Something Over Everything

We want it all. We want it now. We want to do mega change right now…

Some people can handle this, but most people will crumble, and quit. Think about anything big, and life-changing.

This time 3 years ago I was just under one month out from my wedding. I may be a bit biased, but it was the best wedding, ever. Everything went smoothly, most everyone had fun (there was ONE incident that I won’t name names…but it definitely¬†has turned out for the better ūüôā and it was a wonderful night.

We spent almost 10 months planning that wedding. Working on a little bit at a time, even 30 minutes of doing something when we could, chipping away at our checklist, and our bank account.

Anyone else who has planned a wedding would tell you it would be crazy to try and plan a successful day and night in a few short weeks or days.

A few months ago, we bought a house. We had been saving for YEARS to be able to make a substantial down payment. Putting a little bit aside each week, and increasing this amount by even $5 if we could.

We got the house, and we reached our goal of being able to put a great amount down.

Now we are tackling being parents. We learn something nearly every day, and we build off of that. Luckily, Adalynn only grows one day at a time, so that kind of regulates how much new stuff can pop up overnight.

We will be learning through this process as we go, rights and wrongs, ups and downs, all along this wild ride that is life.

Enough analogies – when someone is looking to reverse years and years of no self-care, self-sabotage, and not taking care of their health…they want it to happen NOW.

They sign up for a 5 day per week workout, (even though they haven’t¬†worked a muscle in years) an intense and often radical diet program, throw away everything in their cupboards, because it’s time for a cleansing. Well, what often comes of that? Burnout, disappointment, and regression. The ol’ hampster wheel of progress…

So this is where I encourage you, if you are doing nothing right now for your health – just do SOMETHING. Pick one thing. Walk 10 minutes on a Monday. Eat one vegetable at dinner. Do one pushup each morning. Eat one less bon-bon per week. Drink one less soda per day…pick any of those things, and do it. Again, and again, and again…

Then build on it. Ask yourself, “okay, what can I add now?” Another walk? Another pushup? One less soda?

Just like chipping away at loans, building up a savings account, or planning a huge overpriced event (worth it ūüôā – it will take time, and little steps along the way to avoid overload and burn out.

It won’t always be easy, you will have little slip-ups, but it will be totally worth it in the end.

 

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This ONE Food May Be Holding Your Fat Loss Back

Recent groundbreaking studies have been released just this past week showing some very convincing evidence that one food and one food alone needs to be cut out of your diet immediately if you really want to lose fat for good.

Researchers and experts have all claimed that this research is truly groundbreaking, and think it will lead to the reversal of the obesity epidemic in our country. What is this ONE food that is holding us all back from reaching out true goals?

It’s the ONE food that YOU have no self-control over. Yes, I made all that previous stuff up.

Because there is no ONE food or food group that is to blame for everyone’s struggles with weight. For some, it’s not even necessarily¬†food!

I’m sick of seeing these type of clickbait style articles on the interwebs and social media, blaming one food or food group. Of course, anyone can find a study these days to back up their opinion – it’s called cherry-picking the data in your favor.

Or, you can find studies that have been done on nematodes, and just assume that the same outcome will happen in humans and the same dosages per pound/kg…not the best strategy.

Everyone has that food, or food group, or several foods that once you start, it’s hard to stop. Like the following (*the first two are my own*):

  • Mom’s Chex Mix – I think the 3rd ingredient is crack, so this makes more sense.
  • Tortilla chips and salsa – because salt, fat, AND carbs in one food make my¬†brain happy
  • Beer at a sporting event – because everyone else does it…
  • Sweet’s in the breakroom – because that’s all that is there to eat, and I’m stressed
  • Treats after dinner – because I have that sweet tooth and need my fix after dinner
  • Snacks during the football game – because everyone else does it, so we can Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Whatever your uncontrollable¬†food, time, or situation might be…that is likely where you need to start looking to change.

Many of these situations or foods are examples of what we feel is the norm, or what society shows us to do.

Commercials, advertisements, and our friends – all tailgating, drinking beers, with a smorgasbord of food at our disposal to enjoy.

Rough day? Ice cream after dinner will make it better – even though you are full.

You’re planning on ordering the loaded enchiladas? You should probably eat this whole basket of chips and guac before you do that – because it’s there on the table, so why waste it?

