Tag Archives: decisions

Make Sure It’s Only That Sweater That Doesn’t Look Good This Holiday Season.

ugly-sweater-guySo you’ve got an ugly sweater party to go to…or maybe your family just has terrible taste in holiday clothes… Either way, this little jump-start will help you get noticed for more than just that ugly sweater.  By the time you put on that ugly *** sweater you’ll be feeling like this guy on the left. #winning.  And, you better figure out an answer to the questions “What have you been doing?” “How did you get in such great shape?”  “What is your secret?”  because you’ll be getting them a lot at the party.

 

So this is how you do it…(I hope you sang that too)

STEP #1 CREATE A PLAN

I think I’ve said this before, but if you don’t have a plan then you are planning to fail.  So figure out a plan that will work for you.  Determine when you will work out, and put it in your calendar. For example, say you’re going to hit the gym  at 5pm Monday through Friday, write that in your calendar or put it in your phone. Done, I should see you at the weight rack by 5:05.  Obviously you’ll be using weights and getting stronger  to reach your goals. if you’ve been a cardio queen/king in the past, then I suggest you go read some of my previous posts, like this one and this one

STEP #2 DIAL IN YOUR NUTRITION

You can’t outwork a bad diet.  If you go to the gym every day of the week for 2 hours and bust your butt, and then stop at the fast food joint on your way home to drink a six pack…you’re probably going to get fatter, not in better shape.  Figuring out how many calories you need to eat will help you tremendously in reaching your goals. There are a few apps that are great for this. MyFitnessPal and FatSecret are two that I suggest to people. You could also ask your trainer, he should know or be able to figure it out for you.  I know a guy that is pretty good at this kind of thing, you can check him out here.  The number of calories isn’t your only focus with nutrition, though.  You can lose weight by eating Twinkies and pizza. But, you can’t eat very much and you’ll look like garbage even if you lose weight.  Eating whole, nutritious foods will not only give you better nutrients and keep you healthy while working towards your goals, it will also keep you fuller for a longer time.  Foods that are nutrient dense (chicken, fish, veggies, fruits, greens) take longer for your body to digest, causing a gradual release of energy to your body.  This gradual release keeps you fuller for a longer time (so you eat less) and also helps in the prevention of fat storage from excess energy being in the blood stream.  So eat lean meats, fruits, and veggies, with some complex carbs mixed in.  If you’ve got questions on what to eat let me know, I’d love to help!

STEP #3 FIND A BUFF BUDDY

 buff-buddy-the-elf (This is Buddy The Elf, He loves everything Christmas)

This is a short one. Having a buddy that you meet at the gym and talk about your goals with will help to keep you on track. And, hopefully keep you from diving into that ice cream at night when you are sitting on your behind.  Friends keep friends accountable, don’t let your partner slip up, and they’ll do the same for you.  Become Buff Buddies and be the people at the party that everyone is talking about.

If you are struggling to find a buddy, maybe a Personal Trainer is a direction you should look.  Not only will they keep you accountable, but they also have a whole bunch of advice and ideas they can share with you that will help you reach those goals much faster than on your own.

STEP #4 SLEEP

Go to bed already!  Sleep is one of the most important aspects of being healthy.  When you are tired your body doesn’t function up to It’s potential.  One of the biggest factors in being tired is decision-making. When you are tired you don’t choose the right foods, I know because it happens to me too. And because the science says so.  Sleep allows your brain to “recover” from the day, along with allowing your body to recover from those intense bouts at the gym.  The less sleep you get, the more stressed you become.  Being stressed raises your cortisol levels, and cortisol is known to increase your appetite. Being hungry even after you’ve eaten your daily calories causes you to overeat for the day. Which is how you gain weight. You don’t want that before the big party. So go get your rest.

