If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life is insane and it is going to keep changing and throwing us curveballs regardless of our goals, plans and aspirations. In my experience a big part of finding success in your fitness efforts is being able to adapt and follow through with your plan amidst the chaos. This is actually a topic I discuss with almost every client I have at one time or another. Unfortunately life will bring conflict whether it be a mass pandemic, a loss of a loved one, a break up, loss of a job, etc. Now, I’m sure some of you reading this will rank everything I just listed as a higher priority than fitness. And I don’t disagree with that train of thought. However, most people put looking and feeling good pretty high on their priority list whether they realize it or not. This is one of the reasons fitness is so addicting in the first place. Some people go through a big part of their lives only to discover fitness later on and they get hooked because they start to see how great they can actually look and feel. Now, if you don’t follow through with your fitness goals following the death of a close loved one, or the loss of a job, no one is going to judge you. But, in my experience if you are going through a rough time and let go of things in your life that make you feel better like eating well and exercising it can create an even worse situation. So, this post is designed to cover how to create a plan that is easy to follow when shit hits the fan.
Think back to how many “shitty” weeks you’ve had over the past year. It could be a bad allergy week, a tough week at work, a week with bad back pain. Now that you have that number in your mind think back over the past 10 yeas. How many “major” unfortunate life events have you had? A loss of a job, a loss of a loved one, a global pandemic (theres at least one of those), etc. Now I want you to take all of that into consideration. When people make dieting plans on paper everything seems easy and flawless. So, if I eat this many calories each day I will be at my goal weight in 3 months! In retrospect this is obviously not usually the case, unless you have a mindset that plans to have some shitty weeks in there. For some reason in my experience I have never had a weight loss client that had a flawless journey. Something always happens. They have a bad week at work, they lose a close loved one, etc. While all of these things are unfortunate they don’t negate the fact that you are working towards something. Something that at the end of your journey you will thank yourself for. Something that makes it easier to get up in the morning. Something that makes you feel better even when the deck is stacked against you. And in my experience the reason why most people “fail” at their plans is because they don’t take into account that 1) making any changes to your life and body is hard as f***, and 2) they expect everything to go perfect and lovely. So let me give you a few tips as to how YOU can be successful with your plans regardless of your circumstances.
So let’s say over the past year you have had 12 shitty weeks, that’s roughly one per month. If you set up a weight loss/weight gain plan that only works on perfect weeks that is designed to last 3 months. Well you are already putting yourself 3 weeks behind schedule. My advice, think about how you are going to react when you have a shitty week, and remember just because the situation isn’t ideal every decision you make either brings you closer or takes you farther away from your goal.
2) Make everything as SIMPLE as possible
Many people follow these crazy ass meal plans that force people to cook foods they have never even heard of before. Or they choose a dieting style that doesn’t align with their cravings/palate. The ketogenic diet is a great example of this because what is going to happen if you have an absolutely shitty week and you decide to crush a sleeve of Oreos. Well, now you’ve taken yourself out of “ketosis”. So, if you can’t follow whatever plan you’re on when the going gets tough you SHOULD NOT be on that plan because life is not all sunshine and rainbows. My advice, choose a balanced approach to exercising and eating, one that allows you to be consistent even on the bad days.
3) Figure out your caloric balance
When shit hits the fan sometimes exercising may not be an option. Some people that have families and a demanding job may find themselves in a bind if their boss pushes a deadline. When this happens we don’t want to be in “reactive” mode. We want to be proactive. So, let’s say on your plan you work out 4x a week and deficit your caloric intake 500 calories per day which will yield about 1lb of weight loss per week. If you have an insane week where you only workout twice well that messes with you caloric balance. So if you want to continue to lose weight you need to obviously deficit the amount of calories you didn’t burn that week. If you normally burn 300 calories a workout well that means you need to eat 600 less calories that week, or roughly 75 calories less per day. That number obviously changes based off of how hard you workout.
4) MAKE A PLAN, JUST MAKE A DAMN PLAN
Life is ever-changing. Most of us don’t have the luxury of a “normal”. We have kids, demanding jobs, loved ones that need us, home projects, and whatever else demands your attention on a weekly basis. When these things happen DO NOT give yourself an excuse to not follow through with your plan. The reason why I see many people fail is because when something throws off their natural rhythm they flounder. Well I always workout on Friday’s, but I have a work conference this Friday, ok so why not workout on Thursday? Theres 7 days a week, if you normally work out 4 you have 3 days with which to adjust your plan. So, when you have a week that throws you off plan on how to get around it. Be a problem solver, don’t be helpless.
5) Ask yourself how long you actually want to be “dieting” for
One of the best things about the world we live in is the copious amounts of amazing food that reside here. Sometimes I have vivid dreams about foods that I’ve eaten in my lifetime. Not sure if I should talk to my therapist about that or not. With that being said, how long do you want to limit yourself on the foods you can eat? Because in reality when you get to the “end” of a weight loss phase you have the ability to slowly raise your daily calorie threshold without gaining body fat, if you do it the right way. I have many clients who do really well with their food for a couple weeks only to fall off for the 2 weeks after that because they couldn’t moderate their portions, or decided to live in an “ignorance is bliss” type of mindset. The reality is somewhere, some way you have to sacrifice if you really want to change. You can sacrifice consistently and see results quickly or you can sacrifice here and there and drag out your “diet” over a matter of years. The choice is yours. Now, when I say sacrifice I don’t mean you have to give up the food you love, you just have to moderate how much of it you consume. And again this has to be a consistent thing. Even when weeks are tough. The worst thing you could do for yourself is have a complete “fuck it” day or week because life got tough. So going back to my earlier point make it simple.
Alright guys and gals that’s it for todays rant. Remember choosing to change your body is one of THE HARDEST things you will ever do in your lifetime. Why do you think the fad diet industry is so lucrative? People have such a hard time doing this that they pay companies millions of dollars per year to make it easier for them. So here is some free advice on how to succeed. Make it simple, plan to fail, follow through with your plan, and remember you don’t want to be restricting yourself forever.
Stay strong everyone
Everyone I know has some form of goal in life, even if it is a loosely followed idea, everyone has some type of goal or direction. Now, just because people have goals, it doesn’t mean that they have the willpower to actually reach those goals. And, let’s face it some people have goals and ideas that are far beyond their level of commitment. Which again, I think that if someone has a lofty goal, but doesn’t have the commitment level to reach it, in the long run they will be unhappy. Because their commitment level will never match the level of their goal and they will sit around wondering why life never goes in their favor. Or complain about their genetics, responsibilities, or some other factor that hindered them from achieving their desired end result. Before I get into the nitty-gritty portion of this post I want to begin by stating that as a coach I never judge anyone based off their level of commitment or “results”, but at the same time the way that I coach different people and what I ask of them is determined by how committed they are and how honest they can be with themselves. I realize that everyone has their own personal battles that they fight every day and choosing to be healthy and fit will be more of a challenge for some than it will be for other. However, I do believe that being honest with yourself is the most important thing to do in your fitness journey. Because in reality if your actions don’t match your goal. Your goal is simply not that important to you. And again that is ok, but it is something you need to come to grips with and decide if you want to change your commitment level or change your goal.
