The recipe to changing your physique in 16 weeks

Trial Membership - California Fitness Academy - Visalia, California


Disclaimer: This is not a quick fix program. You must put in a tremendous amount of work over the next 16 weeks. The more compliant you can be with the below principles, the better results you will get.


Principle #1: Workout Design


  • Perform 7-9 training sessions a week
  • One day completely off, so that means 1-3 days may have 2 workouts in that day.
  • 3-4 strength workouts (you can do traditional body part splits or upper/lower body splits; the key is to push yourself and move well during these sessions)
  • 2 cardio workouts (lower intensity, 45-60 minutes: treadmill walk or run, bike, elliptical, swimming; conversation pace for these sessions)
  • 2-3 high-intensity interval/circuit workouts.
    (bike sprints/running sprints/bodyweight circuits, etc; volume control is key here, too much and you risk injury)


Here is an example:


  • Overtraining can happen when you are not recovering properly so pay attention to when the body is in a fatigued/stressed state; when you notice this fatigued state, decrease training session volume and intensity for a few days so you can bounce back and continue training and high effort levels
  • Consistency with your workouts is a key component


Principle #2: Nutrition should support your goals


  • Main foods will be: lean proteins (chicken, lean steak or hamburger, ground turkey, fish, eggs) – approximately 1-2 g per pound of bodyweight; 3-4 servings of vegetables (all colors), 2-3 servings of fruits, 2-3 servings of healthy fats (avocado, raw nuts, healthy oils and natural nut butters) – measure and know what 1 serving is as these calories can add up, 1-2 servings of lean dairy (milk, cottage cheese, cheese, yogurt) – one serving is 1 slice of cheese or 1 cup of milk; specific carbohydrates like small amounts (fist size) of brown rice/pasta/bread (1 serving a day) – carbohydrate consumption is dependent on training volume/performance goals
  • Know your basal metabolic rate (, this is the number of calories you burn throughout the day. This matters when you are trying to get leaner. Put together a detailed food log periodically throughout the 16 weeks so you get an idea of the food coming in. (I recommend starting on day 1 and food log for 7-10 straight days to get started)
  • COUNT EVERYTHING that you eat. Any nibbling, snacking, etc…it all counts! Once we get this food log, we can adjust the calories/macronutrients to support your goals.
  • If you eat 3 meals a day that equates to 21 meals a week; 18-19 of those meals should support your goal. That’s 72-76 out of 80 meals in the month. The meals you decide to indulge on shouldn’t be large portions because that can disrupt the rest of the week. For example, if you take the kids to pizza, enjoy 2 small slices and 2 big plates of salad with light dressing. So indulge a bit but don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
  • Limit alcohol intake to 4-6 drinks per week. (1 drink is 12 oz light beer/4 oz of wine/1 shot of hard liquor.) Though drinking is fun to do in a social environment, these calories can sabotage your fat loss goals, especially if the buzz you get leads you to late night munching, now we are in trouble.


Principle #3: Mindset


  • There will be days you may not feel like working out or food logging, and you must do it anyways. These are the days that matter.
  • Don’t give in to self-limiting thinking. How you perceive working out and improving your nutrition will matter when it comes to being consistent over the next 16 weeks. You just have to “clock in and do the work.”
  • It’s all about being honest with yourself. Are you counting all of your calories? Are you getting in your workouts? Are you taking the time to prep your food? Look in the mirror, ask yourself, “how bad do I want it?” It’s up to your consistent action to answer that question.
  • Many people want results in fitness but aren’t really understanding the work that it takes to achieve the goal, so then they think their 2 or 3 workouts a week and “OK” eating” should work. It takes time, effort and a complete mindset shift to get there.
  • Life will go on after the initial 16 weeks of when the goal was set. You must create a longer-term mindset and lifestyle in order for you to sustain the results you will get. It’s not a type of thing where you will wake up one day and “arrive” and you stop doing all the action that it took for you to achieve your goal. If you want to maintain the results that you earned, work still has to be done.
  • During the process there will be ups and downs. If you are consistently doing the work, no matter the circumstances in your life, you will reap huge benefits.


