Apr
16
2012
Share |

Want Your Midsection In Shape Before Summer?

 

Think Doing 1,000 Sit-Ups Will Get You There?

 

Think Starving Yourself Will Get You There?

 

If you answered "YES" to any of these questions, then you better keep reading.

 

It's a simple guide, but one many forget; especially those that wait till the last minute and want instant results.  By the way, you can't cram for abs, like you crammed for tests back in school.  I don't care what the media tells you!

 

Getting lean and staying that way basically boils down to 3 consistent steps:

 

1.) Make a Plan:

     Yes, I'm sure you're tired of hearing me say it, but it's the truth.  There is no successful outcome without a plan!

     +  Make time to plan your meals and track them

     +  Make time to plan your fitness (if you're serious, you can't afford to miss workouts)

     +  Make time to get your rest.(transformation happens during recuperation--not while working out)

 

2.) Do Circuit Training:

     If time is an issue when it comes to working out, then circuits is the best way to go

     Ditch the social time workout

     +  Do cardio intervals to get the most out of your cardio time

     +  Try alternating upper and lower body exercises (3-5 exercises in a row)

 

3.) Consistent Good Nutrition:

     It doesn't have to be perfect, but better than you're eating now.

     +  3 meals per day containing a protein, carbohydrate, and fat (here -->)

     +  2 snacks per day that are basically "mini-meals" (one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon)

     + Cut down or eliminate the sugary drinks and go for water or ice tea (unsweetened).

 

It's honestly that simple.  Just like a travel itinerary or a retirement plan -- you have to make a plan and stick to it.  Doing these 3 simple steps consistently will get you the results you want and deserve.

It's scary even for me to read.  Especially when I think about the busy schedules everyone has, but the following two links are by far 2 of the most important things you need to consider this year!

 

Yes, I realize that sounds rather sensationalized, but believe me when I tell you the information shared in the following two links will indeed get you thinking about your life differently.

 

The first one I just received -- literally.  And it impacted so much that I raced home to send this blog post out to you right away!

 

23 1/2 Hours by Dr. Mike Evans

 

or just watch the video below.

 



 

The next link is to a post I wrote a little while back that shares some pretty startling research on how sitting for over 3 hours at a time can actually decrease you life span.  Yes, I do realize it's hard to believe, but it is actually backed with some interesting research.  Either way you look at it, it should move you into action.

 

Sitting For Long Periods Can Kill You

 

No matter how you look at, both of these pieces really serve as great reminders that no matter how wonderful technology is, you still have to make time to take care of your body.  And that means, whether it's getting out of pain, getting back to enjoying your favorite activity, or wanting to lose a few of those unwanted pounds, you have to get up, get out and move that body!

 

Have a day that makes you glad to be alive!

The year continues to click right by us.  Here we are on the last week of August -- WOW does it fly.

But more importantly, it's Monday and time for some Tips, Tricks and Info to get you on your way to that new you!

First off, here is an article that is nothing short of terrifying -- really, I'm serious!  This article goes into detail about what will happen to the obesity rates in the United States if we don't seriously do something NOW!

Obesity Rates Are Projected to Soar -- Half the Population . .

My hope is that this next article will be key in avoiding the article I just shared with you.  I've seen it in other countries and a few progressive companies here in the U.S. have been using it.  How cool would it be to be paid to workout out?

Workers Tout The Benefits Of Exercise On The Clock

When it comes to change, the hardest thing is to get started.  I remember speaking to many people over the years that tell me how difficult it is to get the process of change started.  Let's be honest, making changes in any part of your life can be challenging in the beginning.  I think this next article has some great ideas on how to get yourself on track.

4 Tips on How To Get Started

OK, so let's say you have been exercising and are just not seeing the results you want.  Or probably more to the point, you're having trouble staying on track.  You want to make the commitment, but it's a struggle to start or keep it going for any length of time.  You're not alone, lots of people have difficulty starting a new routine, let alone keeping it going till they see their results. This should help:

5 Ways Dieters Sabotage Themselves

If we are going to avoid half of the population becoming obese by the year 2030, we better get started. 

Here's my part, passing on tips, tricks and info that matter.  And if that wasn't enough, I'm currently running DYNAMIC X --  "The Anti-Boot Camp Class", just in case you need a little jump start.  You can get all the info here: DYNAMIC X

Well there's your Monday dose.

Remember, you don't have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going!

Now Get On Track and Stay On Track!
Well, it's Monday again.  So of course it's time for some information that actually works and saves you the trouble of trying to make sense of all the media hype and misdirection.

