4 Ways to Simplify Your Workouts Without Stressing Over the Small Stuff (With Videos)

When it comes to working out, there are a million different things you can do and a million different ways that people think is best.

The one common factor: hard work and challenging stimulus.

So why do we NEED to overcomplicate things? The tried and true methods still exist for a reason. The staple exercises still exist for a reason. They work.

But what about when we are low on time, energy, equipment or creativity? Can we still get in a good workout? I better bet you can. Here are a few of my favorite methods or modalities to train when there is a limiting factor.

Time

I love doing simple timed supersets or trisets. Let’s say you only have 30 minutes to be in and out of the gym. Okay, take 5 minutes to warm up and 5 minutes to cool down. That means we have 20 minutes for a workout.

Pick 2 to 3 exercises that hit different muscle groups – upper, lower and maybe abs.

Set a timer to beep every 2 minutes, then do 6-12 reps of each exercise, rest until the beep, and repeat again. Here is a simple example using just one dumbbell:

Dumbbell Offset Reverse Lunge

Dumbbell Renegade Rows

If you do this every 2 minutes, that means you are getting in 10 sets of each. Pretty darn good work.

No Equipment

Your body weight can be a great tool here.

Keep it simple, pick a set number of rounds, or like the previous example, do timed rounds.

Here we have a squat, row, single leg RDL, pushup and single leg glute bridge:

***If you don’t even have a bar to row on, just skip it, but make sure you get in some rowing movements later in the week!***

Just a Barbell

“Just” a barbell is a ridiculous statement. You can do SO MUCH with a barbell!

Here is a simple barbell complex: squat, row, RDL, and push up.

Obviously, you want to use a challenging weight, and the right number of reps based on the weight and or the rounds you choose to do. I have done this exact complex for 25 minutes straight (6-8 reps per exercise with 135 on the bar, plus 1-minute rest after each round) and it is BRUTAL!

Get Creative

Maybe you just have a foam roller? Or a log? There is literally no excuse to NOT get a workout in.

Here is a foam roller only complex, and my cabin log workout (this was more of a joke, but it IS possible!)

 

BONUS: It doesn’t always have to be crazy! 

Here was a cabin mobility/pump workout I did in the basement of my parent’s cabin. Don’t overthink these things!

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Your Diet Doesn’t Matter, and 3 Other Things That Don’t

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Let’s stop the talk about this and that diet being best…

Currently, America sits at a 40% obesity rate, and about a 75% overweight rate. Here are the cold hard facts from the CDC itself:

  • Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
  • The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

So what caused this?

Well depending on where you get your information, or what Netflix documentary you decide to confuse with a factual, educated report, it could be anything!

Sugar, fat, carbs, processed foods, toxins, meat, etc… have ALL been blamed!

Those documentaries always will have an agenda. The people they interview are usually trying to sell something, and they will cherry pick their studies only to support their beliefs. Just like a political debate, you are only getting one side of the story. Remember that the next time you watch a food doc, and decide you need to change your whole life based on one movie.

Here’s what some pretty smart and unbiased people have come up with:

We eat too much, and we move too little…this is it.

Yes, sugar has contributed (even though consumption is actually DOWN over the last 10 years). Yes, fat has contributed (stop putting butter in your coffee, please!) Yes, processed foods have contributed…

But it all comes down to eating too damn much, and not moving enough.

AND studies have also shown that you can lose weight while pretty much eating whatever you want AS LONG as you are eating less than you are burning aka a calorie deficit.

But what about internal health, like blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure?

These markers will ALL improve with a loss of fat. If you are currently obese and have a high marker for any of these, stop wasting time reading about the XYZ diets that are best for you, and just start focussing on losing some weight.

Internal health markers all show significant improvement with body fat loss regardless of what diet you use. Yes, even high fat keto diets improve cholesterol, and high sugar diets have improved blood sugar levels WHEN they are used in a calorie deficit eliciting a fat loss effect.

What about exercise? Don’t I need to punish myself for my gluttony?

That’s the last thing you need to do. If you are obese, and not active, doing some crazy hardcore boot camp or HIIT  training will destroy your body, joints, and soul.

It may LOOK like that is what you need based on commercials and outdated TV shows… but truthfully you need to first focus on diet, then just start walking.

Walking is free. Walking is low impact. Walking has many other great benefits:

  • Blood sugar control after a meal
  • Improved cardiovascular function
  • Joint mobility
  • Improved mood
  • Free dog interactions (if you like dogs)

If you are NEW to exercise or have any form of chronic pain because of your severe obesity – PLEASE DO NOT sign up for a crazy high impact Bootcamp class. Find a good personal trainer who will work with you and where you are at.

What Foods Should You Never Eat Though?

The internet and gurus love to use these lines as click bait. Truthfully, there IS NO MAGICAL FOOD that will make you fat by itself. It doesn’t work that way.

There are no good or bad foods, they have no morals. There are only good and bad portions or good or bad reasons as to WHY we are eating.

Good reason to eat: you are hungry and need nourishment.
Bad reason to eat: any other time, really…

But even this is only partially true. Think about the coffee shop. You sit down and order a large cappcifrappecoco and a scone because, duh, its a coffee shop, without even thinking.