*Please consult with your physician regarding your exercise protocols.
*Results are based on each individual’s compliance, genetics and overall desire to achieve their goals

Be willing to do what it takes


Most people walk into the gym with an expectation to get in shape, lose weight, improve their physique or gain strength. The problem lies in the individual’s misinterpreted understanding of the process to attain the results. Information is so prevalent today. In fitness, this creates a wide range of methods and opinions. As having diversity within our industry is a positive, it can completely confuse the general public. My program is simple andno-nonsensee and all about mastering the basic principles in fitness. Drink water, eat to support your goal, workout consistently and repeat. Yet, this confuses people.


Here’s my example:


Client asks: “What should my nutrition look like?”

My suggestion: “Drink 8 x 8 oz. cups of water, eat 2 servings of vegetables everyday, eat a fist size of protein with every meal and limit your junk calories.”

Client asks: “Shouldn’t I watch my carbohydrate intake?”

My suggestion: “Don’t worry about that right now. Focus on your water intake, eat your 2 servings of vegetables a day and a fist size of protein at every meal. Then we will go from there.”

Client asks: “What about intermittent fasting? Should I try that?”

My suggestion: “Not right now.”

Client asks: “Ok, so I just need to drink more water, eat vegetables everyday and be aware of my protein intake?”

My suggestion: “You got it!”


This is a frequent conversation in my office. As I try my best to keep it very simple and specific for the individual that I am coaching, their perceptions are misconstrued and complex. They have this expectation that a complete lifestyle overhaul needs to happen for them to be successful. They have read about dieting and weight loss and have this hodgepodge idea of what it takes to achieve results. And that is where the problem resonates. Completely overhauling your life may work for a few weeks. But sustaining this extreme lifestyle is very difficult to achieve if you haven’t taken the necessary steps to get there. That is why I believe in the long-term process and building a lifestyle to support your goals, one day at a time.


Here are a few things to think about:


· What do you want? And are you willing to do what it takes? These are two vital questions to ask yourself. Because you must be willing to do the work to attain the results. This creates personal responsibility and in regards to achieving your goals (in fitness or any area of your life), personal accountability is the vessel to achievement.


· Be honest with yourself. Are you logging all of your calories? The nibbling or snacking that is going on throughout the day? How about measuring out the wine you will drink tonight? Is it really 7 ounces in each glass instead of 4? Are you counting out your almonds you are eating? Are you getting in your weekly workouts? Success lies in the details.


· If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably really good marketing. Listen, let’s not sugarcoat this, getting fit and in shape takes a tremendous amount of work and dedication. This is a life long journey with no finish line. Sure, I encourage setting specific goals throughout the year; give yourself a carrot to chase after. But just understand that life will go on after the initial date has been set. You need to create a lifestyle that will continue the process.


· Are you habitually following through on the basics? Drinking adequate amounts of water, eating 3-4 servings of vegetables, consuming approximately half your weight in ounces of protein, 15% or less calories coming from “junk calories”, and consistently working out? Master the above components before moving on to anything more complex. Seriously, it could be this simple.


· It’s vital to getting into a habit of working out basically everyday. This will create a more efficient calorie burning machine. Work your butt off, eat the right foods MOST OF THE TIME and be consistent. And indulge once in awhile. Life is short. Find a healthy balance. Life should not feel like you are on some extreme diet all the time. No fun there! Build the healthy habits and allow some flexibility.


· Start small, act now and adjust as you go. There is no need to overwhelm yourself by adding 23 new lifestyle hacks into your already busy life. This is a recipe to quit. Instead, choose two, no more than three things to focus your attention on. Master what you are working on before you move to other habits. Just make sure to act because action is required to achieving results. Once the ball is rolling, you can adjust the plan at any given moment. Evaluating and adjusting will keep you progressing in the direction of your goals.


You can get lean and in great shape and still enjoy your indulgences once in awhile. It’s looking at the big picture. If 80% of your meals do not support your goal, then you probably are not getting the results you want. Be honest with yourself, be willing to do what it takes and be consistent; this is the recipe to achieving your fitness and lifestyle goals. Make it happen!


