Update on Dwight’s Progress, How he Lost 26 lbs. so Far!

In the last 8 weeks, Dwight has lost 26+ lbs. and now benches over 300 lbs.! View these videos of Dwight’s story and he’s achieved this success… so far, what’s the secret?

Week One – 11 lb weight loss!

Second update – 4 lb weight loss!

Third update –  26 lb weight loss so far!

Muscle gains update! Dwight bench presses 305 lbs!

How Weight Training Increases Your Metabolism

Your metabolism, and your ability to regulate it, are vital to your fitness success. Whether your goal is to build muscle, lose fat, or improve your performance in a specific sport or event, you can’t do it effectively without understanding your metabolism and the effects training has on it.

What is metabolism? The Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science (Anshel 1991), defines metabolism as “chemical changes that utilize energy and result in tissue and compound building (anabolism) or breakdowns of substrates and release of energy (catabolism).”  There are only three ways your workout can change your metabolism:  1) the workout session itself and the number of calories burned during the workout; 2), post-workout oxygen consumption; and 3) the addition of new muscle mass.

1 The Workout Itself 

Muscle contraction requires energy (calories). The number of calories you burn during the workout is greatly determined by your exercise selection, intensity and weights used. You will burn more calories doing deadlifts, squats, or leg presses than you will doing bicep curls. Intensity and load also plays a large role in the number of calories burned during a resistance session.

2 Post-Workout Metabolic Effect

Intense weight training elevates your metabolism for up to 39 hours after your workout. Because of the intense weight workout, your metabolism has been stimulated to where you are now burning more calories while you are doing nothing.

When you train more intensely, you will deplete your carbohydrate stores and burn more fat during the recovery phase. As the training intensity increases, there is a proportionate increase in fat burning after the workout.

One study showed that 15 exercise sessions per month (50-minute sessions at 50 percent of oxygen uptake) could lead to an extra 2 plus pounds per month of fat loss, strictly from the elevated metabolism and extra calories burned – while doing nothing! That’s an extra 26 pounds plus, of fat burned per year.

3 Longer Term Metabolic Effect – The Addition of New Muscle 

Another extremely important aspect of fat loss that occurs from training with weights is adding lean muscle to your body. Lean muscle is “metabolically active” meaning muscle burns calories even while doing nothing. So, the more lean muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolism and the more calories you burn each day while doing nothing. Studies have estimated that for each pound of muscle you add to your body, you burn another 35 to 50 calories per day. So, an extra 10 pounds of muscle will burn approximately 350 to 500 calories a day, or an extra pound of fat every 7 to 10 days, without making any other changes.


The addition of new muscle mass is the only way to permanently increase your metabolism because muscle is “metabolically active” because muscle burns calories at rest, so it is obvious that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn in a day.

Ready to get started?  Schedule a FREE consultation today!

Visit freeintro.raybessette.com or call (281) 713-5700 to schedule your free, private consultation.

Visit freeintro.raybessette.com or call (281) 713-5700 to schedule your free, private consultation. 

Couples Who Work Out Together Stay Together

What do you think about the above statement? Does it have merit? I absolutely believe it does. I first met Ray almost 10 ½ years ago on a date to the gym. I remember it fondly. A mutual friend knew the two of us had bodybuilding in common and she suggested we should meet because of our common interest. Here we are all those years later, still with fitness as a common thread and giving it a priority in each other’s lives. We both understand how important it is to the other so it’s naturally easy to support and encourage one another in this area.

How is it for others? We’re all so busy these days. Making time to connect with your partner can be challenging at best. Why not come together in the gym and share the benefits of working out together. Psychology Today(1) reports that working together can:

Increase happiness in your relationship. Participating in physical challenges or activities leaves couples feeling more satisfied with their relationship and more in love with their partner.

Improve the efficiency of your workout. The mere presence of someone else affects your ability to do an activity. Working out with your romantic partner is a great way to improve your energy output, thereby boosting your performance.