How many people go there because they truly need a meal vs. meeting up with friends, hanging out after a kids baseball game, or magically appearing in the drive-thru because we are stressed?

So it’s not so much about WHAT we eat, but truly not knowing WHY we eat that we need to be focussed on.

What About Fancy Workout Programs to Boost Fat Loss?

Again – not that simple.

The very popular at home, the P90x program is a great example.

Independent researchers looked at three groups:

  1. People who did the program.
  2. People who did the program, and the nutrition plan that came with it.
  3. People who did the nutrition plan that came with it, and their own workouts of choice.

Guess what? Groups 2 and 3 had the same results, while group 1 had worse results.

This shows two things: nutrition matters and exercise modality kiiiiiinda doesn’t…

I say that with a grain of salt, but it’s really just like a diet – you need to find what works for YOU and what you can do safely.

Now, that being said, if you are after a certain LOOK, there are certain ways you will need to train.

You can’t train like a cross country runner and end up looking like a bodybuilder.

But you still don’t need to make training so darn complex. Find a solid program, stick to it for at least 12 weeks, and then assess if you are better off now than you were when you started.

I hope this helps clarify some things for you, and I hope that you can use this knowledge to either help yourself in the right direction or someone you know and care about – so feel free to share it along!

Until next time, stay healthy my friends,

Mike

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How to Avoid Gaining Fat on a Holiday

“What will I do this _______ (insert holiday here) – how will I stay on plan?”

I get this question a lot, and I sense the worry of many patriotic Americans this 4th of July, who know it is their civic duty to celebrate our independence by stuffing our faces full of processed meats, things we call salads that are hardly salads, and epic amounts of American beer…because that’s what freedom looks like!

Now, the cliche answer that many coaches will put out there is – one day doesn’t matter.

One day won’t ruin your month of work, your year of progress. Just like one salad doesn’t make you healthy, one binge day won’t make you fat…

yeah yeah yeah, we have heard it all.

But what if this is wrong? What if one day CAN derail you? Well, I’m here to explain that it can – and how you can minimize the damage.

Let me get this straight though – if you have been rocking your lifestyle, training, and nutrition lately, and you have one crazy day of pigging out, then get right back to your normally planned routine on July 5th, then yeah…most likely you might wake up a little puffy, water-bloated, and hungover… but it won’t undo weeks of work.

But for most people, this is not the case.

From a psychological standpoint, many people struggle with the whole “get right back to it” part. And to make matters harder, many preemtively prepare for a holiday by using the ol’ “i’ll be pigging out in 2 days anyway, so might as well start now” line.

AND to go full science nerd on you – one day of overeating CAN lead to fat gain if you push your calories into a surplus.

For example – let’s say your maintenance calorie level is 2000 calories. If you eat 2000 calories every day you stay at the exact same weight.

Now let’s say you have been losing weight by eating 1800 calories per day. Your week might look like this with a July 4th party…

  • Monday 1800
  • Tuesday 1800
  • Wednesday 1800
  • Thursday 5000
  • Friday 1800
  • Saturday 1800
  • Sunday 1800

AVERAGE: 2257 calories aka a SURPLUS

So yes, one day of super binging CAN derail you. Facts our facts. No fake news here. The key is to not let it if it happens. Yes, you will have a setback – but this is not the end of the world. It is what it is…and frankly it’s called being a human.

The mistake most make is they beat themselves up over this weight gain. They feel guilt, shame, and disappointment – and eventually, just give up. That is where the mistake lies. Not in the one-day bender for America – but giving up BECAUSE of the one-day bender.

If you put yourself in the right mental mindset, you can get over this mental hump and just keep fighting forward – great! It happened, now just move on. Don’t vent about it on social media, don’t cry about it to your spouse – just move on.

Now how can we minimize the potential for that one-day bender causing a setback?

Be Active

Get a workout in. A hard one. A heavy one. You know you will be eating like a patriot on July 5th, 1776 later today, so make room for all that fuel. I love doing heavy leg days or strongman type workouts on holidays.

I like this one for today:

  • Farmer Carry
  • Sled Push
  • Clean to Press
  • Sled Pull

I will use bodyweight for farmer carries and double bodyweight on the sled. 6 rounds sound fun.

Also – go for walks after meals. Don’t just sit around in a coma all day. Just move.

Prolong Fasting

If you know you are grilling out around noon, maybe have a light breakfast or skip it altogether ( not recommended if you are doing the above recommendation of training hard). There is nothing wrong about prolonging your fast from the night. Some might say this encourages eating disorder like behavior – which in some it might – so know your mind and body – BUT for many, this is just a biological tactic that humans have been doing unintentionally forever up until the current century.

The other tactic is prolonging the fast the day after.

If you wake up tomorrow still full from today, here’s a newsflash – you don’t need to eat. Listen to your body. Again – for some, this might trigger eating disorder like behavior, but for many, this is just called mindful or intuitive eating. Don’t eat unless you are hungry is a simple, but a very challenging thing to master.

Keep it Normal as Possible

Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you NEED to pig out. I know, crazy idea!

The fact is, you can enjoy the celebrations and the company of others without pigging out. There is nothing that says you need to change a thing with your diet.