 

You’re not going to like this one…but I think it’s something that more people struggle with than they think…

STEP #5 CUT BACK ON THE BOOZE

I’m not saying you have to stop drinking all together. I enjoy a beer here and there with my buffalo wings, or when hanging out with some friends. But, you have to realize that booze has calories. Empty calories, actually.  That means you get basically nothing beneficial from them.  All they are doing is adding to your calorie total for the day. They don’t help you repair damaged muscles or get the proper nutrients for a healthy body. They only add calories to your diet. Along the same lines is water, except you need to drink more water, not less. You should be drinking much more water than any other drink throughout the day.  Not only does your body need water to survive, but it can also be used as a tool to help prevent overeating at meal time.  Drinking a glass of water before you eat will help to fill up your stomach a little more than normal. When your stomach is full it sends chemicals to your brain that tell it to stop the hunger signals it’s been giving.  Reducing appetite will help you not eat as much, in turn lowering your daily calories.  Bottom line: drink less booze and drink more water. I try to shoot for 100 Oz or more per day. Sometimes I get more, sometimes less, but it’s a good place to be for me. I would suggest trying to get about 60 Oz minimum per day.

 

There it is.  That’s how you get HOT FOR THE HOLIDAYS!  But seriously, these strategies will help you jump-start your fitness goals no matter what time of year it is. All you have to do is start, and stick with it.  Good luck and as always if you’d like any guidance feel free to contact me here.

Go make people forget about that hideous sweater you’ll be sporting!

north-swole

 

Z

 

 

Haha, I couldn’t resist adding this in there!

That might be a good gym name…

Movement is Medicine.

deer-standAs I was sitting in my tree stand this past weekend waiting very patiently, and sitting very still, with hopes that Bambi’s dad would stroll by my tree I noticed something.  No, it wasn’t a deer, or a squirrel. It was how uncomfortable I felt sitting still, in the same position, for a long time.  All my previous sports injuries, bad posture, and aches and pains, seemed to all agree on the same thing. Me sitting in the same position for hours at a time, is a bad thing.  I don’t know how people can manage at a desk job, and sit there for 8 hours (or more!) of your day without much movement.  I would not be able to handle it.  But guess what happened when I got out of the stand and starting walking back to my car… My aches and pains started to disappear!  That’s the point of this post, I have noticed throughout my life that I am more comfortable and in less pain when I have been moving all day long vs being super uncomfortable and sore when I sit for long periods of time.  Now, I may be more tired from moving and being active all day long, but my body feels way better, and I sleep better too!

desk-job So I decided I would give you some info on how so much sitting is causing you more pain, and most likely causing a rise in your health issues. As well as some ways to counteract all this inactivity!

According to the Mayo Clinic (they seem pretty smart, don’t they?) there has been a correlation between sitting for long periods of time and a number of health issues.  Some of these health issues are:

-Increased Obesity, gaining unwanted weight is never a good thing for your health. Plus, it doesn’t help you fit into the beach outfit either…

-Increased blood pressure.  I’m guessing many of you know the risks involved here, because I know a lot of people who have this issue… If you don’t know, call me and we can discuss them.

-High blood sugar, which leads to extra fat stored around the waist (abdominal fat is said to have to most negative health effects to a person), and abnormal cholesterol levels.

-An increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease… seriously, sitting can kill you….

All of these things increase your risk of dying at an earlier age, if you do not make an effort to take care of them.  BUT, I HAVE GOOD NEWS!!!!!  You can fix all of these things, and it isn’t even by going to the gym for 8 hours every day! (Although, I wouldn’t mind hanging out with you if you did…)  There are simple ways you can counteract the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time.  Here are a few ideas:

-Get a standing desk.  While you’re at work you probably can’t stand all day, I’m sure there are meetings and other things that you have to sit through. But, if you have a standing desk you can still get things accomplished, like emails, phone calls, etc.  You’ll just be standing while you do it instead of sitting.

-Do a walking lunch!  Prepare food that you can eat while you walk. This way you’ll be getting a little exercise while nourishing your body with good, healthy foods…not potatoe chips and a fast food burger…

-Find a lunch workout group!  If you can sneak away for a lunch workout not only will you get your activity levels up, you’ll also be more productive when you do go back to work!  I happen to know a guy who runs a noon workout group… if you’re interested here is the info!