Make your partner fall in love with you. Exercise induces the symptoms of physiological arousal which mirror the thrill of romantic attraction.

 Help you achieve your fitness goals. When your partner cares about fitness, it becomes easier to achieve fitness goals.

The Huffington Post reports(2) that the concept of couples working out together works. Dr. Jane Greer, a relationship psychotherapist says “both partners come away with feeling of synchronicity, cooperative spirit and shared passion. Then you throw in some spicy endorphins and it can be a real power trip for the relationship.” There is a positive physical and emotional impact for couples who work out together. Exercise increases endorphins which elicit a feeling of euphoria. More on endorphins in a future post, but let’s just say, these “feel-good” chemicals are an added benefit from exercise, especially for romantic couples.

In a nutshell, having a workout partner, whether your spouse, best friend or a family member, holds you accountable to get to the gym for your workout because the other part of the couple is counting on you to be there. At The FirmU, we have several couples who train together who report that their relationships have improved and they have a closer connection with one another. We also have duos and trios of friends who come in for personal training. A benefit of training together, additional to the accountability piece and closer connections, is the reduced per person pricing structure. Duo and trio training is priced at the first person regular price and 2nd and 3rd at half price. This is a great way to enjoy the personal training we offer at reduced rates. We’d love to be a part of your fitness journey and improving your relationships through exercise.

(1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meet-catch-and-keep/201401/5-reasons-why-couples-who-sweat-together-stay-together
(2) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/09/workout-partner-healthy-couples-valentines-day_n_2638571.html

personal training houston

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Give the gift of health to your loved one this Christmas. We offer several options to please everyone on your gift list. See below for descriptions and purchasing information on all gift cards we offer. Your loved one will thank you!


Benefits of practicing yoga from improved flexibility, strength, muscle tone & balance to stress reduction.

10 Yoga Sessions

Price: $149 (sessions must be used within 30 days following gift recipient redemption)  To purchase this gift card, please click here.

1 Yoga Session

Price: $20.00 (session must be used within 30 days following gift recipient redemption)  To purchase this gift card, please click here.

GROUP EXERCISE offers many benefits such as exposure to a social & fun environment, a safe & effectively-designed workout, a consistent exercise schedule, accountability for participating in exercise.

1 Group Fitness Session

$10 (session must be used within 30 days following gift recipient redemption)  To purchase this gift card, please click here.

Monthly Unlimited Group Fitness Classes (excludes Yoga)

Price: $120 (session expire 30 days following gift recipient redemption)  To purchase this gift card, please click here.

60 Minute Massage

Price: $100

Experts estimate over 90% of disease is stress related and nothing ages us faster inside and out than stress. Regular MASSAGE THERAPY can do a world of good for stress reduction. Other benefits: faster muscle recovery after exercise, decreased anxiety, better sleep, more energy, and improved concentration & circulation.  To purchase this gift card, please click here.


Perfect for the loved one to use for any service we offer (Personal Training*, Hormonal Balance*, Group Fitness, Yoga, Massage, Strawberry Laser Lipo, Fit N Firm Foods).

*Online redemption is unavailable for these two services.  To redeem for these services, recipient must print and bring the e-gift card to The FIRM U.

$100 Gift Card

To purchase this gift card, please click here.


$75 Gift Card

To purchase this gift card, please click here.


$50 Gift Card

To purchase this gift card, please click here.


Gift Card in Any Amount of Your Choosing

To purchase this gift card, please click here.

1 Strawberry Laser Lipo Session

Price:  $125  (50% off, normally $250)

Learn More about the Strawberry here.

To purchase this gift card, click here.


No recovery time – walk out and go back to your day!

Non-invasive – no incisions, no surgery, no discomfort!

“Melts the fat away! I saw immediate results!”

