Tag Archives: fun

4th of July tips for staying on track!

fourthbbqIt’s the 4th of July! That usually means BBQ’s, boating, burgers, friends, hot dogs, and swimsuits.  Did I mention food?  This holiday makes me think of a few things. Besides sunburn and sunscreen (in that order…) It also brings up thoughts of friends, boating, hot dogs & burgers on the grill, watermelon, chips, and beers or cocktails.  A lot of those things can be a big hindrance to your fitness or weight loss goals, especially the friends… 😉   But here are a few tips that I hope will help you stay on track, and still have all the fun!

Tip #1  Workout in the AM

If you have big plans for the afternoon, like a BBQ or going to the lake, and getting together with those troublesome friends, then get your workout done in the morning.  You and I both know that if you leave it until after that BBQ or boating trip it will never get done.  Get up, get moving, and keep your fitness goals on track.

Tip #2  Drink your H2O

Drinking water will be a big one today. Drink a few glasses this morning before you venture out for the day.  Water will not only keep you hydrated while you are out in the sun (I really hope it gets sunny…) and having a few drinks, but it will also help to keep you feeling more full so you don’t overeat when you get to the line with those chips and burgers.

Tip #3 Moderation

Moderation is the key to success in my opinion. You can have a beer or cocktail of your choosing. You can have some of those chips and dip. You can eat a hot dog, and you can even have it in a bun. You can even have all of those things the same meal! I know, that’s crazy talk!  But seriously, you can have some of them… don’t eat four hot dogs, a whole plate of chips and dip, and wash it down with 8 beers. Would you like to know how many calories that is?  Good, that is 2186 calories…. and yes, I went with the light beers.  That is a whole day’s worth of calories for most people.   So don’t shy away from the BBQ foods you love, but be mindful and don’t overeat them if you aren’t hungry.

Tip #4  Have fun

There are a lot of things you can stress over if you have fitness goals, but stressing won’t help you.  Fun fact, stress actually makes your body put on body fat…  So don’t stress about “oh I can’t eat that” or “no, I can’t come to the BBQ. It’ll ruin my diet”  You can still go, enjoy a few “fun foods”  in moderation and it won’t set you back.  Just be mindful of what you are eating and drinking.

 

There you have it, none of these tips are mind-blowing or brand new things you haven’t heard before. BUT, if you go in being aware of what your priorities are (fitness goals vs. food goals)  then you can have a great day, and still not set yourself back for a week in the gym.  Now, go enjoy your freedom!

 

Happy Independence Day!

Z

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…

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

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

What works for you?

I recently joined a friend for an open house at a CrossFit gym.  I know what you’re thinking “oh no, here goes a rant about CrossFit…”  Well, not exactly.  Let me tell you a little bit about my background. Growing up I was always playing sports and competing to win.  That part of me is what enjoys the style of CrossFit. CrossFit is about competing, not necessarily against someone else but against yourself, to always try to improve.  So, I’ve gotta say it was fun to compete again after being out of a competitive sport for a while now.

But, my experience in the weight room makes me second guess this CrossFit stuff.  I’ve gained most of my knowledge from the traditional strength and muscle building style, which most people would know as “lifting weights.”  A lot of this type of exercise focuses on keeping strict form and being safe while trying to move as much weight as possible.  This seems to be an afterthought in a lot of CrossFit gyms these days.  So the cautious trainer in me says “hey man, this CrossFit stuff may not be all that great”  but I’ve gotta say that the CrossFit workout was really fun, and I may do it again.  And the coaches there were good coaches and I never felt unsafe doing the workout.  Maybe because I know enough about how my body works and how to avoid injury that I didn’t feel unsafe, but either way I enjoyed myself.   That is the key point here… It was fun.  I had a good time.

No matter what type of exercise you do, find something that you can enjoy and continue to do.  If you don’t enjoy it you won’t keep doing it, and therefore you don’t have any consistency, and you won’t reach your goals.  Finding the right form of exercise can be a huge factor in finding your success.  I enjoy the bodybuilding and strength training form of exercise a lot. Cardio? Not so much…  If i’m doing cardio it comes in two forms. The first is interval training (HIIT)  because I can get a lot of work done in a very short amount of time, basically getting it over with as soon as possible.  The second is in the form of competition, like playing a sport, which is fun to me.  Running on a treadmill for an hour sounds like zero fun to me.  Going on a hike up a mountain sounds way more entertaining.

So my point here is that you should find something that you enjoy, that will keep you active.  If you hate running, don’t run. Find something else that you like to do that keeps you active (clicking through Netflix doesn’t count as being active though.)   If you want to compete, then maybe CrossFit is where you should look.  For me, my home away from home is in the weight room where I’ll be picking up heavy things and putting them back down.  The traditional bodybuilding style workouts align with my goals of trying to put on muscle, along with the fact that I enjoy it.  That doesn’t mean I won’t try something different once in a while, but I know that I’ve found something I can consistently keep doing.  So wherever you are in your journey to health I challenge you to find out what you like, if you hate something, change it.  Unless you have a specific goal you are trying to achieve and that is the only way to achieve it (ex. to finish a marathon you’re going to have to run), then there is no reason you can’t try something new until you find what you like.  My only hope is that you don’t just give up being healthy and active all together because you didn’t enjoy going to the gym.  Keep searching for what works for you. And if you don’t know where to start, you’ve got a friend at the weight room just waiting to help.

 

Zach