Tag Archives: weight

3 Months is Just the Beginning!

This is just the beginning, but it is worth sharing.  I know for a fact that they aren’t done with their journey, but they have made a huge transition in their lives and it is already showing huge benefits!

Today I want to introduce to you these two awesome sisters that I’ve had the privilege to train for the last couple of months.   Meet Renee and Amanda,  two sisters looking to make a change.20170810_181828

They found me through a friend and decided personal training was that change they were looking for.  We’ve been meeting twice per week, for a little over 3 months now.  And look how happy they are to be at the gym, haha!  I realize the gym isn’t always the place you want to be after a long day at work, but these two haven’t missed a day.  They have been consistent with their exercise and their nutrition, which has helped them make huge strides towards their goals.

Even when they aren’t meeting me at the gym they have been active on their own (something I suggest everyone should do, whether you work with a trainer or not), walking, running, and doing home workouts. Also, I think most importantly, they have been consistent with tracking their food (which is huge!).  In my opinion your nutrition makes up at least 80% of the importance in reaching your fitness goals.

Besides growing their confidence in the gym since we started (yes ladies, I notice how comfortable, or uncomfortable, you are with the exercises I prescribe) I wanted to share how much success they’ve achieved with some hard numbers as well.  So here goes:

In a little over 3 months Amanda has lost 22.5 pounds, and Renee has lost 23 pounds.

Amanda has lost 13.75 inches in total (3.5 from her waist)  and Renee has lost 11.5 inches (also 3.5 from her waist).

Both have lost more than 10 pounds of body fat.

Both have increased their strength and their stamina immensely! Just ask them!

And Both have lost a few pants & shirts that no longer fit because they are too big 🙂

I never told them they “couldn’t eat” any certain kind of food.  Now, I gave some suggestions, but nothing was “off-limits”. In fact, they went on a few trips, went to a few concerts, hit up the food truck fair (or whatever that was called), have been out to eat a time or two, and still managed to reach a goal of losing 20 pounds.  All they had to do was keep track of their food, and not go over their calorie and macro numbers.  Were they perfect? nope.  But you don’t have to be perfect. I’m definitely not perfect.  But just being aware of how many calories they needed in a day helped them be more accountable to themselves when they were having fun, or just living life.

and here is what the 3 month before/after looks like.

Photo_2017-08-22_09-54-54_AMPhoto_2017-08-22_09-57-05_AM

I mostly want to say congrats to these two for always being consistent.  consistency is the key because it will eventually lead you to your goals.  If you don’t give up, then you WILL find what you are looking for.

And also, for always having a good time when we workout, even on the bad days we still manage to have a few laughs while making some progress.  Great job ladies!

 

If you are looking to make a change, and create some great habits, then contact me right here, I’d love to help get U Fit!

Stay Strong,

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

Your life is making you fat.

Your house is dirty, your boss got on your case about all the work that’s piling up, and your kids keep nagging you to help with homework while you are washing THEIR clothes…  what do you do?  Turn to ice cream. Order pizza.  Go eat a cheeseburger.  Get fat, that’s the real answer.  All this stress can lead to a rise in Cortisol levels, and in turn cause you to gain unwanted weight.

First of all let’s go through what Cortisol is.  Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in your body when you are stressed (there are others also produced, such as adrenaline, but they have much different effects).  Cortisol’s job is to replenish your body after elevated stress levels, or in easy terms it increases your appetite.  Back in the caveman days this would be a good thing.  It would cause you to take in more nutrients after you had to escape from that saber tooth tiger or after hunting that woolly mammoth.  But, in today’s society the stresses are much different.  Instead of running from dangerous animals (unless that gorilla gets out of the zoo), stress usually comes from emotional or mental areas of life.  For example, you have too much to do at work and the deadline in encroaching on you much faster than you’d like, or you have too much to do around the house and only two arms to do it with. Something along those lines is where most of your stress comes from in today’s world.  The problem with that is these stresses are most likely not causing you to burn too many calories, like the cavemen were.

So what does this mean?  Well, Cortisol can stick around in your system for a long time, and if you are always “stressing” about something then guess what… yep, that Cortisol never leaves your system because you are always producing more.  So, because Cortisol increases your appetite that means if you never get rid of that hormone you will always be hungry, and in turn will be overeating.  Eating more calories than you burn means you will gain weight.  If you are eating more calories than you need, every day, every week… think about that… you could be eating yourself to obesity because you are worried about getting things done.  Seems crazy to think you could be shortening your life because you are worrying about doing that laundry…

Not only does that mean you are probably eating more quantity of foods, but because you are stressed you are more than likely going to reach for those comfort foods instead of celery.  I’m sad, where is the ice cream?  I am so worked up from my job that I don’t want to cook, I’ll just order a pizza.  Do you see where this is headed?  It’s all one big downward spiral.  Get stressed and you reach for the unhealthy options, and in turn eat more of those higher calorie foods because your stress hormones keep telling you that you are hungry… one big circle that seems tough to break.  I’m not saying a cheat meal or a cheeseburger once in a while is all bad, but if you let it those cheat meals will start happening daily, and you don’t want that.

But don’t worry, I’ll let you in on a little secret… That work is always going to be there, get it done and your boss will have more for you.  You will always have laundry that needs to get done, unless you live in a nudist colony, then I guess you can just go to the beach? Don’t forget the sunscreen…ouch.  But in all seriousness, there is always going to be something in life that needs to get done.  I’m hoping you can replace some of those things once in a while with a little bit of self-preservation time. Time to get your mind right and do what’s best for yourself.

So now that you are even more stressed because I just told you how stressed you are, I’m going to give you a few things that I enjoy doing to help relieve my stress levels.

#1- I bet you can guess this one, I go to the gym.  Not only does exercise have amazing health benefits but it has also been shown to decrease stress, increase those “happy chemicals” and decrease symptoms of depression.

#2- I go outside.  I enjoy hearing the sounds of nature and breathing in fresh air.  Being by the water, or out in the woods gives me a sense of calmness and has a rejuvenating effect on me that is sometimes hard to describe.  It just helps me let things go that were bothering me.  Even if it is just a walk down the sidewalk, seeing trees and animals helps. I just feel better.

#3- Hugs.  Yep, you read that right.  And no, My wife didn’t write this. Giving/Getting a hug can help relax you and (for me anyway) make you feel like you are not in this fight alone.  Added bonus, hugs actually help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of getting heart disease!

#4- Pets.  I don’t think I have to say much about this one, pets seem to know how to always make you a little bit happier 🙂

Those are a few of my go to things for when I am feeling stressed.  I don’t know if this has/will help you at all… I just hope you can smile a little today and not worry so much about all those things that stress you out.

If you need help with that #1 tip, or heck with any of the tips, I’m your guy.

Stay Healthy,

Zach