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Anaerobics and Airports

Before earlier this year I had only been on an airplane on one occasion. Well, two but one was only a quick flight up state. At any rate I was unfamiliar with the process and didn't remember it from years ago.

UnknownIn May of this year I decided to go on a trip to a clinic so that I could better my skills in my profession. I was anxious about the pressure of the clinic, but I was really nervous and anxious about the flight and the airport process.

I didn't remember the procedures of the airport. How early do I get there? How should I pack? What should I wear to make travel comfortable and security checks easier? What was a security check like anyway? How do I know where my plane will be? There were so many things I was unsure of.

I searched all over the internet for answers and I came up short. I was more confused than before I began my search. One site told me this and another site told me that. So I began talking to people I know who travel regularly. This was a little more help but I still didn't feel ready for my flight. But the time came and I was up for the challenge.

By the time I got to my destination I felt like a traveling pro. All of my apprehension was gone. It was just something I had to go through. Before it happened the more I thought about it the more things I came up with to worry about.

After going through the process I realized that I made a bigger deal about it than I should have. I was way more worried than I needed to be. I just had to go through it cause no amount of research was going to substitute the experience.

This got me thinking about how stressful it must be to think about starting an exercise regimen for the first time. People go through this process all the time when they think about working out for the first time. There is so many conflicting views about the right way to work out and they’re all over the internet.

I know from experience that when people analyze working out too they end up holding themselves back. Often to the point where it seems so overwhelming that they never begin a program. Paralysis by analysis.

imagesBefore you begin to exercise you have so many questions and doubts. “Is it worth it?” “Will I even lose weight?” “How many sets do I do?” “Will I look like a man?” “Does this mean I can never eat the foods I want?” “If I’m told to workout 3 times a week wouldn’t 5 be better? I can’t workout 5 times a week I might as well not even try.”

The more you think about it the more impossible it seems to accomplish. You can do it, you can begin an exercise program. The same way I was wrong about how difficult airplane travel is, you are likely wrong about how difficult you think exercise it.

Stop over analyzing the whole process and just get to it. Talk with a trainer or someone you know who works out and you are comfortable with. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction and will see that it’s not as hard as you’re making it out to be.

Something is better than nothing and anything is better than racking your brain over the details. Just get your butt moving, you’ll see that while it’s not easy it definitely isn’t as hard or complicated as you probably think.

Eat at Night? Yes

dont-eat-the-bulk-of-calories-at-nightWe've been told that we can't eat after 5pm or 8 pm, and definitely not before bed. We've been scared into thinking that if you eat before bed all of  the calories we eat will be stored as fat since we will not be moving around burning them off.  And if you eat carbs before bed you're gonna gain 20 pounds overnight.

That's a lie and a false assumption that you don't burn calories at rest.

When you sleep you burn about the same amount of calories as when you watch TV, but that's beside the point. The point is that when you restrict your eating to  before a certain time what you're really doing is restricting and reducing you calories for the day. This is the real reason you lose weight when if you don't eat after these so called magic hours.

There was a study done that had two groups, all members of both groups had a BMI of over 30. Both groups where given the same numbers of calories in a day and the macronutrient breakdown (carbs, protein, and fat) were all equal. The first group ate carbs throughout the day and the other group ate most of their carbs at night.

The group that ate most of their carbs at night lost more weight than the group who ate carbs throughout the day. This could be because of a hormonal influence that eating a reduced amount of carbs early and an increased amount late has on the body.

woman-eating-a-night-snack-in-front-of-refrigeratorHere's what matters: restricting your eating to a certain time frame is a good way to reduce your calorie intake for a given day. It’s worth noting that you could also delay the time that you start eating in a day, aka delaying breakfast (collective gasp). When you limit your eating to a certain time your are likely decreasing your total daily calories, this is the real reason you lose weight. Also, it helps to eat most of your carbs during the later part of your day.

You can eat whenever you like but it’s best to spend as much time as you can in a day without eating, this can and should include sleeping (not eating a certain amount of time before you sleep or after you wake). And if you can, save more of your carbs for your last meal of the day, and after workouts.

Eat However Many Meals You Want

This could be one meal(if it's your only meal)
This could be one meal(if it's your only meal)

We've been told time after time that we need to eat 5, even 6 meals per day and if we don't our metabolism will slow to a crawl. We need to stoke the ol' metabolic fire by feeding the furnace at exact hourly intervals.

You've been lied to, you don't need to eat 6 meals per day if you don't want to. You can eat that many meals if that is how you enjoy eating, but don't just do it because you think you're supposed to.

When you eat multiple small meals per day you're likely to be left hungry and unsatisfied every time you eat.  And the more times you eat the more times you have the opportunity to overeat.

Also, think about the amount of time it takes out of your day to eat these meals. Not to mention the time it takes to prepare them. You're a busy person and you don't have time to be preparing meals all day. So what do you do? You end up eating some pre packaged/processed junk.

If you want you can switch to less meals per day. Less meals means that you get to eat bigger meals even while eating the same calories per day. I know what you're thinking, "I don't want my metabolism to slow down by reducing my number of meals."