The first article is for those of you who are wondering does timing of meals really matter when it comes to putting on or keeping your muscle.  Believe it or not, it actually does matter.  Research has confirmed something that those of us in the fitness community have known for a while, eating an easily digested meal, high in protein and low in fat, directly after your workout preserves and assists you in gaining muscle.  And remember the goal when it comes to transforming your body -- maintain your muscle and shedding the body fat. 

Here's a little help:  Muscle Building Effect of Protein Post Workout

The second article is an excellent read.  Especially for those of you who really don't want to keep track your fitness progress and goals.  Believe me when I say, it doesn't matter until you write it down.  I don't exactly know what mechanism it is, but there is something about writing down a goal that is very motivating and spurs a sense of accountability.  And what better way to achieve a goal than to make yourself truly accountable.  That's how success happens in any realm -- making yourself accountable.

Need a reason?  Here's 5 Reasons to Keep Track of Your Fitness Goals

And then we move to an issue that is always concerning to me, people looking for shortcuts when it comes to weight loss. I have to admit, there are many "diets" that can provide short term weight loss and body transformation, but few of them are truly safe.  And to be quite honest, virtually none of them are something you can keep up for any length of time.  So why bother?  I mean seriously, transforming your body is a lifestyle change that takes time.  It is something that you do step by step -- getting a bit more consistent each day and each week.  Lasting body transformation is not something that happens quickly -- we're talking about changing habits here.  So even the most committed do back step once in a while.  But with a good program, consistent effort and realistic goals, You Can Do It!

Check this out:  The Danger of Weight Loss Shortcuts 

(by the way, holding your breath as a form of body transformation, doesn't work)


Only the real deal info here --

So Get On Track and Stay On Track!
Well it's Monday again.  I do hope you had a great weekend.  Today I won't waste your time with a lot of verbiage and build up.  Let's just get right into it.

The first article I want to share with you is about how the American past time has gotten completely out of control.  What past time am I referring to. . . . . snacking.  One of the main causes it seems, is that so many of us eat on the go. These days, it seems there are not as many of the old family dinners many of us grew up with. In fact in my household for many years it was required that we all make time to sit down and have a meal as a family.  It was an excellent opportunity to not only assure a good meal was being consumed, but it was also a good time to be a "family".  We are all so busy much of the time we don't make time to actually sit down and eat as often as we used to, whether it's by ourselves, with family or friends.

Believe me this is rather eye-opening. The American Diet Then and Now


The second article was just too outrageous to not include today.  It's basically a review of how ridiculously high in calories some of the foods are at your local dinner and fast food joint.  There is actually a shake that is listed, from a rather popular food establishment, that is over 2,000 calories and contains more than 3 days worth of Saturated fat, in just one 24 oz. serving.  OUCH!

Definitely worth the read, if for no other reason than to see if any of your own favorites are on the list.  Top 8 Calorie Heavy Meals


Okay.

So let's say the above 2 articles don't really apply to you.  But at the same time you're really not where you want to be physically. Maybe you want to be a bit leaner.  Perhaps you have just have a few pounds left to get you to your goal.  I think this next one will do just the trick to get you over that little hump and seeing the results you want.  Getting Lean -- Fine Tuned, Raw, and Real

So now you have the info:

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
I have to apologize right up front.  I realized today, after thinking a little deeper on the issue, I may have mislead and confused some people. I claim that I want to give all of you accurate, practical information that will help you achieve your goals.

So for the record, let's get this specific issue clear.

Over the past week I have received several questions asking, "If I'm not losing weight (on the scale) am I still making progress in my training?"  This is an excellent question and a great one for Mid-Week Motivation.

The short answer is Yes!

Remember, a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of fat, which both weight the same as a pound of muscle. 

The difference is one of space.

Think of body fat as taking up the space of a grapefruit, while the same weight of muscle would only take the space of a tangerine.  So while you may not see the numbers change on the scale, you should notice a difference in how your clothes fit -- because your muscle takes up less space, you should see the progress in inches first, not weight.

What I mean by that is, you may not see your loss of body fat on your typical bathroom scale, but that does not mean you haven't gotten rid of some unwanted body fat.

When you begin a good nutrition and exercise program it is not unusual to initially see the overall body weight number on your typical bathroom scale actually go up. 

Why?