-If you do have a meeting, try a walking/talking meeting. Walk laps around the building while you discuss the big idea you just came up with.  You can call them Walkie-Talkies! haha

-Maybe a walking desk, these have treadmills underneath so you can walk while you are at your desk getting things accomplished.

-Maybe it’s just setting an alarm to get up and move around every 30 min to an hour and take a stroll around the office.

It doesn’t have to be crazy intense to get the benefits, a little movement can go a long way. But, the same goes for inactivity. The more inactive you are, the more those negative health effects will creep up on you and cause you more problems.

walkingThe benefits of movement are amazing.  They can be anywhere from losing weight and building an amazing physique, to just adding 10 years onto your life.  Don’t waste and shorten your life by sitting on the couch.  Be active and be healthy.  Now get off your butt and MOVE!

 

As always, if you’ve got questions let me know! I’m here to help in any way I can!

Go enjoy this beautiful sunshine!

Z

Is your treadmill keeping you fat?

skinny-treadmill-woman Are you trying to lose some weight?

Do you want to lose that stubborn fat that just won’t go away? Are you running, either outside or on a treadmill, for hours at a time at that same old speed you’ve always done?  You should be shedding that fat like it’s your job, right?  That’s what all the magazines say, and the websites are telling you, and that one friend who seems to know everything says “if you want to lose weight, you have to do cardio for an hour every day.”

Well, those magazines, websites, and know-it-alls…. they are wrong.  Maybe you’ve heard this. But, judging by all the people that I see do endless amounts of cardio and zero weight training, you probably didn’t believe it.  In reality, all the running you’re doing could actually be hindering your fat loss goals.  It may be causing you to hold on to all that fat.  That sucks.

Why does this happen?  To answer that we’ve got to dive a little deeper, into how the body works.  Going all the way back to the days of the caveman (no, I’m not getting into the paleo diet here) there was actually a benefit to being able to hold onto fat.  Why? Because you didn’t know when your next meal was going to arrive.  Holding onto fat meant your body could run off the fat stores during the periods when you didn’t have food to eat. That was a good thing.  In today’s world, your next meal is probably already planned (It’s not? Well it should be if you’ve got goals!)  That means your fat stores don’t serve the same purpose that they used to.  Now, they are less life saving and more life threatening…

Your body back in the day was trying to be as efficient as it possibly could.  It wanted to adjust so that it could hold on to as much life saving material (fat) as possible.  That is what happens when you do the same amount of cardio, at the same time, and at the same speed, every. single. day.  Your body adjusts to it.  Your body becomes efficient.  Your body can now go farther, for a longer time, and use less calories to do so.  It’s like having better gas mileage. While in a car that’s a good thing, you save money, sweet! But, in your body you don’t save money, you save fat. Not such a good thing.  All the while, not making any muscular change (remember that phrase). In the fitness world of fat loss, this is the worst thing that can happen.  If you want to lose fat, you need to make your body INEFFICIENT.  When your body is inefficient it will burn more calories while doing less work.  It sounds counter intuitive, but that’s how the body works.

So how do you lose fat? couple-lifting-together

By doing high intensity exercises.  For example weight lifting (my personal favorite. If you didn’t know, now you know) or doing interval training (sprints) or circuit training. Why does this work better?  These types of exercises cause muscular change (remember?), or help to build muscle.  “Wait, I don’t want to build muscle, I just want to lose fat…”  Well my friend, I’m sorry to say this to your face, but…. you’re wrong just like your friend was.  You do want to build muscle, and here’s why.

When you build muscle your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) increases.  “What the heck is that?”  Your RMR is the amount of calories your body burns while at rest.  The higher that number is, the more calories you burn throughout the day just by being alive.  The more calories you burn in the day, the more fat you can lose while your sitting at your desk. See the correlation?

Here is a way I heard it described once that really hit home for me.  Think about cardio as paying rent at an apartment, and lifting weights (high intensity exercise) as paying the mortgage of your house.  When you pay rent you are just trading $$$ for space, right?  You don’t actually get to own anything at any point. Cardio is the same way, when you do cardio, yes you burn calories. But, once you stop running, you stop burning calories too.