Looking to learn more about California Fitness Academy? Call us today at 559-334-8990

5 Biggest Myths in Fitnes

Trial Membership


Myth #1: Diets have to be perfect. What does “perfect eating” even mean? I am not sure I can even tell you. The diet world makes us believe that if we enjoy some ice cream or a bowl of pasta, that we have failed in a particular diet or we are “cheating”. This is the farthest thing from the truth. I think the key question regarding individual nutrition adherence is, “can I sustain what I am doing?” According to an article on, 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds of Americans are also considered overweight. Many people go through this “yo-yo” dieting and it is unsuccessful in the long-term weight loss journey. Whatever level you may be at, a solid nutrition plan should be sustainable for you to follow over a period of time and eventually stick as a lifestyle pattern. Because let’s face it, that is how results are achieved.


If you despise being on the “diet” you are following, you will not continue. “Perfect” and “Clean” dieting needs to be redefined. How about sustainable, flexible, and consistent? Nutrition should not feel like you are doing everything wrong. I say master the basics: drink plenty of water, eat vegetables and fruits every day, eat adequate amounts of protein, eat a smart amount of whole grains and limit your junk and processed foods. Go from there. If you want to improve your physique, sure, you need to improve your nutrition and become more detail oriented. But you do not need some unrealistic and extreme plan to be successful. What you need is consistency. Consistently eating nutrient-dense foods and paying attention to your calories most of the time will lead you to your results. Don’t over think it.


Myth #2 Lifting weights make you “bulky”. How you lift weights and what extent you take it to will dictate the changes you will see in your physique. Proper nutrition adherence and a focused lifting program is what leads to increase muscle size and volume. We want lean muscle on our frame. Now, not everyone needs to compete in bodybuilding, but I do believe everyone can benefit from some sort of strength training. In a study published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers at Penn State College of Medicine found a link between strength training and a longer life. So in essence, consistent strength training may be the key component to slowing down the aging process. In my opinion, everyone needs to strength train in some sort of fashion. The frequency of workouts will depend on the goal of the individual. For general fitness and strength, I recommend at least 2-3 days per week of hitting the weights. The more definition and sculpting you want to see, the more you need to be “under the bar”. Strength training done correctly, will improve your lean muscle definition, increase your total body strength, boost your metabolism, protect your bone and joint health, help you to keep your coordination and agility and plays a vital role in preventing certain diseases.


When lifting weights, focus on controlling the weight and perfecting your technique. This will give you more return on investment. Haphazard strength training can increase your chances of injury so it’s very important to learn how to lift weights correctly. Invest in a qualified coach to teach you how to strength train in a safe and effective manner. It can be simple, do something for the quads (squats or lunges), do something for the backside (single leg deadlifts or deadlift patterns), push something (push-ups or bench press), pull something (inverted rows or chin-ups) and hit your core (planks, side planks, or farmer walks). Mix and match your sets and repetitions; one week complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions. The next week perform 5 sets of 7 repetitions with a slightly heavier load with a change in the tempo of the lift. There are multitudes of ways to create variety with the above basic patterns. Strength train to move well and be strong.


Myth #3: A workout should be grueling every time you train. I don’t care if you are the fittest person in the world, training to your maximum, training to failure, and training at high intensities every training session is a recipe for bad things to happen. If you train 2-3 times a week, you can add appropriate intensity into each of those training sessions. Since you are only getting in a few workouts, you need to be efficient and keep the tempo of your sessions high and focused. If you train more than 4 times per week, you need to balance in low, medium and high-intensity training sessions appropriately.


It can be a simple design like a high/medium/low training split. As you gain fitness and improve your performance, a smart and balanced program design becomes crucial to your success. Adding in active recovery sessions that incorporate tissue work, mobility and flexibility drills and dynamic movements are highly beneficial for the longevity of your functional performance. Smart and focused training leads to consistent results. Hard and random training leads to injury and burnout. Choose wisely.


Myth #4: Carbohydrates are the enemy. Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients us humans need for survival. Fruits, vegetables, grains, breads, pasta, rice, and beans can all be healthy carbohydrate options. Candy, soda, pastries, and other sweets are considered “unhealthy” carbohydrate foods. How you choose and how much you consume, and how active you are, all play vital roles in energy breakdown. If you have gained excessive weight over the past 5-10 years, you may have blamed carbohydrates because they are the easiest foods to over consume. Then the mindset turns against this macronutrient and you think drastically limiting them in your diet will be the answer. As that may work, you have to ask yourself, “is this sustainable to follow?” Weight gain happens because you have been in a calorie surplus over the years.


