Good Things Come To Those With Patience and Consistency

We live in a “what can you do for me now?” society. We want things done now, finish lines met, and dream bodies and lives in 6 weeks or less.

It always blows my mind that these “21 Day”, “6 Week Transformations” or “4-minute workouts” keep selling – but it shouldn’t surprise anyone. These products and programs make juicy promises that they just can’t keep.

Sure, you COULD lose 50 pounds in 6 weeks – but is that right for you? And if you gain it all back and then some, did that magic program really work?

What you don’t see being sold is the “2 Year Life Lasting Sustainable Program”…because 2 years is waaaay too long.

But how many people who might say, “2 years!? That is too long!”, are the same people who have been trying different fad diets, workout programs and other gimmicks for 5 or even 10 years?

Think of it this way – if you stuck to something reasonable, and sustainable for 2 years, and lost an average of a half a pound per week… you would be down 52 pounds in 2 years AND I can guarantee that you will keep it off for life.

Yes, it is 2 years – or heck – even 26 pounds in one year! (And that’s a very conservative number) – but in that time you would learn habits that you can maintain, not starve yourself, look your best, feel your best, and not feel beat up from high-intensity workouts 12 times per week…

So here is that secret, 2-year plan in a nutshell:

1 – Strength train 2-4 times per week

Strength training has so many benefits that I have previously named, but the biggest ones are long-term health, strength, muscle fights gravity – because gravity is always trying to kill us, increased metabolism, and just a better-looking body.

Your strength routines should be focussed on getting a little bit stronger over time – so it is crucial to track your weights, reps, and sets – so you know that you are challenging your muscles.

You should focus on full body workouts 2 to 3 times per week, or possibly an upper/lower split 2 times per week (upper/lower/upper/lower if doing 4 workouts per week).

2 – Increase your NEAT

NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis is the fancy way of saying “all activity that isn’t exercise” – this could be steps, using the stairs, dancing, washing dishes, etc.

Shooting for 10,000 steps per day is a great goal – but remember – if in it for the long haul, figure out where you are starting now – maybe its 2000 steps – and build from there.

3 – Diet is KEY

Clean up your diet, track your diet, cut out the crap, cut back on the booze, are all good, general starting points. Again – this is the long haul – what can you work on right now, that you feel can positively impact your health?

Some that have worked well for clients are:

  • Cut out liquid calories – soda, juice, alcohol. Yes, moderation is key, but there is really no need to drink 500 calories from soda or juice every day.
  • Add more veggies to your day. Veggies aren’t only good for you, but they take up space on your plate and in your stomach without eating a ton of calories – this is called volumetrics.
  • Eat more protein – 1 gram/pound of bodyweight or 1 gram per pound of goal body weight if you have a lot of weight to lose. This will help with fullness, muscle repair, and protein has a high thermic effect – meaning it costs the most calories to break it down during digestion.
  • Stop snacking – snacking or mindless munching throughout the day can lead to hundreds if not thousands of extra calories. Try eating 3 square meals a day, nothing else – and I bet you will lose some weight.
  • Leave a few bites on every plate out to eat. This is a strategy that one of my friends came up with on his own, as he eats out a lot for work. All he does is leave a few bites left on every plate – and he lost 10 pounds! Restaurants are notorious for having high-calorie meals, so you likely don’t need all of them – ever.

4. Sleep more

Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep cannot be understated. So many things get screwed up with sleep deprivation, that it makes fat loss and muscle recovery very hard to accomplish.

Sleep is when our body’s recover –  when they rebuild, and because of this – when we burn the most fat. So if you don’t get enough sleep, you better start prioritizing it soon, or you might be spinning yourself on the hamster wheel for a while.

Take these 4 things, and focus on them for a year or two, consistently – and I will bet money that you will be better off then than you are now, and it will feel effortless compared to many of the things you may have tried in the past.

Still not sure how to start? Well good news!

I’ve got 2 openings for online one-on-one training and nutrition clients and I can help you!

