Why All Men and Women Should do Lateral Shoulder Raises

As a personal trainer at the Jersey Shore (Monmouth County) you can believe that I work with a lot of men and women who want to improve their physique and look good on the beach.  For men AND women, that means reducing some excess fat on the body and building up some lean muscle tissue.  One of the first places I start is with the upper body.  The shoulders really catch your attention on someone if they are shaped nicely.  For men- shoulders not only help fill out your t-shirts but they broaden your silhouette and give the appearance of a strong upper body.  For women, adding some lean muscle to your shoulder area actually helps shrink the appearance of your waist and lower body.

The lateral raise is a great exercise to build up the outer portion of the shoulder and give some more of that hour glass look.  For men, it will give you a broader silhouette and also helps with shoulders that slope downwards.

The Lateral Raise primarily works the lateral deltoid, which is the middle portion of the deltoid muscle. The anterior (front) deltoid, posterior (back) deltoid, and upper traps will activate as well.

How to Perform the Lateral Raise

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Slightly bend hips and knees. Hold dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing in. Bend your elbows slightly.
  2. Holding your core tight, raise the dumbbells to your side until your upper arms are  shoulder height (do not exceed shoulder height).
  3. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position.


About Eddie:

Eddie is a sought out personal trainer in Monmouth County, NJ. His body building back ground mixed with his present day CrossFit training is what helps him create workouts that can taylor to any fitness level, any age, and any results-oriendted individual.  Eddie owners Ultimate Fitness, a 24 hour gym in Monmouth County and Ultimate Fit Zone, a cross training and boot camp gym in Monmouth County as well. He is the director of training at both gyms.

Build Shoulder Strength: Behind The Neck Strict Shoulder Press

Having strong shoulders doesn’t just look good physically, it can help you with better posture, greater overhead strength, greater control and strength with certain Olympic lifts (barbell clean, snatch, etc) and increased strength in your upper back. One forgotten muscle building exercise for shoulders is the behind-the-neck shoulder press.  The most common shoulder press exercises are the military press and the dumbbell shoulder press.  Both excellent for building muscle and strength…along with your lateral and forward raise dumbbell exercises as well. But behind-the-neck press offers some additional benefits that make it worthwhile to incorporate into your workout routine.

Probably the biggest benefit from the behind-the-neck press is that it engages more of the shoulder muscles than the traditional military, and really hits the posterior delt well.  The barbell press from the front works more of the front deltoid.  If you’re bench pressing, you’re also getting front deltoid work- so why not switch things up every now and then and broaden your workout tool box?

Behind the neck is also great for strengthening the upper back.  If you also enjoy olympic lifts, this will help with your strength and stability on the snatch, push press and jerk.

NJ Personal Trainer Demonstrates Behind The Neck Shoulder Press


Is Behind The Neck Press Safe?

Generally, most of us can safely do a behind the neck press.  If you have rounded shoulders (kyphosis) you should not do the behind the neck press just yet.   The kyphosis generally means you have weakened and tight shoulder muscles as well as upper back muscles.  As a personal trainer in Monmouth County, if one of my clients has rounded shoulders, I work on developing the muscles in the back, shoulders and even chest to help strengthen the muscles and aid in posture correction.

If you have poor shoulder mobility- the behind the neck press will be difficult for you and could possibly injure you.  You should work on your mobility first and then attempt behind the neck presses with very light weight.  Again- if your shoulders are tight- don’t force the position. Work on mobility first.

In conclusion, for building strength in the shoulders and upper back, try incorporating the behind-the-neck shoulder press into your routine.  You should work with a personal trainer or have someone spot you to minimize risk of injury if this is your first time attempting the lift.  Always start with a lighter weight than you would use for a front of the neck press until you get comfortable.

About Eddie:

Eddie is a sought out personal trainer in Monmouth County, NJ. His body building back ground mixed with his present day CrossFit training is what helps him create workouts that can taylor to any fitness level, any age, and any results-oriendted individual.  Eddie owners Ultimate Fitness, a 24 hour gym in Monmouth County and Ultimate Fit Zone, a cross training and boot camp gym in Monmouth County as well. He is the director of training at both gyms.


Russian or American Kettle Bell Swing? Which is Right For You?