How many opportunities are do you have to say yes or no at a restaurant, game, bar, or even at home?

  • Can I get you more ______?
  • Would you like another ______?
  • Would you like _____ with that?

And most of the time we say sure, yes, or hell to the yes (depending on how many beers deep we are)

But here’s the newsflash – it’s okay to say no. Break the norm. Say no thank you. Pass on the extras or the side of _____. Have a water, because deep down inside you know how that one more drink will make you feel tomorrow, and that you do really care about your goals…

It’s not one food that is keeping America fat. It’s our relationship with food, our glorification of the “normal”, and our overall portion sizes and quanity of what we truly eat – without even being aware – it’s all normal to society.

Screw normal. What is normal in this country clearly isn’t helping. Break the mold, and be different. Your health will thank you.

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One Step At A Time Will Lead to Many Leaps Forward

“That’s¬†IT! I’m getting healthy…on Monday.”¬† – anyone who has decided to try their hand at a diet/exercise routine.

The problem is that most people who decide to finally do something about their health go at it like a guy trying to ride a unicycle, blindfolded while juggling up a flight of stairs…instead of just walking up that first step.

They throw away all the “bad” foods, sign up for a 5 day per week high-intensity workout program, buy the latest activity tracker, load up supplements and swear off of bread forever.

Well just like the unicycle juggler, eventually something’s gotta give, and a fall is going to hurt way more than the person just stepping up the stair one foot at a time.

Trying to make too many huge life changes at once CAN be done, but most of the time it is too much to handle and leads to total failure and “I’ll try again next week” syndrome.

So why do people not want to do the simple, step by step, one thing at a time thing? Because it’s not sexy. It’s not on the cover of magazines. It’s not talked about on TV. It’s not sold by MLM’s trying to get you to lose 30 pounds in 10 days…it’s TOO simple!

What would you rather have:

A – Lose 52 pounds over the course of a year, slow and steady, and have a good chance at keeping it off?

B) Lose 52 pounds in 3 months, while living at the gym, starving yourself, being a social hermit ALL with a good chance of gaining it all back (and then some)?

52-pound weight loss is 52 pounds – why should it matter that it takes 3 months or 12 months? Especially when the 12-month process is more likely to succeed, less stressful, and in the grand scheme of things isn’t that long anyway.

So before you decide to jump on the latest diet trend next Monday, answer these two questions and start here, today…

What foods/drinks do you eat too much of right now? – Eat half of them.

How many days per week do you exercise? РKeep that number the same

WAIT! You don’t want people to exercise MORE??

No, not yet if they decide to focus on diet – which most people should. Again – simple is effective. Why try to fix diet and exercise habits at once, when one or the other might be big enough change?

Once a dietary habit or lifestyle change has been made, THEN maybe we consider adding in some exercise, even one day per week – but here’s the secret…you gotta keep up the dietary habit AND be consistent¬†with the workout day.

After this becomes the norm, then we add another step, and another, and another…until before you know it you have lost significant fat, feel better, and hardly noticed that you were “dieting” or “working out” the whole time.

***UPDATE***

A few weeks ago I wrote about training one of my client’s grandsons who were in town. I found out yesterday that one of the boys decided to sign up for the school running club because I told him he would be good at it. This literally made me so happy, I had a little proud papa tear in my eye. This is why I do what I do. #Blessed

 

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The Problem With Absolutes In Fitness Marketing…[Breaking it down…]

***These embarrassing photos were taken 2 seconds apart plus some quick filter work***

This is the problem with the digital world and marketing – who knows what is real, and what is fake anymore? With so many fitness gurus out there caliming that “their secret method will get you ripped in 20 days…” what is right and what is wrong?

A client of mine asked me about a Facebook ad he saw the other day from a fitness guru. The title was ”¬†the 6¬†WORST¬†things you can do if you want to ignite your body’s own fat-burning furnace and get lean, strong & totally ripped in less time”

First thing is that the worst thing you can do is not even on the list – doing nothing at all. Second, everything is relative to the goal, and the process – so I’ll break down this guys¬†list…

1) Doing Isolates Exercises – Doing isolated exercises like bicep curls and tricep kick-backs will NOT get you any significant results. These one-muscle-at-a-time moves simply don’t stimulate enough muscle fibers to build lean muscle or expend enough energy to maximize your calorie burn.