The areas only authorized Strawberry Laser provider.  The Strawberry Laser is completely non-invasive, completely non-surgical, and completely non-painful! FDA cleared for U.S. use, the Strawberry Laser has been successfully melting the fat and re-contouring the figures of millions of patients in over 30 countries for several years. When liposuction or other surgical body contouring procedures are less desirable options, Strawberry Laser treatments can yield noticeable, measurable results. Most patients will see a difference with their very first treatment session! We’ve grown accustomed to our patients being thrilled with the results – right from their very first session!  The Strawberry Laser helps our patients reshape their bodies – without liposuction, without surgery! Why not trim down those annoying, trouble spots of bulging fat by melting them away?! For patients looking for a simple “walk in, walk out” alternative to surgery, without any restrictions or downtime, the Strawberry Laser is a safe, affordable, non-invasive option that can achieve very reasonable results. Most patients will achieve their goals with a series of 6 -10 treatment sessions – just two a week – within only about a month! Results may vary.

For both men and women looking to shrink down pockets of unwanted fat from their arms, back, sides, hips, thighs, or abdomen, this safe, time-saving, cost-saving treatment can be ideal. The Strawberry Laser can help with everything from love handles, to spare tires, to saddlebags, to muffin tops!

Please call (833) FIRMU-Up or email ray@thefirmu.com with any questions you may have.

Happy “Healthidays” from The FIRM U!

personal training houston

The FIRM U Client & Gleannloch Farms Resident, Jeff Udelson, uses strength training to heal elbows and avoid surgeries

In 2016, Jeff Udelson had spent over two years suffering with pain in both elbows. He was diagnosed with Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow) on his right arm and Lateral epicondylitis (Tennis elbow) on the other. Jeff has been an avid golfer for many years and the pain he was experiencing made enjoying the game he loves difficult if not impossible. Jeff went to an orthopedic surgeon who started him out on conservative, non-invasive treatment which included several rounds of cortisone injections in both elbows; two months of physical therapy; Airrosti treatments; acupuncture; and cryotherapy.  With no relief from these treatments, Jeff did what most people do…went to another orthopedic specialist  On July 19, 2016, Jeff had a visit with the specialists at The Fondren Orthopedic Group who had him get an MRI. Given the MRI results and everything else Jeff had tried with no success, the doctor said the best option for him would be surgery, which he scheduled for December 2, 2016.

On August 23, 2016, Jeff came to The FIRM U and met with Owner and Co-Founder, Ray Bessette. After this meeting, everything changed for Jeff. Ray assessed Jeff’s elbow condition and developed a plan for Jeff. Ray’s initial goal was to create circulation in Jeff’s elbow to speed up the healing process in the area and slowly build strength and flexibility in the forearm area. Improving grip strength by building the muscles of the forearm can improve Jeff’s ability to perform day-to-day activities and get him back to playing tennis and golf. Once hearing this plan, Jeff committed to working out with Ray three days a week. Jeff had other fitness goals in addition to eliminating his elbow pain which were to lose belly fat, increase range of motion and correct bad posture.

Ray began with using light cable and dumbbell weights with bands to stretch and create strength around Jeff’s forearms and wrists. Ray had Jeff apply ice to his forearms after workouts to the reduce inflammation. Ray also had Jeff work out his legs, explaining that the best way to lose belly fat, gain better posture, burn more calories even at rest, and to not overtrain his upper body was to achieve a better body balance by working the larger muscles…his legs. This helps build muscle mass, and muscle tissue burns more calories — even when you’re at rest — than body fat. After a couple of weeks, Jeff started slowly adapting to lifting heavier weight.

Ray also worked on Jeff’s nutritional intake and suggested a hormonal blood panel* to check for his A1C (sugar levels), CRP (Inflammation levels), Testosterone and Cortisol levels to name a few. A deficiency in any panel mentioned could influence Jeff’s elbow condition as well as his overall health.

The prescription for exercise, diet and supplements worked perfectly. After two months, Jeff was moving and doing daily activities with little to no pain, he canceled his December 2nd surgery and even got off his pain and inflammation medications.