Apply here, and apply now – these spots are limited! – https://mgfitlife.com/apply-for-online-coaching/

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Stay healthy my friends,

More Exercise Doesn’t Mean More Results

Exercise, Physical Activity, Training, Working Out, Getting Your Fitness On….or whatever you like to call it is great for you. Here is what makes it so great:

Major benefits of exercise in general:

  • Improved heart/blood health
  • Improved mood
  • Improved coordination
  • Improved blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood cholesterol

Direct major benefits of pure cardio exercise:

  • Improved cardiovascular endurance
  • Improved resting heart rate
  • Improved performance in cardiovascular events/activities

Direct major benefits of strength training:

  • Improved muscle mass/”tone”
  • Improved strength
  • Improved bone mineral density
  • Improved insulin sensitivity

Notice none of those said “weight or fat loss”?

Relying solely on exercise to lose weight is a terrible idea. Is it part of the equation? Yes, but a much more minor part than most think.

If you constantly think you need more and more exercise, and to do this class, or go on this run, or up your miles, or start 2 a days you are setting yourself up for a major bummer.

If you feel the need to dreadfully add more and more exercise, then let me stop you. It is not going to get you anywhere besides spinning your wheels on the never-ending hamster wheel of mediocrity and semi-decent results – BUT you will miss out on your true potential. “Why?” You might ask…

From a physiological and thermodynamics level:

Heres some numbers to cheer you up:

  • A 185 pound person will burn about 266-378 calories per hour in a strength training class (a lighter person will burn less)
  • Most people will burn, on average, 100 calories per 1 mile traveled on foot. So if you run 5 miles, that’s about 500 calories.
  • Various numbers can be given for different exercises, and modalities – so the results can be very variable and unpredictable.
  • Calorie burn calculations from wearable tech can be off by up to 45% – thus making it nearly pointless to care about how many calories you burned at your latest 1000 burpee challenge Bootcamp.

How easy is it to eat 266 calories? That’s about a handful of mixed nuts, a bite of your kids’ mac n cheese, and a girl scout cookie after dinner. Pretty damn easy to “cancel” out that calorie burn from that workout – I guess it was pointless…

This is the problem with thinking of exercise purely as a calorie burn. Look back to the list at the top of all the benefits of exercise, cardio, and strength training. Those are some pretty awesome benefits. But when you only think of exercises as “how many calories can I burn”, you end up wrecking your relationship with it, and sometimes wrecking your body.

If you are always chasing the calorie burn from exercise, you start to sacrifice form for speed, you lift lighter than you should, you turn a boot camp into a marathon day of working out, you start to do stupid things in your workout just because they “burn more calories” or get your heart rate up (Burpee challenges are the worst thing I have ever heard of BTW).

From a hormonal level:

Exercise stresses your body.

Dieting stresses your body.

Life stresses your body.

Your body only recognizes this all as stress is stress is stress.

Exercising more and more, and eating less and less will work – for the short term.

Eventually somethings gotta give, and that something is usually your progress – and this leads to semi-satisfactory results. These are usually the folks who have that last 5-10 pounds of stubborn fat that they REALLY want to lose.

When we workout out over and over again with a goal to lose weight, we are constantly living in a stressed state, Couple that with most people not eating nearly enough, not eating consistently, not sleeping enough or getting enough nourishment to fuel this many workouts, and you are looking to stall out or even start falling backward.

Stress in all forms induces cortisol. Constantly elevated levels of cortisol can and will eventually slow your bodies metabolic furnace down, because we’ve got more important things to worry about than trying to burn fat. This will also greatly affect the production of sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen are natural fat burning hormones), slow down thyroid function and imbalanced blood sugar levels. Lastly, it makes it hard for your body to create those ‘feel good’ hormones like serotonin.

And here is the WORST thing you can do when your body is under tons of stress from life, training, and dieting….eat low carb. (and what is the one diet most people gravitate towards these days?)

When your cortisol is already through the roof, your energy levels are zapped, yet you try and force yourself through more and more workouts – well, your body is just starving for carbs, but most people will deprive themselves of them – only putting your body into a crazier hormonal spiral.