He is totally right. From an energy expenditure standpoint, isolation exercises are terrible. However, if someone wants their arms to look better, or be stronger, doing some form of isolation work can help.

Compound movements ARE much better for hitting multiple muscles and getting the most bang or your buck – squats, deadlifts, presses, rows – are the big 4 compound lift varieties.

If you ONLY do isolation exercises and expect the fat to come melting off, well, you will be waiting a while.

2) Working Out With Machines –¬†Machines alter the way your body naturally moves and restrict your range of motion. This severely limits your ability to fully activate all of your muscles fibers — that means¬†less¬†fat burning and¬†less¬†muscle definition. Worse yet, machines can cause excessive strain on your joints, leading to nagging injuries down the road.

Again, this is true – in the right context. But some people only have access to machines or don’t have the stabilizer muscles to use a barbell or dumbbells quite yet… and cable machines don’t really count as machines because rows, pulldowns, and other single cable exercises are great.

Also, the whole “less fat burning and less muscle definition” is total BS – doesn’t matter what your workout is if your diet sucks, you won’t have any muscle definition.

3) Doing Long Bouts of Cardio –¬†If you’ve been pounding the pavement or the treadmill with nothing to show for it (except sore joints and a pair of stinky worn out sneakers), you already know it takes a lot of effort to get minimal results.

I probably agree with him the most on this one. Traditional cardio¬†is not necessary¬†to lose fat, but it still put on a pedestal¬†when it comes to “being healthy”. You don’t get in shape by running, you need to be in shape to earn the right to run long distances – or you might pay for it later.

BUT – if you enjoy long runs, AND they do no harm to your body – go for it!

He argues for the shorter¬†duration, high-intensity work – which I tend to side with as well, for convenience¬†and time sake (however, to get the max effect from high intensity work, it needs to be at high intensity, not so-so intensity, which I also see a lot of) Again, if you like the long steady stuff, and it doesn’t¬†harm you, go for it!

4) Doing crunches or situps to get a six pack –¬†If you want washboard abs, doing traditional ab exercises like crunches and sit-ups WILL NOT get you a six-pack. In fact, doing¬†any¬†exercises that target your abs won’t get you a six pack either! These so-called “ab” exercises are a complete waste of time. They don’t make your abs get any more defined and they definitely don’t burn any fat.

Correct again – to burn away fat we need a caloric deficit. Crunches and situps are not ideal for training the abs. However, completely ignoring to train the core is a big NO NO. It’s not about targeting the fat, but about building up a strong core which helps prevent back problems and is also often the weak link on many exercises.

The funniest part about this post is the line “I’ll show you how to burn away the “ab flab” while stimulating¬†all 6 of your abdominal muscles¬†at the same time so you can finally carve out your six-pack abs.”

This had me laughing because he is still full of ****. Making it sound like you can isolate each one of the six-pack muscles…we all have a six-pack, it’s the fat that covers it that must be burned away.

5) Repeating the Same Workouts Over and Over –¬†your body has an amazing ability to adapt quickly and when it does, that’s when you hit the dreaded plateau and you stop making progress.¬†

This is sort of true. You can do the same workouts over and over and still get results – as long as you are progressing in some way, shape or form. Adding weight, adding reps, reducing rest, are all ways to still progress with the same exercises.

For cardio, changing up the modality CAN help, as our bodies can adapt to running, biking, etc. and become more efficient (burn fewer cals). So this is where I would agree with him and say if using cardio (high intensity especially) – change it up after about 4-5 weeks.

6) Doing Looooong Workouts – you don’t need to spend countless hours working out.

True. If you are using your time wisely, you should be able to get an efficient workout in and out of the gym in 45-60 minutes.

Again – diet is very important here as well. You can lose weight without any exercise at all. However, exercise is all about what we build, sculpt and shape on our bodies. This is why lifting weights is so important – yes you burn calories from lifting – but it’s more about challenging your muscles to change them, and create a lean, strong physique.

So while he makes many valid points – they aren’t absolutes, and actually aren’t anything “secret” or “fancy” – just basic physiology and the principle of progressive overload.

These click-bait links are meant to hit you in the emotions, and get your money fast – but this is the point, and that is all. Once you dig more into this “secret method” it’s nothing secret, or unique.

