Your Fad Diet is Invalid

Going on a juice cleanse to reset your metabolism?

Going on a ketogenic fast of only eggs, butter, and cheese to break through that stubborn plateau?

Ripping shots of Apple Cider Vinegar to boost your metabolism?

Here’s the thing, all of these can “work“, but not the way most people think.

An ultra low-calorie juice cleanse doesn’t reset your metabolism, it actually could to the opposite and slow it down.

(when you starve yourself of protein, and massive amounts of calories for prolonged periods of time, your metabolic rate will slow down)

You lose weight because you cut out calories from protein and fat and just drink fruits and veggies all day. Newsflash: I would lose insane amounts of weight on a 1000 calorie juice cleanse – I would also last about 8 hours on it….

You cut out carbs and went full keto and melted fat away like a champ? Did you replace all your calories that you cut from carbs? If you didn’t, your argument is invalid. Here’s what this scenario usually looks like:

Pre Diet Intake

3000 calories – 320 grams carbs – 205 grams protein – 105 grams fat

Cut Carbs Because Carbs Are the Devil

50 grams of carbs – 205 grams of protein – 105 grams of fat…. = 1965 calories!

OF COURSE YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT! But you cannot justifiably say that it was the carbs because you didn’t completely replace the calories.

Even if you DOUBLE up on fat grams (210 grams) – you are still only hitting 2910 calories, so technically a very little less – but still less cals.

Calories matter, plain and simple.

What about stuff like apple cider vinegar? Or fat melting pills?

I had a conversation with a guy at a cookout the other weekend about how his ex girlfriend “started taking apple cider vinegar shots after meals at lost 20 pounds!”

I asked him, “did she change ANYTHING else?”

“Well I think she started eating healthier and going to those bootcamp classes 4 times per week”

Needless to say, I highly doubt it was the ACV that was melting the fat away…

If calories are not controlled for, and there is ANY change in them – your argument of magic pills and elixirs is INVALID.

So what should your diet look like??

The best diet is the one that is sustainable and consistent (and moves you in the desired direction eventually). Different things work for different people – but the less “forced” it feels, the better it will be in the long run.

Here’s something to leave you with:

In 2008 I was 260 pounds. I am now comfortably 205 pounds, and have been there for about a year now. I finally feel comfortable with my nutrition, and my lifestyle, and things are on autopilot (for now) – 9 years later… not 21 days, 12 weeks…but 9 effing years.

You cannot expect to undo years and years of abuse to your body in an insanely short period of time.

Be patient, be consistent, and keep working forward – that is the best diet for you.

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3 Lies the Fitness Industry Still Tries to Sell You

 

Either I’m already getting old and crotchety, or just getting more and more sick of seeing bull crap like this being shoved at people:

Image result for cleanse magazine

I have seen too many people be ruined, lied to, and mistreated by the industry that I could write much more than a blog post about it. SO lets dive in:

1) You DO NOT NEED TO CLEANSE/DETOX AWAY TOXINS

Stop it. Why do these cleanses work then? Because going from eating fast food and processed cardboard (trans fat, grease, HFCS, who knows what else) to more fruits and veggies is going to make anyone feel better, and look better – alas this is still not a magical cleanse of the organs.

Of course it will lead to fast weight loss too.

Cleanses are usually very low calorie, and very low carb, which leads to rapid weight loss – via water weight.

How long do most people truly stick to them? And if they do stick to them for long periods of time, they can actually be dangerous to ones metabolism.

Here’s the thing, anyone (except a 4′, 85 pound woman) will lose weight at 1000 calories from lean proteins and veggies – this is not cleansing you of toxins – your healthy liver and kidneys will do that just fine.

2) The Calorie Burn of the Workout Really Doesn’t Mean Much

“BURN 1000 CALORIES IN AN HOUR”

Sure, this sounds great and sells memberships and classes – but it really doesn’t mean much.

Most of these numbers are based off of reading from heart rate monitors which just factor calorie burn from body weight, heart rate, and gender. So they probably just get the number from the biggest, least conditioned guy, and put it on the ad.