You're in luck, research shows that eating more frequently does not actually raise your metabolism, there is no relationship between meal frequency and metabolic rate. Furthermore, it’s important to note that while more people are eating multiple meals per day obesity rates are still rising.

A research by the University of Ottawa concluded that “There’s nothing out there to convince us that eating several small meals a day (5-6 meals) will help lose weight.” This is because of the thermic effect of food or TEF.

TEF is the process that your body goes through when you eat. Any time that you eat your metabolism rises. BUT it rises proportionally to the amount of food you eat, not due to the amount of meals. So if you eat a 300 calorie meal it will raise a certain amount. Eating 600 calories would raise it double that amount.

You could also eat several meals in a day.
You could also eat several meals in a day.

What matters is the total amount of calories you eat per day. If the total amount of calories you eat in a day is equal it doesn't matter how many meals you eat. I repeat it doesn’t matter how many meals you eat.

So why have you been lied to? The breakfast and processed food industry has a vested interest in you eating more often. You don’t have time to prepare healthy whole foods for 6 meals a day, so if you are supposed to eat 6 meals a day you’re likely gonna need some pre packaged and ready to go foods. So the food industry funds research projects that will come to the conclusion that you need to eat more frequently.

Don’t let the food industry tell you how many meals to eat in a day. Eat as many meals as you want and base your decision on the amount of meals you like to eat and the amount of healthy meals you have time to prepare per day.

The Truth About Carbs

IMG_7285 Carbs seem to always be a hot topic among people trying to lose weight. Carbs have been vilified,  sometimes justifiably. But they only deserve some of the heat they take. Over the years diets have moved toward low carb, sometimes bordering on no carb. Still obesity rates continue to rise.

The problem is not carbs in and of themselves, the problem is the type of carbs you're eating and how easy it is to eat mass quantities of them. This leads to eating more total calories in a day. Foods that are high in carbs are usually the type of foods that don't fill you up, this causes you to eat more and more of them.

Lets think about breakfast foods, cereals, toasts, and bagels are very high in carbs. You could easily eat several bowls of cereal and still be hungry, believe me I used to be addicted to cereal. I would eat a bowl of cereal after every meal, then go back for more about a half an hour later. Let’s just say I wasn’t in the best of shape in those days.

If you're eating the type of carbs that we are told to eat, the calories stack and stack and you are still left feeling hungry and unsatisfied. This is because these type of carbs cause your blood sugar to rise quickly. After this quick rise, your blood sugar falls to lower than normal levels and you feel famished. So you go and eat some more.

Carbs can be used for you or against you. You can eat less and lose weight, you can eat more and gain muscle. For obese individuals who don't exercise, lower carb diets have been proven to be very effective in weight loss. For individuals who regularly participate in resistance training, carbs can be useful in supplying your muscles with energy and assisting in the transport of protein into muscles.

When you eat carbs, your insulin levels rise. This rise can be good or bad. If you exercise regularly this rise is useful in helping protein to be taken into your muscles. This allows you to build and maintain muscles. If you don’t exercise or have a high body fat percentage this rise in insulin can send signals to your body to hold onto the fat that you have. Doesn't sound fair at all, but its reality. This is why it seems as if fit people can eat whatever they want and people who are overweight gain weight just by looking at a donut.

food choicesCarbs are not universally evil lets get down to the bottom line. There are good carbs and bad carbs. The bad ones usually come in a package that says they're good for you: cereal, snacks, crackers, chips, processed grains etc. These foods say they're healthy for one reason or another (low fat, gluten free, low sugar or whatever the fad is at the time) but they're just processed junk. Our bodies don't do well trying to digest processed junk, so it ends up being stored.

Good carbs typically don't have a package or very much of a shelf life. Good carbs are whole and natural foods: vegetables, fruits, legumes, and unprocessed grains.  Our body thrives on these foods. These foods are high in fiber and complex carbs that supply us with energy and a feeling of satiety for extended periods of time, unlike the processed junk that spikes our sugar and leaves us hungry.

Now that we know that carbs are not inherently evil and that there are bad carbs as well as good ones we need to set some guidelines for our carb intake. There are times where it is better to eat carbs than others. Some carbs are better for you than others. And carbs are better as a part of you meal, not the whole thing.

It is always best to take in most of your carbs after you have done your workout for the day. When you workout you use up muscle energy (glycogen), eating carbs after a workout is the optimum time for them to be used for restoring that muscle energy. Eating carbs after a workout also helps to facilitate muscle growth and recovery. If you eat too much carbs when you don’t need them, they’re more likely to be stored as fat.

Not all carbs are created equally. You don’t get fat from eating carbs, you get fat from eating too many of the wrong carbs. You need to be eating carbs from whole food sources, not from processed junk. You could eat pounds of process junk before you got the nutrients you could get from ounces of fresh fruits and veggies. When you eat fruits and veggies, the total calories are also way lower. And weight loss always comes down to total calories.