Do the work, challenge yourself, and make sure your nutrition matches your goals. Simple – but not easy.

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Stay healthy my friends,

What Exercise Did For Me, And Why it Matters

I recently had the chance to work with one of my clients grandkids. They were visiting town for a couple of weeks and I told her to bring them to her sessions.

The boys came in the gym for the first time and sat on the bench with their heads down, quiet, and probably a bit nervous. I asked what music they wanted to listen to and I didn’t get much out of them.

We started the work out and they were still quite quiet and reserved. Now, both of these boys are not really into sports, and enjoy playing the latest video game more than sports – right now…

The workout was going okay, until we got to the finisher of some sled pushes. It’s like it brought out a totally different kid from each of them. They both got energized, and very competitive. By the end of the week, the boys were pushing 250 pounds on the sled, and asking for more!

I don’t know if the few trips to the gym will change anything in their paths, but I hope it does. Why? Because this is my goal, my mission, my “manifesto” as to why I love fitness – because of what it did for my life.

I used to be a quiet, more reserved and introverted kid. I had friends, but was afraid to go out of that group. I played sports, but was pretty soft and not the most “hardcore” athlete. I also was (still am) a huge Star Wars “nerd”, comic book “geek”, and into playing “nerdy” video games like Starcraft and Diablo.

I started lifting my freshman year of high school for football. Besides how it felt when it started physically changing my body – more importantly was how it mentally changed me. The challenges of the workouts, and always trying to push myself to improve, and wanting to do more created a drive in me that I could relate to my sports AND my video games. Like leveling up your character in a game to unlock a new superpower, I was leveling up my strength on bench presses and squats.

Building up muscles like the superheroes in the movies and comics was obviously a physical boost, but the entire process changed my confidence, personality and overall demeanor for the best.

I still love Star Wars, I still love Superhero movies, I frankly don’t have time for video games, but I also love weight training, challenging my body, and pushing some heavy sleds around.

This is why I love training, and why my mission is to get people to find something in the gym that they enjoy, that will change them physically and mentally, and improve their lives for the best.

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You Don’t Lose Fat in the Gym

Can we please stop focussing on the calorie burn at the gym? Or stop caring about how sore, tired or sweaty we are after a workout?

The truth is, you aren’t actually losing any fat during a workout (unless it’s a pretty long one like a triathlon, then you are losing a bit). All loses during a training session are glycogen and water.

And this is just fine because we shouldn’t¬†be focused on our workouts as fat burning sessions anyways – it’s everything OUTSIDE of the workout that causes the magic to happen.

Bodyfat – what is it?

From Wikipedia:

Body fat, or adipose tissue’s main role is to store energy in the form of¬†lipids, although it also cushions and¬†insulates¬†the body. Far from being hormonally inert, adipose tissue has, in recent years, been recognized as a major¬†endocrine¬†organ,¬†as it produces¬†hormones¬†such as¬†leptin,¬†estrogen,¬†resistin, and the¬†cytokine¬†TNFőĪ.¬†

When it comes to burning away fat, we are concerned about the lipids, or the actual fat cells which we want to burn away.

First, let’s look at the hormones that our fat cells¬†produce, and why it makes carrying extra body fat even more harmful and stressful on our body.

Fat’s Hormone Production

Leptin tells us that we are full – so the more fat we have, the more leptin we are producing to TELL our brain that we are full. Obviously, we choose to ignore these signals.

Estrogen, the female sex hormone, is found in higher levels in more obese people, men and women alike. Not good for our manly men…

Resistin increases the amount of LDL, thus increasing the risk for heart disease and heart attack by accelerating the LDL accumulation in our arteries.

Lastly, Cytokine TNF (tumor necrosis factor) a is a pro-inflammatory that helps prevent tumor growth (good!) but does it by increasing fever, inflammation and overall body stress (not good).

All around, the more of these hormones we have in our body, the worse off we are.

Back to Lipids

Lipids are made up of Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen.

When our fat is oxidized (burned) – how do we actually lose it??

These compounds are broken down in our cells and turned into CO2 and H2O.

We breathe out CO2 and we pee out H2O – and this is how we actually lose fat.

But what really causes this fat oxidation? If not working out, then what is it?

How to burn fat.

Training stimulates muscle damage and uses up glycogen during training.

