Ask Rocco 1/5/16

Seven things to make 2016 the year of fitness

By Rocco Castellano

So not only did my wife have an unbelievable baby boy just six short months ago, we also decided to do the unthinkable—move!

There is nothing that is more of a pain in the ass than moving. I think the only silver lining is that you get to purge a bunch of stuff you forgot you had. So to start off the New Year right, I want you to do a few things that aren’t as difficult as packing up all your sh-t and moving but are still very important.  Here are the seven things I think you should do to make 2016 your year to kick ass, take names and finally get whatever fitness goals that have been evading you in years past.

First, don’t make a stupid New Year’s resolution.  They never work and you need an actual plan in order to reach a goal. Set your goal, write it down and be very specific about it. A specific goal looks something like this: “I will lose 15 pounds by March 12.  I will get an online program from Rocco Castellano that fits my lifestyle. I will exercise Monday, Wednesday and Friday before work and Tuesday and Thursday after work.” Writing down your specific goals helps them become real.

Then, find a program you can live with. If you don’t have dumbbells, kettlebells or a gym membership, don’t buy a program like “Insanity” or P90X or whatever they’re selling on late night TV.  If you can only workout for 20 minutes a day than make sure your 20-minute workout gives you everything you feel you need. There are many types of programs out there. If you like a group experience find a Zumba, Bootcamp or Krav Maga classes. If you’re the lone wolf type find an event like the Spartan Race or Tough Mudder and train hard to finish that event.

When in doubt, call a professional. See if there is a certified personal fitness trainer in your area that has experience with getting people results with goals similar to yours. If not, kick’em to the curb and find another one. Don’t just take their word for it… ask for references or testimonials.

If you are over 30 years old, and even if you are younger, start off slow. Jumping into something that you haven’t done in a long time (if ever) is just plain stupid and will make you much more sore than you need to be. The phrase “no pain, no gain” should never pass your lips. The simplest way to fitness failure is to train so hard that you have to take a few days off. A mentor of mine back in the day, named Bill Pearl (five time Mr. Universe) told me, “always leave something in the gym for tomorrow.” It was good advice 25 years ago, and it’s good advice now.

Throw out everything that has soy, high fructose corn syrup, GMO’s and anything that seems like it’s processed, like Pop Tarts, Twinkies and sugary snack items. Begin eating sourdough bread instead of white, wheat, rye or multi-grain. I have a column dedicated specifically to sourdough coming in the next few weeks. The short of it is that there are fewer irritants to your digestive system in the process of baking sourdough. So at this moment I’m asking you to trust me until you read my sourdough column.

Get some sleep. If you are trying to lose fat, it will seem impossible if you are not getting at least eight hours of good sleep. If you have started a new job, relocated to a new area or made a big life decision recently and you aren’t getting enough sleep, you may have noticed you gained a bunch of weight by accident. Or maybe you just don’t get enough sleep and it’s been taking its toll on your weight gain. Either way, you need to get sleep. One of my secret sleep weapons is tart cherry juice. I personally like the concentrate, so I can mix my own. I take it an hour before I go to bed. If the tart cherry juice is working but you need an added sleep aid to make sure your sleep is restful, 5mg of melatonin is good to start off with. You will notice the better you sleep the faster you will get to your fitness goals, especially fat loss.

Keep a journal. It doesn’t matter if it is a food journal, a writing journal or a goals journal. When you write down what you are doing it becomes a little more concrete. I actually keep all three. Each one is a different color spiral notebook. I write in my goals journal twice a week, and I write a bunch of ideas, conclusions, questions I want the answer to and thoughts that inspired me that day in my writing journal just about everyday. I also write in my food and exercise journal everyday but it is mostly data that I want to keep a record of or measure for a later date.

So there’s your seven tips to make 2016 your best fitness year yet.  Nothing too hard or special but the magic of it is actually doing it. Do yourself a favor and tear this page out and put it up on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror or any place else that you will be able to see it. Happy New Year.

The views and opinions expressed in Ask Rocco are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes.

Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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Rocco Castellano is the author of “askROCCO Uncensored v1,” a speaker and a controversial fitness personality who has won an Emmy for his fitness training role in MTV’s Made. For more information, please visit

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