As someone gets deeper into their fitness journey one of the things they learn relatively quickly is the amount of sacrifices they will have to make exponentially increases. When you are a beginner, strength and muscle increases much more rapidly than in more advanced athletes. A beginner will walk into the gym weekly and sometimes even daily and set a new PR (personal record). Whereas more advanced athletes may train for months to set a PR. When people reach this point they will begin to understand the extra sacrifices they will have to make to continue to get stronger. They will have to do research, which requires time. Or they may hire a coach, which requires money. They have to learn patience and perseverance as adding 5lbs onto a lift may only come every month or two instead of every session. They learn to put their ego aside and learn to train smart to progress. These are the people that you see competing recreationally in sports, bodybuilding, powerlifting, crossfit, etc. Now, the amount of people that choose to make these sacrifices are by far the minority. The majority of people will continue to do their simple workouts and stay at the same level. After a while, many of these people will fall off, because they have a mindset that does not match their commitment level. They don’t progress and they get “bored” and decide to spend their time doing something else. Because the sacrifice they have to make is no longer worth the goals they had in mind. Some people, and in my experience very few, will be satisfied with their level of athleticism and continue with their routine day in and day out with little to no variance. AGAIN, all of these outcomes are perfectly fine, but the question becomes; how much are you willing to sacrifice to get further in your journey?
The same concept applies to how seriously someone takes their eating habits. We all eat daily to suffice our hunger and stay alive. Some people choose to take this more seriously than others. Some people will eat whatever they “feel like” in the moment. They may crush their bodies at the gym, but have no willpower to sustain any semblance of a healthy eating plan. Some people make undertake a “fad diet” (Weight Watchers, Keto, Atkins, Zone, Paleo) for a small period of time to reach their weight loss goals, but when the goal is reached the diet is tossed out the window. Others will take a smarter approach and learn to balance their food, but struggle with being consistent with it for more than a few weeks. Others will set their diet goals, stay consistent, and get to their desired level of weight or body fat for a long time, but in the long run will fall into bad habits. Some will be consistent for most of their life and make it a lifestyle. AGAIN, we are all at different levels, have different struggles and commitments, and have varying levels of willpower. But, if you are someone with a reasonably sized goal like “losing 20lbs”, your level of commitment will have to rise to reach your desired goal. And again this level of commitment needs to apply to all aspects of your fitness. Someone can eat decent but fail to workout as much as they need to to lose weight. Others may work out a ton, but fail to follow a consistent eating plan. Some will struggle with both. And, obviously over time all the variables will change, depending on how committed said person is.
The moral of the story is fitness requires sacrifice. Spending a few hours in the gym every week means you have to give up time with family. Or maybe time you would be doing other things like watching your favorite show or napping. Taking the time to track your calorie intake can be tedious and monotonous. Learning to balance your meals can mean eating foods you love in smaller portion or less often. Whatever it may be, sacrifices will be involved. And if you really want to progress, these sacrifices have to be made regardless of how you “feel” in the moment.
I want to leave you with a simple analogy before I close. Let’s say someone with a lofty fitness goal (wanting to lose more than 5% of their bodyweight) or (Building more than 5-10lbs of muscle) is similar to someone that wants to buy a house. When someone wants to buy a house they make “sacrifices”. Some people will sacrifice more than others and thus get to their goal faster. Now let’s also take into account body type. Let’s say the body type you have is kind of like your “return on investment” or your “interest rate.” Two people can make the same contribution, but the person with a higher interest rate will obviously grow their savings faster. Again this may not be fair, but it's the reality of life and no one lives in your body but you so this is something we all have to deal with. Most people buy a house because it saves them money or gives them a place of their own. This is similar to the feeling of satisfaction someone gets when looking in the mirror. And again, there will be people in life that have the goal of buying a house, but never do because they were not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve their personal goal. Let’s say that every time you make a good fitness decision you are making a deposit into your house savings account. And every time you make a bad one you are taking money out of it. And every time you make an average decision your money stays the same. If you were to add up all your actions, where would you be in terms of buying your house? That is the reality of the situation. Every decision you make, every day, every week, every month, every year, all adds up. We all have bad days, bad weeks, bad months, bad years, but the account will always grow or dwindle. When you make a choice that you are going to reach your goal no matter the cost, and you begin to make decisions accordingly you will make the progress you desire. Someone may spend years sitting on the fence choosing to dabble in fitness and still make unhealthy choices. Some people commit right off the bat and achieve their goal in the first few months and then they set another one and continue to grow. Wherever you are in your fitness journey I want you to ask yourself: Is my goal worthy enough to me to make the sacrifices I need to to achieve it? If it is great, start doing it or keep doing what you’re doing. If it isn’t well then I suggest you set another goal, maybe a smaller one because saying you want one thing and acting in a completely different way will only bring you misery. Whatever you decide your actions, mindset, and intensity will determine the end result. And wherever you are in your current journey is the “truth” of your actions so far. Lastly, just because you may not be where you want to be now doesn’t mean you can’t be there in a few months with the right course of action. Decide, act, believe, and stay strong.
Wait, isn’t doing something wrong bad? I mean if you’re building a house and you lay the foundation the wrong way isn’t the house going to sink? If you build a wall with different and oddly shaped bricks and lay them the wrong way isn’t the wall going to fall down eventually? Yes it is, but unfortunately sometimes that is the way the learning process works. For example learning to walk as kids we all fell on our faces a few times, which is obviously not the right way to walk but it is what we needed to learn to balance. Or maybe when we were learning to drive we hit a few curbs, or blew a stop sign, or maybe even had an accident. Did that prevent us from getting back behind the wheel? Some people maybe, but for the vast majority probably not. This same rule applies to activity.