Whether you have consumed too many carbohydrates, proteins, or fats, the key component is that you have been in a surplus. Sure, lowering your late night chips and pizza can be a good starting place, but look at the big picture. It’s not necessarily carbohydrates’ fault. It’s consuming too much food. Period. Before you eliminate one of our important macronutrients, think about rearranging your approach. Look at everything. How much steak did you eat? How much oil do you use when you cook? How much peanut butter did you spread on your sandwich? How many salted cashews did you eat? How often do you go out to eat? How much alcohol do you drink each week? How much salad dressing did you use? How many chips did you eat? How many sodas are you drinking each week? How much rice pilaf is on your plate? It’s a big picture and blaming one macronutrient is poor logic. Move and exercise more and be mindful of all of your calories and you will get leaner.


Myth #5: That your journey is linear. Going after your goals is more like a deranged roller coaster. Up, down, sideways, crooked, back, forward… The journey to your best self is not a linear line to your goals. It is a path of overcoming obstacles and hardships. The key is to be resilient, persevere, and learn from your mistakes. Understand that there will be days when you may not feel like getting out of bed for your 5:30 am workout. But you know you still have to do it. It is not a sexy, “motivated all the time” mindset. It is a strong mental attitude that you have created that is obsessed with the process.


You recognize that action is required to achieving your goals. You do not allow discouragement to ruin your ambitions. You must fight for the things you want to accomplish. You must get back up when you have fallen. You must never give up. This type of mindset and philosophy will lead you to massive success.

CFA Playground: “Valentine’s Day Kids Night Out”

To all you parents out there!

Are you going out for Valentine’s Day? Drop off your ninjas at the CFA Playground (219 N. Court, in Downtown Visalia) and enjoy a date night. While you have a relaxing evening, your ninjas will be having a fun filled night!! Happening this Saturday, February 14th 6pm – 9pm. For CFA members it’s $10 and Non-members $15.

*Ninja’s ages 4 and up
Snack will be provided.

For more information, call us at 559.471.5704 or RSVP on Facebook at

Vinyasa Yoga at California Fitness Academy!

If you ever wanted to try Yoga at CFA, now’s your chance!!

Happening every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, come learn  Vinyasa Yoga from Yoga Instructor Kristen. You’ll go through a series of various poses and movements , which will take you through the power of inhaling and exhaling. Our Yoga Instructor Kristen McQuaide graduated from the Yoga Centre in San Luis Obispo, CA. with her 200 Hour YRT Certificate which is recognized by the Yoga Alliance. ‪

New Kid Ninja Classes Coming Soon!


TO CFA PLAYGROUND PARENTS: Thank you SO MUCH for being a part of our new business. We appreciate connecting with your kids and teaching them about movement and healthy living. We have seen the “Kid Ninja” classes tremendously grow the past few months. We are working diligently to better manage the larger classes to better accommodate every child and create better flow in the session.

Thank you for your patience as we work out the kinks of the larger classes. One our first steps will be to add a “Kids Ninja Elite” Class, which will be for 9-12 year olds only. This class will alternate with our “Kids Speed” class every other Wednesday at 5:30 pm. The “Kids Ninja Elite” will start on February 4th (Next Kids Speed Class will be February 11th). If you have any questions, please let us know.

We are thankful of any and all feedback. We have some great things in store for the CFA Playground in the coming months so be on the look out!


2015 “Transformation Challenge”

Let 2015 be YOUR YEAR to get in the best shape of your LIFE. California Fitness Academy is proud to bring you the “Transformation Challenge” happening February 2nd to March 30th. With commitment and compliance to the program, you can lose up to 15 pounds of body fat during this 8 week challenge.


– Kick-off meeting, February 2nd at 7:00 pm
– High energy group workouts
– Nutrition coaching to help support your goals
– Lifestyle coaching to help you build healthy habits
– Private Facebook group with motivation, support, recipes, and accountability
– Bonus workshops on nutrition, goal setting, & success strategies
– Special workouts hosted by CFA Coaches
– $500 cash prize to the WINNER!!

