How was your fitness in 2015???

With only a few weeks left in this calendar year, I wanted to challenge all who read this blog to really look back on the successes and failures of their fitness endeavors in 2015; in hopes of making your past year’s weaknesses into the new year’s strengths.

Here’s a few key areas to keep in mind and to make note of as you reflect:

Small side note: This exercise will be much easier if you write down and track your goals and progress. The real question is why you wouldn’t be doing that in the 1st place if your health and fitness is really that important to you 😀

  • Did you achieve the goals you set out for?
    • If yes, then what strategies lead to your success?
      • You will want to repeat those best practices in 2016 for further successes
    • If no, what habits do you think you need to change or adopt to get you closer to your goals in 2016?
      • Be real with yourself!
        • Being in denial about things or failing to recognize the realities of life will only have your spinning your little fitness wheels with more lack of progress and frustrations in 2016
  • List 3 BIG things you would like to change about yourself in 2016
    • Make your goals diverse, and not just based off the scale or aesthetics, no one wants to continue to watch the scale for progress…
      • Example
        • Goal 1: Be able to perform 10 perfect push ups each day
        • Goal 2: Limit fast food to twice a week (down from 5)
        • Goal 3: Fit into my 30” favorite pair of shorts for summer
    • For each goal, write a down a realistic set of steps and habits you will need to adopt and put into practice over the new year to obtain your gials
    • Now, keep a journal or a log to follow your steps and to hold yourself accountable to those steps
      • It’s easy to hit the ground running in January, but lose steam in the following months
      • This is why you need to be able to physically see your goals and why those goals are important to you – to keep you motivated through the less-than-motivating times

Just remember, this is a conversation with YOU! All I ask is that you be real with yourself: real with WHAT you want and WHY it is that you want those said goals. If you can’t be honest with yourself about what you really want, how can you expect to construct a path to get you to your goals in a consistent and effective manner?

Be the best you in 2016!!!

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A few quick exercise tips for FAT LOSS

If your goal is fat loss, then you need to focus on intensity = Intensity when you lift and intensity when you’re doing any time of conditioning: running, biking, swimming, battle ropes, rowing, etc.

The harder you work in a given amount of time, the more metabolic demand you place on your body’s systems. Not only that, you will continue to burn a copious amount of calories post-work out compared to it’s “steady state” exercise partner.

Take away: If you’ve hit a wall with your fat loss, or you’re looking to really see that chiseled 6 pack, then you need to focus on working harder within your workouts. How would one do this you may ask. Here’s a few small adjustments you should make to you’re routines to increase fat burning:

1) Decrease rest time: perform multiple exercises back to back with minimal- no rest. When you do have scheduled rest breaks, aim to keep them under 60 seconds!
2) Use multi-joint total body moves: Think Olympic and power-lifting moves that involve every muscle fiber in your body from head to toe: Dead lifts, cleans, snatches, thrusters, etc. Your body works and operates as one unit. If you want to get the “best bang for your buck” in each of your work outs, then aim for exercises that tax your whole body
3)Tempo variables: Use ALL the different tempos schemes you can. Your body will respond to, and adapt to very differently with the varying speeds you train it with. These are neruro-muscular adaptations. So work with slow and moderates tempos, use pauses at the bottom, middle and top of your lifts and don’t forget about explosive (but with correct form) and fast reps as well. Your body can only move as fast as you train it!

Now I challenge you to implement one or all of these to the next month of your training program and reap the amazing benefits!

Want to make progress in the gym? HAVE A PLAN!

Seems intuitive and simple right? If you want to make consistent progress and achieve a goal or a specific task in the weight room, then you should have a clear path or plan to get there. Why waste time, money and energy if your not putting those efforts in the right places to get you closer to where you want to be? Seems a little…insane wouldn’t you agree? To keep showing up to the gym day after day, week after week, sweat session after session, and yet you get no closer to where you want to be. And in fact, it’s been weeks, months or maybe even years since you last remember basking in the emotions of moving more weight, hitting higher reps, running faster for longer, seeing a lower % of body fat or getting to a smaller (or bigger: a smaller % of people) number on the scale.

Take heart and if you’re serious about achieving those goals, then take time to prepare a proper plan to get there. Stop making gym efforts in vain and start moving towards the person you’re striving to become, one work out  at a time!