But I am also here to reinforce the bigger picture.

Yes – one day CAN derail you. But you don’t need to let it. If you want to enjoy 4 brats and 12 beers – go for it. Just own your decision and own the result, and move on. We could sit around and blame others for why we pigged out on a holiday and how we have no clue why our weight went up, but that’s lying to ourselves.

Enjoy the day how ever the heck you want to – if you choose to take a day off, sit around, and pig out – awesome! If not, awesome! Just remember it’s your decision and your decision alone.

 

Happy 4th America!

 

 

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Stop Lying to Yourself About Reaching Your Goals

You are holding yourself back. No one else, but you.

This is a very hard thing for many people to accept. If you are okay with your current life – not even talking fitness and health here – that is awesome! But if you are not happy, and you continue to not take ownership and do something about it, you are the only one to blame.

You need to take ownership of your life and your decisions, and stop blaming outside people and things as the cause for why you can’t do XY and Z.

Ask most people what a good show to watch is and they will fire off 5 shows on TV or Netflix, but then those same people will tell you how much they wish they had the time to go to the gym.

They have the time.

It’s just not a current priority of theirs – and thats okay – as long as they don’t complain about not seeing specific results that they want.

We need to get better at owning our situations and choices.

When I played football in high school, one of our rules was if you screw up on a play, you say “my fault coach” and move on, and don’t do it again. Obviously, if someone had too many “my fault coach”‘s – they would get demoted.

But taking ownership of our mistakes, and moving forward saved us a lot of time and energy that I’m sure many people would rather spend arguing about why they screwed up, or how it was so-and-so’s fault…but we had work to do, and didn’t need to waste time doing that.

This is one of the many reasons why Eden Prairie Football is a powerhouse in the state of Minnesota and we were undefeated state champs my senior year #glorydays

When it comes to health, fitness, and nutrition – these same rules apply.

You do have time to workout. You do have time to make a healthier meal. You CAN sleep more.

You just need to prioritize these things and put in the work. Like anything else worthwhile in life, the results FOLLOW the work!

Here are some of my favorite examples of how you can do all of the above:

Making protein breakfasts – okay, this one is pretty specific, but it’s one of my favorite “myths” to bust. Eggs and egg whites are a staple of many peoples healthy diets – while the standard American breakfast is full of carbs and sugar. It takes me less than 3 minutes to make eggs in the morning. You can find three minutes – I promise. No excuses here. View the Instagram video below on how to do this:

View this post on Instagram

Less than 3 minutes…it’s all you need to make eggs for breakfast and really up your protein game. . . . Eggs and egg whites are the most complete form of protein, and one of the healthiest foods you can eat. . . . I hear this so often “I don’t have time to make eggs in the morning” – and then this person either skips breakfast, or eats a total carb and sugar bomb of a breakfast. . . . 3 minutes is all you need. If you cannot find 3 minutes to improve your health, you don’t want it bad enough – there is no other way to put this. . . . #eggs #healthybreakfast #breakfast #protein #nutritiontip #easybreakfast #eggwhites #rdapproved #onlinecoach #onlinedietitian #healthyfood #cookingvideo #cookingtip #timesaver #savingtime #priorities

A post shared by MG Fitlife – Mike Gorski, RD. (@mgfitlife) on

If you have a little bit more time you can throw any veggies in the pan while it heats up. One of my favorite tricks is to cut up a bunch of veggies on a weekend, throw them in a plastic bag in the freezer, and then when I need them for eggs I just grab a handful and throw them in the pan while it heats up.

Working Out – “I wish I had time to work out all day like you” – is something that is assumed because I am a trainer. Lately, I have been lifting 3 days per week for anywhere from 60-90 minutes. And that is all I do for working out. Honestly.

Strength training is what I love doing. It also happens to be one of the best things you can do as far as exercise goes. The benefits are endless and I went into more detail on it here.

You need to find something that you at least sort of enjoy, and stick to it as your exercise. You won’t stick to something that you hate. If you enjoy yoga or running – then do that!

Obviously, I am biased and will always recommend strength training in some way shape or form because it is proven to be the best form of exercise 🙂

But here is what else my day looks like:

  • On my feet all day – getting an average of about 11,000 steps per day right now
  • I track my diet and hold myself accountable to my food choices
  • Usually, get in one 2 mile walk per day with the family after dinner

You don’t need to spend hours in the gym. But you do need to get off your butt. Here is a totally free resource to get you started: Free Dumbbell Only Workouts

Getting More Sleep – again, you choose when you do this. Yes, there are some busy frickin people out there that need to work late and get up early. But start with a true assessment of your day. Are you wasting any time on mindless TV, phone use, or anything else?

Be honest with yourself.

Power down the electronics 30 minutes earlier tonight, turn the lights down and see what happens. You can’t knock it until you try it, and you won’t know how it feels to get more sleep until you do!

Sleep is so vital to everything that most desire – fat loss, muscle gain, more energy, more productivity, more money…

So set a timer to tell you to get your butt to bed. Hold yourself accountable, and make it happen.

Tracking Food – if I had a dollar for every time I told someone to just start tracking their food (not even making recommendations yet) and they said “I don’t have time for that” – I would have probably about 500 dollars – cool story.