For more information ask a CFA Coach or give us a call at 559.334.8990 Want to come to the kick-off meeting on February 2nd? RSVP on Facebook @

To eat carbs or not to eat carbs

By: Justin Levine, CFA Owner

Carbohydrates have been bastardized by the diet world as the evil cause of weight gain, erratic insulin levels and obesity in the country.   As I am not prescribing you to eat endless amounts of carbohydrate rich foods, I am going to discuss why we do need the right carbohydrates for daily function and more important for sports performance. I would have to say that the most popular diet on the market right now is the Paleo Diet. This plan has some great principles to support healthier living. The main premise of this diet is to eat foods that mimic the hunter-gatherer ancestors’ lifestyle. Lean meats, fish and other animal products, low glycemic vegetables and fruits and heart healthy fats compose the foundational foods of this particular diet. It’s basically a low carbohydrate plan. In my opinion, these specific foods should be the foundation of any eating plan as they provide the body vital vitamins and nutrients we need for functionality. But now let’s talk about carbohydrates.


Carbohydrates are the body’s first fuel source. Once consumed, “carbs” are readily available to be converted to glucose, which is transported and used by the body. We need healthy carbohydrates to maximize our energy.   The more active someone is the more carbohydrates will be needed to support energy output. Complex carbohydrates are absorbed slowly into our system, keeping our blood sugars from spiking too high. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans are the best carbohydrates to add to your diet. Simple carbohydrates are refined sugars that spike blood sugars quickly. These peaks and drops of insulin activity can cause inconsistent energy and progress to more serious health disease like diabetes. Pastries, sweets, soda and white flour products are carbohydrates you should limit in your diet. How many carbohydrates are right for you?


It’s a good question. First, let’s take lifestyle habits into consideration.   Individuals who live a sedentary lifestyle (non-active job, minimal exercise, etc) should eat very minimal carbohydrates. Their main source should be vegetables and low glycemic fruit and limited whole grains and starch. Since activity levels are so low for these individuals, they will not utilize carbohydrates as efficiently as a very active person. Athletes who are training daily (or 2 workouts a day) absolutely will benefit from eating adequate carbohydrates throughout their day. If this athlete is on a low-carb diet, it will cause extreme muscle breakdown, lack of energy due to inadequate fueling and poor recovery after long workouts. Individuals who are in the middle (semi-active job, 2-3 workouts a week) should find the middle. Fruits and vegetables should be the main source and small amounts of whole grains and beans throughout the week will support their activity level.


I have read and studied the high fat/low carb literature. I have even followed this plan myself as a guinea pig experiment. As it works for some individuals, most athletes will benefit by consuming adequate carbs in their diet. I also want to point out that carbs fuel our brain. Glucose is the fuel used by brain cells. Brain neurons depend on the bloodstream to deliver a constant supply of this precious fuel to support brain function. You might need an increase in quality carbohydrates if you are having trouble focusing or losing your train of thought during the day.


In conclusion, most athletes need carbohydrate for peak performance. Sedentary individuals need to consume fewer carbohydrates to decrease their chances of health problems. Recognize your lifestyle needs and adjust accordingly. Extreme programs might work in the short run, but will they be sustainable? Always educate yourself and know the details of any plan that you decide to follow. Don’t just do it because it’s the popular thing on the market. If you want overall health and wellness, following an individualized and balanced plan is the key.

CFA’s Training Principles


Below are the exact training principles that we adhere to at CFA.  We pride ourselves in supplying a safe, effective and fun training environment.  The fitness industry is loaded with extreme training programs that ignore many of these principles.  It is quite easy to design a workout that will crush someone.  Anyone can put together this type of workout.  But this is poor and random exercise programming that will lead you or the people you work with down the wrong path . Let’s take a look at these key principles:

Know your weaknesses.  If you are tight, you need to stretch.  If you lack strength, you need to strength train.  If you have a poor diet, you need focus on clean eating.  If you need mobility and all you do is lift weights without attention to tissue work, eventually your joints will start to hurt.  Aching joints leads to inflammation, friction and eventual injury.  Don’t just do what you are good at.  You can have a qualified fitness professional complete a movement assessment on you to find your weaknesses.