Eating carbs increases your insulin response. Insulin works opposite of cortisol – sort of like a cortisol shut off valve. So when you eat carbs post workout, it’s not so much about the shuttling of nutrients to the muscles faster like old school bodybuilders used to think – but more so about spiking your insulin, shutting off your cortisol and letting your body get into recovery mode.

So if we should stop exercising to lose weight, what should we do?

Stop exercising with the mindset of having to earn your food, or burn your meal…exercise for the benefits listed at the start of this post.

You may have been able to ignore your diet at the start, but its time to get real and be honest with yourself. Nutrition is the key component for fat loss – but it also doesn’t have to be dreaded or miserable.

Instead of thinking you need more high-intensity training – see how many steps you get in a day. See how active you are OUTSIDE of working out. Think of the construction workers you see pounding 64 oz. sodas, burgers, fries, pizza, and yet they are still thin. It’s much more about your daily overall activity than your workouts…

Lastly, work to reduce your stress. Take a step back from crazy workouts, work on some breathing exercises, swap out a bootcamp for some yoga, and focus on improving your sleep and nutrition.

Exercise is great, but it should not be done out of guilt, or with a goal of just needing to burn more calories.

 

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Stay healthy my friends,

Why Your Source of Protein is Misleading You

More protein – the two words I utter the most when doing a dietary analysis…

I’ve outlined the importance of protein, how to plan it out and how to eat more of it here.

But when it comes to some sources people still seem a bit confused.

So now I will provide you with the tools to figure out if something is a “good” source of protein, or a less than stellar form.

What it comes down to is, do a majority of the calories come from protein, or do they come from fat or carbs?

For example –  100 grams (3.5 oz) of chicken breast

  • 165 calories
  • 3.6g fat (x9 = 32 cals from fat or 19.6% of the chicken calories from fat)
  • 0g carb (x4 = 0 cals from carbs)
  • 31g protein (x4 = 124 cals from protein or about 75% of calories from protein!)

Not sure where the other 5% went, but this is enough to prove the point 🙂

Obviously a GREAT source of protein!

But what about peanut butter? We have heard this from many people that “peanut butter is a great source of protein!” Lets look:

1 serving = 2 Tbsp.

  • 200 calories
  • 16g fat (x9 = 144 cals from fat or 72% of cals from fat!)
  • 6g carb (x4 = 24 cals from carbs or 12% of cals from carbs)
  • 8g protein (x4 = 32 cals from protein or 16% of cals from protein)

While peanut butter DOES have some protein, I would not classify it as a good source because it has twice the grams of fat as protein AND is made up of 72% fat, so it would really be a “high-fat source that contains protein”

Same thing goes for most cheeses, nuts, other nut butters, and high-fat meats/processed meats like sausage/brats…sorry folks 🙁

Another common one I see discussed in Quinoa…the magic grain that no one can pronounce.

100 grams of Quinoa

  • 120 calories
  • 1.9g fat (x9 = 17 cals from fat or 14% of cals from fat!)
  • 21.3g carb (x4 = 85 cals from carbs or 71% of cals from carbs!)
  • 4.4g protein (x4 = 18 cals from protein or 15% of cals from protein)

Again, Quinoa is a grain, that has SOME protein in it (not much – but more than other grains) – but it most definitely is NOT a good source of protein. It is a carb that has some protein in it.

Same thing goes for rice, any veggies (EAT YOUR VEGGIES!) and actually beans (although they have a good amount of protein, so are a decent source for non-meat eaters!)

So what are good sources:

  • Any lean animal meats/fish/poultry (low-fat, low processed meats)
  • Eggs (do have more cals from fat than protein – so like mixing with egg whites)
  • Egg whites
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Greek Yogurt (unflavored is best for pure protein)
  • Tofu
  • Protein Powders (try to minimize supplemental protein)
  • Protein Bars (try to minimize supplemental protein)

Hope this clears some things up – now, get your protein up!

Stay healthy my friends,

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You Are What You Think You Are

 

The brain is the most powerful pre-workout supplement, diet pill, and fat loss fad diet combined.