But… if I had a dollar for every time someone started tracking their food, and they came back to me and said “wow! you haven’t even told me what to eat and I already lost some weight!” – I would be a millionaire. (okay maybe that’s a stretch…).

So many people claim to not have time to track, yet, those who do see the benefit right away.

Why wouldn’t you give it a shot? Truly – like setting yourself up for sleep – you can’t doubt it or knock it until you give it a fair shot. So many people just assume that they can’t do it without even trying.

Once you get the hang of it, it will only take you about 15 minutes per day – guaranteed to improve your chances of getting results.

How many people would buy a product called “The 15 Minute Workout” if it promised fat loss and sustainable results? So why not commit to tracking your food if that provides the same?

You don’t need to track forever, but it can be a great learning tool. Studies have shown that people underestimate their intake by 48%, and overestimate their output (calorie burn) by about 21-61%!

Many people “think” they are eating in a deficit until you track everything – nibbles, bites, and snacks included – and you will find that this stuff adds up fast!

Again, this is just a tool to bring awareness – and is not meant to punish or shame you. Awareness must always precede change.

Track your food while sitting on the toilet for all I care…just give it a try.

Would you like more help on taking back your life, learning to love health and food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

I’m a Registered Dietitian…and I Don’t Like Vegetables

True statement.

Sort of.

If you offered me a choice between what I would rather have:

  • Meat or Vegetables
  • Starchy carbs or vegetables
  • Fruit or vegetables
  • Dessert or vegetables

I would choose option one every time.

But – I eat them. Not enough, but I eat them – and most of the time I do enjoy them, but not more than the other parts of the meal.

When most people, myself included, think of vegetables, we think of boring, plain, raw, steamed or boiled vegetables. Not very enticing.

But, when prepared in a slightly different way, or with some extra seasonings or flavors added – they aren’t that bad, and actually enjoyable.

Roasting, air frying or grilling are my go to options. Add in some fresh garlic, lemon juice, or a little seasoning blend and they can be game-changing.

When it comes to nutrition, fitness, and health – we KNOW what we need to be doing, eating, not eating, and not doing to optimize our health. The disconnect comes from actually taking action and doing it, especially if it isn’t the most enjoyable.

Take traditional cardio for example.

I know that having cardiovascular health is important. I know that cardio is great for heart health, conditioning, and even muscle recovery.

But there are endless things I would rather do than jog on a treadmill, sit on a stationary bike, or plant my butt on a rowing machine.

So I make it more enjoyable and incorporate different forms of cardio in my training or add something that I want to do to my cardio (what I need to do).

If I am going to listen to a podcast or a new album release, I will do it during one of my recovery walks. 30 or 45 minutes of walking goes by extra fast when listening to something enjoyable AND if done outside in nature.

If I don’t have a podcast to listen to, I will do more of a conditioning circuit workout for 20-30 minutes. Pick a couple of exercises that get the heart rate going, and repeat for a metabolic circuit. These can be things like dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell complexes.

View this post on Instagram

Don’t over complicate your training for the sake of being cool or different. There is a reason why these movements have withstood the test of time – they work. . . . Here I turned 4 fundamental movement patterns into a simple dumbbell Complex. These are great for getting your heart rate up, metabolism revved and still hitting the muscles decently well. . . . 5 reps of all 4 (squat, row, hinge and push-up) followed by a rest period (2 minutes for beginners, 90 seconds for intermediate and 60 seconds for advanced) . . . Complete 5-8 sets or set a timer for 15 minutes and just go. Make sure you use a weight that makes the 5 reps challenging. . . . #dumbbellworkout #dumbbellcomplex #metcon #hiitworkout #fatlossworkout #musclebuilding #primarymovements #squats #rows #deadlifts #pushups

A post shared by MG Fitlife – Mike Gorski, RD. (@mgfitlife) on

Or I will do strongman type workouts that involve pushing sleds, pulling sleds, carrying heavy things, and slamming ropes, medballs, or sledgehammers.

This is what we all must learn to do. It’s easy to sit around and tell people what they should be doing in the short term, to gain benefits in the long term…but many people still don’t actually do it!

Instead, we need to find strategic ways to take what we KNOW we should be doing, find a way to spice it up, and DO IT.

The human body is meant to thrive off of whole, nutritious foods.

The human body is meant to be active and strong.

We all only get one body – so you better find a way to make the most of it.

Would you like help with spicing up your training, learning to love health and food, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

5 Hacks to Add More Time to Your Day

“If only I had more time…”

Here’s the deal – we all have the same 24 hours. Nobody is special and gets more.

What you do in that 24 hours is YOUR doing, no one else. Taking responsibility for your own life, decisions and actions is step 0 of this process. Without being in that position, you will continue to blame others, play the victim card, and not do anything for yourself.

Okay, tough love talk is out of the way, and you have accepted that you are in control of your life, right?

Cool.

Now to the actionable items…

How can we add more time to our day?

1) 15 Minute Time Audit

Yes, write out your whole day in 15-minute blocks. What were you doing during each of those blocks. What EXACTLY were you doing? Were you at work working, or at work creeping on your ex-girlfriend on Facebook?

