Weekly fitness journal

So it’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks both in my business and personal lives. Add to it the pressure of making weight and I had a pretty stressful week. The goal for the past 2 weeks was basically to get my weight to 160 by the time of the photo shoot. Fortunately, I was able to make weight an the pictures came out great. We haven’t finished deciding which pictures to use but here is an example of what came out of the shoot.

Diet: With it being two weeks out and my weight at 169, I basically went to a no carb diet. As I have mentioned in the past, no carb diets are not good unless you have a specific date in mind and you understand that you will put the weight back on once you introduce carbs. Once I got to about a week out, I started to eat very low calories which meant no carbs, and very low fat. I also drank a lot of coffee to help boost the metabolism and give me some energy.

Sample diet:

Breakfast- Coffee and 2 hard boiled eggs.

Snack- Chicken Breast

Lunch- Turkey Chilli

Pre workout- Coffee and oatmeal

Dinner- Ground Turkey

Exercise
The exercise pretty much stayed the same for me. With re focus being weight loss, I was focused on cardiovascular workouts. In the days leading up to the shoot, I did focus more on workouts that would give me more of a pump.

Results:

I made the weight. I was at 160 lbs for the photo shoot so that was a 25 lb drop over the past 6 weeks. I will be updating the website with those photos over the weekend so be on the lookout.

Journal entry:
Strangely enough, the last two weeks were not as bad as I had anticipated. When I took a look back at my diet, in shocked that I was able to manage. I really had no bad urges and never felt too hungry. Even on the last day when all I had was some mixed veggies and tuna, I was perfectly fine. I guess it’s because I can get very focused on the task at hand and the hunger becomes a very minor thing for me. I was very happy with the result. The photographer was awesome and we got some really cool shots. It was definitely worth the struggle. I was also able to celebrate that night by going to my favorite Brazilian Steakhouse and I ate like a monster.
The next step for me is to work on a new goal and to keep moving forward. I’m happy with where I’m at now butbi need to fight against complaciency so there is a real need to determine a new goal and work towards it. Thanks for reading.

Weekly fitness journal

This week’s goal was to majorly increase the intensity of my workouts as well as to cut the calories by a lot. I tried to split my workouts up each day by having a morning workout and an evening one. For the diet, while not too restrictive, I limited my carbs to breakfast and ore workout.

Sample workout
Part one (10:00am)
-Dumbbell press superset with plyometric pushups
-Cable flys superset with pushups on the physioball
– seated row superset with pullups
– standing pullover superset with modified pullups.
– cable crunches
– cable oblique crunches

Part 2 (6:00)
– 2 mile run
– 1,000 jumps with a jump rope
– various jumping exercises

Diet
The diet isn’t too much different from last week. The main thing is that I’m limiting my carb intake even more. At the end of the week, I’ll assess and decide where to go from there.

Results- Weight 169

Comments

I finally did it, I am below the 170 mark. When it comes to photos, I know that I need to be at 160. I’m pretty happy with the progress this week and again, it just shows how much your body can change when eating well for a couple of weeks. Surprisingly, I’ve been really energized. When I have a real goal, I get focused and it’s been that focus that I’ve been missing for the past several months. The increased exercise intensity has been manageable as well as the diet. The hardest part of the diet is the first few days. Now it’s pretty easy. This upcoming week will provide the real challenge as I need to drop about 9 pounds in a span of 10 days. The pictures will be worth it and it will be posted for everyone to see (good or bad).

5 things to look for in a new Personal Trainer

As someone who has been in the fitness industry,  I have seen my share of good trainers and my share of bad trainers. The following post is for anyone looking to work with a trainer. Beyond the basic things to look for which can be found here, these are good signs that the person you are working with is a quality person and personal trainer.

1- Complimentary Consultation. As a personal trainer I genuinely appreciate the fact that I can make a living doing something that I’m passionate about. In order for a trainer to do well, he or she needs to build trust and a connection with the client. A complimentary consultation can go a long way towards building that trust. This allows the client a chance to “interview” the trainer and make a decision without committing financially. Any trainer who is confident in his or her abilities, should have no problem offering a complimentary consultation as this is the chance to gather data and inspire the client moving forward. Someone who insists on payment for the first meeting is usually trying to make a quick buck and is taking a very short sighted approach.