When you work out, whether it be at home or in the gym odds are you are probably doing something wrong. We all do stuff wrong. I do, you do, even the top lifters in the world will tell you they still have bad habits and movement patterns that they are working on. And all of those people have made mistakes along the way that they learned from, grew from, and got better because of. I’ll give you an example of an obvious personal mistake that I’ve made. I’ve been taking BCAA’s since I was around 17 years old (until recently). Now, if you are familiar with supplements you will know that the average container of BCAA”S is around $20-$45 and will last around a month depending on how often they are taking them. To make things easy let’s say the container cost $30 and lasted a month. Let’s make the math simple and say that I’ve been taking BCAA’s for 10 years. That’s $360 a year and over 10 years $3600. Well, if you follow the fitness industry you also know that according to recent studies BCAA’s are a waste of money if you consume a high protein diet. Which for the past 10 years I have been. That would mean that I have wasted $3600 of my money on a worthless supplement. Sheesh it would be nice to have an extra $3600 in the my savings account. Not only that but in my time as a fitness junkie I’ve made countless mistakes. Whether it be bad coaching advice, bad form, or just bad habits you name it I’ve done it. My point is, you;’re going to make mistakes. A TON of them. That’s life. What you shouldn’t do is allow the fear of making mistakes stop you from pursuing your fitness goals.
One “excuse” that I’ve heard numerous times over my career is “I didn’t workout at home because I was afraid of doing something wrong”. Personally, in 99% of cases I don’t find this argument to be realistic. I do believe there is the 1% of cases where someone has debilitating back pain or a pre- existing condition where they need constant supervision from a clinician to make progress. But, for the general population this argument is worthless. We all have a choice to make when it comes to pursuing our fitness goals. We can choose to explore the unknown and try something new. Odds are we will fail a few times, maybe even countless times before we get it right. Or we can choose to let the “fear” or “excuse” of doing something wrong inhibit us from undertaking something that in the long run will make us healthier and happier.
I think the reason why I chose to write this blog post at this very moment is because of everything going on right now. With the pandemic shutting down gyms and people being left to their own devices there are many people claiming that “home workouts won’t get me closer to my goals”, or “I don’t know what to do at home with no equipment”. To all of those people I have one thing to say “Doing something, even if it’s wrong, is better than sitting around and letting time pass by”. Because doing nothing will not keep you at the same level, it will actually cause a decline in progress when normal activity is resumed. However, working on uncomfortable movements at home, or doing a bodyweight circuit, or practicing tempo on movements can keep you from losing progress and in many cases actually make further progress. Continuing a fitness journey especially during these times is challenging, but don’t let the fact that you may not have a “perfect” workout stop you from working out at all. If you are unsure what to do, check YouTube, reach out to someone in the industry, do research, but do something. Even if you are only doing push ups, planks, and walking is better than sitting around and doing nothing. Get up, do it wrong, and learn from it. In the long run the habits you build will be more important than the movements that were performed wrong while you were learning. Stay strong everyone.
I am writing this post in response to everything that’s going on, the unrest, mild depression that I’m sure many people are going through right now, and most of all the uncertainty that’s going on right now. Obviously I am not a therapist, tied to the government, or living anyones life but my own so I can only speak to all of you through my own perspective and my own struggles through this time. But, while this post is going to be geared towards living healthier and making better choices, I think that everyone can glean some form of positivity from this post even if they don’t engage in any type of activity.
Right now is a very challenging time for everyone. Some people don’t have jobs. Some people while they may not be financially effected are dealing with their own demons being cooped up, or taken away from things they love like going out, lifting weights, etc. I will be honest with you and tell you all that this whole thing had a massive effect on my mentality when it all happened. Things were going great, I was coming up on having my most profitable month as a business owner, and all of the sudden a mandatory 2-3 month shutdown of all gyms happened. It definitely was hard to grasp at first and I definitely think I stewed in my own misery for a couple of weeks trying to absorb the fact that I couldn’t do what I love in the same way for the next 3 months. When your source of livelihood is taken away from you abruptly being motivated is challenging. And over the past couple weeks I have been FaceTiming and calling all of my clients to see where everyone is and everyone that I have talked to is struggling with the same things, but all in different ways.
The point of my writing this post, while it is partially for my benefit I think it is also something that needs to be heard by everyone going through a tough time right now. None of us have been through anything like this in our lives. And many of us are extreme creatures of routine. We thrive on having a job to get us out of bed, or having weekend plans that get us through the work week, or having family member and friends to gather with to keep us sane. And all of that has been in some way taken away. So it makes sense that we are all struggling. Now as I said that this post was going to be mainly about fitness, and I am getting there I promise. Most of us have fallen off our normal activity routine in some way or another. And I think the reason behind that is many people have lost sight of their main goal with working out. Whether it be body composition alteration, weight or fat loss, or simply being healthy. There is something that is so motivating about a gym setting. Dozens of people around you doing their workouts and making themselves better. Maybe before all this happened you were an avid participant in group training. Looking forward every workout to seeing your friends and working together with them to get better. And now all of that has been taken away. But, all hope is not lost.
Realistically, this quarantine for small businesses, gyms, and individuals is going to last until at least the end of May if not longer. If that is the case we have roughly another 7 weeks of being prisoners in our own homes. 7 weeks is a long time. A long time to decide what is the best course of action in this time. This next 7 weeks could be wasted on feeling sorry for ourselves and wondering what is the point of being active or eating healthy. Or, it could be a 7 weeks of growth in the areas we can focus on. 7 weeks of taking time to research things that apply to your goals. Fat loss strategies, fixing muscle imbalances, focusing on weak points, getting in better control of your diet, healthy recipe options, Or even mastering your own bodyweight. The reality is the choice is up to you as to what the next 7 weeks will mean for your fitness goals.
There is one thing I can tell you with 100% certainty. Whatever decisions are made over the next 7 weeks will set up your return to normal activity. If you spend 7 weeks wasting time and not being active odds are you will lose a decent amount of muscle, coordination, strength, work capacity, and endurance. Or if the next 7 weeks are spent wisely you could come out of this armed with better knowledge, bodyweight control, endurance, and a better toolbox to deal with no access to the gym. Not only that, but forcing yourself to be active during this time and eat well will provide a sense of normality. While everything else around you is going insane.
My point is, what you do over the next month or so is completely up to you. And whatever you do during this time you will have to deal with afterwards. So this post, above all is a call to action. Maybe up to this point you aren’t happy with your actions. That is ok, this isn’t over yet. I will admit that I could be better. As I said this post is as much for me as it is for you. Times are tough right now and I think this is something we all need to hear. It will all be over soon, so let’s all start preparing for what is to come. If you are lost in terms of fitness, need a little bit of motivation, or just needs some ideas for what to work on send us a message. Whether you are a client or not during this time we are here for everyone. And remember, just do the best that you can. If you can honestly tell yourself that you have been doing your best, Good keep doing it. If not, don’t be hard on yourself just work on being a bit better. Stay strong everyone.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this post I want to start off by addressing the fact that everyone has different time constraints when it comes to training. Some people have 12 or more hours a week they spend in the gym. Others are lucky if they have 3 hours a week that they can devote to their fitness. Regardless, every level can benefit from some type of warm up. In this post I will discuss a few things. First, what a warm up is and the importance of it. Second, my opinions on what moves can be skipped based on time constraints. Third, a true full warm up that address mobility, stability, and warming the body for the session. Fourth, how much time to spend warming up based on how long you train.