Now, if you are lifting weights it’s more like paying your mortgage. With the mortgage you will eventually (if all goes well) own that house, it will be all yours and no one else’s.  While weight training, yes you burn some calories and no, maybe it isn’t as many as you would on the cardio session. BUT, when you finish that weight training session guess what happens… you keep burning calories!!!! And not just for an hour.  Your body is burning calories for sometimes up to 48 hours later.  Why, because you have to recover, and rebuild your muscle tissue that was torn.  Now you will be rebuilding and growing more muscle. Muscle burns a few more calories per day than fat does, which in turn increases your RMR.  That means by building more muscle, you will be burning more calories throughout the day, and if your body is trying to build muscle it won’t use that as an energy source. Do you know what that means???????

That means you’ll be burning those fat stores to get you through that 2 hour meeting that could’ve been an email…and that is freaking awesome! I mean the fat burning, not the pointless meeting…

That is the reason weight training should be involved in everyone’s weekly routine.  If you like running, awesome! Then keep running, but make sure you add in that weight training too.

Will all that being said, If you aren’t eating properly then none of this matters anyway. So, here is what you need to do in order to shed that fat.  Eat right, lift weights, and sleep.  Doesn’t sound too hard right? Right.

Now, step off the treadmill. Venture into that weight section of the gym, and crush that fat!

As always, if you’ve got questions send them my way!

 

Z

Your How To Guide For Weight (Fat) Loss

You want to lose some weight?  Here is how you do it!

All you have to do, is burn more calories than you take in (eat) throughout the day.  Problem solved, good luck!

 

20160830_193853
This is Cody, Cody lost 4 of these 5lb fat chunks using these tips and a proper exercise program. Be like Cody, be successful. 

Just kidding, I wouldn’t leave you hanging like that!  It really is that easy, though.  To lose weight, the only thing you need to do is use more calories during your day than the calories you eat.  It pains me to say this, but it’s true… as far as straight weight loss goes, it does not matter if you are eating chicken, rice, and broccoli or if you are eating Twinkies and Snickers.  As long as your calories consumed stays under your calories burned for the day/week, you will lose weight.  But, when most people say “I want to lose some weight” what they really mean is, they want to lose fat and not lost muscle.  Which takes a different approach.

Now, with that being said if you want to actually look fit, in shape, or sexy after you lose the weight, it’s going to take a little more effort and planning than just eating fewer calories.  You are going to have to exercise, preferably resistance training, and plan your meals along with eating better quality foods in those meals. That exercise needs to be something that challenges you. Something that makes you work, hard.   I think people are afraid to do the proper exercise intensity and style because they see it as being too difficult (and it should be difficult!), but in reality the workouts are the easy part.  If you talk to almost anyone who has been working out or training for a long time, I will almost guarantee they will tell you the hardest part is not the gym, it’s the meal preparation.  It takes time, and sometimes what it takes is making boring food, but more importantly it takes consistency…It doesn’t always have to be chicken, rice, and broccoli. If you plan things out you can get a little more variety! The planning is key here.

So, how much should you eat? That answer is different for everyone.  If you really want to determine the exact calories you should be eating you have to do some math. By putting a few numbers into the Basil Metabolic Rate formula and deciding how active you are (or are going to be), you can determine how many calories you should be eating.  (If you would like to find this out just shoot me a message and I’ll help you figure it out.)  But, as a general guideline most women need around 1500 calories and most men around 2000 calories for the day. Again, if you are the size of Shaq, or you have bodybuilding goals, those numbers probably aren’t going to work for you. But, for the average man and woman they can be a good starting point.