The kettle bell craze of the fitness industry is not going away any time soon.  Kettle bell exercises are such a great way to combine strength training with cardio output for workouts that really blast fat and target lean muscle building.  As a long time personal trainer, I’m always looking for ways to get the most out of any workout for my clients.  Using Kettle Bells is a great way to get people of all fitness levels into better shape.

The Kettle Bell swing is one of my favorite exercises because it targets so many muscle groups, including the core, and requires cardio output.  So you’re getting more bang for your buck…or bell :-)

In my personal training workouts and especially in the Cross Training boot camp I run in Monmouth County, I incorporate kettle bell swings often.  Depending on the client, we may either do a Russian Swing or the American Swing.   If you’re trying to decide which type of swing is best for you- you should know that the answer largely depends on your personal mobility in addition to the goals you have for the workout.

The Russian swing stops at about mid chest with the arms extended straight out in front of you. It’s better to choose a heavier weight for this swing and let your lower body force drive the kettle bell up to your chest.

The American kettle bell swing brings the bell all the way up above your head, so at the top of the movement the kettle bell is directly in line with your spine.  It requires a little more force from your lower body, and for that reason you should swing less for an American than you can normally do for a Russian.

Is the American Swing safe?

It’s a complicated question.  First- if you have strong shoulders and good shoulder mobility, the American kettle bell swing is generally safe for you. I say ‘generally’ because every person is very unique and we can’t look at fitness as a one size fits all situation.  The danger people point out in the American swing is that having the arms extended all the way above the head, bearing weight down on the shoulders while the hands are in a close grip position can be unstable for the shoulder joint.  If you don’t have strong shoulders or good mobility (or in some cases, even if you do), you could injure yourself.  Now, that doesn’t mean we should never do American swings.  Like anything else in life, it means we practice with proper form, caution and with appropriate weights for our ability. It also means we don’t over use the shoulder joints by performing American KB Swings several times a week and at high repetitions.

Whenever I’m personal training anyone with shoulder joint issues, we work on a Russian swing. If my client or my boot camp clients are capable of doing the American swing, then we work with the American.  Fitness is very unique to you as an individual and that’s why you need to seek out a gym or personal trainer in Monmouth County that can accommodate  your personal needs.

American Kettle Bell Swing

Here is an example of one of our clients doing the American Kettle Bell Swing.  You can see force is generated from the lower body and the Kettle Bell travels all the way up above her head.  She happens to have excellent shoulder mobility, more than most people, and very strong shoulder joints.


I hope I was able to shed some light on the topic of kettle bell swinging.  For information about our Cross Training boot camp in Monmouth County, visit our sister website UltimateFitZone.com.

Top 3 Best Exercises For Building A Better Butt

Neve has there been so much attention put towards a woman’s derriere as there is today.  JLo pioneered the popularity of the round booty and it has exploded into main stream media.  Since then, women with curves have been embraced more than ever and showcased on the covers of magazines that once only displayed size 0 women.

JLo, Kim K, Sophia Vergara, Beyonce and more are admired for their figures and now it seems like more women want in on the action.  While some have resorted to dangerous plastic surgery attempts to round out their rump, we here at Ultimate Fitness believe that the best way to enhance your physique is with good old fashion diet and exercise.

The glute muscles are no different than other muscles in your body- if you build them up, they will give more definition and shape to your body.  A protein based diet is key to shaping all muscles- so in addition to exercise, you’ll need to eat a clean diet as well.

Our resident personal trainer, owner and director of training, Eddie Albert, has been sculpting body parts for men and women for over 25 years.  We turned to him to find out the three best exercises anyone can do, gym or at home, to build up their booty.

Eddie says there are quite a few exercises to incorporate into your routine to build a better butt, because you want to shape not only the glute muscles but the hamstrings as well, but if he had to pick JUST 3 moves here are his choices:

  1. Squats
  2. Lunges
  3. Step Ups

Here is Eddie’s 15 minute butt boosting workout.  This can be done at home or at the gym.  **Use caution as these exercise moves are advanced and may cause injury if not performed properly.