What is a warm up? A warm up is anything that is going to prime the body for the workout of the day. Warm ups have several parts. In my opinion, any thorough warm up has 5 parts.
Now, depending on your bodies needs and the amount of time you have to devote to training you want to look at each of these pieces and weigh them in order of importance. Some people do not lack sufficient mobility and if they were to spend time on mobility would actually be hindering their progress. Others may only have 45 minutes to train so spending 30 minutes of it warming up would be a waste of time. Every person, unless they have a coach will have to determine which parts apply to them and under what circumstances. Depending on the movement or body parts being trained on a particular day will have an effect on how long and thorough the warm up process is. So, to make this simple let’s rank each of these in order of importance.
The only reason why I ranked a moderate intensity movement last is because if time is constrained the other parts of the warm up can be performed in a circuit to get the heart rate moving.Now that we have covered the parts of the warm up I want to talk about each part, the purpose of it, and what exercises fall into each category. By the end of this post you should be armed with enough knowledge to put together a full warm up for yourself.
Part 1- A moderate intensity movement to warm the body
Warming up the body for training is especially important because it gets the body ready to perform work. Elevating the heart rate enough to get blood flowing to all the limbs and raising the core body temperature to “grease” the body are both components of this part of the warm up. This part of the warm up is the simplest to explain because basically all you have to do is get your body movement. Using a treadmill, the air rower, exercise bike, running, jumping rope, etc are all acceptable movements for this part of the warm up.
Part 2- Core Stability
The entire warm up process consists of “waking up” all the muscles that you are about to use for the day. The core is a muscle that will always be used no matter what part of the body is being trained that day. That is why I believe this is the most important part of the warm up. Having a stable core is necessary for performing proper squats, presses, deadlifts, rows, etc. This is because the core provides the linkage between the hips and torso to create full body force and power. Having a stable core allows the body to brace as the legs and upper extremities can drive into the weight together. My favorite movement circuit to do for this part of the warm up is the McGill Big 3. Coined by Dr. Stuart McGill these 3 exercises coupled in a circuit can provide core stability for 3-4 hours and over time will lead to a more resilient and stable core. The three exercises he recommends are; bird dog’s, McGill curl up, and the rolling plank. Generally I have all of my clients perform at least 1 of these 3 exercises and as they advance in strength we will progress to performing all 3. Other exercises that can provide great core stability are any variation of carries. Farmer walks, suitcase carries, bottoms up carries, etc. If one is in a rush carries can be performed as the general warm up and core warm up saving time.
Part 3- A movement or series of movements to address mobility issues
In my experience every “Normal” trainee can benefit from some type of mobility work. Normal being anyone not extremely genetically gifted. We are all born with slight imperfections in our bone structures. We also all have bad habits in our posture that lead to immobility over time. Mobility work will be dependent on what is being trained. Mobility is required in the shoulders and hips to create proper movement patters. If the lower body is being trained one day obviously the mobility work will be geared towards the hips. If the upper body is being trained the mobility work will be more geared towards the shoulders. Mobility work can include shoulder dislocations, hip airplanes, assisted hip airplanes, scapula retractions, thoracic mobility work, cervical mobility work, etc. The best recommendation I can give to anyone reading this is to do 2 things. One, video your lifts from all angles. Sometimes, especially for newer trainees imbalances are not “felt” by the body while performing the movements. So taking video will give you the insight into your movements to see what is actually going on when you move. Second, once you have established what needs work take the time to research mobility movements for whatever part of your lift is suffering.
Part 4- A movement or series of movements to focus on stability
Stability in the hips and shoulders is also required to move big loads. I know this sounds counter intuitive because I just mentioned how important mobility in these areas is. However, when performing squats and deadlifts the hips must lock and move in a straight line, not side to side. When a bench press is being performed the shoulders must lock into place behind the pecs to create optimal power and movement. So, as you can see proper stability is also required in these areas. The mobility allows us to get our body in the right position and the stability allows us to keep it there. In my experience the 2 muscles most benefitted from stability work are; the lats and the glutei. The glute medius is responsible for stabilization of the hips and knees. Strengthening the muscle with specific stability movements can greatly enhance power through the hips. The lats are responsible for creating a fully locked torso when doing any movement so creating strength in this area is if upmost importance. My favorite “guide” to stability work is Dr. Andrew Lock. Dr. Lock is an experiences Australian physiotherapist and is well versed in rehab and strength and has created and coined the “Lock Big 3” for hips and shoulders. He also has a lot of exercises and tools for bench stability. Other exercises that can be done for stability are I-Y-T’s, monster walks, single leg glute bridges, single arm rows, etc.
Part 5- A specific warm up for the movement of the day
This is ranked closer to the bottom in order of importance in my opinion. The reason why is despite the fact that it is important if one is strapped for time reps with an empty barbell on the movement of the day can replace this. For example instead of performing a goblet squat an extra set of empty bar squats could be performed on squat day. However, if someone is becoming more of an advanced lifter this part of the warm up becomes increasingly important. Specific warm ups can include dumbbell bench press, single arm rows, Kroc rows, kettlebell bench press, goblet squats, etc. Whatever is necessary to provide stability, mobility, or groove the movements. Kettlebell bottoms up bench presses have helped me a ton in my programming because they force me to groove the press properly. Similar effects have been seen on my clients with different movements that we use in this part of the warm up. Again the best way to see what you need, especially if you don’t have a coach is to take videos of yourself lifting and watch them.
The last thing that I want to cover in this post today is how long to spend on your warm up. Generally I would spend no more than 10-20% of the time you have to devote to the session that day to warm up. So, If you train for an hour a short warm up would be 5 minutes, whereas a longer warm up would be 15 minutes based on your needs for the day. Someone that trains longer 2-3 hours might spend 20-35 minutes on a warm up depending on specific needs. Basically, you want to do enough to get you ready for the days training without wasting energy.
I hope by now you have a deeper understanding of the components of a warm up. Armed with these tools you can build a warm up for yourself that will allow you to set new personal bests and address nagging issues you may be dealing with. Remember that warm ups are just as important if not more important than the actual workout planned for the day. The more time and attention you give to applying a proper warm up, the bigger dividends you will reap in the long run. Stay strong everyone.