Because if you're like most of the population, chances are you've been under-eating.  Meaning, you've probably been consuming way too many carbohydrates and not near enough protein to feed your muscles properly.  So when you start eating properly, your muscles soak up all those extra calories because they have been starving all this time.  And in most cases, the muscles soak up the good nutrients a bit faster than you are able to burn off the extra body fat (stored sugar for energy).

To take it one step further and hopefully make this a bit more clear, think of it this way.  From what I've gathered from my research, we are all born with a certain number of fat cells and a certain number of muscles cells.  The amount of each of these does not change!

What does change is the size (volume, amount of space they take up) of each of those types of cells.  You can shrink your fat cells through exercise and good nutrition, thus creating a "smaller", healthier you.  While at the same time slightly increasing your muscle cells (which take up less space) which thus allow you took look smaller, feel better, and live longer, all without seeing much change on your typical bathroom scale.

So again, YES, you may still be making progress even if you don't see the number decreasing on your typical bathroom scale.

Lastly, I've been saying "typical bathroom scale" throughout this blog, because technology has now advanced to a point where you can buy a bathroom scale that will provide you with a body composition number (body fat compared to lean muscle).  They are relatively inexpensive and do a decent to good job of giving reliable information on which to base your progress.

So don't get down on yourself just because you don't see the number decreasing on your typical bathroom scale.  Instead, get a better bathroom scale, keep planning your meals in advance to stay on track, and get your exercise in consistently with no excuses.

Now Go Out and Get It Done!
Happy July 4th.  As promised here you go!

I feel like it's time for this post.  Whether it's in person at the gym, or through email, people often ask me, "what are the things I absolutely have to do to get my body to change quickly".  Now 9 times out of 10 I usually try to avoid this question because if I give you the 5 things that absolutely need to be done, most people do 3.  And then they wonder why they aren't getting results. 

But, I figure I've been asked enough at this point that it's about time to give you the secrets to getting the body you want in as short a period of time as possible.

Ready?

There are literally 5 things that you absolutely have to do to get your body to change quickly.  You follow these 5 rules and I can virtually guarantee you will get the body you want in as short a period of time as possible.  This isn't based on theory, these are the techniques I use with my clients that get results fast!

1.) Warm-up:
Take the time to do a good 10-15 minute warm-up. And I don't mean going to jump on some piece of cardio equipment. Research shows that's a waste of 10-15 minutes.  Instead, do some self massage.  It will serve the same purpose of getting your body ready for exercise, and even better, it helps to alleviate the knots and tight muscles that come from sitting or standing all day long.  Truth be known, it will also decrease your chances of injury dramatically.  Need a little reminder (self-massage warm-up)

Follow this warm-up with some good old fashioned stretching.  Yes, the jury is still deliberating as to whether stretching is beneficial, but my experience has been it works wonders to prepare your muscles for the workout ahead. Here's a quick reminder on the stretches (warm-up stretches)

2.) Core:
From what I can tell too many people leave training their midsection to last, when they are tired from their workout.  And then if they do actually train their abs/core, it's half-hearted at best, usually only doing some kind of crunches, and thus get little to no benefit.  Training your core is as important, if not more important, than any other body part. Here's couple to get you started (core exercise examples)

3.) Resistance:
If I haven't done a good job of it before, let me clarify now, if you want to change your body and get lean, resistance exercise is the absolutely the best way to do this.  And to the women out there who think lifting weights will make you bulky, not so. Women typically do not produce enough testosterone to even come close to creating the bulky physique they worry about.

That being said, resistance training doesn't have to be lifting weights.  You can use bands, suspension straps, or traditional weights if you prefer.

Circuit                                                                                 Circuit   
Squats (with flavor -- see my you tube channel)                Squats (with flavor --you tube channel)
Lateral Raises                                                                     Chest Press (dumbbell)
Split Squats                                                                        Rear Deltoids
Push ups                                                                             Lunge (back) to Bicep Curls
Deadlifts                                                                             Deadlifts
Back (seated row)                                                               Triceps
Step up to balance and shoulder press                                  Pull-ups
Bicep Curls (dumbbell)                                                         Lunge (back) to Shoulder Press
Tricep Push-downs                                                               Breast Stroke (see you tube channel)
Jump Rope --- 70-100 times                                                 Jump Rope -- 70-100 times
                                                                                        
Circuit_3_Cheat_Sheet.pdf                                            Circuit_3a_Cheat_Sheet.pdf

4.) Cardio:
If you've been following my blogs for any length of time you know I'm big on doing intervals for cardio.  Because it gets the job done quickly with minimal damage to the knees, hips, and lower back.