To be successful, you need a plan. Yet, what I see as a professional in the health and fitness industry is a severe lack of planning: whether that’s in reference to nutrition, workout programs or sleep and mood monitoring. I rarely see gym goers wielding a journal  to log the basics of a work out: Exercises used, load/reps/sets, rest times, and effort levels.

I wonder how these individuals know they’re making progress. Do they recall some of the above information from say, a work out 3 months ago? Or how about even last week? How do you progress  program forward if you don’t know where you’ve been. And if you don’t know where you’ve been, then how the heck are you going to know where you’re going? Simple: MAKE A PLAN.

I can recall on many occasions greeting a member as the enter our facility and promptly asking something like , “Hey Mrs. Jones! How are you today? What are you focusing on today?” … Long pauses are never a good sign  “Oh, um…just going to do a little cardio and abs I think.”…You think?!? Come on PEOPLE!

Stop being one of those people that don’t know where they are going in the gym and lets get your back on track to your goals. Use the example below to start planning today!

Example incoming:

Sunday 8/23/2015

Sleep: 7 hours, feeling really rested!

Mood: Optimistic and energetic

Nutrition: Protein oatmeal 2 hours before workout with 32 oz. of water

Routine: Total Body

Warm up: Foam rolling quads, glutes & 5 mins on elliptical @ 65% effort

  1. DB Squat, Curl, Press: Set 1= 25 lbs/15 reps 45 sec rest Set 2= 30lbs/12 reps 60 rest – Moderate intensity
  2. Ball Crunch: Set 1= 25 lbs/15 reps 45 sec rest Set 2= 30lbs/12 reps 60 rest – Moderate intensity

Cool Down: Static Stretch- Quads, calves, lats

Now imagine you take the example above, and used it over the course of a couple weeks worth of different work outs: you would have a good collection of data to reflect on to use to create future workouts that will greatly enhance the effectiveness of your future work outs in relation to getting you to your goals in safest and most effective way. This in turn will get your results, keeping your motivation and momentum high!

Happy Planning!

Calories in, Calories out…Does it all even matter?????

Of course calories matter! I wanted to briefly touch on calories. In a broad sense I describe why an individual should know at some given points in their training cycles roughly how many calories they are taking in, vs the ones they are expending through daily activities and exercise.

  1. Even though knowing how many calories you eat and drink each day vs the ones you expend through your daily lifestyle and exercise activities isn’t the end all be all in moderating weight loss or weight gain, BUT it’s one of the best measures we to do so currently
  2. First thing is 1st, now that you know that calories do hold some importance in the realm of all things health and fitness, get started tracking!
    1. If your tech savvy, then looking in apps like:
      1. My Fitness Pal
      2. Lose It!
    2. If apps aren’t you’re thing, then start keeping small journal, noting and tracking items like:
      1. Date, Time of feedings
      2. Quantity & quality (calories and macros)
  • Water and other fluids consumed at each meal and throughout the day
  1. Can also log and track mood at each meal as well
  2. Now that you’ve started logging and have a few days of data under belt, it’s time to make sense of all these numbers you have in front of you
    1. Let us focus on the TOTAL calories consumed each day
      1. Add up all the calories consumed each day
      2. Calculateyour metabolic rate to figure out what your DAILY CALORIC NEEDS ARE.  (this will also factor in your activity levels ) Use this website:
        1. http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/
  • Now, if you’re looking to lose weight, then a safe amount to aim for is 1lb of fat a week. So there’s approx. 3,500 calories in a LB of fat. So take your DAILY CALORIC NEED and subtract 500 from it. This is the amount of calories you need to “aim” for each day, for weight loss
  1. If you’re looking to gain, then it’s the other way around, you need to add about 500 calories to your daily maintaince level to help support lean muscle gain. Even though you’re adding bulk to your diet, don’t take this as the ticket to load up on empty calories from fast food or junk foods. Stick with lean mats, good fats, whole grains, and plenty of servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  2. Now the hard part. You must decide on what needs to be changed about your current food choices and eating habits.
    1. I recommend circling or highlighting what you would like to change in your food logs, and then choose ONE habit at a time to focus on and master.
    2. Once you can complete that habit each day for TWO WEEK, then shoot for another habit.
    3. If you mess up its okay, try again the next day; but don’t take on too many habits at once. I know you want to do all the right things, right now, but you’re setting yourself up to be overwhelmed and to do “drop all the balls” instead of making consistent small progress