NOT training hard every day was probably one of the hardest things for me to grasp as I pushed farther into my fitness career. After all working hard and busting my @$$ in the gym is what got me stronger in the first place. So why would it be any different now that I had gotten stronger? Unfortunately, the trap of lifting balls to the wall every session is the trap that many young and intermediate trainees get stuck in. And honestly, it’s costing them a lot of “gains”. Obviously the gym requires hard work. And obviously no part of working out is easy. However, I am a firm believer that there should always be something left in the tank when someone walks out of the gym. Unless a maximal effort session is planned. There are several levels of experience when it comes to lifting weights or training for a sport. Every year of training sheds new light on weaknesses and brings with it new knowledge. I believe that trainees can be broken down into 4 categories; beginner, intermediate, advanced, and Top 10%. Every level will use sub maximal training in a different way, but let’s explore each level and why sub maximal training can benefit them.
Truth be told, every weight the beginner uses will be sub maximal if proper form is utilized. The reason behind this is a beginner must first learn proper movement patterns before any “heavy” weight is used. Inexperienced trainees need to learn how to lift the weight properly before their bodies true potential can be unlocked. Another reason why it is optimal to encourage newer trainees to stop before failure is because form breaks down very quickly in the beginning stages of training. Even adding 5lbs to an exercise can make it look like the person has never lifted before. So, in short the beginner can utilize sub maximal loads to learn proper movement patters and develop the strength necessary to stabilize heavier loads.
Becoming an intermediate trainee brings with it different styles of programming and also newer heavier loads on the body. Intermediate trainees will not be able to recover as quickly as the beginner. Beginning trainees can usually add weight to an exercise almost every session or every week. Intermediates will add weight, but not as often. Now, when the body is moving heavier loads it takes a greater toll on the central nervous system. For example lifting 300lbs does much more muscle damage than lifting 100lbs. Intermediate lifters have succeeded in adding a decent amount of weight onto their core lifts and will need more time to fully recover. An intermediate will also not be able to lift at maximal effort every training session because it takes too much out of the body and will hinder further progress. This is where sub maximal loads are accounted for. An intermediate can use training in “waves” to slowly build up to a new max. These waves can be as short as 4 weeks and as long as 3 months depending on the level of intermediacy they are at. If an intermediate trainee was to lift as hard as they could every session they would actually get weaker instead of making progress. I feel this is something that most people in the gym don’t fully grasp due to the amount of articles published on “hard work” being the only thing that drives progress. In truth intermediate work at the right times will drive more progress than “hard work”. Intermediates will often need more stimulation to grow so they will usually be training the same lift multiple times per week. Multiple training sessions on the same exercise will usually require different training loads so the body is not overly taxed. This becomes even more important to the advanced lifter.
Advanced lifters are people you see in the gym who either look better than most other people in the gym or are lifting more weight than most other people in the gym. Advanced lifters need very high amounts of stimulus to keep progressing on their movements. Also advanced lifters will have tapped into heavier weights than others will ever lift in their lifetime. Lifting this kind of weight has an extreme effect on the central nervous system. For example, if an advanced lifter lifts 700lbs he may not be able to lift that weight again or anything close to it for several months. This is where sub maximal training comes into play. The advanced lifter will use sub maximal weights to build a platform to either match or beat his or her previous PR’s. Basically, someone can’t simply go from lifting 400lbs to lifting 700lbs in a week. However, after setting a PR of a heavy weight the lifters body may only be recovered enough to lift 50-60% of the weight lifted the previous session. In this way they train in waves like an intermediate lifter will do, but the waves just take longer and are more precise. If the advanced lifter tried to train heavy every session a couple things would happen. One, they would get weaker because their central nervous system would be so fatigued it would cause exhaustion. Two, they would most likely get injured. Advanced trainees know the importance of sub maximal training and they also will have used it for several years before ever reaching this level.
THE TOP 10%
The top 10% of athletes in the world are obviously very genetically gifted and hard working individuals. These are people who have devoted their lives to training. They most likely have at least 1-2 decades of lifting experience under their belt. Or they are just extremely genetically gifted. This paragraph may be a little outside of the scope of my personal experience because I am not a top 10% athlete nor have I coached any top 10% athletes. So, here is what I know based on the research I have done. Athletes that are at the top 10% of the total body of lifters will move weights that could severely injure lifters in any other category. These weights are heavy enough to set world records, and enough to build a career out of their athleticism. People in this category may only touch their true “maximum” 1-3 times per year, maybe more depending on several factors. This is where training at sub maximal weight becomes the most important. Because, one misstep in programming can cost someone hundreds of pounds on their lifts and on their total strength. Now, another group of people who fit into this category are people who have tapped into the top 10% of their bodies capabilities. For example, someone might be at the peak of their genetic capability, but may not have the right genetics to be a world record holder. People who are at the top on their genetic capability still need to train like this. Basically, this is where we see the biggest waves in training. Someone might train all year just to add 5-10lbs onto a lift, or maybe even just to match the same lift as the previous year. The important thing to remember is the closer we get to our bodies true “maximum” capabilities the more rest we need to prepare to do it again.
The moral of the story is, sub- maximal training can benefit lifters of all levels. Sub- maximal training creates a platform to build your next workout on. Remember that when you are training. It is not just about the work done on that day. It is about your ability to create success for the next workout. Sub- maximal training creates a snowball effect because the momentum that you build rolls over to the next workout. If your goal is to lift as heavy as you can to impress others in the gym to even yourself there will come a day when you are no longer impressed. Because in 10 years you will be lifting the same amount then that you currently are. Or maybe just a bit more. True strength and progress is knowing when to put weight on the bar and when to take weight off of it. Many articles will tell you “You won’t progress if you don’t push your body to the limit every day” to which I will say “Athletes build up to an event, and they are the pinnacle of training, why not train like they do”. Listen to your body, and don’t forget to leave your ego at the door when you walk in the gym. Stay strong everyone.
How many of you in life have ever made a to-do list? I would say probably everyone if not almost everyone reading this has either successfully made or attempted to make a to-do list at one point or another. Now, usually when a to-do list is made the things on the list are prioritized based on how important they are. So, if I know that I have to clean the house before my in- laws come over that will be marked as more important than doing laundry because I have enough to last me for a few more days. And that is also usually the reality of a to-do list; not everything is going to get done. Thats exactly what this post is about. Prioritizing your to-do’s in the gym.
If you’re an average gym goer odds are you are making it to the gym 2-4 times per week for 30 minutes to an hour, some more some less. However, most people that go to the gym fall into this category. So, if you are someone that goes to the gym there is also a good chance that you follow social media pages related to fitness, or watch YouTube videos on how to workout, or maybe even check the internet for cool gym programs. Or, maybe you just go to the gym and “wing it”. No matter what, the things you do in the gym have to come from somewhere. Unfortunately, we live in the information age so when you log on to the computer to read up on some good workouts to do odds are you will be bombarded with contradicting information from the top 10 hits on Google or Youtube. So, I want to provide some clarity for all of you going to the gym without a set plan, or even those of you who have a plan but just need a bit of direction on how to make your workouts more effective.
