Tag Archives: Strength Training

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!

 

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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

 

 

The #1 Exercise For A Flat Tummy Or A Six Pack. (It’s not what you think…)

six-pack-abs-01

Hey!

First of all, I have to confess that I “gotchya” a little bit with the title. Here’s why…

There is not one single exercise you can do in the gym that will automatically give you the tummy of your dreams. Whether you are strictly a cardio person, you only do bench press, or you stay on that “ab section” of the gym floor for your whole workout, doing only one of those won’t give you a six pack.  And guess what, doing all of them won’t either… UNLESS you do this one “exercise” I’m talking about.

I know what you’re thinking, “just tell me what to freaking do already!” Well, here it is.  The one thing that will help you the most in trimming down that tummy fat is……………….. COOKING YOUR OWN FOOD.

There you go. There is the answer that I’m sure you didn’t expect (or want) to hear.  But, that’s the truth.  If you want to get ripped like Channing Tatum or Jillian Michaels, or even just slim down your midsection a few pounds after the summer of boating and “beer-ing”, you will most definitely have to start cooking your own meals.  Now, I don’t mean buying frozen prepped meals in a box or making frozen pizza. I mean buying uncooked, real food that you will have to cut, chop, wash, and cook before you eat it.  For example, buy uncooked meat (chicken, beef, pork) with some veggies (carrots, peppers, etc) and then some type of starch or grain (rice, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yes those white potatoes are fine)  and cook them yourself.  This way you can control how much oil (you don’t need much) you cook them in. Or, you can bake a lot of foods without oil and use seasonings instead. That way you aren’t getting those extra calories out of the oils and sauces that you would if you went out to eat.

Here is something to think about. Restaurants are preparing foods so that they taste good (and boy do they taste good!), not necessarily in order to make them healthy.  Granted, some are becoming better at looking into the health side of the equation. But, most just want to make your taste buds explode with joy so you come back and eat more. That isn’t a recipe for weight loss, or health in general.  (Side note, you can make healthy foods taste delicious without all those extra calories. You just have to plan a little bit).

The biggest reason to cook your own meals may not be just to lose those pant sizes and belt notches. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be trim and fit?  Whole, real foods are more nutrient dense than their processed cousins.  “And, your point is….?” the point is that you get more good vitamins and minerals out of real foods than the processed ones.  A cheeseburger you make yourself, will give you more health benefits than the one you get from the drive through up the street, which is comprised of basically empty calories (not completely empty, but I hope you see the point).  Whole foods can help you with all kinds of health benefits that your doctor would love to tell you about, or maybe he does/has already discussed them with you… They can help you lower your cholesterol, they have more fiber, which will help you…well, be more regular in the bathroom… and help to keep your blood sugar regulated which helps control or prevent diabetes, and also weight gain (high blood sugar levels lead to weight gain or diabetes, which if left unchecked or unattended to can develop into more serious issues. Like limb amputation).

So, while you’re crunching away during your noon workout (WHAT!? You don’t work out over lunch?!?!?! I can help with that…) think about what you are going to cook for your evening meal tonight. Do you want chicken? A salad? pork chops?  Then you can swing by the grocery store on your way home to pick up that fresh meal you’re about to make. (Insider tip, stay around the outer edge of the grocery store. That’s where they keep the fresh foods, and you won’t get tempted by the junk in the middle isles.)

Anyway, there is the #1 “exercise” you’ve been looking for that will help you lose that mid-section fluff.  But, don’t forget about that workout either!  You can lose weight just through improving your diet, but you can’t look sexy as hell if you don’t work hard in those workouts and build some muscle!

If you aren’t sure where to start in your weight loss or fitness journey, I suggest starting in the kitchen. But, if you need a little more guidance, or a great workout, then give me a shout. I’m here to help! You can shoot me an email right here… or head on over to my facebook page and drop me a message here

All this food talk is making me hungry, I better go cook something.

Good Luck,

Zach

Is it weight loss that you are really looking for?

If you punch “weight loss” into the internet search engine of your choice you will discover the many options you have to pursue. I have no problem saying there are probably millions of articles, websites, and business devoted to helping people lose weight.  But, is that really what you are in search of?