Following progressions.  This is a principle that is constantly ignored in the fitness industry.  Just because something makes your sore and tired doesn’t mean it was an effective workout.  Completing random, hodgepodge workouts is not sustainable and can increase your chances of injury.  What did you do last week?  What is the plan next week?  You should follow a system that is set up for you to be successful.   A simple way to progress is by slightly changing one of these components: sets, repetitions, tempo, or slight variation of a specific exercise.  Here’s an example: (you can use this scheme for basically any exercise)

Week 1: Squats, 2 sets of 6 repetitions

Week 3: Squats, 3 sets of 6 repetitions

Week 3: Squats, 4 sets of 6 repetitions

Week 4: De-load week, 2 sets of 8 repetitions

Week 5: 1-leg squat 3 sets of 6 repetitions per leg

Week 6: Squats, 4 sets of 6 repetitions

Listen to your body.  Discipline is needed for this principle.  You must be attentive to your body.  If you have a high level training session planned and your body is lacking energy, is showing signs of unusual fatigue and motivation is low, these are all red flags that need attention.  It would be wise to modify the workout that day.  Your body is telling you to hold back and save that high level workout for another day.  Don’t think you need to sludge through the workout.  This just leads to overtraining, injury and sickness.  I would say that most people could handle 2-3 (at the most) hard training sessions a week.   These are sessions where you are pushing and getting after it.  If you do more than that, you really aren’t accomplishing much except crushing your body.

Pre/post workout nutrition.  Eat to train.  This principle sets your mind to consume healthier foods to support your workouts.  You are “eating to train”.  As your workout nears, you need to start thinking about fueling the body to prepare for your training session.  Before a workout you need healthy carbohydrates to fuel your muscles, easily digestible fats and proteins for muscle building properties and adequate liquids (water and/or electrolytes) for proper hydration.  Without a quality pre-workout snack (30-60 minutes before your workout), you will have low-level energy and your workouts will suffer.  Examples: 1 banana/1 handful of raw nuts, 1 slice of whole wheat bread/1 tablespoon of almond butter, 1 apple/1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter, ½ of a Cliff bar.  Once your workout is over, you have a 30-45 minute window where it’s the best time to rebuild and recover.  My go to choice: 6 ounces of low fat chocolate milk.  You can also use the same foods as above for post-workout fueling as well.

Movement mastery.  Can you perform 20 push-ups?  Now let me ask this question in a different way, can you perform 20 perfect, fluid push-ups?  Sloppy push-ups are not the same as perfect push-ups (watch any push-up video on YouTube and you will see what I mean).  The wrong muscles will be utilized when performing an exercise incorrectly.  When the wrong muscles are being used, dysfunctions set in.  When movement dysfunction happens, pain and injury arise.  Be diligent with your exercise technique.  Dan John, who is a nationally known strength coach says, “Regressions are the best corrections for exercise technique.”  If you are trying to perform a push-up on the ground and cannot do it perfectly, simply “regress” to an incline push-up (on a high bar or table).  Continue with this step until you can “progress” (see #2) to the more difficult level.



Welcome to the new CFA website!

CFA Building 2

California Fitness Academy has been in business since 2006. This is our location at 6910 W Pershing Court.



We have been working very hard to bring you the new and updated California Fitness Academy website.  This new layout is cutting edge, sleek and full of awesome content.  We want to supply our community the best and most innovative training, nutrition and motivational strategies and our website is just another tool for us to achieve that goal.  With 2014 in full swing, we have some awesome things scheduled at CFA.  Here are a few important dates of upcoming events:


March 22nd, booth at The End of the Trail Half Marathon

April 5th, booth at VITRI (Visalia Triathlon)

May 10th at 10:00 am, CHARITY BOOTCAMP benefiting Team in Training

June 16th: Youth Summer Fitness Camp begins, contact Kelsey Schulte for information.

June 17th: CFA Warrior Challenge 2.0, more information coming!


For any questions regarding our Athlete Training programs, contact Chad Chrisman.


For any questions regarding our Internship program, contact Mandy Horine.


We are here for you so if you would like more information regarding our programs, please fill in the form below:

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