2- Connection. As somewhat of an extension from #1, it is very important that you feel some kind of connection with the trainer. The fact of the matter is, if you choose to work regularly with a trainer, that person will become an integral part of your life. You will spend 1,2 or 3 hours a week with this person, more than you may spend with you may spend with your closest friends. In many cases, personal trainers become a friend in addition to being responsible for your workouts and fitness program. With all of this in mind, it’s important that the person you choose as a trainer be someone you feel a connection to and want to work with. You could have the most qualified trainer in the world but if you don’t like them, or are not inspired by them, all of the hard work could be for naught.

3- Focus should be on you. When meeting with a trainer, their focus should be on you and your goals. This is part of the importance of #1. The trainer should be asking questions about your background, fitness history as well as your goals. If the trainer isn’t asking questions related to your goals or worse yet, if he or she is creating goals for you then something is wrong. It’s a great sign when you meet a trainer who is asking a lot of questions, this means that the wheels are turning and they are designing a program as you speak with them.

4- Specializations. While the average personal training client is looking for weight loss and toning, there are many times when a client has specialized needs. If you have any health problems or physical injuries, current or previous, it’s important that the trainer know how to work with someone in that situation. For example, exercise is vital for many diabetes patients but a trainer without knowledge of how to train diabetes patients, could cause more harm than good. The same goes for a person with a specialized goal. A great example is marathon running. If you decide to run a marathon, it’s important that the trainer have knowledge of how to train a person running a marathon. Again, a serius injury could occur with the wrong training.

5- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. At the end of the day, a good fitness program is going to take hard work and time. If a trainer is promising results that seem too fast to really occur or that doesn’t take hard work, it’s likely either not true or not safe. A good trainer will be able to map out a plan which will take you to your goals but in all likelihood, it’s going to take hard work and little bit of time.

Ask the Trainer: Is walking enough?

Question: Hi, I am a 54 year old woman. In the past few years I have gained some extra weight and have recently begun a walking program. Do you believe that walking is enough for someone in my situation?

Answer: As with many of these questions, there is not a  clear cut answer. Much of the answer lies in what your goals and capabilities are. In general, I absolutely recommend walking. From an activity and a psychological perspective, walking is great. For many of us, our surroundings are made for us to be lazy. We tend to lead very sedentary lives and walking is an activity that gets lost on many people. For many people, a 2-3 mile walk is a daunting task and it is much easier to take a cab, train, car or bus instead of the walk. So, I would definitely recommend anybody increase the amount of walking they do. It keeps you active, moving and also has psychological benefits. Making the decision to walk , either as an alternative to other modes of transportation or just as an activity, usually carries over to other things. You may find yourself taking stairs more often, preparing your own meals, getting up to change channels and choosing other, more active alternatives throughout the day.

Things get a little more cloudy when it comes to walking as a means of achieving results. Walking can be great for someone who is rehabbing an leg injury. It can also be good for an otherwise very sedentary adult with health problems. As great as walking can be, if weight loss is your goal, it may not be the most effective means of achieving that goal. A combination of a healthy diet and exercise are the components needed to lose weight. If the weight loss goal is small (3-10lbs) then the diet in combination with walking may be enough. For a weight loss goal of more than 10lbs, walking is not likely to be enough exercise. On average, walking will burn approximately 150-250 calories per hour. This may not be enough for someone looking to lose a significant amount of weight when compared to other forms of exercise:

Activity                                            calories/ hour

Running (moderate)                    530-630

Running (heavy)                        800-1200

Cycling (moderate)                    450-600

Weight lifting (moderate)       200-400

In addition to burning more calories, more intense exercise will increase the metabolism in a way that you are burning more calories, post exercise for up to 2 hours after the workout. More intense exercise is also important for the heart and developing the cardiovascular system and walking will likely not help in this area unless the person is severely deconditioned.

When it comes to using walking as a form of exercise, we get a mixed bag. While there are definitely benefits to increasing the amount of walking you do, it’s not a replacement for vigorous exercise especially if there is a specific weight loss goal.