Another thing about carbs is that they are best when accompanied by other macro nutrients than they are on their own. You digest carbs much better with they are eaten with protein than you do with carbs on their own.

When you set out to lose fat, its good to know that carbs aren’t your kryptonite. You can eat carbs and still lose weight. You just need to eat the right kinds at the right times and in conjunction with other quality food groups.

What an Old Man Taught Me About Working Out

This is gonna seem like its coming from left field, and has nothing to do with fitness. But stick with me, I’ll bring it back around like neon clothes. (You remember, they used to be the thing then they weren’t and now all the cool kids are wearing them.)

Here we go:

I’m gonna tell you a story about an 87 year old client I’ve been training for a few months.

Every time we train he comes in and warms up on the stationary. Then we go on to lift weights, I mostly focus on improving his posture and balance. When you’re 87 you don’t care too much about how you look, you just wanna keep your mobility.

In our time together he has improved his balance and I always jokingly tell him that he’s an inch taller since we’ve worked on his posture. This may or may not be true, I didn’t actually measure but it certainly looks like it.

Anyway, this man has trouble remembering things, if I ask him how his morning was he pauses and just doesn’t remember. On most days he asks me how my morning went and if I was busy. I’ll answer him then we’ll go on and do a few more sets or move on to another exercise and he’ll ask me again how my morning was and if it was busy.

We have good little talks and I work hard to make him feel comfortable and entertained. We have built a good rapport with each other even though he doesn’t remember very much and each conversation is like the single serving relationships Edward Norton had when he traveled in Fight Club.

One day, interestingly enough, he stops and tells me how much he really enjoys our conversations. I was a bit baffled but also honored. Here is a man who has trouble remembering even the smallest things and he tells me he enjoys our conversations.

I thought about it throughout the day and it led me to remember some advice I had once given my brother: people don’t remember what you say, they only remember how you make them feel.

The compliment from this dear old man is proof that even if people don’t remember what you say they remember how you treat them. He doesn’t remember what he had for breakfast but he told me he enjoys our conversations. What an honor.

This was all possible because I have always been attentive to him and I truly do care about his well being. And I do everything I can to let it be shown.

Without further ado I’ll bring it back around to fitness: the way you live your life will reflect in the way you exercise. If I were the type of person looking for a shortcut I could have kept quiet, walked the old man from exercise to exercise and never made a connection. But the same way I don’t skip workouts or look for the easy way out, I didn’t cut corners in my relationship with this old man.

This works the other way too, if you cut corners when you workout, chances are you also try to find the easy way in life. This is wrong.

Just as my hard work paid off with a heartfelt compliment with the nice old man I train, your hard work will pay off when you give your all to your workouts. And the person who will thank you will be you.

So work hard in life and work hard in the gym because what you do affects not only you but all of the people you come into contact with.

Be the best person that you can and I’m willing to bet a highlighter yellow pair of Nike shorts that you’ll look and feel the way you’ve always wanted to.

Inaugural Post

IMG_1738

About six months ago this website was nothing but a thought in the back of my mind. I go to fitness websites all of the time and I read a whole lot of valuable information. I always thought that I too could put out valuable information, but I never really thought I actually would.

 

Then my sister called me and was asking me about the process of choosing and hiring a trainer. I'll just go ahead and assume that she didn't ask me to be her trainer because she lives about 60 miles away from me. But that's beside the point, I was teaching her the ins and outs about the process of getting a trainer at the particular gym she goes to. When she found out that the person she wanted wasn't actually going to be her trainer and that he wasn't actually a trainer at all, we were in need of a solution.

 

She suggested to me that I be her "virtual trainer". At first I denied her request and referred her to an online training site that I knew of. I had seen a lot of online trainers and to me they were just people who were in really good shape but didn't spend too much time actually training people. So the thought of being an online trainer was sort of an insult to what I believed the value of training to be. I thought that you could only help people with in person training. I was looking at it in the wrong light.

 

In reality not everyone needs an in person trainer and technology is a great way to help people. So I decided that I would be her online trainer. What I didn't know was all of the work that would go into making a program possible for her to learn and perform without me being there. She was in decent shape, but wasn't experienced when it came to lifting weights.

 

I started out giving her the workout program I had written for her for that month and attaching YouTube videos to it. But what I found was that there are a lot of videos out there that show some pretty atrocious form. There was only one solution, I had to make the videos myself.

 

So I began by making a list of all of the exercises I use with my in person clients on a daily basis. I ended up with over 100 exercises! That meant I would have to record over 100 videos. And the funnest part about it was that I had never filmed myself! It was a scary thought and I didn't know where to begin.

 

The process of recording took a couple of months, couple hours a weekend. Then came the editing and the most difficult part: voiceovers. If you think you’re brave try listening to your own voice. Unless of course you’re Kenny Chesney or Al Pacino, then you should love the sound of your own voice cause its awesome.

 

Anyway, I finished all of the videos and put them on the site for my online training clients. And I’m pretty proud of the way they turned out. Check out the bloopers from the recording process.