Exercise & Fitness

Surprise, Surprise! Why Cardio Alone Won't Help You Lose Weight

Surprise, Surprise! Why Cardio Alone Won’t Help You Lose Weight

Have you been doing long, boring cardio only to find that you haven’t lost an ounce? How many of you have spent countless hours running or using an elliptical trainer without much to prove other than an insatiable appetite?

If you’re anything like most Americans, you’ve probably been led to believe that cardio is the key to dramatic weight loss. In fact, millions of us spend hours each week on treadmills, stair steppers, bikes, and ellipticals with the hopes of losing weight and keeping it off.

Amping up the cardio in order to lose weight is a common misconception and you don’t need to spend hours on the treadmill in order to achieve significant weight loss results.

Now, I don’t hate cardio or anything. And if you plan to run a marathon, then you NEED cardio. However,  if you’re trying to get stronger, leaner, and drop fat, cardio is not the most efficient way to do that.

In fact, cardio can actually sabotage your weight loss goals. In addition to increasing one’s appetite and subsequent food intake, cardio increases the secretion of the stress hormone, cortisol, and absolutely crushes the thyroid’s production of T3 hormone. This leads to one thing: fat gain. And in long durations, cardio can decrease muscle mass, which decreases your body’s natural metabolism. Yikes.

Let’s take a step back: I’m not telling you to eliminate cardiovascular exercise entirely and it certainly has a place in every well rounded fitness program. What I am emphasizing is that cardio should be part of a balanced, holistic program that includes strength training, high intensity interval training, and proper nutrition.

I’ve said this before: you can’t out-train a bad diet. Likewise, you can’t just expect to run for hours and lose weight. The key to losing body fat and building lean muscle is strength and interval training which helps boost your metabolism and burn more calories when your body is at rest. Talk about maximum efficiency. The actual weight loss happens when you’re not even trying!

Building lean muscle mass through resistance training works because muscle burns fat, builds strength, sculpts the body, and prevents disease; it basically turns your body into a calorie burning machine for hours after a workout. Time and time again, research proves that people who lift weights have a lower fat mass percentage than those who only do aerobic exercise.

At Ascend Body, we’re not about wasting time. We’re here to help you get leaner, faster.

Let’s bust this myth once and for all with our proven functional strength training workouts and individualized nutritional coaching. Come #Ascend with us to a higher and leaner level.

Become a #SummerSuperhero

Become a #SummerSuperhero

There are no great villains than bad eating habits, lethargy & lack of motivation when it comes to health & fitness. They have the power to keep you from becoming your best you, from loving your body and from performing optimally throughout the day.

Which is why we challenge you to become a #SummerSuperhero and join us in a 30 day fitness challenge that kicks off on August 3rd, 2015! Defeat those villains once and for all with the help of a SuperTeam that make the Avengers look like a bunch of plain janes.

You’ll get the total package that includes (but not limited to):

– UNLIMITED small-group personal training

– Nutrition consultation

– Food journal, recipes, grocery list

– A seminar with founder, Shane Young

– Mind/Body bootcamps

– the chance to win an Apple Watch: Sport Edition + more prizes

– tshirts, glass water bottles, SWAG!

There really isn’t a reason to say no, so click on the link to enroll here!

Plus, enroll by July 27, 2015, and get $50 off your entry!


Exercises to Promote Healthy Postures

Exercises to Promote Healthy Postures

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how sexy good posture is! When you sit and stand with healthy alignment you can actually physically look 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter. Psychologically, good posture conveys confidence, poise, and leadership even when you may not feel that way!

At Ascend, we are obsessed with healthy alignment. Building a solid postural foundation, just like the foundation of a building, gives you the ability to grow and be expansive in each of your daily movements.

I’m super excited to explore the functional benefits of healthy posture and share some simple exercises to promote core stabilization and proper posture in all you do!

In today’s device-driven society, few of us exhibit good posture. In fact, poor posture has the tendency to develop gradually and it’s difficult to notice symptoms which include back and neck pain, tightness, stiffness, increased injury, and decreased range of motion.

Luckily, there’s hope! You can cultivate healthy posture with these corrective strengthening exercises and stretches. Pay very close attention to your alignment while performing any exercise at Ascend and ask our experienced trainers questions if you’re unsure.

