Monday, December 31, 2012

Fat Loss 101 'Commit to Making Better Choices'

In today’s world it seems like everyone wants to lose weight when the goal should be fat loss.  Losing fat isn’t complicated it takes only a few things: a commitment to make better choices, a technology that works and a belief you can do it.  I will tackle each topic separately.  First topic: A commitment to making better choices.

A commitment to make better choices is priority number one.  Every choice you make will lead you down two paths.  One being the path your currently on. This is the path to unwanted weight and fat gain.  The other path will take you to a leaner, sexier, healthier and more attractive you. 

Making better choices is not rocket science.  In fact when I question clients about what choices are better for them they choose the right answer 100% of the time.  For example: 

  • What is healthier for you a; chocolate chip cookie or an orange?
  • What is healthier for you a; green pepper or a Kit Kat Bar?
  • What is healthier for you a; roast beef sandwich or a chicken wrap?
  • What is healthier for you a; Big Mac or a happy meal?
Remember the question is, “what is healthier for you?”  Not what do I like more.

It has been my experience; both as a person and personal trainer that our choices come down to this:  Do we give ourselves permission to fail or succeed?   For most it is failure.  How often do you give yourself permission to eat an item not on your diet?  I am insisting that you give yourself permission to be successful.  When faced with your next meal choice give yourself permission to make the healthier choice.

I have looked at hundreds of food journals. Do you realize most eat the same meals from week to week?  This means we are not looking to change 30 days worth of meals.  In fact most also eat the same thing for breakfast, snack(s) and lunch.  Dinner is typically the meal that varies most.  Given this scenario you only need to work on making better choices for 3-4 meals.

Commitment to better choices also extends to physical activity.  I will discuss working out in the next section.  For now I want to focus on staying physically activity.  Staying physically activity is a choice.  It is a choice that many fail to make.  I am no exception.  If I am at home and can’t think of any I want to do I can easily find myself lying on the couch and watching T.V.  Now, look I realize from time to time we are tired and we need to rest.  But if you find yourself resting more than you are staying active there is a problem.  Give yourself permission to get up and move.  Do the dusting, vacuuming, cleaning, play with the kids, take a walk, clean your car, make healthy meals, enjoy a hobby, learn something new, but by all means avoid just becoming a lump on the couch.  It never ceases to amaze me what we can accomplish when we give ourselves permission to be successful. 

Making better choices in and of it self is a choice.  It is you giving yourself permission to be successful.  Step our of your comfort zone and make yourself proud of YOU.  Be excited about what each day has to offer.  Commit to making better choices today.

Next article I will discuss a technology that works.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Workout of the Month December 2012

Win the battle of holiday weight gain with this routine: 
Warm Up: 5 easy/moderate cardio
Interval Cardio: 5 minutes hard cardio 
Squats/Leg press                  2 sets 15 reps
Push Ups/Chest press           2 sets 15 reps
Lat Pulldowns                       2 sets 15 reps 
Interval Cardio: 5 minutes hard cardio 
Lunge {walking or stationary}        2 sets 15 reps per leg
Shoulder Press                              2 sets 15 reps
Biceps Curls                                  2 sets 15 reps 
Interval Cardio: 5 minutes hard cardio 
SB Hamstring Curls               2 sets 15 reps
Triceps Pushdowns                2 sets 15 reps
SB Crunch                            2 sets 15 reps 
Interval Cardio: 5 minutes hard cardio
Cool down: 5 minutes easy/moderate cardio
Complete this workout and you will have completed 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity and 20 minutes of resistance training.  Compete 3 times per week.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Top 7 Favorite Ab Exercises

I must precede the following routine with this statement “all the abdominal exercises in the world will not give you six pack abs”.  If you strive to have six pack abs you will need to dedicate yourself to a sound nutritional plan that results in the loss of body fat. (More on that later) Here are our top 7 Ab Exercises:
  1. Stability Ball Crunch
  2. Mountain Climbers – yes believe it!
  3. Leg Raises w/ABC’s
  4. Plank w/Rotation
  5. Russian Twist
  6. Stability Ball Knee Tucks
  7. Bicycle Crunch

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is Excess Cardio Harmful to the Heart?

In a recently publised article in the Wall Street Journal researchers are finding out long bouts of cardio can be harmful to the heart. Trainers including myself have advised doing long bouts of cardio for years now and generally prefer some form of interval training.  Interval training is in a nutshell doing short durations of high intensity activity combine with brief periods of rest and/or moderate activity.
This recommendation comes from primarily two purposes.  First, time constraints, not many clients have more that 45-60min they are willing to commit to exercising per workout. Secondly, because clients tend to get results faster with interval style training.

Interval training can take place in a variety of formats for example:

      Walk/Jog or Jog/Sprint- this is were you would walk/jog for a short period of time say 60-90 seconds followed by a more intense jog/run of 30-60 seconds.  This can be applied to any traditional methods of doing cardio.

      Bodyweight exercises- Choosing a series of exercises that can be performed with ones own body.  For instance: Push up, squats, bicycle crunch, lunges, back extension and calf raises. Perform each exercise for 20-40 seconds and rest 0-20 seconds between each exercise.  Complete the circuit as many times as you can in 20 minutes.  This can also be applied to exercise with weights, ie free weights and/or machines.

Interval training is even finding a place in cardiac rehab.  Interval training isn’t just for the athletes.

Holiday Survival Tips

"Preventing the Extra Pounds"
The holidays are intended to be a joyous time spent with loved ones and a time to reflect on the good and bad time over the past year.  It is also a chance to look forward to the future.  Interesting enough it is also the time a year when people actually anticipate gaining a few extra pounds.  Because people concede to the weight gain it is common to start the New Year off with the goal of losing weight.   Seems a bit absurd, don’t you think?  Why gain the weight in the first place?

I suppose everyone may have a reason for gaining the weight, but in the end it comes down to one thing:  you gave yourself permission to gain weight!

It is your choice:

  1. Eat in moderation- I love the holiday food selection and I have a bit of a sweet tooth, but moderation is the key.  Feel free to indulge, but don’t overindulge.  This includes alcohol!
  2. Have an eating plan- Playing off the first item.  You need to eat the bad (but oh so good) food moderation, but the majority of your meals should be centered around the following:  Lean Proteins, Starchy and Fibrous Carbohydrates.
  3. Exercise- Finding time to exercise during the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be a challenge, but if you plan ahead and work your plan you will find that you can get your exercise in. 
  4. Stay Active- Yes this is different than exercise.  For me exercise is defined and doing the extra work beyond what you would do during a typical day.  Staying active implies finding ways to burn more calories through out the day.  For example if you sit all day at work, try and stand up as often as you can.  If you stand all day, then try to walk around.  Get the point?
  5. Practice distraction- If you have kids you might be familiar with this concept.  Here is the skinny, do something that distracts you from the unhealthy habits.  For instance, if you are chatting with a friend next to h’oderves you are likely to mindless graze on the h’oderves.  Move the conversation away from the temptation of h’oderves save yourself and friend from the unwanted calories. Put yourself in a position to be successful.
There you have it 5 tips that will keep you from gaining the extra holiday way.