It can also be your worst enemy and your biggest oppressor to your goals.

It all comes back to the old adage of are you a glass half empty, or a glass half full kind of person?

How do you view things most of the time when it comes to you, your body, your health, your nutrition, your lifestyle, and your abilities?

The more and more you view these things in a particular manner, the more and more you will start to subconsciously store them, believe them, and possibly become them…

You – how do you view you? How do you think about you? Are you someone who is always putting yourself down? Or are you proud of yourself? Do you feel like you are a good person – or do you feel guilt that eats away at your insides?

Your body – are you always calling yourself “fat, ugly, flabby, weak, or gross”? Or do you take a positive approach and realize that these words don’t determine your well being and they don’t make you, the person. I’m not saying that people should ignore it if they have extra body fat to lose and just live in a happy land, but constantly calling yourself these things wont change that, and it will only de-motivate you to do anything even more.

Your health – are you unhealthy? What does that mean? Drinking 10 sodas a day and eating no vegetables? Then change it! Sitting around talking about how unhealthy you are won’t solve a darn thing. The reason I don’t write a ton about “eat these foods to lose fat” is because the truth is that we all know what to eat more of and what to eat less of. It’s the actual doing it that people forget about.

Your nutrition – same thing as above. Be honest with yourself. Are you pounding 500 calorie coffee drinks and eating frozen chicken tenders and mac n cheese for dinner off your kids’ plate? Yep, probably not the healthiest approach. But this is where the mind can really mess with you – in the absence of basic nutrition knowledge. Do you think that you are barely eating, and still struggling to lose weight? In some cases, this CAN be a deeper issue, but that’s for another time. In many cases, it looks something like this:

This is why I believe in some form of basic nutrition education should be mandatory, and some form of tracking should be recommended when beginning a nutritional change.

Your lifestyle – how do you view this? Do you feel like you have a boring life? Again – then do something about it. Try new things, connect with friends, stay out past your bedtime once in a while…

On the flip side – do you live in denial that your current lifestyle choices are leading you down a bad path? A la burning the candle at both ends…

Your abilities – are you always calling yourself weak, stupid, lazy, etc…. well then you will start to believe that that is you. Do you live in a constant fear of failure? The “what if’s” eat you up and keep you up at night…I’m all too familiar with this one – as this is one of my biggest struggles, and something I continue to work on daily. It helps to take a step back and lay things out, look at what you have done, and where you have gotten, and realize that nothing can hold you back if you put your true effort towards it.

So before you go out and sign up for the latest cleanse or diet trend – take a good look at your brain, and think about how you utilize your bodies strongest asset.

Stay healthy my friends,

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Your Generic Weight Loss Goal Sucks

 

Who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds of fat and walk around with a shredded six-pack, smoking hot toned up legs or sculpted shoulders that would make a Greek God jealous?

Okay, there was a little bit of sarcasm and seriousness there.

However, saying your goal is weight loss (while it should at least be fat loss because muscle loss or water loss as a goal is just silly), isn’t going to do much for you. The reason that you want to lose weight is what will bring on the magic. And you are going to have to dig even deeper…

Here is the process I use…

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF SETTING YOUR GOALS – YOUR WHY.

Saying,  “I want to lose weight” is vague and demotivating. Why do you want to lose weight? Because I want to look better.

 Ask again: WHY do you want to look better? Because I want to attract a partner.

 And ASK AGAIN: WHY do you want to attract a partner? Because I want someone to share my life and love with, start a family, and not be alone.

This is your true motivator. You value love, family, and relationships. This is what you need to always keep in mind when stuff gets hard, and you want to give up. Not that you want to lose weight, but that you want to find love. This will always motivate you much more than anyone else ever can.

 These are the things that you literally need to write down, and post on your fridge or at your desk, or on the bathroom mirror – or make the background of your phone – anywhere you will see them frequently and often.

________________________________________________________________________

Now that we have your “why” and your actual goals, we need to break each RESULT GOAL into PROCESS GOALS – these are the steps that will you to your result goal. This is where the focus MUST be, not on the actual result goal.