In the gym there exists a hierarchy of exercises. Some are vastly more important than others. For example if you were to compare a deadlift to an arm curl in terms of overall benefits for the body, the deadlift will win every time. Now, prioritizing exercises based on this hierarchy is very important if someone is seeking body change of any kind. Yes, this applies to fat loss, muscle growth, and everything in between. This prioritization becomes especially important if you are someone that has limited gym time. So here are some rules that I use to create programs for my clients.
1)The most important part of your workout is the warm up.
Just like you wake up and get ready for work, you have to enter the gym and get ready to workout. The warm up is the preparation for what is to come. Many people sit at their desks all day and expect to get to the gym and be able to do a perfect squat. Your hips have been working all day and are tight, you gotta get some blood flow going before you try and descend towards the floor with that bar on your back. Taking even 5 minutes to do a proper warm up will give you a massive advantage during your actual warm up.
2) For the average person squat, bench, and deadlift are king. Or some variation of the 3.
Olympic lifts burn more calories than The Big 3 (Squat, Bench, Deadlift) but most average people don’t have the know how or mobility to perform them correctly so they can be unsafe. That’s why for most of my clients we focus all of our lifts around squats, bench presses, and deadlifts or some variation of the three if someone does not have the strength or mobility to complete the three lifts properly. The Big 3 work every muscle in the body, which also means that they burn the most calories. So, whether your goal is mass or fat loss or “toning up” (To be fair I hate that phrase because most people believe that its different than fat loss and muscle building, but it isn’t) these three exercises are the best. Some of the best lifters and most fit people only do these three exercises or variations of them.
3) Follow up the Big 3 with some other kind of “Big” assistance exercise
The big 3 are great, but sometimes other parts of the body can be weak or “lagging”. For those parts of the body we want to use assistance work to work on them. These assistance exercises can be things like rows, pull ups, pull downs, dumbbell presses, shoulder presses, lunges, glute bridges, etc. Focus on bigger exercises that work multiple muscle groups to give you the most bang for your buck.
4) Prioritize Single Joint Work Last
Things like bicep curls, leg extensions, hamstring curls, etc. might give you a great pump, but they aren’t as important as everything listed previously in this article. These types of exercise should occupy the least amount of time in your training program. Think of these as the “icing on the cake”. Icing is great, but its useless without a cake. And if you don’t like icing, well find another metaphor.
5) If Fat Loss is Your Goal Combine Cardio and Weights
If your goal is fat loss DO NOT spend all your time in the gym running on a treadmill, or climbing stairs. It’s a WASTE OF TIME, unless you really enjoy it then more power to you. The best method I find for those who are pressed for time in the gym is to combine exercises into circuits for a greater calorie burn. Combine big lifts with cardio movements. A typical circuit could be three exercises and could look like this.
Exercise 1: Deadlift
Exercise2: Flat Dumbbell bench press
Exercise 3: Battle Rope Slams
Combining workouts like this keeps the intensity up and heart rate high so your body will burn a ton of calories and build muscle at the same time. Leading to a higher overall calorie burn in the long run.
Moral of the story is: Start with the exercises that work the most amount of muscle first and finish with the exercises that only work one muscle group. If you follow this blueprint for your workouts I can promise you a few things. One, you body will change. The added muscle activation from big exercises will grow new muscle mass and make you more “toned”. Two, you will get stronger. Using big exercises that work many muscle groups force your body to get stronger faster. Three, This blueprint is effective for fat loss and you will see fat loss if a proper diet is also followed. Use this blueprint to get the most out of your workouts. Thanks for reading everyone and as always, STAY STRONG!
Truth be told, I don’t talk in detail about macro nutrition with most of the clients that I train. The reason why is because while macro breakdown matters there are many ways to break up your macro nutrition and still see results. That being said, I wanted to create a post for all of my people to have a detailed overview of my thoughts on macros and what I have found in the research I have done.
Fist off, let me start this post by saying that your macro breakdown can be on point, but if you aren’t eating in the proper calorie range then it will be impossible to reach your goals. Now that we have that out of the way we can talk about what different macronutrient groups exist, what they are for, and how they should be broken down in your diet. The first macronutrient we are going to cover is protein. Protein is all the buzz these days. I’m sure we have all run into someone in the gym saying “BRO, ARE YOU EATING 1 GRAM OF PROTEIN PER POUND OF BODYWEIGHT?, BECAUSE IF YOU AREN’T YOU SHOULD BE!” Yea we all know that guy. Now, while this might be a good recommendation for some it isn’t the be all end all of protein intake. Protein is used in our bodies to repair and build new muscle tissue. For the average adult the FDA recommends 50 grams of protein per day to maintain health and properly heal the body. What this means is that if a person is moderately active and is fine with their body composition 50 grams of protein per day is enough to maintain that. Extra protein becomes more imperative as activity increases. It is also important when someone is seeking a change in body composition. So as activity goes up so must protein. Now this is just a general recommendation. If you are someone that wants to be especially specific with protein intake we will talk about that as well. Most of the research that I have done on protein explains that protein intake should vary based on individual goals and calorie intake. When someone is in a calorie surplus (bulking up) the need for protein is actually lower than when in a calorie deficit. The normal recommendation for someone in a calorie surplus is .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Now, I’m sure you are thinking that this is counterintuitive because when someone is trying to build muscle wouldn’t they want to intake more protein? The truth is your body only needs enough protein to grow. Eating just enough gives more calories for things like carbohydrates and fats that can be used to fuel the intense workouts needed to build muscle mass. The way that it actually works is, as calorie needs become lower protein requirements become higher. When a person is trying to maintain their bodyweight (Calorie Balance) the need for protein is usually about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. And, when a person is trying to lose weight (calorie deficit) the need for protein is the highest at 1.2 grams per pound of bodyweight. There is a big reason for this. When your body is shedding lbs it is going to use whatever it can to make up for the lack of energy it is being fed. So, not only will it eat fat but it will also eat muscle mass. Allowing for extra protein in the diet will provide for “muscle sparing” when dieting. In my opinion protein intake is probably one of the most important things to consider in a diet. Fats and carbohydrates can be interchangeable in most cases, but protein is a macronutrient that cannot be replaced.