I’ve had male clients who wear heart rate monitors “burn” 1500 calories in a hour workout. But thats not that big of a deal.

I would rather have clients focus more on calorie intake, and sleep.

Why?

Calorie burns of workouts are very, very inaccurate. You should know yourself if you are working hard or slacking of. You know if a weight is challenging you, or feels like a feather in your hands.

Because they are so inaccurate, many people tend to overeat, because they “earned” more calories for the day.

First, you don’t earn food – ever – that is for dogs.

Second, find a daily intake average and start hitting that consistently, no matter how many calories you burn in a day. Need a starting number?

Multiply your bodyweight by 10, hit that consistently, and see what happens over the course of a week.

Sleep is also more important than your calorie burn during a workout.

Most fat is lost during sleep. Yes, while you sleep you recover. Your body is repairing itself from the day, and using stored nutrients to do so since you aren’t eating in your sleep (hopefully).

These processes cause fat to eventually be broken down, and breathed out via CO2.

More sleep = more opportunity for this to happen (doesn’t mean sleep is a magical cure all for a bad diet)

3) The Workout They Sell You On Probably Isn’t As Magical As They Claim

“Do this class 5 days per week, with it’s strategically designed nutrition plan and you will lose 7 pounds in your first week”

The workout probably is nothing special, it’s all about the diet plan or meal replacement shakes they are selling you on.

Many gyms do this all the time. They tout their training programs as the best “fat loss” programs in the industry, and don’t advertise or bother to tell you that the big results are from a strict, low cal, diet (GO FIGURE?!)

If you go from eating crap and sitting on your butt 24/7 to eating 1200 calories a day, no carbs, and lots of veggies and protein you will lose weight while still sitting on your butt.

If you add in a daily 60 minute brisk walk, while sticking to that ridiculous diet plan, you will lose more weight.

BUT if you do their magical, planned out class…the results would probably be pretty negligible, and you might actually feel worse.

Many programs still unfortunately base a “good” workout off of the aforementioned calorie burn, how sweaty you get, how sore you are, or if you vomit all over the gym.

A 300 pound, unconditioned person doesn’t need to be doing burpees, box jumps, and hill sprints.

They need to work with a nutrition professional, and start walking and maybe some light strength training – avoiding injury at all costs.

 

Don’t fall victim to these snake oil tactics. They will only cause more frustration, sadness, and wrecked relationships with food in the long run.

Let me know how I can help you.

Talk soon,

Mike

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5 Simple, Quick Ways to Increase Your Caloric Output

(SKIP TO #5 IF YOU WANT YOUR MIND BLOWN!)

It seems like we are usually discussing caloric INPUT, but what about output?

If you eat less, and move more – that will increase your caloric deficit for a weight loss goal.

Actually, moving more is a great idea even if your goal isn’t weight loss. More movement will help keep your joints lose, keep your cardiovascular system strong, and keep you more alert throughout the day.

By adding these things you won’t be instantly melting away the pounds, but if you add them consistently, and over the long haul – they will add up. Little hinges open big doors.

1) Take the stairs at work.

One of the most obvious and classic recommendations, I honestly feel like a bum for writing it.

But, if you take the stairs AND do every other step and push through your heel, you can train your glutes as well as your cardiovascular system. This will help offset that pancake butt from sitting at your desk all day.

According to one source you burn 0.17 calories per stair climbed, and .05 per step descended. So say your office is on the 3rd floor, and you come and go 3 times (to work, to lunch, back to work, home)

Most flights between standard floors have 24 steps. So thats up and down 72 steps Monday through Friday. The math comes out to 15.84 extra calories per day, 79.2 calories per work week.

This may seem laughable, but remember – over time – things add up.

2) Park a quarter mile from your office.

This seems weird, but it works.

It could even save you money.

Now that you are a quarter mile further, you are guaranteed to walk an extra half mile every single day, or a full mile if you leave for lunch and park in the same spot.

