Congratulations to Robert Edmond for being awarded and signing a Multi-Unit / Area Development Agreement for West Orange, Hackensack and Englewood NJ! Rob is going to help transform thousands of lives in NJ! Best of luck and welcome to THE MAX Challenge Franchise Owner Family Rob! If you are local to West Orange, Hackensack or Englewood, NJ and would like to be kept in the loop on our opening schedule and learn more about how THE MAX Challenge can help you to achieve your fitness goals. Visit www.THEMAXChallenge

For franchise information please contact EricTaylor@THEMAXFranchising.com or call him direct at 732-410-2469.

Robert East Orange, Hackensack












The hamstring muscles are actually a group of 3 muscles located in the back part of your upper leg.  The hamstrings muscles originate from the pelvis (buttocks) and the femur (leg bone) on the backside of the leg and cross the knee joint to insert on the medial (inside) and lateral (outside) part of the leg just below the knee.  The main jobs of the hamstrings are to extend (straighten) the hip and to flex (bend) the knee.   In addition, some of the hamstring muscles play a role in rotating the lower leg.


The most common thigh injury is a hamstring strain.   These injuries can often occur when the hip is flexed and the leg is extended, as in a single leg front kick.  This is because 2 of the 3 muscles that make up the hamstring group cross over two joints (the hip and the knee).    These muscles are maximally stretched when the hip is bent and the knee is straight, and if movements are quick, the muscle can get strained or even tear.

Certain physical findings can increase your chances of getting a hamstring injury, such as:

  • Tight hamstring muscles – (inability to completely straighten your knee on standing)
  • An imbalance between the muscle strength in the upper leg (hamstrings and quadriceps)
  • Tightness of the quadriceps or hip flexor muscles (inability to completely stand up straight while the legs are straight — you will notice that you bend forward at the hips slightly if your legs are otherwise straight)
  • Insufficient warm up before exercising
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Muscle strength or flexibility imbalances

Usually a hamstring injury will present with pain on the backside of the upper leg, possibly with swelling, bruising, and an associated popping sensation at the time of injury.   If the hamstring muscle is fully torn, there may be an obvious mass which is actually the muscle contracting into a “ball”.

Treatment of hamstring injuries can be broken down into the acute phase that occurs immediately after injury and for the first 2-3 days.  The subacute phase that occurs for several days to a few weeks after injury and the chronic phase that begins  several weeks after injury.

Acute treatment of a hamstring injury generally follows the acronym PRICE.

Protection – In a severe hamstring strain or tear, an individual may require a crutch or a cane to protect the injured leg while walking.

Rest –  for the first few days, remain off the injured leg as is possible, as this will enable the hamstring to begin healing.   The caveat is that stretching muscle begin shortly after injury because the muscle will scar down as it heals leading to further muscle tightness and predisposing you for another injury.

Ice– using a plastic bag filled with ice and water for 20 minutes 3 times a day is helpful to further reduce swelling. Heat is initially not recommended because heat increases the blood flow and is thought to worsen swelling.  However, a few days after an acute injury heat can be helpful as heat increases blood flow to the injured area and helps with healing.

Compression – An ace wrap or compression dressing should be applied to the upper part of the thigh to prevent further swelling.

Elevation – Elevating the injured leg helps to further prevent swelling.

As mentioned above, hamstring injuries require both stretching and strengthening in order to recover.  The main issue is that after a tear or strain, the muscles heal by scarring down.  This scarring results in decreased flexibility of the muscle.

One big mistake athletes and weekend warriors make after sustaining a hamstring injury is to return too quickly to their prior level of activity.  It is very important to only return to exercise after the pain has subsided.  This is because if you return to exercise too early, you will change your biomechanics (i.e. alter your posture or positioning) to compensate for the pain.  This altered position or step length while exercising can allow the muscle to shorten.  When the muscle heals and contracts (shortens and scars down) you are then at increased risk for a repeat strain or tear.   Typically it takes at least 4-6 weeks for the muscle to properly heal.

It is helpful to begin stretching and strengthening exercises under the supervision of a qualified physical therapist so that you do not re-injure yourself and you can recover optimally.  It is possible to regain or even surpass your pre-injury strength and flexibility with a proper treatment regimen.

PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma injections are sometimes recommended for assistance with tissue repair and quicker recovery time.  However, an article published in 2015 from the Department of Sports Medicine at St Lucas Andreas Hospital in Amsterdam, reviewed the data for the treatment of hamstring injuries and found that lengthening exercises (stretching the hamstrings) provided the quickest return to play time, but did not affect re-injury rate.  PRP injections did not improve outcome or re-injury rate when compared to controls.  Therefore, at this time, it appears that a physical therapy regimen focusing on first stretching the hamstring muscles, then strengthening them (while maintaining improved flexibility) provides the best chance for recovery and return to exercise.   It was also suggested in this study that progressive agility training and trunk (core) strengthening and stability might reduce re- injury rates.

As always, if you suspect you might have a hamstring injury or other leg injury it is important to be evaluated by a trained health care professional.  It is quite possible that you will be referred to a physical therapist for optimal treatment that includes a both a stretching and strengthening regimen.  While initially your treatment will focus on the injured muscles, it will be important to analyze and treat your body mechanics to prevent repeated injury.

Disclaimer.  The information provided here is not intended to substitute for medical care and should not be used for treatment or diagnosis.  If you have, or suspect you have a problem concerning your health please consult with a licensed healthcare professional.


Makes six.
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 sweet onions, such as Vidalia, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ tablespoon kosher salt
½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds flank steak
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-ounce) package baby spinach
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Combine the garlic, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper in the pan and cook until almost all of the moisture has evaporated and the onions are caramelizing, 15–20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Lay the flank steak on a cutting board. Spoon the mushroom and onion mixture on top, spreading it evenly across the steak. Sprinkle the spinach on top. Press down lightly to compress the spinach. Starting at the bottom of the flank steak, roll it up tightly, making sure the grain of the meat is running horizontally. Use six toothpicks to secure the steak roll. Slice the steak roll into six equal rolls.
Heat the remaining oil in a pan over high heat. Sear the steak rolls on one side for one to two minutes, then flip. Sear the second side for about one minute, then bake for 10–15 minutes, until medium rare.
Remove the toothpicks, then serve!
beef rollups


Congratulations and a MAX Challenge “High-Five” to Mike and Tracey Keogh for being awarded the 80th franchise in the short history of THE MAX Challenge! This huge milestone is a testimony to the success of THE MAX Challenge program in helping transform thousands of members lives and the lives of our franchisees. Mike and Tracey will be opening THE MAX Challenge of Berkeley Township in 2017,  extending THE MAX Challenge brand further down The Jersey Shore in Ocean County.  Please show Mike & Tracey your MAX Challenge love and welcome them to our family of Franchise Owners!

 If you are local to Berkeley Township and would like to be kept in the loop on our Grand Opening schedule and learn more about how THE MAX Challenge can help you achieve your fitness goals, please visit www.THEMAXChallenge.

For franchise information please contact EricTaylor@THEMAXFranchising.com or call him direct @ 732.410.2469