Jeff continues to train with Ray at The Firm U and he continues to show improvement, not only in his elbows, but in other areas. Jeff has loss 16 lbs. of fat weight; his cholesterol & triglycerides levels have come back to the normal range; his posture, range of motion, strength, energy, muscle tone and flexibility have all dramatically improved; and he claims he hits the golf ball further than he ever has!

“I can now say that after more than 12 months of working out with Ray, I am now pain free and no longer need surgery…and I look and feel better than I have in years! THANKS, RAY!!”

This is one example of results the experts at The FIRM U help our clients achieve. We start with the foundational fitness assessment and use our vast knowledge and education with corrective exercise techniques and our thorough understanding of the body’s structural system (bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, etc.) we can help you strengthen your weaknesses and get back to doing what you  love, whether is golf, dancing, swimming, tennis, playing with your children/grandchildren or walking the dog.

Contact us today to schedule your free fitness assessment, email ray@thefirmu.com or  call 833-FIRMU-Up.

Cardio vs. Weight Training for Fat Loss

Not seeing results in your workouts?  There may be many reasons…let’s look at a few:

You’re doing too much cardio or you’re only doing cardio.   To improve the shape of your body, cardio is not the best
option.. Yes, you will lose weight at first from cardio and fad diets, BUT, what you’re losing is water, not fat. This will leave you dehydrated and you’ll get headaches if you stick with it long enough. We’re not knocking cardio whatsoever. Cardio has its place, but if your goal is permanent fat loss, weight training is your best bet. At The Firm U, we use a Bio-impedance scale that measures water, fat and muscle weight in pounds. We can track your progress to keep you motivated and on track with your fitness goals. Most bathroom scales just measure total weight. With our scientific information, you can intelligently adjust your fitness program and permanently burn the fat weight.

You’re not training with weights. There is no metabolic effect after a cardio workout. When you burn 500 calories doing cardio (takes
about an hour), that’s all you get. When you burn 500 calories with weight training, you not only balance your muscle and bone structure, you continue burning calories as your body repairs the breakdown and buildup of muscle, increasing your metabolic system. The result: FAT WEIGHT LOSS, not water weight loss. Muscle burns more calories at rest. We’ve got you covered with #1 below.

You’re diet needs to be cleaned up.  You think you’re eating well, but you’re filling your body with inflammatory foods and disease-causing agents. We’ve got you covered with #2 below.

You could be insulin resistant or diabetic and not know it. If you have either condition, you’re only burning sugar for energy and never getting to fat. We’ve got you covered with #3 below.

Our Three Fitness Components & Solutions at The Firm U Cover all The Above

1.  Weight Training. Train with our nationally-certified personal trainers. We have plans for everyone…1:1, couples, group.

2.  Nutrition. Eat our Fit N Firm Foods for meals and enjoy a MariGold bar in between. Both are not only delicious and satisfying…they’re also made with only the highest quality ingredients and are anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is a normal part of the body’s immune response. When inflammation serves no purpose, it damages the body and causes disease and illnesses. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet reduces inflammation in the body; helps our bodies maintain optimum health; provides energy, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber and disease-preventing phytonutrients (healthy plant foods).

3.  Hormonal & Weight Loss Blood Panel. This test is optional; however, it is also one of our greatest tools to fix that person that has tried everything. Our comprehensive lab blood test can detect many issues and conditions that may be getting in your way of losing belly or butt fat for good. It takes about a week to get back from our lab, our doctor reviews the results and addresses your situation with suggestions to get your hormones or other discrepancies to get you balanced.

It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories from your total caloric intake to burn one pound of fat. To lose one pound a week, you’d burn 500 calories every day doing about an hour of cardio for seven days a week to burn one pound of fat. With our program, you weight train 3 days a week for a one hour session and burn calories every hour of the week (168 hours), even at rest! We’ve just given you four hours back in your schedule. Imagine what you could do with an extra four hours a week. Important to remember… The Purpose of exercise is to not burn as many calories as you can in one training session, but to stimulate your muscles to burn calories when you’re resting! See image below….