It should take you no more than 4-5 minutes to walk that quarter mile, so don’t use the time excuse, and just leave 5 minutes early from home – your morning show isn’t as important as your heart.

So with an extra half mile everyday, that is about 50 extra calories, or 250 extra for the work week!

3) Make it a rule to walk at kids sporting events. 

Whether it be dropping them off for practice, or a game – there is idle time that you can get a quick walk in.

If it’s practice, do you really need to stand around watching the whole time?

If it’s a game, there is always some down time during warmups that you don’t NEED to watch.

So get a quick 5-10 minute walk in before settling down to watch.

Lets say you have 2 (some parents might laugh at this) sporting events per week, so thats 50 calories burned there, or an extra 100 per week.

4) If watching TV, move during commercials. 

Watching TV is fine, but get up an move during the commercials – they are pointless anyways.

Even just walking upstairs, or getting up to fill your water, and standing until the show is back on will help.

Say you watch 2 hours of TV per day, and commercials are played at about 15 minutes per hour, so that gives you 30 minutes to MOVE. You could honestly get in a full workout during your TV watching sessions…

First commercial break: Squats during the first commercial, pushups during the second, and rest on the third – repeat.

Second break: Lunges during the first, jumping jacks during the second, rest during the third…

And so on…

Lets just say you do this 3 times per week, burning an extra 25 calories per day, so 75 per week.

5) Eat More Protein (this is going to get sciencey)

I thought this was about increasing calorie OUTPUT?!?!

Yes. When we eat food, our body needs to burn calories to digest it. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). Protein has the highest TEF, at 20-30%. Meaning, if you eat 100 calories of protein, 20-30 calories are burned to digest it. While carbs use 5-10% and fats 0-3%.

This is one of the MANY reasons why protein is amazing.

So, lets say someone eats 300 grams of carbs per day, 100 grams of fat, and only 50 grams of protein per day.

Thats 1200 calories from carbs, 900 calories from fat and 200 calories from protein = 2300 calories.

The NET calories would be about 1140 from carbs, 873 from fat, and 140 from protein = 2153 calories.

Now, lets change it up a bit.

250 grams carbs, 78 grams of fat, and 150 grams of protein.

Thats 1000 calories from carbs, 702 calories from fat, and 600 calories from protein = 2302 calories.

The NET calories would be about 950 from carbs, 680 from fat, and 420 from protein = 2050 net calories.

An astounding 100 calorie difference! (700 per week!)

So looking at our week of activity:

  1. 79 cals for the stairs
  2. 250 cals for parking further
  3. 100 for walking at sports
  4. 75 for moving during commercials
  5. Burning more by eating protein (not factored in because everyones diet is different, but you should really try to eat more protein, seriously.)

For the 4 added activities this adds up to an extra 504 calories per week! Thats 26,208 calories per year, or the “equivalent” of 7.5 pounds of fat burned in a year. 

Move more, and eat more protein.

 

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How Many Calories Should You Eat? The Answer May Surprise You…

 

This is a question I get asked numerous times throughout the week in some shape or form. 99% of the time I will respond with a question…

“How many calories are you currently eating? Per day? On weekends? Per weekly average? AND how is it affecting your desired outcome – whether that be fat loss, muscle gain, or something else?”

While there are formulas, basic numbers, and more advanced ways to calculate a caloric goal – most people need to see what they are currently doing before we even think about changing things up.

When I first started working in the industry, I would give out calories numbers, macro goals, etc. like they were the magical solution to all my clients problems. Well guess what? It didn’t really work.

To name a few reasons; people didn’t know how to accurately track (knowledge deficit), people didn’t track everything they ate or drank (compliance deficit), people only tracked one meal or one day per week (commitment deficit)…

It’s not that I don’t have faith in my clients now, but rather that I have found an approach that is a little different yet more realistic AND has proven to be much more successful.

This analogy has been thrown around many times, and I’m not sure who to give credit to.

If you wanted to start saving money for a big purchase (house, car, kids college) you would take a look at your CURRENT finances, right? See what you are currently spending on, saving monthly, and what could be cut from your spending budget and transferred to your saving budget.