What do these numbers mean? They mean that you’ll need to track what you are eating, at least in the beginning.  If you don’t keep track, how do you expect to know how many calories you are eating throughout the day? It doesn’t work if you don’t track, at least in the start of your program. You may get to a point where you are eating a majority of the same foods and you just know how many calories they have.  At that point, as long as you are still having success towards your goals, then you may be able to forgo the tracking for a while. Until you reach that point, keeping track is a great place to start. I bet you are eating way more calories than you think you are!  If you would like to use an App on your phone there are a few that I suggest. The first is called FatSecret (feel free to add me as your Trainer) and the second is MyFitnessPal (I’ll be your friend on here too).  These are very convenient tools. Plus, who doesn’t have their phone on them at all times to keep track of their food?  But, there is still something to be said about using old-fashioned paper and pen.  Something about the mind-body connection to actually writing it out makes a difference sometimes.

Now, on to the easy part. Exercise. Pick something you enjoy doing, that is going to make you sweat or breathe heavy, and do that almost every day.  If you need guidance in this part of it, find someone who has some experience and can help you out. Preferably a fitness professional, like myself.

There you go, this is your starting point to reaching those goals!  Take this as your sign that you need to start. Today. Right now. Stop putting it off, and get to work! Now is the best time to start!  As always, I’m here to help if you’ve got questions!

 

See you at the gym,

Z

 

 

5 Tips To Stay Motivated

You’ve been working out for a while now. It’s been going well, you’ve been consistent, you’re eating well, and things seem to be going in the right direction. Then… a wall shows up. You’ve got a party to attend, a happy hour derails your consistent workout schedule, and the following day you get that feeling you haven’t had in a while…”man, that couch looks really comfortable after work.”  Your motivation starts to slide, life has interrupted your plans and your scheduled workouts.  It happens to the best of us (yes, even I have these feelings creep in once in a while, and I’m a trainer), that feeling of “eh, I don’t feel like it today” or “I’ve been good for a long time, I’ll just take today off.”   This is the beginning of the end of reaching your goals if you don’t jump in and stop those thoughts right away.

So here are a few tips on how to stay motivated to keep working out and striving for those goals!

#1 Keep A Diary

Keeping a diary of your food journal has shown to be more effective than just winging it. So why wouldn’t an exercise journal be the same? Keeping an exercise journal will allow you to go back to where you started and see how far you have come now with your exercises. Maybe your started at 1 push-up, and now you can do 300! Look at you!

#2 Try New Activities

Trying a fun and new activity is a great way to stay active while keeping your activities fresh and exciting! Now, this doesn’t mean you skip your scheduled lifting session with your trainer (You better not cancel on me…) in order to go do something fun. BUT, on those off days it is a great idea to do something active that you enjoy. For example, instead of hitting the treadmill for hours on end, try going for a bike ride with friends, or find a place to play some pickup basketball. Try looking into meetup.com for a fun activity like soccer!

#3 Give Yourself A Reward

Science has proven that a reward will keep you motivated and reaching for those goals.  And, obviously, who doesn’t want a reward?  So, try telling yourself that if you get through this month of workouts you’ll get a new workout outfit, or a pair of shoes. If you think new shoes don’t make you want to hit the gym, then you haven’t bought shoes since your parents where paying the bill…so,you’re still wearing those old shoes huh? Trust me, this one works.

#4 Swimsuit Season

I’ll keep this one short, Swimsuit season.  You want to look good in that bikini or speedo right? If you’re going to wear a speedo you better be in shape guys…seriously… Anyway, beach season can be a reminder or motivation during the whole year. It is always around the corner, and everybody wants to look good when they throw on that swimsuit in front of their friends/family.

#5 Your Why

I saved the best for last. Remember why you started in the first place. What is the reason you started to workout in the first place? Did you just want to look good for summer (refer back to #4)? Did you discover some health issues that were becoming serious or life threatening? Write down your “why” on sticky notes and put them in places where you will see it. On your fridge, in your daily planner, or even better create a background on your phone and computer with your “why” on it.  Think about how many reminders you would get if it was on your phone background. I look at my phone about a million and a half times per day, that’s a lot of reminders!