Equally effective and a big favorite of mine is kettle bells.  With some proper instruction, this activity is the absolute best for burning calories, strengthening your core, as well as building some solid muscle in the hips and glutes (butt).

Follow this program with a good cool down stretch (the same movements you did to warm-up) and you should be on your way to a transformed body in a few weeks.

5.) Nutrition:
I'll keep this short, as this is becoming a bit long.  Whether you call it the Paleo diet, Mediterranean diet or anything else, staying with lean meats, minimal starchy carbs such as breads and pastas, plenty of veggies, and some nuts is the best way to go.  Need a little more clarification?  Here you go (nutrition made easy).

Get on Track and Stay on Track!
I know I'm going to ruffle some more feathers out there by posting this, but hey, I'm here to help you get real information that will help you make choices and take actions that will get results! 

I'm not here to just tell you what you want to hear.  No, I want you to hear the truth, with evidence, and be able to make an informed choice from there.

I realize that will not necessarily make me the most exciting or popular person out there.  But for those brave enough and serious enough about making changes in their bodies, by getting out of pain or transforming their body -- those people will appreciate this post.

I recently received this question that made me realize how many people out there are still using the heart rate info on machines as guides on how to transform their bodies.  So let me give the truth.

In reference to the heart rate ranges posted on exercise equipment.  They identify what your targeted heart rate should be if you want to burn fat, etc. based on your age.  In my case, my heart rate while exercising is ALWAYS higher than that "fat burn" range. I would have to significantly slow down my pace in order to fall within that range.  If my heart rate is not within that range, am I not burning calories efficiently?  Is there a lot of merit to those targeted heart rate ranges?  If I am not sweating, I don't feel like I am working hard. -- Nikkie

Target Heart is highly flawed.  I have personal experience with contacting the user of some of these formulas and they had no real idea why they used them accept to say, "They were the popular tools used at the time".  Guess it really doesn't answer why once they see the flaw they continue to use antiquated information.

To the point.

  • Target heart rate is inaccurate for 70% of the population by 10-12 beats per minute.  Not such a big deal right.  But get this, for 30% of the population it's off by 20-24 beats per minute.  That is a big deal.  Knowing which group you fall into can only be found by using your own heart rate monitor.

  • The Fat burning zone is supposed be the heart rate range where you will supposedly burn the most fat calories.  Truth is, it cannot predict this.  At best it can only partially suggest a percentage of use of fat, carbohydrates and protein.

  • You burn the most fat at rest.  The more intense an exercise is, the more carbohydrates will be used as the primary fuel source.


Low Intensity - 60-65% MHR High Intensity - 80-85% MHR
Total Calories expended per min. 4.86 6.86
Fat Calories expended per min. 2.43 2.7
Total Calories expended in 30 min. 146 206
Total Fat calories expended in 30 min. 73 82
Percentage of fat calories burned 50% 39.85%

From The 24/5 Complete Personal Training Manual, 24 Hour Fitness, 2000



I think this chart simply and accurately explains why using intervals (alternating periods of fast and slow) instead of the steady state "fat burning zone" cardio, is the most effective way to shed body fat quickly and effectively.

Slow, steady state cardio just doesn't cut it when it comes to losing body fat quickly and effectively.  Not to mention the wear and tear on the knees, hips, and lower back.

And this is the part that everyone seems to forget so readily -- what happens after that intense exercise circuit you just finished, or that extremely challenging cardio interval session.  There's something called EPOC.  Which basically discusses the amount of calories being burned after an intense session of training that can last up to 3 days later.

You will be burning more calories after intense training session because your resting metabolic rate is higher (you won't get that from "fat burning zone" cardio).  And if you'll remember, when do you use fat as the main source of fuel -- AT REST!

And if that wasn't enough information to convince you, check out this article The Final Nail in the Cardio Coffin.

Get On Track and Stay on Track!
Some days it feels as though I live on two different planets. 

One based in the reality of research and what I've seen work, day in and day out with my clientele, as well as what I witness other fitness coaches doing with their clientele and getting results.

Then there's the other world.  The world of marketing and infomercials where product 'X" is said to achieve certain results based on science I never heard of, nor can find in the vast array of information on the internet.  So I'll call my guru and ask him and he can't make heads or tails of it either.  Which by the way usually means it's a load of poo. 

But that doesn't seem to stop the marketing machine from turning and producing more fantastic and mythical products that will allow you to exert minimal effort and yet get maximum results.  Sometimes it's so painful to watch I have to just switch off the TV -- yelling at the TV doesn't seem to be very effective -- though it feels darn good.  Let's deal in reality.