So creating a compositional body change should be no different. How can we know what to change, if we don’t know what CAN be changed? This brings us to

Step 1 – Track Your Food for 1 FULL Week

Every single thing that you eat and drink should be written down with as much accuracy as possible. Had a burger? How big? How many slices of cheese? How many extra toppings?

Yes, this is time consuming – but much needed.

And let me fill you in on a little secret; 99% of the time when I tell clients to just write down what they eat for a week – they lose weight.

Step 2 – Lets Look At The Numbers…

So you tracked for an entire week, good. Now, lets looks for patterns and consistency that we can keep – and patterns and consistency that might need to be worked on.

One example could be; you eat 1500 calories Monday through Friday, but then eat 2500 calories on Saturday and Sunday.

From this we can figure out a few things.

First, what is currently happening with your body weight? Crawling up? Going down? or Staying the same?

This will tell us if your daily average is appropriate for your goals.

Step 3 – Calculate your daily average.

1500 calories x 5 days + 2500 calories x 2 days / 7 days = 1785 calories per day on average.

So you are eating 1785 calories on daily average and your weight is going _____.

Good! Now we know that this is (too much, the right amount, not enough) calories for your goal!

Say your weight is slowly crawling up. Lets cut your daily average down to 1600 (185 less per day). This gives you 11,200 calories for the week.

Now, how can we distribute this based on how you feel like eating.

Want to indulge on weekends? Then lets start there.

Saturday – 2000 calories (11,200 – 2000 = 9200)

Sunday – 2000 calories (9200-2000 = 7200)

Monday thru Friday – 7200/5 = 1440 calories per day.

Now follow your new weekly average and see what happens after a week or two.

Why wouldn’t you cut more than 185 calories per day?

Because while everyone wants a quick fix, and to lose weight super fast – it just doesn’t work well. I am a huge advocate of eating as much food as you can, and still reaching your goals.

Anyone can lose weight on a 1000 calorie “detox” tea diet – but does it stay off? Do you feel good about your energy level? Are you just wasting muscle away?

If I can have a female client lose weight on 2200 calories per day (I have), why would I put her on a 1200 calorie cookie cutter diet template? That would be miserable.

So do your budget, see what you are currently doing, only then can we pave the next path to where you want to go.

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What Are You Waiting For?

I’m going to start Monday.

I’m going to start after vacation.

Enough is enough. Why wait? Why leave it up to waiting if it’s something you really care about?

Is it because it’s hard?

Exercising isn’t hard, and eating like an adult isn’t hard.

This is where many people are so terribly wrong it’s insane.

In today’s day and age, we have SO MANY healthy, adult food options to choose from even at the dumpiest of the dumpy fast food grease box.

There are so many healthy versions of foods now that you can literally have your low-calorie, high protein ice cream AND eat it too.

You and I know what to eat. So just eat the right stuff most of the time, and don’t eat too much. Honestly. You already know what to do.

Is it because it take’s time?

Audit your entire day. Write down 24 hours on 24 lines on a sheet of paper, then write what you were doing in that hour.

I guarantee you can find a 30 minute block somewhere in there to at least do something physical.

When time is a factor, you do need to be precise, smart, and know exactly what you can get the most bang for your buck out of – but it is very possible to get great results from only working out for 30 minutes.

You may have to cut out 15 minutes of facebooking here, 30 minutes of TV there, and 15 minutes of laying in the shower – but I know everyone can find time for something.

Is it because it costs money?

Yes, gym memberships, and especially those greedy personal trainers costs add up.

However, if you do your research, and have access to 5 square feet of space, you could honestly get a decent workout in for $0.00 daily.

Now, the key is knowing WHAT to do to avoid injury, to properly progress, what to emphasize to reach your goals, etc. This is where the trainer comes in.

Think of it as an investment, rather than a cost – if you can work with a trainer for $X per month, follow what he says to do, and eventually avoid having to pay for X drug, or X surgery, or just GAIN the ability to feel/look good, or to play with your kids, or to be active on weekends… how much money is that worth?