  1. Strengthen your core
    Good posture starts with a strong core, which includes the abdominals, lower back, obliques, and hips.
    Some exercises include: basic crunches, side plank, twisting crunches, standing side bends, plank hold, back extensions, and stability ball planks among others!
  1. Fix rounded shoulders
    Rounded shoulders are a postural abnormality caused by spending hours hunched over a computer, tablet or phone, driving a car, or watching television. These forward-reaching positions shorten your chest, shoulder, and hip muscles, and the muscles in your upper and middle back begin to weaken.
    Improve rounded shoulders with exercises designed to pull shoulders into their proper, aligned position: reverse dumbbell flys, rows with a resistance band or dumbbell. A few stretches are also helpful for tight muscles: standing chest stretches against a wall, torso stretch, and quadricep stretches using a stability ball.
  1. Neutralize tilted hips
    When viewed from the side, your hips should be neutral and level. Some people’s hips tilt forward, which is caused by weakness in the hamstrings, glutes, and abs and tightness in the hip flexors and thighs. This is common for people who sit  most of the day and spend a significant amount of time with their legs bent.
    Some exercises to strengthen your hamstrings and glutes include bridges, leg curls with a stability ball, and single leg hamstring flexion using a stability ball. To help stretch tight muscles, try a standing or kneeling quadricep and hip stretch.
  1. Retract a forward head
    By fixing tight and weak areas of the neck, your head will begin to center itself just above the shoulders—a sign of proper posture which may also decrease chronic neck pain!
    Some exercises and stretches to help strengthen and release weak neck muscles include: neck retraction, neck stretches, and myofascial neck release with a foam roller.

Why good posture is sexy and why you should try it!

I’ve been traveling a lot recently, squeezed into small seats on airplanes, not moving around the cabin nearly as much as I’d like. And, if you know me, I bet you understand how difficult this has been!

Slumped in an uncomfortable seat on a recent flight back to San Francisco, I began thinking about posture and how sexy it is when I see someone walking or sitting tall, chest out, and shoulders back. It’s like the person exudes confidence which is not only anatomically correct but also incredibly hot.

I became obsessed with this question: how does posture affect not only our structural alignment but what does it say about the way we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us?

Let’s start with a quick assessment… how are you sitting as you’re reading this right now? If you’re anything like most people, you’re probably slouched at a desk or better yet, on a couch not really paying much attention to your posture and healthy spinal alignment. Maybe you’re even hunched over, feet on your chair, taking up as little space as possible and contracting your body.

We’ll get into ways to promote healthy posture and how it affects everything from the way we walk and exercise in another post. For now, I want to explore why good posture helps us actually feel confident and present as sexy and capable beings… which we all are!

Check out this TED Talk I discovered on something called “power poses”, the idea that standing in a poised and confident posture, even when we may not feel this way, actually affects the cortisol and testosterone levels in our brains, which impacts our behavior and ultimate life outcomes!

It’s a concept that’s best summed up as the body has the potential to change our mindsets, which lead to behavioral changes, which ultimately impacts outcomes and success.

I’m curious. How do you feel about good posture? Have you ever “faked it until you made it” using a confident power pose to help you mask potential insecurity or feelings of inadequacy? How did this impact your outcomes?

I challenge you to strike a power pose. Make posture something you are obsessed with on a daily basis.

Hold yourself high!


Holistic Personal Trainer Wanted

Ascend Body is a San Francisco based, holistic gym offering personal training, nutritional and lifestyle coaching, and massage therapy. We have regularly scheduled community group outings and workshops and are passionate about empowering clients to live active, well-balanced, joyful lives. And, we’re excited to announce we’re hiring!

We’re searching for a part-time (10-20 hours/week) certified Personal Trainer to complement our close-knit family of wellness practitioners! We’re looking for someone who resonates with our holistic vibe, loves learning and contributing to a supportive, collaborative environment, and is motivated by personal and professional growth.

If you’re a motivated self starter committed to transforming lives and having fun in the process, or if you know someone who seems like an awesome fit, let us know!

Primary Duties/Responsibilities:

Coaching / Training ­Ascend’s small group personal training sessions, and also lead 1:1 training sessions as needed. All fitness sessions are tailored to each client’s personal wellness assessment, so you’ll prepare and deliver comprehensive fitness programs based on predetermined goals while motivating and inspiring! You’ll also be responsible for frequent client follow­-up and re­assessment to track and monitor progress toward goals.

Certification Requirements

Approved Personal Training Certificate
Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Required Skills

Highly organized with an adept ability to balance multiple priorities
Strong written and verbal communication
Commitment to our mission: to teach passionately, inspire positively, and guide our clients to the highest possible level of strength and radiant health. Breathe, sweat, smile.
Collaborative, inspirational, and motivational ethos

Desired Skills

Ascend Body isn’t your typical, mainstream gym and we’re looking for someone with a holistic approach to exercise and wellness; you must believe in and live by a mind/body approach to cultivate sustained transformation.

