Sorry, You Can’t Spot Reduce, BUT You Can Spot Develop

 

Spot reduction – the process of exercising a certain muscle group or part of the body with the goal of melting away fat from that exact area.

Think of the bro’s doing millions of crunches the week before spring break in college to get their abs.

Or the lady walking sideways up a step mill with the goal of melting fat from her inner thighs.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like this.

Or bodies will choose where we lose fat from, and the only way to lose fat – yes, here I go again – is to create a caloric deficit.

So then what is the point of lifting weights if we can’t magically change the appearance of our bodies based off of targeting a specific muscle group?

Oh but we can…

While we can’t spot reduce fat, it is very well known, especially in the bodybuilding realm, that you CAN spot develop a certain area.

This is called muscular hypertrophy:

Muscle hypertrophy involves an increase in size of skeletal muscle through a growth in size of its component cells. Two factors contribute to hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, which focuses more on increased muscle glycogen storage; and myofibrillar hypertrophy, which focuses more on increased myofibril size. – Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning 

In other words – you build muscle.

So how do you build a certain area? You prioritize it, then you hit it with the right amount of volume, then you measure and adjust.

1) Prioritize

Want your stubborn calves to grow? Do them first in your workout.

Want your back to be wider and more imposing? Train it first in the week.

Want your booty to fill out those sexy jeans? Train it 3 times per week.

Now, there are limits to how much you can and should train a certain muscle group before you start getting negative returns, but more later.

This seems like a no brainer here though – if you want to develop a certain area, prioritize it!

2) Hit it with the right amount of volume and frequency

This refers to the amount of sets and or reps you do for that muscle group. For simplicity sake, lets keep the reps in the 8-15 range.

I usually base this off of a per week basis, and usually the low end is around 8-12 working sets per week. The maximum end (where you start getting diminishing returns) is around 24-30 sets per week.

Now, these are WORKING sets – meaning you are using a weight that is challenging for you, BUT you can complete all desired reps, with a few “left in the tank”.

So lets say you are new to lifting, but really want to build your chest.

Lets start at 8 working sets per week of some sort of chest building exercise (Dumbbell Bench Press for example)

So maybe you hit 4 sets of 12 reps on Monday, and 4 sets of 8 on Thursday. 8 total sets.

The following week, you would bump up to 10 working sets, and so on – following the basic progressive overload principles. 

If you are a more seasoned lifter, you might need to start around 16 working sets per week. This is where frequency becomes important.

Hitting 16 working sets for one muscle group in one day might be a little much.

So hit the group twice per week, for a much more manageable 8 working sets per day.

3) Measure and Adjust

Take measurements so you know if you actually are growing a body part. Pictures help too.

Remember, it takes time to build muscle -AND if you have a layer of fat over it, you might not see some of the changes.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid trying to build an area – it just means you have to have realistic expectations, and when you are ready – you could switch your priorities to a focus on burning fat, and eventually reveal those new muscles you have built up!

Are you thoroughly confused now?

I can help – I am always taking on distance coaching clients – for less than $2/day! He never saw me once during his training, followed the plan, and lost 12 pounds of fat, and GAINED 4 pounds of muscle in 12 weeks! (And is still going I might add…)

Click HERE to Apply

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Stay healthy my friends,

So You’ve Hit a Weight Loss Plateau…

You are busting your butt, eating SUPER healthy and “clean”, and your weight isn’t budging or it’s even going up. You panic, you stress, and you feel lost.

Have no fear, there are many different reasons why what is happening is happening. The following are some of the most common issues associated with a plateau, or even weight gain during a weight loss goal. Some are positive issues, some that might be creeping in and hurting your goals, and some are just blatant sabotage.

The Good

You are gaining muscle. This tends to be one of the “go-to” responses when people aren’t losing weight. “Oh, I must just be gaining muscle”. You might. Or you might be using that as a cop out. Are you gaining strength? Are your clothes still getting looser, but the scale isn’t budging? Then you might just be gaining muscle. If you are lifting heavy weights, and improving strength on a steady basis, muscle gains should be happening. If your jeans feel tighter around the waist, that isn’t from getting “too bulky of abs” – sorry.

http://www.geektofit.com/uncategorized/heavy-weight-training-for-women-yes-or-no/

http://www.geektofit.com/uncategorized/heavy-weight-training-for-women-yes-or-no/

Be sure you are still being honest with yourself first, with your food and drink intake, your sleep habits, and water intake. These can all lead to weight gains that don’t equal muscle gains.

Another reason you hit a plateau might be – just because. Weight loss plateaus happen, and the more weight you lose, the longer they actually can get. In some sense, isn’t reaching your goal weight essentially hitting a long plateau? You may just need to work on tweaking some habits within your plateau and practice maintaining that weight for a little while.