15 Minute Butt Booster Workout

  1. 20 squats
  2. 20 step ups (each leg) (use a plyo box in the gym.  If at home, stand at the base of your step and try to step on the 2nd or 3rd step.  Beginners should just aim for the 1st step)
  3. 20 lunges


  1. 20 jump squats
  2. 20 lunge hops
  3. Personal Trainer in NJ | Ultimate Fitness Gym in Ocean NJ20 box or step jumps (use the first step in your stair case if you don’t have a small, sturdy box you could jump on) like a plyo box)

Repeat 3x

About Eddie Albert

Eddie is a long time fitness expert in NJ, personal trainer, CrossFit athlete and former bodybuilder. He is the owner and director of all training at Ultimate Fitness 24 hour gym and Ultimate Fit Zone, a cross training boot camp.

What Are The Best Protein Bars?

We received a great question from a Facebook fan of ours so we wanted to share our answer with everyone. The person stated, “I’ve been instructed to eat more protein to help me lose weight and gain lean muscle.  Which are the best protein bars out there?”

The first thing we want to say is that protein, vitamins, minerals, etc…whenever possible- should come from real, whole foods.  Good protein sources include chicken, beef, fish, nuts, beans, legumes, tofu, etc.

However, as hard as we try to be prepared each day, there are times when getting a clean, protein-based meal down your throat just isn’t possible.  Life can throw curve balls at you, and sometimes when that happens it can throw off our meal plan for the day.

quest protein barProtein bars are great emergency meals or snacks for when that happens.  They will give you a good dose of protein to help you refuel and tackle the day’s challenges.  And it certainly is better than grabbing fast food.  That said, not all protein bars are created equally.

Some protein bars are loaded – absolutely loaded with sugar.  Others are too high in sodium and then of course there’s always that raunchy list of ingredients that we can’t pronounce.  You want a good, clean protein bar with minimal ingredients, low sugar and little to no saturated fat.  The protein, carbs and healthy fat in the bar will be good sources of energy for your body.

One of our favorite protein bars is the Quest Protein Bar. It meets all of the above requirements with a huge variety of flavors too. There’s typically 10 or fewer ingredients, and nearly all look recognizable.   The one ingredient that doesn’t look familiar, Isomalto-Ogligosaccarides- are labeled as prebiotic fibers from plant sources.  Sounds good to us!

Quest bars give you about 20g protein with only 2 sugars (varies by flavor- we are looking at the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor for this article). Keep one in your purse or in your glove compartment for emergencies. But, like we said, whenever possible, make sure your protein comes from whole food sources.

Are You Really Drinking Enough Water?

It may seem as though all you do is drink fluid all day long – but are you really drinking enough water?  Drinking coffee, tea or juice does not count as drinking water.  Age-old wisdom says to drink at least 8 cups of water a day.  So how can you tell if you are getting enough water in your daily diet?

A simple way to determine if you are drinking enough water is to go by how you feel.  Physical symptoms that you don’t drink enough water may include fatigue, dizziness, dry eyes, headaches, constipation, a feeling of confusion and of course – thirst!  Your urine is also an indicator of hydration.  If you are drinking enough water your urine should be light yellow or colorless.

A simple way to increase your daily intake of water is to always drink one cup of water before every meal and one cup of water after every meal.  Assuming you eat at least three times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), that’s 6 cups of water consumed without even thinking about it.  Always keep a bottle of water on your counter top, night table or coffee table.  Having it in view makes it easy to grab it and take sips as you watch TV, cook in the kitchen or read in bed.

Benefits of drinking more water include increased energy, weight loss, softer skin, maintains regularity, stronger immune system, improved mood and may reduce occurrences of headaches.

So go grab a bottle of water, fill it up and take sips throughout the day along with your 2 cups of water at every meal.


Best Shoulder Workouts – Push Press vs Strict Shoulder Press

The strict shoulder press is a great mass builder for the posterior or front deltoid. This movement also involves the tricep and upper pectoral. Starting position is in the rack position with your hand approximately a thumb’s distance outside your hips. Rack position is when the bar is resting on the front deltoid under your chin along your clavicle with elbows pointed out and away from you. Elbows should be as high as you can get them. Your shoulders and hips should be in perfect alignment. To start off the movement, first you drop your elbows down and pull your chin back simultaneously so you can drive the bar directly upward. Then return to the rack position to complete the movement.