Do you think it matters where you hold body fat?  I mean besides the fact that you don't want it at all, do you think there is actually a place on your body where, having body fat in this area is actually more dangerous to your health?

Believe it or not, there actually is a difference. Where your body stores body fat actually can determine the length and quality of your life.  Don't believe me?  Check this out and get motivated:

Belly Fat Study and Heart Disease

Want to lose that body fat, but not sure what was the best way -- interval training by far is the best way to lose body fat quickly and effectively.  As long as you do not have a history of heart disease or other coronary issues in your family, and with your doctor's permission, I would encourage anyone who is serious about transforming their body, to explore the outstanding benefits of interval training.

Here's a recent study with even better reasons to explore the option:

Interval Training Study

OK, so now you're convinced and motivated to get more activity into your life.  But as we all know, just losing weight isn't the real key. 

No, not by a long shot.

The true key component to losing weight, is losing the right weight -- meaning body fat!  

Just stepping on the scale and seeing the number go down may make you feel better, but it doesn't mean you're getting any healthier. However, decreasing your overall body fat does mean you're adding years and quality to your life. 

Take my word for it. 

I've measured clients that weigh the exact same and have shown different body fat numbers. 

And guess what?

They look a great deal different. You could be 120lbs and 15% body fat or you could be 120lbs and 30% body fat.  The person with the lower body fat will look leaner, have more energy, a higher quality of life and typically (bad personal habits excluded) a longer life span.

Need a home scale to help you stay on track that will give you reliable info and won't break the bank?

Best Bathroom Scales (be sure to click on the link that says "best bathroom scales")



There's your Truth, Tips, and some serious reality -- Now Get on Track and Stay on Track!
I don't know about you, but not too many years ago when this time of season would roll around I would be filled with dread.  It would take everything I had to maintain the quality of service for my clients (vacation workouts, updated workouts, nutrition modifications, special reminders regarding stretching and rolling to keep lose, etc.), begin my own Christmas shopping, make sure I was able to get my own workouts in, as well as get the all important necessary down time -- 'cause I'm a bear if I don't get my sleep.

Over the years this pattern became a pain.  I mean I would literally start to despise the coming holiday season right around Halloween.  I could almost hear the clock winding up to begin the countdown.  And believe me that is no way to enjoy the holiday season.  I like you had worked hard all year.  This should be a time you kind of slow down and appreciate all that you have accomplished.  A time to enjoy family and friends after a busy and productive year. But what was I missing in order to create that experience?

What I finally came to understand is it's all about the plan.  If I plan in advance, the gift purchasing is easy.  I just do a little each week, starting early in November.  Then it all goes smoothly.  My "to do" list doesn't seem so overwhelming and everyone feels appreciated -- including me (because I made time for myself).

The other interesting bit of knowledge I've picked up over the years is that this process of advanced planning pretty much works for anything.  If you just take a few moments each week to get clear on where you're headed, it all tends to go rather smoothly.  Just doing a little each week. Don't leave it to the last minute and try to cram it all in.

Keeping that thought in mind, I figured why not share some recipes with you so that you can stock up on all the options, and start the new year off ready to kick some butt.  No more wondering what should I eat that is healthy for me. No more waiting till the last minute because you can't think of any healthy choices.

Instead just be sure to create a folder in your filing system labeled "Recipes" and just place the ones I share with you in that file.

Now of course you may want to take the time to organize them in certain categories like breakfast, lunch and dinner, but other than that you should be pretty much set.  Just copy them and paste them in your file.  Then as you begin planning for your success in the coming year, you'll be all set with lots of options.  People will think you're some kind of super-human because you have so many delicious and easy to make meal options.  They'll watch your body transform and wonder how you had time over the holidays to become so prepared.  Just cut and paste.

Your success is that easy.  Just take a moment to do a little planning. 

Below are two breakfast options to get you up and running right each morning.  While everyone else is slowly waking up after getting to the office, you'll be fired up and ready to take on the day -- and transforming your body at the same time. A Win-Win. I like that.


Recipe #1 Maple Walnut Apple Oatmeal (Maple_Walnut_Apple_Oatmeal.doc)

Recipe #2 Raspberry Mocha Shake (Raspberry_Mocha_Shake.doc)

These easy to prepare and very tasty options are courtesy of Gourmet Nutrition by Dr. John Berardi, Michael Williams and Kristina Andrew