Just a few things to think about.

“Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.” – Napoleon Hill

 

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Strength Training Is The Secret Weapon as We Age

 

Want to prevent aging? Then fight gravity.

Gravity is the one physical force that we can do nothing to fully stop, but we can fight it – with muscle.

Gravity, as we age, pulls things downward, it compresses our joints into pain, it leads to pressure, and aches, and pains.

And the one thing that most people gravitate towards as they age, only makes it worse – cardio.

(this idea is borrowed and paraphrased from my friend Alexander Cortes)

SO many people still think we NEED MORE CARDIO to lose weight and to burn more calories because their little devices on their wrists TELL THEM that cardio burns more calories.

What your calorie trackers and heart rate monitors don’t tell you is the  negative metabolic effects from trying to cardio your fat off. Or the physical stress being crushed into your joints. Or the slow decline in muscle mass you are acquiring as you age – which in turn lowers your metabolic rate even more – and makes fat loss even harder.Related image

So instead of listening to a little $99 dollar tool on your wrist, hear me out.

Whats the number one way to lose WEIGHT? Eat less. Got it.

Whats the number one way to lose FAT, and PRESERVE or GAIN MUSCLE. Eat just a little less and STRENGTH TRAIN.

Studies have shown no difference in WEIGHT LOSS between cardio and strength training groups – however the strength training group gained more muscle, and burned more fat – but their weight remained the same – I think most people would be cool with that.

What I tell a lot of my clients who start strength training – the scale might not budge at first, but it always does if you are consistent. Image result for jack lalanne

As you create muscle, it increases your resting metabolic rate, which helps your body burn more fat – and thus helps prevent fat gain in the future. Muscle loss as we age is one of the biggest culprits in slowed metabolism.

Building muscle also helps greatly with bone and joint health as we age – and osteoporosis is one of the top women’s health issue as they age. Strictly running or cardio-ing doesn’t lead to the same developments in connective and structural issue as strength training.

So if you are into cardio – it’s okay – but make sure you are coupling it with strength training.

Okay, so how do we best approach strength training to fight gravity?

A planned out, progressive based, weight training program.

The weights must eventually get challenging at some point in the workout. If you are always grabbing the lightest weights, and just going through the motions, this won’t work.

If you are trying to lift the weights you did in your glory days, and swinging them up with your lower back – this also won’t work. Find a happy medium.

Studies have been done on people anywhere from 18 into the 70’s, and they all found that no matter your age, you can gain fat burning muscle tissue with a progressive based strength training program.

Track your weights, work multiple muscle groups, from multiple angles, and always be trying to improve with one more rep, or 1 more pound – and over time you will see changes.

Don’t know where to start? Contact me for programs!

 

 

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Showing Up Isn’t Half the Battle

 

This is often said when people talk about the struggle of going to the gym. I get it, not everyone is as gung-ho about working out as I am.

However, if your goals involve seriously transforming your body, improving your health, or getting the most bang for your buck, it takes more than just showing up and going through the motions.

For example: I recently started training at a local large gym, and the other day I did a 50 minute back and biceps workout. Meanwhile, two guys performed 5 sets of bench press…in that same 50 minutes.

Yes, props for showing up, any maybe their goals don’t involve results, but I can tell you they spent more time chatting, texting, and watching videos on their phones than working.

If you are running, then run at a pace that increases your heart rate, and makes it hard to carry a convo.

If you are lifting weights; then lift weights that challenge your muscles.

When it comes to lifting, are you truly FEELING the working muscle WORKING?

bodybuilder-646495_640

Feel rows in your back. Feel presses in your chest. Feel the burn in the triceps on press downs. Feel your glutes pump on lunges. I think you get it.

Exercising shouldn’t just be something that you “check off” at the end of the day. Too bad it doesn’t work that way.

I’m not saying that you need to be crawling out of the gym, or puking in a garbage can, but you should have felt like your muscles were working, and your heart was pumping.