Now that we have covered protein let’s move on to carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the bodies main source of energy. They are the macronutrient that requires the least amount of work to be turned into energy. Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred method for gaining energy for movement. Now, carbohydrates get a lot of flack in today’s society with things like gluten intolerance, insulin sensitivity, etc. However, for the average human being carbohydrates are completely safe. Carbohydrates can come in many forms. Simple sugar, complex carbohydrates, fiber (which we will discuss ion a bit). And, all of these types of carbohydrates provide energy at different rates. A complex carbohydrate is something that the body has to work a little harder to digest so it will provide higher levels of satiation. These are most carbohydrates that you would find in a balanced diet. Oatmeal, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grains, etc. Whereas simple sugars are things like fruit, candy, table sugar, etc. Simple sugars can be digested in the body quickly and provide quick bursts of energy because they can be easily digested. The biggest thing I want to convey when talking about types of carbohydrates is that no carbohydrate is bad if used in the right way. Simple carbohydrates are great if used around activity to provide replenishment after a hard workout. Complex carbohydrates are great if consumed with meals. No matter what everything has its place. Now, for most people carbohydrates will comprise the majority of daily calories. This is because as Americans we tend to prefer a diet high in carbohydrates. Personally, I prefer a high carbohydrate diet, but eating high carb is not for everyone and energy can also be provided by a higher fat diet as well. Before we move on I want to talk about the role of fiber in the diet. Fiber is also considered a carbohydrate. However, dietary fiber cannot be broken down by the body. The daily recommended fiber intake is 25 grams for women and 30-38 grams for men. Fiber does two main things in the body. One, it helps with digestion by thickening stool and also slowing the digestive process in the stomach. Two, it provides satiety. The satiating effects of fiber are the main reason many people prefer a higher carbohydrate diet especially if it is balanced properly. No matter what type of diet you prefer the most important thing to consume alongside protein is fiber. This is because it aids in regularity and also provides a feeling of “fullness” which can be especially helpful when trying to lose weight because less total calories are being consumed.
The last macronutrient we have to cover is fats. Fats, just like carbohydrates, have also been part of many smear campaigns over the years. Eating fat will make you fat, etc. Truth is fat is necessary in a healthy diet. Fats help with hormone production, especially testosterone and estrogen. They also aid in cell membrane production and have a host of other functions in the body. In studies, fats have also been shown to have satiating effects and many people prefer eating a higher fat diet because it can reduce the feelings of “extreme hunger” when one has gone a long time without eating. Fats can be used through the diet to provide the main source of energy for the body. Basically, fats can replace carbohydrates for energy purposes, but carbohydrates cannot replace fats for bodily processes like hormone production. Now, just like carbohydrates there are different types of fats. There are polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and saturated fats. Now I’m not going to get into the scientific details of all of the types of fats because it isn’t necessary for the scope of this post. But, in general you want to limit the consumption of saturated fats and increase the consumption of unsaturated fats. Increased saturated fats have been linked to higher cholesterol levels and other complications. This leads me into my next point. The one drawback to eating a diet high in fats is it can cause certain people to have elevated cholesterol levels. Many clients that I have trained over the years have told me that they tried the ketogenic diet and ended up going to their doctor and being diagnosed with high cholesterol. That is why for most I recommend limiting fat intake and not using it as a main source of energy. But, everyone prefers different methods of dieting. Now, one other drawback to consider with a high fat diet is when the body has a higher content of fat through the diet it is more likely that some of that fat will be stored as adipose tissue (Body Fat). This is more likely to happen in a calorie surplus than in a maintenance or deficit. Regardless, the point I want to make is that fats can provide energy for the body and can be eaten at a higher amount if someone prefers fatty foods over higher carbohydrate foods.
So, to make sense of everything I just said. The two main things to consider with macronutrient breakdown are protein and fiber. These two things will usually make or break a diet. If someone is trying to build muscle and protein is too low the body will have a harder time creating new muscle mass. If someone is dieting and fiber intake is too low it is more likely that overconsumption will occur. Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred source of energy. However, the body can get all the energy it needs through a higher fat diet if that is the preferred method of the dieter. Fats are necessary in the diet for bodily processes and can make up the predominant amount of energy for the body if carbohydrate consumption is low. This is why as a coach I recommend one thing to all of my clients. Choose a diet that you will follow. Take into consideration how much protein and fiber intake you are getting. But, the rest can be broken down however you choose as long as you are eating in your calorie range. Macronutrient breakdown is simple, I hope this post provided some clarity to those of you who feel it is a cloudy subject. Good luck with whatever plan you choose and as always STAY STRONG.
Weight loss can be complicated and confusing these days. Especially if you do an internet search for the fastest way to lose weight. Most of the time you will come across dozens of articles claiming their method as superior. Well, I’m here to tell you weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact its quite simple actually if you can weed through all the BS. Most people who tell you that there is only one way to do something are more interested in filling their own pockets with money rather than actually helping others. Now, while weight loss may be simple it definitely isn’t easy. But, if you put these 5 tips into practice you can see immediate weight loss and body change.
Step 1- EAT LESS
When I say eat less I am not saying skip meals! What I am saying is make the meals you are already eating just a bit smaller. Weight loss is about a calorie deficit. Putting less food in will lead to a larger calorie deficit or even create a calorie deficit if you are currently eating too much. This also doesn’t mean removing half of your daily food intake! That is too much too fast. SLOWLY decrease your portion sizing. I would say the best place to start is decrease your portions by 1/4 or less and let your body slowly adjust to the change. Remember we are going for long term weight loss here not overnight results.
Step 2- Move more
At this point you might be thinking “these tips are stupid they’re too easy” And you are right. These tips are simple. Just like I said fitness is simple it’s just not easy. Now, where this becomes tricky is creating more movement in an already busy schedule. Many people that speak to me about weight loss tell me they don’t have time for the gym, or to add ANY activity into their life. First off, that is a fallacy. Also, when I say move more I am not saying spending hours in the gym. What I am saying is doing more than you are currently doing. If you are inactive start by adding one or two 30 minute walks into your week. If that’s too much then start by parking farther from the grocery store, opting for the stairs, or moving during commercial breaks while watching TV. Basically what I’m saying is find any way possible to move more. I promise you no matter how busy you are there are ways you can be better about moving. They might be minimal, but they add up. Let’s say you burn 10 extra calories by taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Over one year thats roughly a pound of fat loss. I’m sure many of you are saying, “well that’s not a lot”. And to that I have to say it’s more weight loss than you would see if you didn’t do it. Remember, the little things add up.