With “I want to lose weight” as a goal, you cannot sit around and focus on that. You need to write out what are the pieces of the process that will get you there – and hit those HARD.

  • Get to the gym 4 days per week.
  • Measure out my portions.
  • Get 7 hours of sleep each night.
  • Eat 1 serving of protein 4 times per day.
  • Eat 4 servings of veggies per day…

If you sit around and just focus on, “why am I not losing weight?” instead of the process goals, you will just keep spinning in place. Focus on the process, and the finish line will come to you.

Write it out.

  • No seriously, get out paper right now and W.R.I.T.E.I.T.O.U.T!!!
  • Write down 2-4 process goals that will help you get to your result goal.
  • Set a timeline (when you want to accomplish it).
  • Hit it hard, and stay the course.

If it is truly an important goal of yours, you will succeed. I’m not saying it will be easy, but if you put in the work, you will get there. I promise.

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Artificial Sweeteners Aren’t Your Problem

Aspartame. The word sends many people into an outrage and a massive debate ensues.

Aspartame is the most common artificial sweetener, and it is not a toxin*** (more on this)

IT is a combination of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Doesn’t that sound scary? Well it’s not (unless you have the generic condition PKU).

Aspartic Acid and Phenyalalnine are two amino acids – two of the same amino acids that are found in EVERYTHING ELSE that contains protein.

Now, anything can technically be toxic when the dose is big enough – even water can kill you if you have too much. This is where the scary studies come in. I was sent this particular article last night by a client – http://www.businessinsider.com/aspartame-sugar-artificial-sweeteners-bad-for-boy-2018-5?r=UK&IR=T

It is a total fear mongering, clickbait and irresponsible titled garbage – harsh, I know…

I, however, am sick of seeing these lay media sites publish fake news quality information without the science to back it up OR even a simple link to the science to back it up, or a further disclaimer that these studies are not scaled for humans…

Since the article doesn’t even cite the actual study done, I’m going to have to make some assumptions.

Let’s say your average rat is 8 oz. and some average guy is 200 pounds. Thats a 400x difference… One can of diet coke has 180mg of Aspartame in it. Since the author doesn’t even say what the “toxic” level of ASP is, I went to the most stingy source – the European Food Safety Authority. They are often more strict than our own FDA.

The EFSA says: “the acceptable daily limit for aspartame is 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight”. So our 200 pound man (90.9kg) x 40 = 3636 mg/180mg per can = 20 cans of diet coke PER DAY would be DANGEROUS! No kidding!

Look, I’m not saying you should go out and consume artificial sweeteners at will, I would recommend the opposite. Limit them to as little as possible. 90%-100% of your fluid intake should be water in my opinion.

What I am saying is that your daily diet coke is VERY VERY unlikely the cause of your issues to lose weight.

What about the “small study of 12 women who drank artificial sweeteners and didn’t feel satisfied”?!?! Well, there are ZERO calories in diet drinks, so it makes perfect sense that they were not satisfied. They probably were hypoglycemic and hungry – and when you ingest zero calories that won’t fix your problem – shocking!

Here is your life hack – if you are hungry, don’t reach for a sugary drink or a diet drink – eat real food! – I know, your mind has been blown.

Sorry for all the sarcasm today, but I’m just tired of seeing these “articles” making the rounds.

Don’t fall prey to these scary articles that don’t even come close to credible – eat how you know you should eat, don’t drink 20 diet cokes per day, and move your body more…simple.

Stay healthy my friends,

Mike

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Here Comes The Buzzkill…

Store this one under the “I know what to do, but whyyyyyy?” tab…

I enjoy a nice whiskey drink or 2 once in a while, I really do. I enjoy a cold beer on a summer day, or at a sporting event.

But here’s the deal, we need to quit lying to ourselves and thinking that we can get ideal results while still drinking booze like a fish. You’re likely not 18 anymore, and it only gets harder and harder from there.

At 7 calories per gram, alcohol by itself can add up – even more so when you add in the sugary mixers, heavy carb beers, and the natural sweetness of wines.