Were you spending time with your partner, or actually just sitting on the couch browsing Instagram while some boring show played in the background?

Be brutally honest with yourself.

Within your full day of 15-minute windows you will find 2 different opportunities:

A) Instant cuts – things you can get rid of right now to free up more time

B) Linkable habits – things you always do that you can LINK new habits to.

2) Habit Linking

What is something you do every day, without even thinking about it? This is a pure habit. Find something that you WANT to do every day…and link it to that habit, preferably BEFORE the habit you currently do…so you have to “earn” it.

“I need to start exercising” –> “I currently brush my teeth every morning after breakfast, then watch the morning news for 15 minutes”

Cut out the news, it’s all fake anyway 😉  (but you can check it later really) and make it habit of – after breakfast, before I brush my teeth, I will do 5 squats and 5 pushups every minute on the minute for 5 minutes.

Another example:

I always walk by Sharon’s desk at work AND grab a piece of candy out of her bowl.

Sharon is an awesome lady – don’t stop walking by her desk and saying hello. But guess what, you can say hello without mindlessly eating 100 calories every day. Swap the habit of grabbing candy with saying something nice about Sharon every day (don’t be a creep though)

How does this add time to your day though? Think forward. By mindlessly skipping the candy, you have saved yourself 100 mindless calories. When you save those calories, you don’t need to stress about eating a “healthier” dinner because you shamed yourself for eating that candy (THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY BEHAVIOR, BUT Let’s be real, people do it), nor do you “need” to walk that extra mile to burn off those 100 calories… (again NOT what I condone, BUT in reality, people do this)

3) Outsource Tasks

We live in a crazy new world. You could stay in your bedroom all day (with the right job) and get everything you need. This is a curse and a blessing – but if used wisely, you can add time to your day.

Hate grocery shopping? Most places will deliver for FREE if you spend at least $50. That saves you a trip to and from by itself.

The other benefit to this – you can decide what food enters your home, and not leave it up to chance at the store. How many times have you gone grocery shopping hungry, stress, or sad…only to buy food that you didn’t really want, and definitely didn’t need?

So let’s put this into practice with the previous hacks.

When is it that you feel the most motivated to be healthy? Usually after a good workout, or after doing something else for your health. So link it up.

After working out on Fridays, I will take 15 minutes to log in and online grocery shop for the foods that 90% support my goals, my families health, and 10% are enjoyable treats.

You can outsource so many other things…even if you have to spend some money.

Figure out what your time is worth. Whether it is based on being able to work more (what is your hourly rate) OR being able to do more of what you love (no price needed).

Pay the neighbor kid $20 to mow your lawn so you can meal prep, spend time advancing your business, or just spending time with family.

Whatever value you put on your time, or what you want to be doing – figure this out, and find a way to make it worthwhile.

4) Schedule Out Your Entire Day

Yes, this might seem OCD, but it really helps.

I am terrible at time management. If I am working on one thing, and an email pops up – I will stop what I am doing, and check the email…and then somehow find myself on facebook, and then decide I need a snack…

Schedule your day. When you work. When you eat. When you play. When you sleep. When you have family time. When you check emails.

After doing your 15-minute audit, clean it up. Designate specific times for the things that matter most.

I removed my work email from my phone and designated specific time EACH day to check my work email from my home computer. This has helped incredibly with focus, and stress in my life, and it is so simple!

I schedule in time to train, and I have my phone automatically lock me out of all apps besides my music app during this time. No more getting wrapped up in facebook, emails or reading the news – just my time to train because it makes me feel better, keeps me in shape, and is a stress reliever for me.

5) Plan Out the Next Day the Night Before

What are the 3 things I NEED to accomplish tomorrow?

Nothing else matters until those 3 things are done.

Write this out. They might be 3 very simple tasks – but you will be much more likely to actually do them. If you only do 2 of the 3, put the 3rd task as #1 on the following day’s goal list.

Put the easiest task first. That way it puts you into a winning mindset for the day. As soon as you do task #1 – cross it off, and say “hell yeah, I got this”

When you plan out these things and trim the fluff from your day, you will find yourself having more time, more freedom and honestly – a much better life.

Would you like more help on taking back your life, learning to love health and food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

Ladies! Get Your Lift On!

This one goes out to all the ladies in the room.

When was the last time you lifted weights that were heavier than 3 pounds? Or hell, lifted weights at all? Performed sets of 3-5 reps? Rested after a set for more than 1 minute?

Has it been a while? Or maybe never?

That’s okay! But maybe it’s time to give it a try. You see, you have been misled, and lied to. Magazines, fitness influencers, and other people and company just trying to play into your emotions and take your money have been lying to you.

Cardio only for fat loss – LIES

Light weight and high reps to tone – LIES

1200 calories to lose fat – DANGEROUS LIES

When MOST women I talk to about their goals describe the “look” that they are after and then tell me about what they have been doing to reach that goal, there is a disconnect.

Again – not your fault! You have been lied to that lifting heavy makes you turn into she-hulk, or eating more than 1200 calories will make you fat, or you need to spend hours on the step mill with a band around your knees to get that booty you are after (while wearing an ab trainer belt that the shady trainer at the gym conveniently sells out of the trunk of his car….)