Step 3- Plan ahead
Planning ahead sounds nice in retrospect, but I would say this might be the hardest tip to follow on the list. This step requires conscious thought and planning, which if you already busy is extremely challenging. So, let me make this as simple as I can. We all know ourselves better than anyone else. So, look at your bad eating habits. Do you snack when you get home before dinner? Do you skip meals? Do you let yourself get too hungry? If you can take a good honest look at what “Bad” habits you have when it comes to eating then you can find ways to plan for them. So, let’s say you are a pre dinner “picker” or snacker. Well if you know you are going to pick or snack give yourself something “healthier to pick at or snack on. Trader your chips or croutons for cucumbers or carrots. This will do two things. It will lower your calorie intake and also lead to a smaller dinner because this kind of snack will be more “filling” than an empty snack. Planning ahead also means having healthy snacks with you at work and at home. We all have bad days where we wake up late or don’t have time to pack a lung. My best advice on this is to have healthy quick snacks and food to help you make it through the bad days. Some of my favorite healthy snacks to keep around are: boiled eggs, greek yogurt, fruit or veggies, string cheese, hummus, etc.
Step 4- Don’t go too long without eating
This is a BIG way to reduce total calorie intake. I’m sure we can all think back to a time we waited too long to eat. Then when we finally get a chance to eat we eat everything in sight. Yea, been there, done that. When this happens overeating is more likely. Because your body is looking for instant relief. So a few things can happen. One, cravings for bad easily digestible food will be higher. When your body is super hungry its more likely to crave food that is easily digestible. Sugary or fatty foods are more likely to be consumed. Two, the last thing you want to do when you’re hungry is wait longer to eat to prepare food. So, while food is being prepared “picking” and snacking is more likely to happen. And it will be ravenous snacking. Possibly even and entire bag of candy or potato chips. And boom, there goes your daily calorie deficit. Another thing that can happen when you’re extremely hungry is unnecessary eating out. Stopping at a fast food restaurant. So imagine coupling extreme hunger with a menu of greasy sugary items. Your body is going to crave the bad food which are always higher in calories that the “healthier” menu items.
Step 5- Eat out LESS
The sad truth about restaurants is they usually don’t care too much about their patrons health. They only care about getting them back in the door. How do they do that? Well usually by adding extra butter, oil, seasoning, etc to the foods on their menus. What does this mean for you? Extra unnecessary calories. Obviously never eating out isn’t going to be a reality so I would recommend cutting it back a little at a time. If it is something you do once a week cut it down to every other week. If it’s every day start doing it every other day. And so on. Slowly cut back and watch the weight come off. Now, when you do enjoy a meal out here are a few things I would focus on. Grilled foods not fried. Only eat 1/2 or 3/4 of what you order and save the rest for later. Eat similar to how you would eat if you were at home. Many people I know think of eating out as a crazy treat where they can go wild and eat like a maniac. Remember eating out is a treat in itself you don’t need to go crazy on what you order. One bad meal a week at a restaurant, especially if it includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert can ruin an entire week of eating better.
Weight loss is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. The golden rule is: Slowly make better decisions. Will you be immediately in the best shape of your life? No, but you will be healthier than you were yesterday. And a healthier day leads to a happier day. And a string of healthy and happy days leads to long term satisfaction. Make one small change and others will follow. Stay strong everyone!
I was inspired to write this post after speaking with a friend today about business growth and success. We have very differing viewpoints and as I thought more about it I realized that my views of fitness success and business success are very similar. So, let’s dive in. I’m sure all of you reading this at one time or another have seen a post on Facebook promising copious amounts of weight loss in a very short time. Or maybe you’ve been approached by a friend selling some new weight loss supplement or fad diet. Or maybe you’ve even been inspired by the fitness “guru’s” with their six pack abs promising their method will “GET YOU RIPPED NOW”. Well guess what IT’S ALL BULLSHIT. Can you get ripped in 30 days? Some people yes, some people no. So let me go more into detail about this subject.
In my opinion, people who advocate for “challenges” or “fast weight loss” end up hurting more people than they help. Now, don’t get me wrong some people thrive on having a deadline and a big goal get’s them excited. But, for us “normal people” moms, dads, wives, husbands, we just want to feel and look better while still enjoying food that we love and not being chained to a squat rack. When you have someone who boasts on Facebook about this new fad diet or workout plan they’ve been doing and they show off their awesome before and after pictures you have to take it with a grain of salt. I believe there are a few questions everyone needs to ask themselves before being envious of this “success”. One, is what they are currently doing sustainable for your lifestyle? Maybe you have kids and this person doesn’t. Maybe this person has a little more willpower than you do (AGAIN THAT IS OK, STOP TRYING TO FIT INTO OTHER PEOPLES MOLDS!). Two, what level of fitness is this person on? If you take someone who is 200lbs and ask them to lose 50lbs in the same amount of time as someone who is 300lbs the 200lb person is going to have to work a lot harder. You also have to take into account that you are not genetically the same as anyone else. This makes your journey completely unique. Three, will this person still be down in weight in a year? MANY PEOPLE take on big goals and burn themselves out leading to more weight gain or constant weight swings. What’s the point of losing 30lbs if you are only going to gain 20 of it back? Four, are there health risks involved with drastically changing your lifestyle? In many cases there are. I’ve had several people come to me and tell me that they ended up with high cholesterol after jumping on a high fat “keto” diet. I’ve had others tell me they were hospitalized from taking supplements that were recommended from a Facebook diet “guru”. I’m going to be honest with you it’s not worth risking your health to look a certain way. Because if you get seriously ill or injured you are only only going to be farther away from the goals you originally set for yourself.
If you’ve read my previous blog posts you know that I’m an advocate for lifestyle modification in small doses which leads to big changes. I recommend “pulling a few weeds” here and there to clean up your diet, instead of uprooting your entire lifestyle. Making small changes each day is really what leads to success. Imagine if you ate one less “bad” food per week? Over a year how much would that add up? What about 10 years? Now imagine doing that and then adding another good habit. How much farther along would you be? IT ALL ADDS UP! Now, is doing that going to provide FAST, INSANE, AMAZING results overnight? No, it won’t and maybe that doesn’t get you excited. However, it will provide sustainability, long term progress, and BIG changes in the long run.
Everyone these days wants crazy results right now. But, for most of us that type of progress is not in the cards. We have obligations, cravings, setbacks. It’s ok, you don’t have to lose 20lbs by tomorrow. You just have to get a little better everyday. Slowly getting better and forging new habits is the key to long term success. Do you want to look good for one day or the rest of your life? Do you want to constantly battle with up and down weight gain and loss or just learn how to control your portion sizing? The choice is yours, but I will tell you in my experience it is those who are in if for the long haul that are the happiest and the most successful. I hope you all enjoyed this post and remember, it’s not about being your best all the time it’s about slowly making better decisions that will create a better you. STAY STRONG!
My name is Patriel Dunford and as the owner of Infinite Fitness my main goal in life is to spread good advice in the health industry and help people live healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.