How about these calorie numbers:

Some popular beers…how many can you put down at a game?

An uber-conservative margarita estimation

Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet

Loaded Bloody Mary (beer chaser puts you at 500 cals.)

 

If alcoholic drinks contributing a hefty amount of calories weren’t bad enough, the effects of alcohol on fat loss are even more discouraging.

When you drink alcohol, it takes over priority in your metabolism – over all other macronutrients – because technically speaking, alcohol is a toxin to your body. In order to try and metabolize and clear the alcohol from your body quickly, your body will focus primarily on that. Yes, this means that your body will stop burning fat, in order to metabolize alcohol first.

Alcohol itself is not easily converted into fat like some will tell you. When alcohol is metabolized it becomes Acetyl-CoA. When Acetyl-CoA levels rise in the body, this signals the body that no sugar or fat needs to be burned. So instead of being a fat “storer”, alcohol is more of a fat burning stopper.

It gets even worse. This same process will also slow down muscle protein synthesis, the process that your body uses to rebuild, recover, and repair muscle, a process that normal revs up your metabolism.

Needless to say, alcohol isn’t going to help you in any of your goals regarding body composition.

However, being a realist – I know that many people won’t give up alcohol completely. True moderation is key and more importantly, limiting the number of days that you consume alcohol to prevent flipping the fat burning switch off for multiple days in a row.

I personally recommend setting a rule of 1-2 days per week that you will drink if you want. This leaves Friday and Saturday night open for me, and I stick to it pretty damn well. It’s not that a lock myself in a room Monday-Thursday (well I kind of do right now…), but if I am out I will just not get a beer. It sounds crazy in Wisconsin, but you can eat dinner out at a restaurant or even a bar and NOT have an alcoholic beverage.

This might also be very hard if you are a wine every night kind of lady or a couple brewskis after work kind of guy…but it can be done. I know many people use a drink or two to wind down from a stressful day. I get it. But is this something you need every night? Switching your body into fat burning suppression mode right after you most likely ate you biggest meal of the day doesn’t sound like optimal timing.

…so drink your booze with breakfast <– Joking

Think of other things you can do to unwind from the day, I bet you can come up with a pretty great list.

Lastly, the alcohol itself isn’t what only leads to most of the calories consumed while enjoying a drink or two, it’s the food choices that are found at bars, sporting events, and social banquets that tend to rack up the calories very quickly.

To be short and blunt, and tell you what you already know – if you are looking for maximal results, your best bet is to limit your alcohol intake as much as possible.

Stay Healthy Mis Amigos,

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Stop Training Like a Dumb@$$

Most people live fairly sedentary lives. We sit for breakfast, we sit in the car on the way to work, we sit at work, we sit on the way home from work, then we go to the gym and train like a maniac. Jumping, hopping, burpee-ing, kettlebell swinging, and doing tons of other high intensity demanding work…then we leave and sit at home, and go to bed, and repeat.

What is wrong with this picture?

Lots of things.

First off, people just sit way too much. Leading to tight hips, tight backs, tight upper chest muscles, weak glutes, and weak un-conditioned core muscles.

Then, you take this body and try to go totally ballistic at the gym. Do we see where the problems lie?

This point was reiterated on the Renegade Radio podcast episode that I was listening to this week with my friend Dr. John Rusin.

In the podcast, John stated – to paraphrase – “most people live in a seated and sedentary life, and then have this crazy bio-psycho-social approach to training – going all out, and thinking every workout must be all or none. These same people who live in a seated position train balls to the wall until they get hurt or burned out. This turns something positive and beneficial (exercise) into a negative, injurious experience”

This couldn’t be any truer.

Many people think that the sign of a good workout is to feel completely obliterated by the end, and feel like they got hit by a Mack truck for days after the workout.

What most burpees look like…

The Solution

Instead of always thinking that you need to be pushing it to the max and going all out – listen to your body and train smarter, and recover even smarter.