When we finish training, our muscles are damaged and our body begins the repair process. Cell signaling happens, and our body increases responses to repair the muscle thus increasing metabolism, and yes, drawing on fat cells for SOME energy. BUT – even this isn’t that much!

The largest chunk of fat burning is happening right now. As you read this your metabolism is working. Always doing things inside your body, you are burning calories right now, and 24/7.

Fatty acid oxidation is an important process of our metabolism, and it is slightly increased after training, and especially when we sleep (why sleep is so important) – as this is when our body’s are trying to repair and rebuild everything that we broke down at the gym.

Our basil metabolic rate is the largest contributor to our calorie burn, and it always will be. 

Stop focussing on the calorie burn of workouts, start focussing on the quality or your workouts – did you improve? Did you get faster? Stronger? (or was it a recovery workout?) – this is what training is for. When you start focussing on “gaining” in the gym, you will start losing outside of the gym.

Nothing fancy – crush weights in the gym, find a caloric deficit, listen to the hormones that tell you that you are full, and go to bed a little hungry every night, and I promise you will start losing some fat.

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29 Tricks to Improving Your Health

Look, none of these are really tricks, but they may be some things that you never thought of trying when it comes to creating a healthier life. Will these work for everyone? Nope. Will they make sense for everyone? Nope – but read through these quick hitters and maybe you will pick up on something that you never thought of.

These are in no particular order, as I’m writing them as they pop in my head.

1) Start your morning with a big glass of water Рright when you get up. We lose water in our sleep and often wake up dehydrated. Replenish these losses ASAP.

2) Use the same water bottle throughout the day to track intake. If it is 24 ounces, and your goal is 100 ounces – you know that you need 4 of those bottles.

3) Place rubber bands or hair ties on the bottle – and every time you finish a bottle, take on off an put it on your wrist.

4) Trouble staying asleep? Shift some of your carbs to later in the day – this won’t make you fat, but it will help with your serotonin production.

5) Turn down the lights when the sun goes down Рthis will help keep in normal circadian rhythms, and can help with metabolic processes.

6) Don’t use melatonin to help sleep – it doesn’t¬†work that way.

7) If you are active and have trouble staying asleep or getting deep sleep, consider a ZMA supplement – zinc, magnesium, and B6 are all needed in higher levels for active individuals.

8) Consider using a sleep cycle alarm clock. This will sense when you are most awake and wake you at a time when you aren’t in a super deep REM sleep – which can make you groggy even if you get 7-8 hours.

9) Make it a point to walk continuously for at least 15 minutes every day. Then build on that.

10) Stop drinking your calories.

11) Take a cooking class and learn how to make your own awesome food.

12) If you are not a broke college kid or a 10-year-old, stop eating like one – grow up, eat your veggies, and put the candy down.

13) Trigger warning: Again – you are a grown ass adult – stop eating candy. Seriously. (Yes, I’m shaming you here)

14) Learn how to lift weights, and learn from a professional, not an Instagram booty girl or abs bro.

15) Don’t chase the “feeling” of your workouts. Being sore after every workout is NOT a sign of a good workout.

16) Balance your intense workouts with low-intensity recovery work – this will make sure you hormonal and nervous systems stay balanced.

17) Don’t workout to earn food. You are not a dog.

18) Don’t factor in exercise calorie burns into your nutrition – these estimates are highly inaccurate and can lead to unhealthy relationships¬†with exercise and food.

19) Eat birthday cake.

20) If you are afraid of birthday cake, your mind is broken.

21) Eat .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. I can’t say this enough, and people still are only eating 40 grams per day and wondering what the next secret is. If you haven’t tried this, try it, work up to it slowly though, or you might be a bit gassy ūüôā

22) If you struggle to hit your protein goal – get a powder, they aren’t just for bros.

23) Sometimes the simplest workouts are the best – don’t over complicate it.

24) Have veggies or fruit at every meal.

25) Do a 30 minute day audit. Write out the whole day in 30-minute blocks and write what you are doing during that time – I bet you will find more room to exercise.

26) Make someone’s day

27) Read nightly – something that is not work-related. Don’t watch something that upsets you before bed. If the news upsets you, don’t watch it. If facebook gets you fired up, get off it.

28) Get outside more. Set your phone in silent/airplane mode – and explore outside.

29) Make connections with real people, you never know what will come of it. Nobody cares about how many friends you have on social media.