Tracey and Mike-Berekley township 


Body image and self-confidence can be greatly improved with physical activity and dietary changes, but arguably more important, are the numerous health benefits of exercise and proper nutrition.
One misconception about belly fat or abdominal fat is that you need to target only the abs to reduce belly fat. This is not exactly the case because the body is not very efficient at targeted fat burning. Instead, fat burning exercises, such as aerobic exercises, burn fat fairly evenly throughout the body. Losing belly (abdominal) fat can best be attained by combining several techniques, rather then focusing on just abdominal exercises such as crunches and sit-ups.
It is important to take note of your body habitus or shape. By now, you have probably heard about the “apple” and the “pear” body shapes.
-Pear-shaped body: people carry fat around under the skin or “subcutaneously” in the hips, thighs and buttocks
-Apple-shaped body type carries a type of fat known as “visceral” fat, or fat stored in the abdominal cavity
The danger of this visceral fat in the abdomen is that it surrounds internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, kidneys, intestines, etc. Visceral fat cannot be pinched. You can be skinny and still have visceral fat. Fat cells are not passive, but in fact, active cells. Visceral fat cells produce fatty acids and inflammatory cytokines (chemicals) that can drive or worsen existing inflammation (such as arthritis or cardiovascular disease). In contrast, subcutaneous fat (fat you can pinch under your skin) produces beneficial hormones such as leptins that drive your sense of fullness.
There are many factors that determine the placement of fat on our bodies. Some are modifiable while others are not. Genetics definitely play a role on visceral fat, as does various hormone levels, but so to does your total calorie intake. In addition, the composition of your diet, including the amount of dietary protein, level of dietary sugar intake, and type of fat consumed in your diet, all have implications on fat storage and overall health.
Elevated visceral fat (belly fat) has been linked to:
– Metabolic disturbances
– Cardiovascular disease (strokes and heart attacks)
– Diabetes
– Cancers (such as breast)
– Arthritis
– Demenita, Anxiety, Depression
– Sexual dysfunction
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you are at significantly increased risk of cardiovascular events if you have a waist circumference of > 40 inches in males and > 35 inches in females. There is a test you can do to determine if you are at an increased risk called the Waist-to-Hip circumference ratio. Using a tape measure, check the circumference of your waist at your narrowest point and measure the circumference at the widest point of your hips. If your ratio of Waist/Hips is > 0.95 as a male or > 0.86 as a female you are at significantly increased risk for cardiovascular events, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
So what should you do?
Diet: this is the most important component of your strategy to reduce your abdominal fat and bloating.
– Avoid foods which bloat you (different for different individuals)
– Avoid chewing gum
– Avoid simple sugars and processed carbs
– Avoid alcohol – the liver will burn this instead of fat for energy
– Avoid dehydration – Drink water
– Avoid bubbly drinks as this can worsen abdominal gas and bloating
– Avoid wheat/gluten
– Chew your food until it is liquefied for better digestion
– Consider adding a probiotic if o.k. with your Physician or Health Professional
– Add 10 grams of soluble fiber to your diet –(1 cup of peas or 2 apples)
– Avoid trans-fats which are stored as visceral fats
– At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days per week
o High intensity interval training – helps burn visceral fat
– Strength train 2-3 times per week to build muscle mass
– Target all major muscle groups when strength training
– Core exercises build abdominal muscle which will in turn burn fat all over body (but not locally around the abdomen)
– 5-8 hours of sleep per night is optimal per study done by Wake Forest
– Try to reduce stress – cortisol (a stress hormone) promotes visceral fat storage
– Have your doctor check your hormone levels if you are worried – low testosterone in males and low estrogen in females can be associated with visceral fat storage
One caveat to this is that after a significant weight loss, you are sometimes left with excess skin. Excess skin is very different from abdominal fat. Unfortunately, at this time, I am unaware of any medically sound practices that reduce large quantities of excess skin aside from plastic surgery at this time. That being said, the reduction of visceral fat and increase of muscle mass, due to proper diet and exercise, have profound, lasting effects on your health and well-being.
Disclaimer. The information provided here is not intended to substitute for medical care and should not be used for treatment or diagnosis. If you have, or suspect you have a problem concerning your health please consult with a licensed healthcare professional.


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THE MAX Challenge is experiencing record growth and we are looking for awesome people who want own and operate their own fitness business.

As we approach 80 units awarded, now is the time to claim your territory and be part of this fitness phenomenon!

For more information on available territories contact EricTaylor@THEMAXFranchising.com or call Eric direct at 732.410.2469. There is nothing like owning your own MAX Challenge fitness center and being in complete control of your destiny!

post 14

Would You Like To Own A Successful Fitness Business Of Your Own?

 THE MAX Challenge is experiencing record growth and we are looking for awesome people who want own and operate their own fitness business. As we approach 80 units awarded, now is the time to claim your territory and be part of this fitness phenomenon!

 For more information on available territories contact EricTaylor@THEMAXFranchising.com  or call Eric direct at 732.410.2469

There is nothing like owning your own MAX Challenge fitness center and being in complete control of your destiny!











As you are probably aware, there are several different types of exercises we perform at the MAX.   On Mondays and Wednesdays, and Fridays we focus primarily on aerobic activities, while on Tuesdays and Thursdays we focus more on strength training of the upper and lower body.   Within each of these exercise days, some exercises are slow, deliberate and without impact while others are brief rapid-paced, explosive exercises done until we simply cannot do anymore.

There are various types of exercises that affect our bodies differently.  Done in combination, this affords you the most “bang for your buck”.    By changing up the type, frequency, intensity and cardiovascular demand in your exercise regimen on a daily basis, you will have a synergist effect and derive numerous benefits from your exercise.