Strict Shoulder Press


 The Push Press is similar to the strict press. The hand spacing is the same and the starting rack position is identical. The only difference between the two is that the push press teaches you to use the energy from your hips to generate the beginning of the movement. This will benefit coordination and timing because you have to start the movement from the hip thrust (bend your knees slightly) to get the weight moving and then transfer the energy upward to the arms which finishes the movement to the lockout position.

Push Press


The Difference Between the Strict and Push Press

The strict press is more to build muscle and strength in the shoulders in a more controlled manner.

The Push Press has a combination of benefits. It helps raw strength along with timing and coordination because you’re able lift more weight and the sequence of hip to shoulder transfer of power have to be closely passed from the start of the movement to the finish.

About Eddie:

Eddie Albert is the owner of Ultimate Fitness in Ocean, NJ, a 24 hour gym where he is also the director of personal training. He is a former body builder and won the Mr New Jersey title in 1992. For more information, use the contact form below.

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The Fastest Way to Add Lean Muscle

Personal Trainer in NJ | Ultimate Fitness Gym in Ocean NJIf you’re looking to add a quick a five pounds of lean muscle, follow Eddie’s tips below:

  • Make sure you are eating 6 high calorie, protein based meals a day. Limit your carbohydrates after 4pm since for most, this is the time when you are most sedentary. If you consume carbs during sedentary times of the day, your body will convert this stored energy to fat which will cause you to put on body fat at the same time  you are building muscle, and you won’t stay lean.
  • Consume between 2 and 2.5 grams per pound of body weight in protein.  So if you weight 150 pounds, you are consuming at least 300g of protein.
  • **This is important and something many people neglect. Cycle your workouts from week to week- The first week would be your heavy week doing 4-8 reps of very heavy weight. The second week would be your moderate to light weight which would be anywhere from 8-12 reps.  The third week would be your lightest week where you would be doing 12-15 reps of light weight.  After the third week, repeat and start again with your heaviest week. **The first heavy week works your tendons and connective tissue to make it stronger so the muscle can grow.  Your moderate week works the actual belly of the muscle and your light week works to pump more glycogen into your blood stream so your muscles can grow.
  • Make sure you are including a good whey protein shake. I recommend the IDLife meal replacement whey protein shake.  It’s all natural, there is no garbage in it and it’s also packed with chia seeds which are great for giving you energy from an all natural source.   This is an entire meal in a shake, packed with fiber too.
If you’re serious about getting stronger, make sure you attend or Powerlifting workshop on 2/1/14.  You’ll learn two very important powerlifting moves, the Deadlift and the Clean & Jerk. You’ll learn how to master and perfect both exercises and we’ll help you find your one rep max lift. Click below to register.



About Eddie:
Eddie Albert is the owner of Ultimate Fitness in Ocean, NJ, a 24 hour gym where he is also the director of personal training. He is a former body builder and won the Mr New Jersey title in 1992. For more information, use the contact form below.

Contact Us

NJ Personal Trainer Answers: How to Enjoy a Summer Barbeque and NOT Gain Weight

Summer is here and to most of you that’s probably music to your ears but for some of us summer can spell diet disaster.  We all know, inevitably, we will be invited to a minimum of 1 summer barbeque before September hits.  When I think of summer barbeques I think of fun, friends and FOOD. That’s where the problem lies!

nj personal trainer

Click here to learn more about Eddie and send any diet questions to UFTrainingCenter@aol.com

Summer barbeques are notorious for having some of the wost-for-you foods known to man. Just about everything is smothered in mayonnaise, barbeque sauce and cheese.  But FEAR NOT, I have some great tips that will help you survive summer barbeques and NOT gain weight!  Follow my tips below and see how easy it is to cut out nearly 40 grams of fat in 1 meal at a summer barbeque!

What to Eat at A Summer Barbeque

Good news, there is plenty to eat!  Most of what is being served at the barbeque will be fine for you to eat, with a few moderations, of course.

Here’s how to turn a typical cheeseburger into a diet-friendly meal.

Burger + 1 slice of cheese + bun = 359 calories/20 grams fat/21 carbs (approximate numbers)

Here is how to make this burger diet friendly.

1) lose the cheese and save 110 calories and 9 grams of fat

2) lose 1/2 the bum and save 60 calories and 1 gram of fat

Your diet friendly burger with no cheese and only 1/2 of the bun now has 189 calories and 10 grams of fat!