Ideally, we’d like someone who is open and willing to work alongside CHEK practitioners. Although CHEK certification is not required, it’s important that you’re open to our methods and Ascend Body’s vision. All of our trainers and practitioners are upbeat, have positive attitudes, and love to inspire others with a natural talent for working with clients.


1 year of personal training experience­ required, preferably within a holistic wellness/fitness setting


High School Diploma or GED­
Advanced training certifications and commitment to ongoing development


$25-45 per hour commensurate with experience and qualifications.
Earn commission for enrolling new clients and receive performance-based bonuses!
The more you bring to the Ascend Body table, the more money you make.

Sound awesome? Complete the following questions and email your answers with an attachment of your CPT Certification to shaneascendbodycom


1.­ What do holistic fitness and integrated well-being mean to you?

2.­ How do you cultivate these practices in your own life?

3.­ Are you open to taking the Holistic Lifestyle Coach Program Level 1?

4.­ List 3 examples of how being part of a team or community has affected your life.

5.­ Why do you feel you would be a good fit for the Ascend Body Team?

6.­ How do you interpret our mission to teach passionately, inspire positively, and guide our clients to the highest possible level of strength and radiant health. Breathe, sweat, smile.

Tantra Retreat, Workout Anywhere, & Upcoming Detox!

As many of you know, I have cultivated a strong meditation and spiritual practice. I study Tantra, which is a lineage of meditation from the Himalayan Institute focused particularly on expanded consciousness and personal awareness. Recently, I was accepted into a two-year training program and am super excited to deepen my meditative and spiritual practice within a group of committed practitioners.

Whenever I learn something new, I’m eager to share it with you. From the importance of breathwork to mindful eating, I hope to inspire you to think beyond the good/bad paradigms that exist in fitness and nutrition. Today, I’m happy to share part of my Tantra training experience with you. I met an amazing group of people during my retreat deep in the mountains of North Carolina last week, and let’s just say, my heart is totally singing!

As a holistic wellness practitioner, I am always mindful of moving my body while on any sort of vacation or retreat. Needless to say, there are definitely no 24 Hour Fitness establishments on the side of the winding Smoky Mountain roads. It would make sense that I’d take a break from exercising while I was away, however, my relationship with physical movement is integral to my spirituality. Therefore, I was compelled to tend to this need consistently and consciously.

So, what does one do? In addition to cultivating lasting relationships with fellow Tantra practitioners who are willing and open to engage in most anything, I also realized you can truly workout anywhere. Really, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

After a moderately-paced jog down the mountain to the communal grass volleyball court (such an awesome middle ground  that separates various sustainable eco-friendly communities near our Tantra retreat), I found a really great 35 pound rock with a nice, maneuverable shape. Let’s just say, that rock and I became pretty good friends for the duration of my 25 minute workout. (Note: a kick ass workout doesn’t take a long time at all as evidenced by the sweat dripping down my back at the end of this one!)


Squat with explosive overhead throws 15 x 4

Explosive pushups 20 x 4


Front squat with rock 10 x 4

Lateral hops 20 x 4


Rows off a soccer net stand I found (get creative!)

Oblique tosses 15 x 4

That’s it! Repeat the workout twice if you really want to burn. Now, it’s your turn to get out there and have fun in nature. I’m curious about how creative you can be with what’s available wherever you are so please let me know.

On another note, after returning from the retreat, I feel inspired to coordinate another Ascend Body Detox…I know you all love and want to do another! Let’s talk about food, our relationships with it, and how to let go of unwanted weight and beliefs that feel “weighty”. During the detox, we’ll examine our current habits and learn how to create new and sustainable ones that feel harmonious with the lifestyles we crave. Contact me ASAP at shane@ascendbody.com for dates and times. More information to come!


Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a sort of a glutton for punishment. I love to push myself during each and every workout I commit to. Really… if I’m going to show up, I’m going to get after it!

And, I’m certainly not the only one! I see so many of you pushing beyond your perceived limits day in and day out at Ascend. So, why do we do this? How do we benefit from pushing ourselves when we work out?

I want to share three reasons why I personally push myself each time I lace up and hit the gym for a quality workout or stretch session.