Example: When I got up to my peak weight of 260 lbs. and decided to lose it, I lost 30 pounds pretty quick. I then maintained 230 for about a year, before deciding that I wanted to lose more. I then worked on losing an additional 20 pounds over the course of a year and some change. The point being, weight loss doesn’t always happen fast, or steadily – and if you can focus on creating good habits within your plateaus, you can set yourself up for the day when you decide to take the next step down 20 pounds, and it will be much easier.

Lastly – not necessarily good, but lacking another place to put this one – ladies, beware of water weight gain during your menstrual cycle. This is normal, and is not a real plateau or gain. Omit any results that occur during this time and don’t stress over it.

The Bad

You have let your old habits creep back in. When you started out, you tracked everything, you said no to that extra serving of pasta, and you passed on desserts – except for on holidays. Now that you have lost some weight, and people have been complimenting you on your new figure, you suppose you could have a little extra bite here, and a little extra cookie there, and man does a REAL coke sound good for once.

The thing is, the habits that you created to get you to your current state, are the habits that will keep you going and progressing. Those little extra bites add up. Think about sample day at the grocery store, or Costco…

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…Random Rant Alert: I cant stand when it is sample day at Costco, and people stand around the sample stands just waiting for more samples to come out. Seriously, they stand there for 3 minutes, just to get a free 1/2 of a bagel pizza bite. They flock to the sample stands like hoards of vultures…just lurking for a free bite, while some of us are trying to shop as fast as possible and get out of there…

…sorry, back to the point. You walk through the grocery isles eating a bite here, and a bite there…well those little samples could easily add up to 200, 300, or 400+ calories. Depending on your goal intake, that could be a whole extra meals worth of junk calories!

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I recommend sitting down and thinking about the habits you formed while losing your initial weight. Ask yourself – are you still doing those things? Maybe you will realize that you have gotten a little more lax in your health habits. Get back to doing what you did before, and see if the weight starts coming off again. If it does, you may need to adjust your caloric intake. You shouldn’t need to cut out a ton of calories, but even reducing your goal intake by 100-200 calories might be all you need.

The Ugly

Complete non-adherence. Sometimes you need to be honest with yourself first and foremost. You need to take a huge step back and think about they things you have been doing, eating, and not doing lately that could be leading to your weight re-gain. I’m not trying to shame here, but looking at this realistically.

Maybe you are going through a stressful time and aren’t as active throughout the day, or completely lost track of your diet tracking or intuitive eating strategies.

You need to be honest with yourself – not your coach, trainer, dietitian, etc. You can tell them whatever you want and it won’t change the fact that you are lying to yourself and sabotaging your diet.

https://www.pinterest.com/happyhermit/yes/

https://www.pinterest.com/happyhermit/yes/

This happens to the best of us, and the best thing you can do here is to take a deep breath, re-assess your goals, and get on with it. We all screw up, and playing the poor-me card won’t help you get any closer. Talk with your support system (family, friends, trainer, etc.) and let them know that you just fell off plan completely, and are ready to get back at it. The sooner the better.

Look at why you started in the first place. Ask yourself why again. And again. Dig deep and find the deeper rooted reasons and keep those in mind when starting back up, and keep them around for those days you just don’t feel like doing yourself justice.

Stay healthy my friends,

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

5 Foods to ALWAYS Have In Your Home

It’s 7pm. You just finished dinner an hour ago, and you are still hungry! Are you? Maybe you are stressed, pissed off, bored, or just tired?

Or maybe you had a skimpy breakfast, missed lunch, and had a light dinner on the go. Maybe you are hungry.

If you reflect on you day, and come to the conclusion, “wow, I really didn’t eat a lot today”, this may mean it is time for a snack. (Sidenote: this is where using food tracking apps and site, such as MyFitnessPal.com – friend me @mgorski2 – can come in handy)

Another scenario for you: You get home for dinner, kids are gone, spouse is gone, and you are hungry. Nothing pre-made, nothing in the fridge really… order pizza, eat a bag of chips, or just get right to the ice cream. It happens.

9068061-Young-woman-looking-on-empty-shelf-in-fridge--Stock-Photo-refrigerator

With these two scenarios being pretty common, it is best to revisit the old adage of “Fail to plan, plan to fail”.

In both scenarios, you are feeling real, physical hunger. (Emotional hunger is a different beast for another time) This means it is time to eat. That is only half the battle. If nothing is prepared or you don’t have any go-to’s in the fridge, it can be so easy to reach for the nearest bag of **** and go to pound town.