If you sit all day, make sure you are taking time DAILY to mobilize your hips, stretch your hips, stretch your chest, and strengthen your abs and glutes. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just a simple little circuit.

When you get to the gym WARM UP! A warmup is NOT walking on the treadmill for 3 minutes, doing some arm circles and then jumping right into your heavy set of bench pressing.

A warmup should consist of three main things that can be accomplished in 5-10 minutes:

  1. Mobilizing tight muscles (dynamic stretching, foam rolling, active mobility drills)
  2. Priming the working muscles for the workout (if you plan on doing bench, prime the pecs, shoulders and upper back with some band work for example)
  3. Getting the heart rate up…you know, the actual WARM part of warming up!

If you are feeling run down or beat up, take it easy at the gym. Focus on high-quality strength training, and don’t think that you need to do the latest burpee challenge or 1000 box jumps.

Lastly, on your off days – don’t spend the whole day laying on the couch. Do some mobility work, and go for a nice walk – even just 30 minutes will do wonders for helping you feel better.

Need a sample recovery day workout? Want to know why I think burpees are the dumbest f****** exercise in the history of ever? Subscribe to the MG FITLIFE insiders and you will find out on Tuesday of next week 😉

Stay healthy my friends,

Mike

 

You CAN Out Train a Bad Diet…Until You Can’t

 

I’m sure you have heard it before, probably even from me – you can’t out train a bad diet. Meaning, no matter how hard you workout, your excessive exercises cannot negate a poor diet, eating too much, eating like a child all the time or even eating too little over time.

Truth is, you can out-train a bad diet, at first.

Your diet has too many calories in it…

If you go from no exercise to a ton of exercise and don’t change a thing with your diet, you will lose weight initially. It’s calories in, calories out at it’s finest. But then what do you do once you physically cannot add more exercise to your life without missing out on family time, work, sleep, or other more important things?

Aside from running out of time to add in more exercise, there is also the effect of hormonal changes that come with excessive exercise (leptin and ghrelin fluctuations), driving your hunger levels up, and making it easier to eat more than you burn – especially if you are already eating a bunch of calorically dense junk food at will.

If you continue to lean on exercise for fat loss, you also can run into what is known as the constrained theory of energy expenditure – however, it is no longer just theory.

Essentially it has been found that once someone goes over a certain threshold of exercise, their body will actually start decreasing the calories burned from NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis – calories you burn from just moving throughout the day).

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(15)01577-8

The traditional model, the Additive Model, figures that the more exercise one adds to their life, the more total calories will be burned. The latest research has shown the Constrained model to be more realistic – with a breakpoint of diminishing returns.

A little bit of exercise (45-60 min 4 to 7 days per week) can elevate the number of calories you burn each day, a moderate amount likely won’t make a huge difference, and extreme amounts WILL burn more, but this is not likely sustainable.

The best way to see this is to use a step tracker while NOT working out. Most will notice that as they increase working out, their steps actually decrease over time – because the body will naturally begin reducing unnecessary energy expenditure outside of exercise to conserve stores.

The point to take away is not that more exercise is worthless, or “bad” – but rather using more exercise without addressing nutrition is a very steep and frustrating uphill battle.

Your diet has too “LITTLE” calories in it…

Hang with me on this one. There are several instances when I have seen this happen.

Example: Someone believes that they are following a super restrictive diet, only eating 1200 calories, but not losing weight! After a closer look we find:

  1. They follow this strict diet 5-6 days per week, then go hog wild because they are over restricted and end up eating 2000-3000 or even 4000 calories on one day in the week, putting their weekly average into a caloric surplus.
  2. They are forgetting to track everything, even the little bites add up!
  3. They are using inaccurate measurements of their food, and actually eating much more than they believe.
  4. They are not counting liquid calories (yes, I’ve even had people not track milk because they thought that liquid calories didn’t count…)
  5. They have been under years of restriction, leading to a slowed metabolic rate, or a dysfunctional thyroid (this is MUCH less common than people think, but it happens)

99% of the time, when it comes to not losing weight because of eating too little, it usually is from more of a user error than an actually slowed metabolic rate.