Here is why lifting heav(ier) is what you might need, and how to do it…

1) Build Muscle – there is no toning of muscle. You are either build muscle or losing muscle. You are either adding body fat or losing body fat.

When you strength train – you build muscle. Having more muscle increases your resting metabolic rate – which means you burn more calories throughout the rest of the day.

If you have never tried lifting heavier, try this.

Stay in the 5-8 rep range most of the time. Use big compound movements – squats, deadlifts, rows, presses. AND THEN…REST after a set!

Resting for 45-90 seconds will not kill your fat burning zone. It will allow your muscles to recharge so they can attack the weights even harder on the next set!

2) A Sense Of Badassery 

You already are a badass, and no you don’t need anything else to prove it…but lifting some heavy stuff can help with that.

I love seeing my female clients hit new lifting PR’s (personal records). Lifting 250 pounds off the floor, or pushing a 500-pound sled…Talk about empowering!

You are not a delicate little flower – start challenging your body to do what it was made to do!

3) Functional Strength

Besides looking like a goddess, lifting heavy has benefits for your everyday life and health.

Let’s say your kid weighs 40 pounds. And you can only lift 50 pounds off the floor.

When you go to lift your kid up, you are using 80% of your max working capacity. That’s pretty tough!

Now let’s say you get stronger by deadlifting weekly – and you can now lift 150 pounds off the floor no problem. Well, your 40-pound kid is now only 26.6% of your max lifting capacity! Easy peasy!

Kate Upton is a beast thanks to her trainer Ben Bruno! But she doesn’t look bulky, does she??

4) Bone Health

Unfortunately, women are much more prone to degeneration of their bones due to osteoporosis or osteopenia.

Heavy strength training (With proper nutrition) is one of THE best ways to make your bones more dense and stronger. Younger ladies, you might not be worried about this now, but don’t play with fire – bone loss starts around 30 years old.

Heavy squats and deadlifts are great for challenging your whole frame to grow stronger!

5) Follow a Structured Program

Don’t just use the IG video of the day, or do the lifts you know and enjoy.

Follow a structured program so you can actually monitor progress and know if you are getting stronger.

This is called progressive overload – and is the main principle behind muscle growth!

If you lifted 100 pounds for 3 reps one week, and 105 for 3 reps the next, you progressed! Awesome!

Don’t have a structured program to follow?

Check out my Ladies 3-Day Lean Lifting program! This will cover everything above, and then some! Spend only 45- 60 minutes at the gym, 3 days per week, AND get that lean, toned look that you have been after? Sounds like a win to me!

Ready to create a new you through lifting? Change for good, and find lasting results that allow you to enjoy the process?  Let’s chat —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

5 Ways To Make Grilling Season Healthy…AND Still Tasty.

Grilling season is upon us here in Wisconsin and you need to be ready to dominate without blowing up your waistline.

And no, you don’t need to be bland and boring either. You should know by now that I’m not that guy, I want you to enjoy your food to the fullest, but also not lose track of your goals.

Hell, grilling is already healthier than our other favorite method of cooking – deep frying. However, just because something is grilled – doesn’t make it your best option. Nor does it usually consist of the entire meal.

Time to cover the 5 ways that you can master the grilling season, and still rock your bikini/mankini this summer.

1 – Veggies Always 

This is a no brainer for any meal, but if you focus on filling half your plate with veggies, you will be filling half your gut with very lower calorie nutrient goodness. You can’t go wrong there.

My favorite grilling veggies? Zucchini and Asparagus.

Give them a drizzle in olive oil, throw some pink salt and garlic powder on them, and grill to perfection.

2 – Lean Meats

I love brats. However, the high amount of saturated fat found in a brat doesn’t love us back. Look for leaner sources of protein to grill when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck this grilling season.

How do you know what good lean options are?

A great rule of thumb is if the grams of protein is at least 2x the grams of fat, it is a decent protein source. IF the grams of protein is closer to 3x or 4x, then you have a real winner.

Here is a brat compared to some good alternatives:

Do you see how the brat has 7 MORE grams of fat than protein? This would be considered a VERY fatty protein source, and frankly a pretty crappy one at that.

3) Watch the Carb Overload

If you have been reading my other posts, you should know that I love carbs.

However, there is no need to go overboard on them, especially if this a low activity weekend we are talking about.

If you are eating something with a bun, don’t forget that these count as carbs, so maybe your side dishes should be lower carb options.

Or if you want the higher carb sides – potatoes, corn, mac n cheese… then maybe skip the bun. It’s your choice, but make it quick before you have an “ah screw it” moment.

HIgh carb side dishes also can pack a lot of extra calories from fat – so be aware of that as well!

 

4) Go To Town With Seasonings

You don’t need your food to be boring and bland to be healthy. Seasonings are a fantastic way to add tons of flavor with minimal extra calories.

Staples to always have on hand are:

  • Garlic powder
  • Pink salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Any BBQ dry rub
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Need ideas for pairing these up? I got you covered from SpicesInc.com

(Click the photo to make it bigger)

5) Don’t Forget the Real Reason You Are Grilling

Here is one that can apply to any social situation.

