Apr
16
2012
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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.

Mar
13
2012
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I can't tell you how many times I've answered the question about the safety or dangers of red meat.  And I'm not just referring to the difference between organic versus non-organic nor grass versus corn or grain fed.  Some people have serious concerns when it comes to consuming red meat. 

 

And to be quite honest, you should be concerned about what you put into your body.  With all of the chemicals that we read about being added to our food, you'd be foolish not to be more discriminating when it comes to your daily meals.

 

But sometimes marketing hoopla and research can go a bit overboard.

 

Check out this article:  All Red Meat Is Bad For You!

 

Now that's one powerful title.  And after reading the article it's enough to make anyone swear off red meat -- PERIOD!

 

But when you sit and think about the "study" they cite, I noticed they didn't discuss whether any of the participants exercised or not?  Did any of the participants consume alcohol or eat processed foods as regularly as they consumed red meat?  Did they have family histories of poor health? You can see where I'm going with this.

 

While you should limit the amount of red meat you consume, you should also be aware that other factors play a strong role in mortality rates -- not just red meat.

 

And because we live in such an information age we are fortunate enough to get articles like the one below, that help to put a little perspective into the mix.

 

Why Red Meat Is NOT Bad For You!

 

Whether you are a vegetarian, eat no red meat, or only consumed a limited amount per week, the bottom line is not to believe everything that comes across our hyped up media, just because it claims to be a study.

 

You're intelligent.  Think it through.  Do what makes sense to you, and don't be led around by your emotions and a few so-called research studies. 

 

 

 

Health comes in many varieties and can be achieved in many ways.  Make sure the one you choose is a decision made by you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!
Yes, I'm back from vacation.  Needed the downtime. Definitely feeling refreshed and ready to get back into the thick of things.

Even on vacation I can't seem to escape the marketing machine's grip.  I found some interesting facts about Pizza in one of my "poolside" reading magazines.  At first read I thought, "Wow, this is some good information to consider". But something just didn't seem real.  Then it hit me.

It almost made me pull out my hair, but then I remembered -- I don't have any.

Check out the short video below and see what I mean.

I know I tend to go on and on about the big marketing machine.  How they are not working towards our healthful improvement, but are in fact leading us astray on many occasions. 

Remember how I frequently comment that they are in business to sell products not improve your overall health.  Check out this article.  It's well worth the read and has some serious surprises regarding what foods claim to be healthy and are not.

Foods With Health Benefits, or So They Say

I don't know about you, but that article was quite a wake-up call about the concerns we all should have about marketing and what they claim.

Switching gears a bit, have you heard about the rising amount of people with Gluten allergies?  You may be affected and don't even know it.  Check out this article to get more info on how you can help yourself.

Belly Fat Caused by Glutens and Gluten Allergies

And lastly, let me share some quick and ready to use tips on how to decrease high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

7 Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure, Bad Cholesterol and Blood Sugar Levels

3 more ways to help you and/or someone you know -- Get On Track and Stay On Track!
We all have goals we would like to achieve.  It doesn't matter what that goal is quite honestly.  For my purpose I want to help you achieve the your best body. 

I want you to live without having pain. 

I want you to be the weight you desire. 

I want you to like what you see when you look in the mirror.

I want you to be able to do what you truly love doing, whether it's gardening, knitting, playing a specific sport, or working out.

I know you work unbelievably hard at your job each day, each week.  I believe you work just as hard at home, to the best partner, husband/father or wife/mother.  It's a grind sometimes, let's be honest; but you do the best you possibly can each and every week.

Yet amongst all those responsibilities we have to find some you time. 

I know, I know, it can be a daunting task at times.  But if we don't take good care of you, you won't be able to show up in the other areas of your life the way you want.

I don't know about you, but when I don't take good care of myself, feeling as though I'm running from one obligation to the next; I get cranky, have difficultly sleeping, and quite honestly, am not that pleasant to be around.