  1. The afterglow: Like many of you, I feel absolutely incredible after a solid sweat session! When I push myself past any resistance I feel, I cultivate an inner strength that I continue to carry with me throughout the day. My core feels solid and engaged as I move through the world. I have spinal integrity and experience every discrete movement in my body; it’s a true mind-body connection.
  2. Free drugs: Yep, you read that right! One word: endorphins. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, endorphins are my body’s natural anti-depressant and I notice my mood is significantly better after an intense workout. I even feel good while I’m working out; I’m able to table my thoughts and focus intently on the task at hand. This is because when you exercise vigorously, your body releases magical chemicals called endorphins. When this happens, you experience feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, increased secretion of sex hormones, and an enhanced immune response. And, when endorphin levels are high, you actually experience less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. Sounds good to me.
  3. Disciplines of practice: Okay, so here’s what I mean by this: when I make a consistent commitment to get myself out of bed/off the couch/away from Netflix to workout, I actually realize that I become far more productive throughout the rest of my day. I recognize that pushing myself and dedicating time to working out is actually a transcendent activity which means the benefits of doing so extend far beyond the actual session. I become more committed to my meditation practice and caring for my physical and spiritual body. I cook healthier foods, maintain healthy social interaction, and fly through to-do lists!

Why do you #pushyourself? Comment below!

Free Instructional Workshop

Saturday, May 23, 1pm


Have knee or back pain? Want to learn how to move your body in a natural way that resembles every day activity?

Dalton, a former bodyworker and trainer at Ascend Body, moved to the Los Angeles area at the beginning of the year. He has been extensively involved in numerous observation and clinic hours at a facility in Montrose, CA that is an alternative to traditional bodywork and exercise regimes.

Dalton will be visiting San Francisco at the end of May and is ecstatic to share the information he has learned over the past few months with Ascend Body clients, trainers, former clients and anyone else who is interested.

Come learn:

*How to move your body in a more natural way that it is meant to move

*Learn the difference between the exercise and movement worlds

*Learn how to move your body more efficiently and with more ease

*Understand what may trigger lower back or knee pain and how you can prevent it

*Gain a deeper understanding of how 3-dimensional stretches enhance your overall movement patterns

When: Saturday,May 23, 1pm

Meeting Location: Ascend Body, 16th & Mission St

Cost: Free!

Instructors: Dalton

RSVP Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/433363266825651/

Reduce back pain, Increase Blood Flow, and Relieve Neck & Shoulder Tension

Introducing Ascend Body’s most dynamic class: The ELDOA Method, taught by CHECK Level 2 Coach – IAN RYAN. The only class of its kind in the country, this 1-hour long group fitness class begins with an intention (i.e. an area of the body to focus on), will follow with a warm up (awareness drills), and will finish strong with a series of mysofascial stretches and ELDOA’s around the intention.

Wednesday’s at 6pm

Sign up now! Register on MindBody


In short, ELDOA (Étirements Longitudinaux avec Decoaptation OsteoArticulaire), or more easily translated to Longitudinal Osteo-Articular Decoaptation of the Spine is a revolutionary stretching and strengthening technique for the spine and joints throughout the body. ELDOA postures are very specific compared to other techniques. If a client experiences pain because of compression between the 5th lumbar and 1st sacral, the de-coaptation position should target this exact level and not the one above or below.

Myofascial Stretching is the safest and most effective way to create space and balance in the body. This technique of stretching is extremely advanced because of its specificity to correct the body’s tensegrity through the fascial chains and it’s solicitation of the nervous system.

Read More Below….


  • Reduces Joint Inflammation and Arthrosis
  • Delays Disc Degeneration
  • Increases Disc Hydration
  • Increases Blood Flow
  • Improves Posture
  • Relieves of Chronic and Acute Back Pain
  • Relieves of Neck and Shoulder Tension
  • Improves Awareness and Overall Wellbeing
  • Improves Recovery Time for Sports and Training
  • Reduces Forward Head Posture
  • Normalizes Disc Bulges
  • Reduces Degrees of Scoliosis
  • Increases Flexibility



One of the most common postural problems is the forward head posture. Since we live in a forward facing world, the repetitive use of computers, TV, video games, trauma and even backpacks have forced the body to adapt to a forward head posture. Repetitive movements in a certain direction will strengthen nerve and muscle pathways to move that way more readily. The ELDOA Method classes help to reverse these pathways by re-establishing your gravity line, strengthening the muscles of your back and spine, and correcting tensions of the restricted, overused muscles in your body.


“I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger!” FIghting gravity and the effects of inactivity is a lifelong endeavor! What are you doing to keep your spine strong, mobile, and healthy? Chronological aging may be inevitable but just as psychological health can be maintained with mental exercises, your biological health can be maintained and improved with the proper physical exercises. And It is never too late to start!

In the ELDOA Method classes, all of the positions can be modified to your specific needs or restrictions. The ELDOAs and Myofascial Stretches are incredible tools to help combat the detrimental effects that aging can have on your body.  You will feel younger, taller, and more energetic when you make ELDOA METHOD classes part of your lifestyle.