This week we will address the first major distinction between types of exercise.   Aerobic exercise, or those exercises that utilize oxygen for energy versus anaerobic exercise, or those exercises that utilize fuel already present in the muscle for energy.

Aerobic exercises:

In this type of exercise, our muscles require the oxygen carried in the blood to be used for energy production.  Our muscles use this oxygen to burn both fat and carbohydrates as fuel.  Fuel can be constantly produced in the presence of oxygen, therefore, aerobic exercise can be sustained for a prolonged period of time. The body reacts accordingly by increasing the heart rate and breathing rate to keep up with the muscle oxygen demand.    Over time with training, our muscles become more efficient at extracting oxygen from the blood stream and thus we become “fitter”.  When this happens, you will notice that you will be able to exercise at a higher intensity without feeling winded or noticing a significant increase in your heart rate.   During aerobic exercise, you should feel slightly out of breath, but be able to carry out a conversation.

Some benefits of aerobic exercise includes:

  • Improved overall level of fitness
  • Improved mood
  • Possible reduction of
    • Cancer risk
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Osteoporosis
    • Diabetes
  • Higher level of fat burning (as opposed to anaerobic exercises)
  • Improved bone density (less beneficial then anaerobic exercises)
  • Moderate reduction in blood pressure
  • Decreased insulin resistance
  • Increases likelihood of surviving a heart attack

Anaerobic exercise:

In contrast to aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise is exercise performed without oxygen.  This type of exercise is performed at a higher level of intensity and can only be sustained for a few moments.  Sprinting and heavy weight lifting are two examples of anaerobic exercise.   Anaerobic exercises utilize the energy that is already present in the muscle tissue.  However, because no oxygen is present to produce more energy, these exercises cannot be sustained once the fuel present in the muscle runs out after about 10-15 seconds.

Some benefits of Anaerobic exercise:

  • Strengthen bones and improves bone density
  • Builds and maintains lean muscle mass
  • Burns fat (though less so then an aerobic exercise)
  • Increases performance in sports by increasing strength, speed and power

One type of anaerobic exercise, which is frequently incorporated in the MAX is a called Plyometric exercise.

Plyometric Exercises:

These types of explosive exercises are known as plyometric exercises (jump training).    This type of exercise uses your own weight and the force of gravity to provide resistance during the exercise.    The reason to incorporate these exercises into our exercise regimen is that plyometric exercise helps to develop explosive power and increase agility.

Without getting too technical, plyometric exercises are based on the muscle stretch reflex.

Whenever a muscle is stretched, a signal is sent to the nervous system that indicates that the muscle has been stretched.  The nervous system processes this signal and stimulates the muscle to contract in response to this stretch.    This is a reflex because the response is instantaneous.  Over time and with training, the fibers in the muscle (fast twitch fibers) become more sensitive to the stretch and maximize the speed and number of motor units that respond to the stretch.  By increases the fiber number and sensitivity, the muscle response becomes more explosive and generates more power.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that plyometric training should start slowly and work up gradually in intensity.  Plyometric training can be general such as jumping, jump squats, jump lunges but can also be more sports specific depending on the activities you would like to improve.    Typically plyometric exercises tend to focus on the lower body and utilize muscles around the knee and hip.    However, the use of medicine balls allow for plyometric activities of the shoulders and arms.

It is very important to warm up properly to increase the flexibility of the muscle and connective tissues around the joints to prevent injury.    While participating in the MAX is it imperative that you slowly add in and increase your plyometric exercises when you feel your body can handle the impact.   For example, start off doing stepping jumping jacks and then gradually add in 1 jumping jack for every 5 stepping jacks.  Over a period of days to weeks, continue to add more jumping jacks and decrease the amount of stepping jacks.  Once you are able to comfortably complete a minute of jumping jacks without any pain or significant shortness of breath, you can start adding in superman jacks.   Again add 1 superman jack for every 5-10 jumping jacks and gradually increase the amount of superman jacks.   Since this is a anaerobic, plyometric exercise, if you are doing them correctly, you will only be able to do about 10-15 seconds of this until you become winded and need to take a break.

Next week we will discuss the different types of muscle contractions and why varying your exercise types during weight training will positively affect your progress.

Disclaimer.  The information provided here is not intended to substitute for medical care and should not be used for treatment or diagnosis.  If you have, or suspect you have a problem concerning your health please consult with a licensed healthcare professional.