Keep the focus on the occasion itself, and not the idea of blindly stuffing your face with food and drinks. You can celebrate a beautiful day without pigging out, or drinking 12 crispy boys with your bros. Yes, this is actually possible.

Are you grilling to celebrate a great baseball game? Awesome! Enjoy the game. Nothing anywhere says that you will enjoy it more if you eat 4 brats and pound 12 beers…you CAN enjoy things without this!

Many times we gravitate towards eating mindlessly or drinking in social situations that we might not feel 100% comfortable. Rather than stuffing your face or drinking the liquid courage, why not practice being social? Stuffing your face won’t help you improve your social skills, and drinking might end up making a fool out of you and making you REALLY socially awkward.

Stick to these 5 tips this grilling season (and year round) and you will be feeling better, and enjoying more warm days with fewer clothes on 🙂

Would you like more help on controlling your food choices, learning to love food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

Getting Swole While Fasting, Is It Possible?

Fasting seems to be all the rage these days. Intermittent fasting more specifically. The benefits are touted as being superior to non-fasting protocols, from boosting growth hormone to preventing aging…

While these claims are a bit silly, one thing that is for sure is that fasting is nothing new.

Fasting has been a worldwide principle since the dawn of time, particularly for religious purposes.

A friend recently reached out to ask how to structure nutrition during Ramadan, with a goal of maintaining or even gaining some solid muscle during this period.

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is observed worldwide by Muslims by fasting during the times when the sun is up for 29-30 days. 

While this is a tricky time to gain muscle for those looking to observe this period and get jacked, it is still possible.

1) Prioritize Your Eating Windows

With any fasting protocol, you need to plan out your opportunities to eat a little bit more than the average person. Since you are restricted to a specific time, you must be planning in advance to make sure all your bases are covered – especially if your goal is gain muscle, you will need to be in a slight surplus of calories.

If it is for Ramadan, you will need to split your eating windows in two, and base each one on when you are training, to maximize your peri-workout nutrition as well.

If possible, I would recommend training in the morning and eating a solid pre-workout meal 2 hours before training, ideally this would happen upon waking, and training could happen anytime 2-3 hours after (while the sun is up)

  • Wake up: 4:30 AM – Eat 50% of daily goal
  • Sunrise: 5:48AM
  • Train: 7:00AM

If you cannot train during the AM hours, and need to train in the PM, I would try and get in a smaller high easy digestible carb shake on the way to hit the gym, then eat a larger meal after.

  • Sunset: 7:58PM
  • Drink 30-40g carb + 10g protein
  • Train
  • Eat meal by 9PM

The PM option is tougher, because you are eating later, and potentially limiting sleep, which is key for recovery and muscle growth.

2) Prioritize Calorie Dense Foods (Carefully!)

This doesn’t mean you should live off of ice cream and donuts during your eating window, but if your goal is to gain or at least maintain muscle, you need to be at maintenance or a slight surplus.

Choosing slightly fattier cuts of meat, having handfuls of nuts, or using higher fat versions of any foods might be needed to hit a calorie target.

If you are used to being on the lower end of fat intake, this might throw you for a bit, but if calories are controlled, you may have to drop your carb intake slightly and bump up your fat intake slightly.

I would keep carbs as close to training as possible, whether it be before or after.

Carbs will not only provide fuel for intense training, but they also provide a “switch” to turn off the sympathetic nervous state that is heightened during training and shift our body into a parasympathetic state of recovery.

If you train in the morning, and cannot eat carbs post workout because the sun is up – no worries, prioritize your recovery breathing, chillax a bit, and wind down from your workout.

Remember – total daily intake is what matters most!

3) Get Enough Protein

This should go without saying, but to maintain or build muscle mass you NEED to be getting at least .6-1g/lb of protein. (if calories are sufficient, the .6 will work, not ideal, but it will work) Because your eating windows might be shorter, this can be tough, and lead to some gassy results.

Try to split the feedings up as much as possible, but if you can get 3 feedings in that should be the minimum goal.

Now, if you are a bigger person, getting 250 grams of protein in 3 meals might not be possible. Truth is if you are getting enough calories, and getting at least .6g/lb you should have no issues losing your gains over the 29-30 day period.

So what might this all look like for a split day fast like Ramadan? Let’s use my friend as an example:

Current Intake: 310g C/55g F/170g P – 24-30g/fiber ( 2415 calories )

  • 4:30AM – Wakeup – Eat 40-50% of daily intake carbs, 20% fat, 40g pro (130g C, 11g F, 40g Pro)
  • Train
  • Sunrise – FAST
  • Sunset – END FAST
  • Eat 25-30% carbs, 30-40% of fat, and another 40-50g protein.
  • Then cap off the rest in another meal before bed.

Now, this would be ideal…but life isn’t always ideal! If this person wanted to still maintain muscle but wasn’t able to eat all this food what can we do? This is where tweaking the macros could be an option. Now I wouldn’t do this overnight, but a slow transition to lower carb, higher fat would be the way to go…

Reminder – carbs are 4 cal/gram and ft is 9 cal/gram – so for every 2ish grams of carbs we drop, we can add 1 gram-ish of fat. I would keep adjustments around 10-20g/carbs per day per week while balancing out with added fats.