So how do you get the most out of your time at the gym?

Go in with a plan. Set goals for the day, the week, the month and the year. Where do you want to be, and what will it take to get there?

I work with a lot of determined clients who set some pretty awesome goals. However, just recently a long time client of mine came up with – “Deadlift 400×3, Sled Push 800, and Bench Press 225×3…and you have to do them with me”

I’m all about that, even if I need to jump in a try the goals as well 🙂

What has happened since setting these goals?

This client has progressed faster than people half his age who just float through the gym. It’s been amazing, along with packing on some serious muscle (his triceps and calves could cut glass), losing body fat, he has also increased his power in his golf game…hmm go figure?

I’m not saying that you need to set crazy strength goals, but YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN, and be working towards it as much as responsibly possible.

Showing up isn’t half the battle, it’s one step in the process. Make it happen.

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Why Training To Have a Nice Body Isn’t Shallow

 

“I want to look like [insert athlete/celebrity name here]”

“I want to have a six pack/flat stomach/ripped arms”

There is nothing wrong with having these as aspirations.

“But Mike, training for vanity is shallow and self centered!”

Hell yes it is, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it! It’s YOUR body, you can do whatever you want!

training-828741_960_720

Let me explain…

1 – A fit body on the outside is usually a healthy body on the inside

While there may be other genetic and nutritional factors that can play a role here, having a lower body fat, and so muscle mass on your frame is indicative of overall health.

Carrying around excess body fat and little muscle can be very detrimental to internal health including but not limited to:

  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Increased risk of heart disease (the #1 killer)
  • Increased risk for certain types of cancer
  • Increased risk for bone loss
  • Increased risk for falls/injury
  • Decreased libido
  • Increased cortisol – the big stress hormone
  • Decreased insulin sensitivity (diabetes)

Side note: becoming TOO thin and frail can also have these same negative outcomes – hence the reason to be strong and muscular – not just skinny.

2 – A muscular body means increased independence

Whats the number one reason people need to enter into assisted living?

They cannot stand up on their own.

Being strong and having muscle isn’t just for young people. I have seen many clients of various ages get stronger, and tell me that they don’t hurt as much while doing everyday tasks like lifting things, carrying things, or climbing up on things.

3 – Look good – feel good

You cannot argue that when you look good, you feel good.

I’m all in favor of body acceptance, but most people know when they need to make some kind of change.

It can be very depressing when you feel like you don’t look like yourself – and this negativity can spill over into the rest of your life (work life, home life, family life, bedroom life). It’s just facts that you can’t argue with.

However, this kind of mental negativity of self image can also lead down a unhealthy (just as unhealthy as being out of shape) path, so…

Curveball … Why setting “ideal body” images as GOALS might not be the best idea

Even though I just spent the last 300 words explaining why wanting to look good/muscular/sexy is an okay thing, it might not be the best motivator to set as your actual goal.

For one, you cant compare yourself to someone else – especially a celebrity or athlete. These people are paid to look good and therefore have the greatest amount of resources ($$$ and time) that they can devote to that.

Athletes and movie stars will spend hours a day in the gym, have someone else prepare meals for them, and spend more time with other professionals (massage, chiros, PT’s, etc.) to help there bodies perform and look pretty damn good.

Most of us don’t have this kind of time or money – and nor would we want to spend that amount of time away from our families and friends.

This being said, you can definitely strive to become a better looking (and feeling) version of yourself.

Take photos in a swimsuit or underwear to be able to look back on and see changes. Take measurements to monitor your own progress.

Then, when it comes to goals pick performance based goals.

If you want to have a sexy muscular body, then pick goals that involve getting stronger, lifting more weights, or doing more reps, or completing some kind of cardio task faster.

If you are getting stronger, lifting more weights, getting faster, or improving in ANY aspect that revolves around performance – you are adding muscle and likely burning fat (nutrition obviously matters too).

If you are adding muscle and shedding fat because of performance goals – surprise, you are likely going to like the way you look after time and dedication to the process.

 

 

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