Would you like more information? Click here to send a private message, or call us at 1-833-FIRMU-Up.



The weights are your friend…

This says it all. I write this especially for the ladies out there who fear the weights because they are afraid it will bulk them up or make them look like a man (see pic below for proof it doesn’t).  Gals, it is difficult for us to get bulky by lifting weights…our natural hormonal makeup won’t allow it. Don’t fear the (heavy) weights! These are what will build your muscles and create the shapely body many of you want. Doing leg lifts or side bends in your living room isn’t going to cut it! You’ve got to lift weight to get that look. There are countless other benefits to your overall health that you only get from weight training. Ray’s discussed them in his Facebook videos. A few examples: 1) you burn more calories after a strength training workout than you do after a cardio session…there is no metabolic effect after cardio; however, after a weight training session, you continue to burn calories after the workout as your body is repairing itself from the workout you just had; 2) muscle burn more calories at rest; 3) weight training prevents osteoporosis because as you increase muscle mass, your bones must adapt to accommodate the muscle mass increase, so the bones increase in density, thus lowering the risk for osteoporosis; 4) face it…muscle looks better on our body than fat does!

Following is my personal experience over the last three months to illustrate what I’m talking about. With focused training, lifting heavy, eating more (not less), I’m getting stronger and physique changes are happening. I’ve posted recently about strength gains which I’m proud of because of the consistent, hard work. Friday I worked out my back and, again, had gains on all my lifts…except for my pullups. I didn’t get as many reps as the two previous weeks. Why? Not because I’m not getting stronger, but I’m gaining muscle weight, so the pullups are more difficult.

Since March 7, I’ve put on 10 lbs. of muscle; BMI increased 1.1; and body fat percentage decreased 0.3%. This has been done with no calorie restriction. By the way, the heavier weights I’m lifting (55 lb. dumbbell chest press; 45 lb. shoulder press; 65 lb. single arm dumbbell row; 140 lb. deadlifts; 160 lb. back squats) have not given me a bulky or manly look.

To sum it up, girls, pick up the weights and get on the road to getting the body you want. Need help getting started, reach out to ray@thefirmu.com or stop by and see us for a free fitness assessment.

Osteoporosis – How The Firm U Can Help You Circumvent It and Live Your Life with Strength and Energy

I’ve been studying the last couple of months for my NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certification. Today I came upon the chapter related to osteoporosis and exercise. Once finished with the chapter, I was compelled to put the book down and write because what I’ve read has stuck me as very important and something over which, we, ourselves, have great influence. I’ve always known that weight-bearing activities (resistance training, training with weights, weightlifting, whatever you want to call it) improves bone density. Not until I got into this textbook did I become clearer about the benefits of weight-training and the risks osteoporosis poses to our overall health.

Consider these osteoporosis facts which I found terribly frightening, especially as I approach the 50-year milestone mentioned for women several times throughout my research:

Hip fracture risks double every 5 years in postmenopausal women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis affects more than 25 million people each year resulting in 1.5 million hip fractures, of which only 20% return to normal functional status. If this isn’t enough to scare us into taking steps to prevent the onset of osteoporosis, then I don’t know what will. This means that 80% of those who suffer a hip fracture will not return to normal functional status. I don’t want to be a part of that 80%, so you bet you’re a$$ that I’ll continue my weight training for the rest of my life.

For training to influence bone mass, it will require approximately 6 months of consistent exercise at high enough intensities. Translation is we must employ patience, consistency and time to see results. Additionally, training must become a lifelong event to ward off this condition.