Bonus #6 Get A Workout Buddy/Hire A Trainer

Having a workout buddy or someone who you have a time scheduled with to meet at the gym will help to keep you accountable and make sure you are actually making it to the gym. If you are working out on your own, finding someone to go to the gym with you, can make a huge difference on those days that you aren’t “feeling like going” to the gym.  You’ve got it on the schedule already and you can’t just leave that other person hanging to be on their own at the gym! Play up the fact that you don’t want to disappoint your buddy or trainer by not showing up, or coming up with some lame excuse as to why you won’t be working out today. If you can’t find a buddy to join you, or you are ready to commit to a trainer give me a shout here.

I hope you find a little value in some of these. These are just a few examples. Finding something that works for YOU is something I can’t tell you. You have to determine which options work and which don’t.  If you need some help, that’s what I’m here for, just let me know how I can help you!

Stay Motivated!

Z

You Can’t Lose Weight. Yes, I Said Can’t. Here’s Why…

So, this is probably how it started…you see a friend, old acquaintance, or celebrity that looks like they’re in pretty good shape.  You have kind of let yourself go in the last few years, but think “they look really good, maybe I should try to get in shape…”  You start actually using that gym membership you’ve been paying for. You’re hitting the gym a couple of days per week, trying to eat better during the week. But, you go out on the weekends, oh and you went to a few happy hours during the week, and that Friday workout? You cut that short because it’s been a long week and you just wanted to get home… You tell yourself you are trying. But really, you had already decided that you aren’t going to reach those goals before you even started. That sucks doesn’t it?

Remember back when you said “Maybe I should try to get in shape”?  Yeah, that thought was already the death of your goals.  You know why? Because YOU DIDN’T COMMIT.  You said, maybe I’ll try it. If it happens, awesome, but I don’t want to get my hopes up… I don’t really want to give up anything in order to have success. Your mindset was that it would be nice, but I don’t really want to do what it takes. You like the idea of getting in shape, but you don’t really want to commit to sacrificing a few things that will actually get you to succeed.

Your mindset, and your willpower are your strongest attributes when it comes to getting in shape.  You don’t need to have a degree in fitness, you don’t need a masters in nutrition.  You just need the mindset of “I’m going to do this. NO MATTER WHAT.”  If you make the decision, and commit to reaching your goals. Whether you just want to lose 5 pounds, or you want to win a bodybuilding show, you will get those results. It takes commitment and being dedicated to the goal in order to reach it.  Going in saying “I’m going to try…”  that is going to fail a huge percentage of the time.  You may get lucky once, but it won’t last.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU COMMIT? 

You decide you will do whatever it takes to get to that goal.  You commit to getting your workouts in during the week, and eating better, and improving yourself.  You may not have a lot of knowledge about nutrition, but that doesn’t matter. Because you committed, and then you go find out what types of foods you should be eating. You may ask a trainer at the gym (Hi, my name is Zach, I can help), or you may do a little google research (just be careful you get that info from a solid source, not some quack that is following the tapeworm diet..#stupid). Either way, you have committed to reaching success and you WILL DO whatever it takes to get there. It may take you a year, maybe less or maybe more, but you will get there. YOU WILL HAVE SUCCESS! Because you committed, made the decision, and you are willing to make a few sacrifices in order to hit your goals. And you will eventually get those goals. Maybe through trial and error, maybe from hiring a trainer like myself. (hint, one will get you there faster), but you will get there because you decided so.

So as I wrap this rant up, I’ll leave you with a challenge. I challenge you to write this out in your planner, on a sticky note on your fridge, wherever you will see it and remind yourself.  I AM COMMITTED. I HAVE MADE THIS DECISION. I WILL DO WHAT IT TAKES.  I WILL REACH MY GOALS. I WILL SUCCEED.  Write that, or some version of that, down somewhere you will see it daily so that when you are about to dive into that ice cream or chocolate, it smacks you in the face and reminds you not to screw up your goals. If you want another level of accountability, feel free to take a picture of it and post it on my Facebook page, I’ll  help you stay accountable.

I’d say good luck, but you don’t need luck. Why? Because you committed, that’s why.

Now go get it!

Zach