To avoid this from happening, I recommend keeping the following foods, ALWAYS stocked in your house.

1) Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a pure protein delight. A cup of 2% packs 27 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fat. This is a great late afternoon, or even after dinner snack. The protein helps with fullness, while not adding to your waistline.

When to Eat: anytime. Use it as a main protein source of a meat-free meal, a mid afternoon snack, or even a later day snack to help reach your protein goals, without adding a ton of fat or carbs to your diet. Try adding black pepper, fresh chives or basil to flavor it up a little.

2) Unsalted Premium Mixed Nuts

I say premium just because the non-premium are about 75% peanuts with some almonds tossed in. The premium nuts have heart healthy almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pecans loaded in the mix. The one thing to be cautious with is the calories. One ounce (pictured below), contains 172 calories, mostly from healthy fats. It is not a lot quantity wise, but it can hold you over until your next meal if you are really hungry.

When to Eat: Use mixed nuts as filler snacks (as long as you can control your portion). They can also be used on salads to provide some fat, or crushed up as “breading” for chicken or fish – try pecans or walnuts here.

Mixed-Nuts-28-grams

3) Eggs

I will take this one step further and say “hardboiled eggs” (yolks are ok! – Read HERE). These can be quick protein snacks, or make up part of a whole meal. One egg is about 80 calories and 6 grams of protein. Even having eggs for breakfast is not as time consuming as many people think. Heat some olive oil or coconut oil in a pan on medium. Wait 2-3 minutes, then crack your eggs right into the pan and scramble up in the pan. This saves dishes and time. Keep the eggs moving to prevent burning (I HATE burnt eggs), add black pepper, and they should be done in 2-3 minutes. You can’t tell me that sacrificing your health and eating some sugar filled cereal is worth more time than 4-6 minutes. Combine with some fresh berries (no time at all) and you have a great, high protein breakfast in under 10 minutes.

When to Eat: breakfast or as a protein source at a snack or non-meat meal.

4) Fresh Berries

As I just mentioned, fresh berries can be added to a meal to make it complete and very flavorful. Berries are my favorite fruit, far and above all other fruits, because of their natural sweetness and uber high does of vitamins and polyphenols. I like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and black berries. 

While they may be more expensive than other fruits, they are very worth it. The quantities you can eat without sacrificing calories is awesome, and they are loaded with fiber (especially rasp and black).

When to Eat: as a side with a meal, or in plain yogurt to add flavor. Flavored yogurts are loaded with crap sugar. Instead, buy plain, and blend in some fresh berries. This adds a ton of flavor, and fractions of the sugar. If you are having berries as a snack during a hunger pang, I would pair up with a protein source too – to help with fullness.

5) Beans

Beans are the long lost and forgotten carbohydrate of the western world. A great majority of the world lives off of beans and rice, yet we tend to reach for processed “healthy” garbage like rice-cakes when we are hungry. No need. Beans can fill a carb and protein void quickly and with tons of health benefit. You can buy beans super cheap – especially dried beans – and they last forever. A half cup of black beans – and most other beans at that – contains 20 grams of carbs (8 of which are fiber) and 8 grams of protein.

When to Eat: Add canned, rinsed beans to your eggs in the morning as a great carb source. Add beans to the side dish of any meal – you can replace your bread based carb. Or try making an awesome black bean salad to use as a side dish paired with a good meat protein source.

Awesome Black Bean Salad
Servings: 8
Total Time: 20 Minutes
img_1033

Ingredients

  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ear fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients  in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Cals Per Serving: 212 – Carbs 31g, Protein 10g, Fat 6g

These are my 5 personal favorite staples to always keep on hand for crunch times or when you aren’t feeling like preparing something extravagant but also want to stay on track with your eating plan.

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

Newly Published Article NOW Live! – FIVE NUTRITIONAL REQUISITES TO LOSE FAT & GAIN MUSCLE

Hey all, just wanted to put a quick post up to let you all know that my latest article just got published on popular strength coach and physical therapist John Rusin’s website!

Dr. John S. Rusin, PT, DPT, CSCS, ART, FMS1-2, SFMA

You thought I had a lot of acronyms behind my name…

Here is the exact link to the article itself: http://www.drjohnrusin.com/5-nutritional-methods-for-fat-loss-hypertrophy/

This article covers my top 5 strategies for muscle gain or fat loss, with the science to back them up!

Highlights include:

  • How to adjust your current intake for your goals
  • What foods to include and exclude
  • How to better time up your nutrient intake
  • Optimal rate of muscle gain or fat loss
  • Many more!

I hope you all enjoy, and I always appreciate the feedback and support!