If you need more help coming up with a process that you can maintain, sustain and make gains, let me help you. Click here to check it out!

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Stay healthy my friends,

5 Simple Fixes to a Healthier Life That Take 10 Minutes or Less

We all want quick fixes right? Truth is – quick fix promises hardly pan out to work for the long haul. It takes time, consistency and managing the inevitable ups and downs.

However, there are many “simple” changes that you can make to your day that will lead to a healthier life, and take minimal effort. The following are my 5 favorites that I have implemented myself, used with many of my clients, in person and online.

1. Drink Minimal Calories

Liquid calories are mostly worthless. At least this is what I have come to think. When it comes to health, high-calorie drinks provide no health value. Soda and juice are pure sugar, leading to blood sugar spikes, crashes, headaches, depressive feelings, insulin mismanagement, and weight gain.

Sports drinks like Gatorade are just sugar with electrolytes – and aren’t needed by most recreational trainees.

Alcohol – yes I drink it – but if we distill it down to the facts (pun intended) – alcohol is a high-calorie toxin.

Minimizing these drinks can be as simple as swapping them out with calorie-free drinks, especially¬†water – and setting some rules for alcohol intake so you aren’t throwing down an extra 400 cals¬†every night.

2. Walk

What is the easiest, most fundamental movement you can do for your health? Walk.

Just get out and walk. Even a 10-minute walk outside can have so many benefits.

  • Improves digestion
  • Improves heart health
  • Improves blood sugar management
  • Improves joint health
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Improves mindset and mood

Seriously, if you don’t already walk once per day, start now – even just 10 minutes can go a long way if you make it a habit.

3. Perform mobility work for 5 minutes

What is mobility work? Essentially it can be anything you choose – moving your body and joints through their normal range of motion.

Wake up, slam a glass of water, and perform a 5-minute mobility session from head to toe. This will get blood flowing, joints lubricated, and help wake you up!

If you are heading into your workout, do some specific mobility work for your workout. Lower body focus? Open your hips, hammies, and ankles.

Going to work the upper body? Open up your chest, mobilize your back and thoracic spine.

4. Eat veggies or fruit at each meal

Yes, even fruit. Produce provides tons of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for keeping our insides nice and healthy. It also fills up a ton of volume with minimal calories, especially vegetables.

Look at a typical dinner of yours. Do you have veggies on the plate? If not, take away half of your carb source and replace it with vegetables. Simple swap, mega savings on calories.

Adding fruits to meals instead of only having a starchy carb will help balance out your meal, balance out your gut health, and fill you up easier on lower calorie options.

5. Focus on the positive – forget the negative

This is more of a mindfulness practice but can make big changes to your mental, emotional and even physical health.

Focussing on the negatives, in our day, in our life, and about ourselves can have a serious trickle-down effect on our mind and lead us to start over thinking things, being hard on ourselves, and thus managing these negativities with self-medication – i.e emotional eating.

Instead – remind yourself of all the positives that you have in your life, what can you be thankful for, and what do you have going well for you. I promise that even if you feel like you have none of these things – I promise you do, just think deeper.

The fact that you were born and are reading this is extremely fortunate – the odds of you being born as you are 1 in 400 trillion. So I’d say you are pretty lucky.

Take these 5 tips for what you will – they might not change your life, but they might! If you haven’t tried them, then give them a try and see what happens – I highly doubt that the results will be negative.

If you need more help coming up with a process that you can maintain, sustain and make gains, let me help you. Click here to check it out!

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Stay healthy my friends,

Good Things Come To Those With Patience and Consistency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 – Strength train 2-4 times per week

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

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

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

2 – Increase your NEAT

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

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

3 – Diet is KEY

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

Some that have worked well for clients are:

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

4. Sleep more

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

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

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

Still not sure how to start? Well good news!

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

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

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Stay healthy my friends,

More Exercise Doesn’t Mean More Results

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

Major benefits of exercise in general:

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

Direct major benefits of pure cardio exercise:

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

Direct major benefits of strength training:

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

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

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

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

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

From a physiological and thermodynamics level:

Heres some numbers to cheer you up:

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

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

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

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

From a hormonal level:

Exercise stresses your body.

Dieting stresses your body.

Life stresses your body.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Stay healthy my friends,