recovery, stress control, healthy body (free of toxins of any kind), persistency and commitment, commitment, commitment. Nothing happens without it. can either work hard or..... just wear this T-shirt instead.                     

*Nutrient timing is a whole other topic in and of itself and I have devoted one of my recent blog posts to this interesting subject.

Do you live in the West LA area?  I currently have an opening for a individual who is strongly motivated to improve their fitness and wellness.  If that sounds like you, call me at 310-471-6786 and we can arrange a 45 minute interview to determine if we are a good match.