There are many things over which we have control that will reduce our chance of becoming prone to osteoporosis (1). Let’s look at a few of them:


CALCIUM: Calcium is a major component of bone so it makes sense that you need adequate amounts throughout your life to reach and maintain peak bone mass. Recommended daily amounts:

Women (ages 19-50) / Men (19-70): 1,000 mg/day
Women (50 and over) / Men (70 and over): 1,200 mg/day

Sources: dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, sardines, calcium supplementation with Vitamin DVITAMIN D: Vitamin D is used by your body to absorb calcium. Without Vitamin D, your bones can weaken and increase fracture risk. Recommended daily amounts: 600-800 international units (IU) per day. Sources: fatty fish (tuna, sardines), egg yolk, and the PRIMARY source of vitamin D is sunlight. Supplementation may be necessary for people who don’t get adequate sun exposure

MAGNESIUM: This mineral helps keep the calcium in the bones and out of blood vessels and other soft tissues. Sources: green veggies, almonds, black beans, kidney beans, nut butters.

VITAMIN K: Needed for normal bone metabolism and helps prevent bone loss. It is found in leafy green veggies, i.e., spinach, kale, broccoli, and in green beans and peas.


People who participate in resistance training have a higher bone mineral density than those who don’t. Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. The best exercise for bones is weight-bearing (training with weights) which forces you to work against gravity. Physical activity also improves balance and coordination, thus helping prevent falls and broken bones that may result from a fall.


Smoking increases bone loss rate. Women who smoke have a lower level of estrogen (the hormone that is necessary for bone rebuilding) than non-smokers. Smokers go through menopause earlier than nonsmokers. There is a direct relationship between lack of estrogen during perimenopause (which can start in early 40s and on average lasts up to 4 years) and menopause and the development of osteoporosis. Any prolonged periods where hormone levels are low and menstrual periods are absent or infrequent contributes to loss of bone mass. (2)

Moderate alcohol consumption can accelerate bone loss and reduce your body’s ability to absorb calcium. In addition, it can have an adverse effect on the hormones that regulate calcium levels and reduce the formation of new bone. Moderation is key when using alcohol. For example, one drink per day for women of all ages and men older than 65 and up to two drinks per day for men age 65 and younger. (2)

Ernestine Shepherd, 79 years young!

Meet Ernestine Shepherd, the Guinness World Record Oldest Female Bodybuilder, pictured here. She’s 81 years old and started working out at  age 56. She is proof that it’s never too late to start. Ernestine does the same thing day in and day out (consistency) and takes no medications. Depression and anxiety are gone. She is an inspiration to many women (and men!). Her age defining mantra is “Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined to Be Fit!” and “Age is nothing but a number, and you can get fit!” Words to live by!


As reported by the National Institute of Health, we know a weight-bearing program is beneficial to bone strength. The NASM textbook (3) cites that for training to influence bone mass, it will require approximately 6 months of consistent exercise at high enough intensities.

How can The Firm U help with this? By working you through a consistent weight-bearing training regimen. All Firm U trainers are certified in working with clients with Types I and II Osteoporosis.

As discussed earlier, we know that adequate vitamin and minerals are essential to bone health. Supplementation may be necessary for those who are low or lacking in any of the vitamins or minerals listed above. Deficiencies can be determined through a blood test.

How can The Firm U help with this? At The Firm U, we order appropriate bloodwork panels (through SpectraCell, the leader in nutritional testing) and review the results with you, making recommendation for any needed supplementation. For the convenience of our clients, we sell pharmaceutical-grade supplements on site and we carry or can get anything you need for optimal health. A few of the brands available at The Firm U: Designs for Health; Life Extension; Rejuvenation Science; Transformation Enzymes, YES (Your Essential Supplements), Douglas Labs, to name a few.

I’m hopeful that you, too, are moved by the facts provided above and the ability we all possess to slow down the onset of osteoporosis allowing us to live an active life free from the danger and worry of living with brittle bones. Would you like more information or are you ready to get started?

(1) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/in-depth/how-to-keep-your-bones-strong/art-20304596
(2) https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/osteoporosis-menopause#1-3
(3) National Academy of Sports Medicine. Optimum Performance Training for the Health and Fitness Professional. 2004