So maybe the macros look like this:

250g C/ 82g F/ 170g P – 24-30g fiber (still 2415 calories)

Then the distributions might be easier, because you are getting more calories, with less volume of food.

Lastly, what if training at night?

I would try and train before the sun goes down, and be ready to feast as soon as you finish training. HOWEVER – don’t do this RIGHT away, because your body is in a super sympathetic state and may not be ready to digest a feast. So cool down, hit a protein and simple carb shake, then feast 1 hour later.

In this situation, I would still try and get 50-60% of calories in before the sun comes up but would shift to a little bit more fat dominant, and save more carbs for after sundown.

I hope this helps some of my swole bro’s out there who are partaking in this fasting period – hats’ off to you guys because I don’t think I would make it!

 

Ready to make the lifetime commitment? Change for good, and find lasting results that allow you to enjoy the process?  Let’s chat —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

5 Keys To Sustainable Fat Loss Results

Losing weight isn’t the hard part. Losing weight and keeping it off is.

Maybe you or someone you know lost a ton of weight once, and now they have since gained it back, and then some, and seem to struggle mightily to lose it again.

If you know more about this person, think about how they did it. Maybe they went on some crazy hardcore diet for a couple of months, spent 3 hours a day at the gym, or took questionable supplements that cost over $2000/month…

The person who loses and regains all usually lost via some extreme fashion.

So how do we avoid this? How do we make progress that lasts, and seems as effortless as possible? These are not in order of importance.

1) Regular Exercise

You may be wondering, “I thought diet was most important for fat loss!” and you would be right. BUT, maintaining fat loss is a different story. Regular exercise that challenges the body is key to maintaining results long-term. Yes, walking is great and getting 10k steps per day is awesome – but our bodies are meant to be physical, strong and challenged once in a while.

You don’t need to spend hours per day, but even 4-5 days per week of 30 minutes of vigorous activity will be enough.

While I don’t advise people to count their calories burned from exercise into their food intake (earning food is a bad mindset) – you cannot deny that regular exercise does increase your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

2) Willingness to Change

This should seem like a no brainer, but you need to be willing to change some things in your life for good. You cannot expect to make a ton of changes for 12 weeks, get results, then revert back to all your old habits and maintain your progress.

Obviously, we want to change as little as possible to make this as easy as possible.

However, the number of people who say they want to change, yet continue to live 3-4 days a week like they are in college still cracks me up.

You need to be okay with changing your ways if you want to see a change in your waist…….that was awful 🙁

3) Consistent Monitoring of Something

Whether it be your food, your weight, or your lifts in the gym – you have to monitor something to maintain your own sort of self-accountability.

If you weigh yourself daily, you shouldn’t worry about your day-to-day weights, but rather your general trends over the course of time. Try the Happy Scale App for this.

Tracking food is one of the best tools when it comes to improving your nutrition knowledge. I don’t know how many times I have heard people say, “once I started tracking, I was SHOCKED at how many calories were in XYZ”

Tracking your progress at the gym is a great idea for everyone, even if you don’t necessarily care about being super strong. It will help you track overall progress, because if you are slowly getting stronger, you are slowly building more muscle, and thus likely improving your body comp (muscle to fat ratio).

4) Support

Going at things alone is never a good idea. I don’t care what people say, nobody is truly self-made successful.

If you are trying to improve your health by eating healthier and being more active, it doesn’t help if your partner keeps bringing home fast food, and sweets and encouraging you to skip the gym and watch late night TV instead.

Get a new partner. Ok, maybe not.

BUT – have that discussion with them, explain why this is important to you, and what they could do to show love and support.

Join a weight lifting group, a running club, or any group of like-minded people who maybe have the same goals and hobbies as you. In a world where we are so overly connected via the internet, we are less socially connected more than ever. Having your “tribe” or coach to guide and keep you accountable is key.

5) Appreciation of the Long Game

My clients probably get sick of me saying this.

But you have to be willing to go with the ebbs and flows of life and play the long game.

Think about the person who puts all their eggs in one basket, pushes all their chips into the pot, and goes hog-wild for 12 weeks of exercise and extreme dieting. Let’s say they lose 20 pounds. Then they regain. They then repeat next year, because it worked for the last year… maybe this time they lose 18 pounds in 12 weeks. Then regain…this pattern continues for 3-4 years.

Then the other person comes in. They focus on sustainable results, and work at it, but also live life, and enjoy the process. They “only” lose 6 pounds in a year. That’s .5 pounds per month…or roughly 0.125 pounds per week… “nothing” to most people…

3 years later, they are 18 pounds lighter, leaner, and healthier and hardly noticed the struggle.

3 YEARS! <—- Read this again.

Think back 3 years ago. If I came to you and said – “hey, you will be 18-25 pounds leaner 3 years from now, and the process will be almost effortless compared to crash diets and crazy workouts, you in?”

3 years isn’t really that long of a time, especially if you are 100% more likely to KEEP that 18-25 pounds off for the rest of your life because you learned so many positive habits and skills along the way.

Ready to make the lifetime commitment? Change for good, and find lasting results that allow you to enjoy the process?  Let’s chat —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,