I respect the amount of time you spend at work and at home, so I spend each week carefully choosing subjects and information that will inspire, educate, and motivate you into action.  Action that will give you a renewed sense of "get it done".  Because you and I both know the better you take care of yourself, the better you're able to give to others.

But sometimes it's hard to find that time, or so I thought. 

What I've come to realize is, it's not about finding the more time to get everything I need and want, done.  No, actually it's about me managing the time I have.  Does that sound like you? 

The first thing I had to do is have the discipline and the courage to create a goal and the plans to make it happen.  These two items were a big help:

The_Indispensable_Quality.doc

The_Time_to_Act.doc

The older I get and the more I think about it, the more I realize success has more to do with managing what you have than it does with longing for something outside of yourself.  And the funny thing about managing what you have is that you often times find yourself getting more of what you want and need.

But the first thing that has to happen before you can start working on any of this, is a sense of urgency.  A sense that it's time to make a change.  Time to stop filling up that closet with regrets and missed opportunities.

Excuse_Me_Your_Life_is_Waiting.doc

It's your life.  You deserve to have the type of life you want.  There is nothing you can't accomplish.  It will take a plan and some effort, but it IS within your grasp. 

Just take the first step -- that's all I ask.

Now Go Out and Get It Done!
I've been getting all sorts of emails and personal inquires about how to get in shape quickly now that the summer weather is approaching.  As well as the usual inquiries regarding  how to get out of shoulder, hip and back pain, which I will address next Monday.

Funny thing is the answer is the same to both of these questions.  "What results are you getting?"

Now, that question is not meant to be a smartypants comment at all.  It's meant to initiate thought.

You would be surprised how many people are not getting the results they want, and yet continue to do the same things that are already not working (not getting results).

When people ask me how to get rid of that last little layer of flub around the middle, they seem to expect an easy quick fix--one size fits all answer, that will magically dissolve the problem overnight.  Instead I usually ask them 2 specific questions:

  • What is their present nutrition schedule like?  Meaning how many times are they eating per day, as well as how each meal is made up -- regarding protein, carbs, and fat.

  • Next, I ask them what type of metabolic work are they doing?  Meaning what type of program are they using to stimulate an increase in their metabolism.

7 times out of 10 the person looks at me with a blank stare, or proceeds to tell me what they ate yesterday or today.  And if you'll remember my post on that response a few weeks ago, you'll know that is a dead give-away that the person has no real system to their eating/nutrition.  Yet they wonder why they are not getting the results they want.

I know you're tired of hearing it, but you have to have a plan if you're going to make successful changes to anything in your life.  If you don't write it down, it's not a serious goal.

Your results tell you if your program is working.  Don't just keep doing the same thing that's not working and get more and more frustrated. Find out why it's not working -- that's what I'm here for.
 
If you're not dropping the weight you want -- for goodness sake, please start keeping a food journal.  It's the only way to truly find out what's wrong.  Your car has a gas gauge to tell you when you're low on gas.  Your food journal (your human gas gauge) will tell you where to make changes in order to create the results you want. 

Equally important is to remember that steady state cardio does not work in getting rid of body fat quickly.  Want 2 ways to start seeing results from your cardio/metabolic training sessions?

Try these:

  • If you have no history of heart condition nor in your family, then try intervals.  Meaning a slow period of walking, jogging or running, followed by a fast period of walking, jogging or running.  The periods should start at about 30-45 seconds, for 10-20 minutes at a time.  After approximately two weeks move to 45 seconds to 1 minute interval periods.

  • Try using circuits in your weight training.  Meaning do 3-5 movements in a row, alternating upper and lower body movements, before taking a 1-1:30 minute break.  Do 3-4 cycles of this method and watch the results happen.

Ok.  What does that look like: 

All movements should be done with a weight you can do 12-20 times in proper form, but challenges you.

Push-up or Flyes
Squats (body weight or with dumbbells)
Rows (seated or 1 arm rows with dumbbell)
Lunges (backward stepping, dumbbells optional)
Wood Chops (using an elastic band or 1 dumbbell)

Now Go Out and Get It Done!