My guess is that you just think that you want to lose some weight, but in reality it has nothing to do with how much the scale says you weigh, or how many pounds you want to “lose.”  It is more likely that you want to look better and feel better physically and emotionally.  That doesn’t come from “weight loss” that comes from fat loss and learning about yourself and what you are capable of (hint: you can lift more than that).

In my experience dealing with personal training clients they think that just losing weight in general will get them to where they want to be.  If you’re one of the people I have been lucky enough to train you have definitely heard me say “the scale just says a number, it doesn’t define you as a person” or “The scale is just a tool to measure where you were and where you are now.”  Guess what, I have to tell them all more than once…repeatedly actually… Our society is so stuck on the term “weight loss” that it is now ingrained into everyone’s head, and health professionals sometimes have a hard time breaking through that thick skull people develop.  But it isn’t about the number the scale says, looking good and “fit” comes from fat loss.  Fat loss comes from 2 main things, #1 is eating better.  Improving your nutrition will go a long ways in helping you find that former athlete or looking good in that 2 piece bikini.  But #2 is often overlooked when people are trying to “lose weight” and that is strength training.  AKA lifting weights.  Yes ladies you need to keep reading this, guys (most guys) have no issue going to the gym and throwing the iron around, but for some reason a lot of ladies shy away from that part of the gym.  That is a shame  because there are so many benefits of strength training.

Strength training helps your muscle stay fuller, which is what makes you look good while rocking that bikini.  “But I don’t want to get huge…”  If I had a nickel for every time I heard that… I would be a millionaire already, that’s just in 5 years of personal training. You do not get “huge” just from lifting weights, there is a lot more to it than that.  If it was that easy I would look like Mr. Schwarzenegger, and I don’t…  It takes a lot of nutrition, rep ranges, rest periods, volume of work, the right hormones, etc in order to get huge.  So ladies, don’t worry about getting huge unless you are secretly taking testosterone or steroids.

I’m not saying cardio is a bad thing, it definitely has its place in the fitness world.  But, If you aren’t strength training…well, you should be. Doing only cardio will help you lose weight, definitely. But it won’t get you beach ready. It will get you, what we say in the fitness world, “skinny fat.”  That isn’t what you want.  Yes that means you weigh next to nothing, but it also means you have no muscle. You look thin with your clothes on, but with them off you look…skinny fat, with no definition.  Definition brings curves, you want curves (I’m sure that’s a great tag word ladies will love to hear).

If that doesn’t get you lifting, then here are a few more reasons that you should incorporate strength training into your weekly workout plan:

1) It helps you stay leaner.  Once you lose the unwanted fat strength training helps you to keep those muscles working for hours after your training session.  When you lift weights you are making tiny tears in your muscle fibers, that’s a good thing, and it takes hours/days for them to rebuild. Which means that your body is working hard to recover, and that translates into more calories burned while you are resting, at work, or watching that new season of Orange Is The New Black

2) It keeps your bones strong.  Putting heavy stress on your bones (weight training) causes your body to reinforce them with the nutrients you take in.  So lifting weights will help to keep your from breaking your hip when you are 90 years old.  Your old self, will thank you for that.

3) My favorite one… It makes you stronger.  After strength training you will develop the super human strength to carry all of the grocery bags into the house at once.  No thanks superman, supermom has this under control!  But seriously, strength training will help you to be able to lift up your kids, move boxes without hurting your back, or push your kids really high in the underdog swing move.

4) It helps to prevent other diseases.  Heart disease is the leading killer in the Unites States.  Lifting weights improves your heart strength.  Jump rope for heart should really be turned into pushups for heart. Maybe I’ll start that… That’s just the beginning, Diabetes and glucose levels can be controlled or reduced (depending on which type) with strength training and healthy lifestyle changes.  It can also help with arthritis pain, I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that!

and the last one I’ll mention is

5) It can help reduce stress and improve your mood! Strength training can increase your endorphins (happy chemicals in your brain), it has been proven to be an amazing antidepressant tool, and it makes you feel freaking strong (refer to #3) lifting heavy weights!  That always makes me feel good about myself!

So I’ll end with this.  Don’t go in search of weight loss, go in search of fat loss, through strength training!  You’ll be happier, you’ll be stronger, and you’ll be even more amazing!

In the weights I (we?) trust,

Zach