**If you opt for chicken over hamburger meet you’ll save another 9 grams of fat and bring your fat intake down to about 1 gram total.

What Not to Eat at a Summer Barbeque

Unfortunately, you’ll need to stay away from anything made with mayo or butter.  Use balsamic vinegar on your salad and you’ll save about 14 grams of fat.  Salad dressings are LOADED with fats.  The host may not have balsamic vinegar on the table outdoors, but just ask. Nearly every house has red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Both go great on salads.

If you are having corn on the cob, skip the butter, you’ll save 110 calories and 11.5 grams of fat!!!!!

You just saved 36 grams of fat!

By following these simple tips (no cheese, 1/2 hamburger bun, balsamic vinegar instead of regular salad dressing, no butter on corn on the cob) we’ve managed to cut out about 36 grams of fat!

About Eddie

Eddie is a renowned personal trainer in NJ and fitness guru.  Eddie is a former body builder and a former Mr New Jersey title holder.  Currently, Eddie is the owner and director of personal training at Ultimate Fitness, a 24 hour gym in NJ.

You can also visit Eddie’s diet and fitness blog online.

Weight Loss Questions Answered by NJ Personal Trainer

How to Overcome the Weight Loss Plateau

Q: Eddie, I have recently lost 20 pounds over a few months. I ate everything the same but cut all my portions in half and started walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes every day at about 3.5 miles per hour.  For the last 2 weeks or so, it seems as though everything has stopped. I haven’t lost a pound.  Why am I not losing any weight if I am still doing everything the same? — Melanie T., Jacksonville, FL

nj personal training

Ask Eddie your weight loss questions. Send an email to UFTrainingCenter@aol.com

A: Weight loss plateaus are very common among dieters and those exercising to cut pounds.  You actually answered your own questions without even realizing.  Read the last sentence of your question and that is where the answer lies.  “I am still doing everything the same”.

Ask any personal trainer, weight loss coach or fitness guru and everyone will tell you the same thing…you have to keep changing up your exercise routine so that you continue to challenge your body.  After several months of walking on the treadmill at 3.5 miles per hour for 30 minutes, it’s no longer a challenge for your body. This means that your heart does not have to pump as hard to supply your body with oxygen and your energy output is reduced = burning less calories than you used to by walking on the treadmill.

Start Losing Weight Again!

The bad news is that you hit a plateau, the good news is that this is easily remedied.  All you need to do is change the way you are walking on the treadmill to make it challenging once again.  There are a few different approaches you can incorporate into your new cardio routine:

1) Reduce the speed slightly and raise the grade/incline of the treadmill so that you are walking up a steep hill

2) Intervals: walk at your usual 3.5 miles per hour for 2 minutes, then pump it up to a light job 4.5-5.0 miles per hour for 2 minutes, then back down to 3.5 for 2 minutes, and back up to your light jog for 2 minutes, and so on. Keep that up for the entire 30 minutes.

3) Incorporate upper body strength training during your 30 minute walk on the treadmill. Grab a pair of 5lb hand weights and pump those biceps, shoulders and triceps while you walk.

The most important aspect of your cardio program is that it continues to challenge you.  Be creative, have fun and most importantly challenge yourself.

You’ll need to change it up once again in another few months to avoid another plateau, but this should help you kick it into high gear again.

*****Consult your physician first. Even though you have been doing cardio and losing weight, you are about to change your exercise routine and challenge your body. It’s a wise decision to take the time to consult your physician and ensure that your heart, body and mind are up to the challenge.

NJ Personal Training and Weight Loss Questions Answered

Do you have a question for Eddie about personal training, exercising or losing weight?  Feel free to send Eddie an email (uftrainingcenter @ aol.com) and your question will be answered promptly!

About Eddie:

I began my career in the 1980’s as a body builder and competed nationally and won the Mr. New Jersey title in ’92. Shortly thereafter, I began to use my knowledge to help others achieve their goals in fitness and health. I train individuals ranging in age from 12 to 70 years, from the fitness novice to the professional athlete.

It’s never too early or too late to make a commitment to better health.

I provide training, counseling and coaching or a range of clients, young and old with personal training and diet plans. I design fitness programs that work and keep you motivated and interested. I believe in simple lifestyle changes to help you achieve your goals while still enjoying the best life has to offer.

Eddie’s diet and fitness blog is also online!

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