If we were to gather a group of middle age folks (45 average age) who have NEVER had back pain before and shoot MRIs on them all, here’s what we would find:

  • 38% would have disc bulges,
  • 37% disc protrusions (aka: contained herniations),
  • 11% disc extrusions (aka: non-contained herniations)
  • 4% nerve route compression by the disc herniation.

Some statistics of Low Back Pain and how it could be related to degenerative disc disease and herniated discs:

  • Most common complaint among adults
  • Lifetime prevalence in working population up to 80%
  • 60% experience functional limitation or disability
  • Second most common reason for work disability
  • Despite advances in imaging and surgical techniques Low Back Pan prevalence and its cost are relatively unchanged
  • 90% people age >50 have degenerative disc disease

If you are suffering from or have recurring bouts of back pain caused by spinal injuries, the ELDOA METHOD is what you need! These postures will alleviate your symptoms by addressing the cause at the source of the problem. Attending the ELDOA METHOD Classes will decompress your spine and reinforce ideal posture so you can help reestablish a healthy spine!


Guy VOYER DO developed an ELDOA exercise for every articulation in the spine starting at the base of the skull and ending with the sacro-illiac joint. Disc compression existing at any level of the spine can be addressed through a specific ELDOA exercise. ELDOAs are not limited to just the spine. There are ELDOA postures for all joints of the sacrum and pelvis as well as the shoulders and skull.

ELDOAs are postural self-normalizing techniques designed for widening the space within a chosen articulation. This is accomplished by creating fascial tension to fix the vertebra below and contraction in extreme range to normalize the vertabra above the targeted disc. For example, it is possible in one minute a day to relieve disc compression between T6-T7 or even more specifically at the base of the long arm of the left sacroiliac joint. It is possible to create more room in a particular articulation with an exact position adapted to each person.

ELDOA postures are very specific compared to other techniques. If a client experiences pain because of compression between the 5th lumbar and 1st sacral, the de-coaptation position should target this exact level and not the one above or below.

Myofascial Stretching is the safest and most effective way to create space and balance in the body. This technique of stretching is extremely advanced because of its specificity to correct the body’s tensegrity through the fascial chains and it’s solicitation of the nervous system.

All muscles are wrapped in an aponeurotic sleeve and connected with each other through numerous fasciae. Everyone knows about muscle stretching; however, it is difficult to stretch a muscle if it is wrapped in a leathery sleeve which does not give. It is better to consider each muscle as links in chains extending throughout the length of the entire body. The goal of every Myofascial stretch is to put into tension the fascia that encases the muscles in order to normalize the length and function of the fascial chains. When you do Myofascial stretches, you correct structural imbalances and release tension across the joints which reduces inflammation and pain.

The flexibility gains from Myofascial stretches will improve your mobility, and overall health. As you become more flexible, you’ll find that you have better posture, greater range of motion, that you are able to perform tasks with greater ease, and you’ll suffer fewer injuries.

Wednesday’s at 6pm

Sign up now!

Register on MindBody

#AscendSuperhero 30-Day Challenge

Happy Holidays Everyone!

The team and I are launching a bigger & better fitness challenge that’ll kick off on January 5th in time for New Year’s resolutions. For starters, the fitness challenge is ramping up from 21 days to 30 days, will include a deep tissue massage, will have more prizes (still includes a chance to win an iPad Mini!) and will be more hands-on with the holistic approach to health that I love & teach! I truly believe the gift of health is the best gift anyone can ever give their self. This #AscendSuperhero program is a great opportunity to truly challenge yourself to meet your New Year’s Resolutions with the support of our superhero team! You’ll have the chance to compete against yourself and be a witness to your own 30-Day physical transformation.

As an exclusive holiday offer, we are doing a  BOGO50 sale, or buy one entry, get the second entry half off!

The Challenge includes the following, or click here to see the full page ad that details the #AscendSuperhero Fitness Challenge:

– UNLIMITED access to Boost Your Body training sessions. (up to 6xWeek)

– Private Nutrition Consultation

– 1- Hour Deep Tissue Massage

– Chance to win a iPad Mini, FitBit and other prizes

– Weekly Mind Body Bootcamp

– Weekly Goal Check-In

– 2-Hour Nutrition Workshop

– Food Journal

– 30 Day Grocery List, Recipes & Meal Plan

– Access to Guest Speaker Event on Emotional Eating

– Benefits of Holistic Lifestyle Workshop with Shane Young

– Access to Private FB Group

– Pre & Post Challenge Metrics

– Goodie bag valued at $200

In Health & Happiness,