Even if your goal is weight loss, and you are physically active – you need to make sure you are still eating enough to fuel your workouts, keep your metabolic rate fired up, and most importantly fuel your muscles for recovery.

When you undereat and over exercise, you eventually hit a wall, burn out, get sick, get injured, get overtrained and un-motivated. So even if you are looking to lose weight, your intake should actually increase with your increase in activity – and as long as you create a slight deficit, you will still lose fat at an appropriate rate, and feel much better than most people who are over-restricting.

Need help with eating enough for your goals and having someone hold you to it? Sign up for the…

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You Don’t Lack Discipline, Motivation or Willpower

You lack direction and accountabilty.

It is a very common discussion that I have at least once per week. “I wish I had the discipline/motivation/willpower to do ______”. I get where these people are coming from, and they are not technically wrong that having more of these “things” would be beneficial – however, they are focussed on the wrong “things”.

Discipline 

Saying that you need to find more discipline often times means that you lack a self-driven purpose. You lack a driving force to be disciplined for, you just continue on your ways thinking that maybe tomorrow will be different. Or maybe you are truly content with your current condition, and that’s fine – as long as you are truly okay with it.

I love to use monetary analogies. Having fiscal discipline is important for saving money for a large goal. To buy a house, save for a big vacation, or to pay off debt. Ironically enough, there have been studies showing that people who are over-indebted have a 100% greater chance of being overweight or obese.

Now, these are just correlations, and it is a chicken vs. the egg scenario – because when one is short on money, it CAN be (but not definitely) cheaper to buy unhealthy foods. But what this also can show is that discipline transcends throughout multiple aspects of life.

If you can have the discipline to save for retirement, a house, a vacation – then no, you don’t need the discipline to do things to improve your health, you need a purposeSIGN UP BELOW!

Motivation

Motivation does NOT translate into compliance. Intentions and setting up your environment for success does. In the British Journal of Health Psychology; a study showed that intention bests motivation when it comes to exercise follow-through.

Control group: 38% exercised at least 1x/week
Motivation Group: 35% exercised at least 1x/week.
Intention group: 91% exercised at least 1x/week.

The intention group was told to create a plan for when and where they would exercise over the following week. Specifically, each person in Group 3 was told to state their intention to exercise by completing the following statement…

During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE]. 

The same strategic approach can be used for nutrition and dietary modifications. During the week I will eat vegetables at 2 meals per day – for example.

Instead of saying you need motivation – create intention. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Constrained (SMART) goals work best. SIGN UP BELOW!

Willpower

Willpower is finite – it can and will run out if you try to depend on it. Sure, you can use willpower to resist reaching into the cookie jar in the kitchen, but eventually, you will give in and eat them. (Protip – keep them out of sight, or completely out of the house!)

Studies have shown that willpower will eventually run out if you continue to resist something that is constantly forced into your environment. However, more recent studies have shown that this is only true if you believe it to be true. Huh?

Belief drives behavior.

Believing in success and yourself will help you more than sitting around and belittling yourself and continuing to beat yourself up. If you consistently are bombarded with negative self-talk – or worse, negative talk from those around you, you will subconsciously behave like like you believe you are.

Instead of continuing to think “I am fat” or “I have no willpower” – and if other people are telling you that, well then you need to find other people to hang out with… shift your beliefs in yourself. This is not to say that you should live in denial, but thoughts like “I am working at being more healthy” or “I am a strong-willed person” will slowly build and create a more powerful subconscious.

If you believe that you have poor willpower – you will have poor willpower. If you believe you have no discipline – then you won’t have discipline. If you believe that you have no motivation, then you won’t have motivation.

If you have a plan, set yourself up for success, layout specific intentions, and start taking action – you will “magically” have better willpower, better discipline and better motivation – and thus – better results!

Need help with creating a plan of action and having someone hold you to it? Sign up for the…

Jump Start into Summer Challenge! (open to 10 PEOPLE, ANYONE, ANYWHERE). 

Fill out the quick form and I will put you on the early registration list:

Thanks and I will be in touch shortly!