Please feel free to comment. Thanks for reading.

Weekly fitness journal: Do as I say…

It’s kind of ironic that last week I posted an article about the importance of not losing too much too fast. I should have prefaced that with a rule saying that extreme measures should only be taken if there is a very specific goal in mind and then only if you are prepared to gain the weight afterward. The irony is that I have a photo shoot scheduled in 3 weeks and I need to be at my goal weight by then. My goal weight is 160 and I now weigh 173 so extreme measures must be taken.

Diet- I’m now in a position where I need to cut 13 pounds in 3 weeks or about 4 pounds a week. From a dietary standpoint it means doing something I preach against, cutting carbs. I’m at a point where I limit myself to carbs at breakfast, before I work out and a little at lunch. This also means blame foods with little salt or seasoning an lots of water.

Sample diet
Breakfast- oatmeal w/water raisins and splenda
Snack- 3 slices of smoked turkey
Lunch- baked chicken w/ vegetables and a 1/2 cup of rice
Pre- workout- smoothie with strawberries, blueberries
Post workout- protein shake with skim milk
Dinner- ground turkey

Exercise- this week I’m pushing the calorie burning part of the workout so I have cut out any heavy strength training and replaced it with cardiovascular type work I’d interval training.

Sample workout
Warmup
1.5 mile run
20 minutes of tabatas
1,000 jumps with a jump rope
6 rounds of bag work
Abs

I can be very motivated when there is a goal so I should be fine. The real challenge will be that last week but I’m up for the task. As long as I’m prepared, the diet isn’t all that bad. I eat regularly so I’m never hungry. The workouts this week have been fun. I’ll never be the type to run 6 miles but my style of cardio is very effective. It intense and leaves me feeling like I just got run over by a truck. I will be at 160 by the end and kids, do as I say, not as I do 😉

Feel free to comment

Illustration of why it’s better to lose 1-2 pounds a week

Last week, I wrote about the importance of losing weight slowly and consistently versus a rapid weight loss program. This week, I am going to give an example of what frequently happens when someone loses weight too fast versus someone who does it at a consistent clip.

As I mentioned before, the body is only capable of losing 1-2 pounds of fat per week so any more than that comes from lean body weight which is weight that we don’t want to lose. For this example, we are going to take a person who is 200 pounds and 30% body fat. This means that the person has 140 pounds of lean body weight and 60 pounds of fat. I am going to go through two separate scenarios with this person to show my point.

Scenario 1- This person decides to go on a crash diet or a very low calorie diet. This person could very easily lose 30 pounds over the span of 5 weeks. If we average this weight loss out to 5 pounds a week, then in a best case scenario, this person would have lost 8 pounds of fat and 22 pounds of lean weight.  What results is that this person is actually less healthy at 170 pounds than he was at 200 pounds because his body fat percentage is still 30% and he has lost 22 pounds of valuable lean weight. What makes this example even worse is what happens next. 95% of the time a crash diet will fail within 6 weeks and the person puts back on all of the weight that was lost. In this case, if this person puts back on 30 pounds, he won’t put on 22 pounds of lean weight and only 8 pounds of fat. The likely outcome will be the reverse and he’ll put on 20 pounds of fat weight and 10 pounds of lean weight. The result will be that this person will be back to 200 pounds but with a body fat of 36%. He will have gone from 60 pounds of fat weight up to 72 pounds of fat weight because of the crash diet.

Scenario 2- The same person follows a program which includes a balanced and healthy diet with strength training. If the person is focused on losing 1-2 pounds a week the after 6 weeks, this person will only have lost 10  pounds but it will all be fat weight. After 6 weeks, this person would be 190 lbs but his body fat percentage would have dropped down to 26%. Another 6 weeks and 10 pounds of fat later, his body fat would have dropped to 22% and finally another 6 weeks and 10 pounds later and his body fat would have dropped to 17%.

As you can see, scenario 1 lost 30 pounds in 5 weeks but paid for the rapid weight loss by losing mostly lean weight. He also had the added negative  benefit of gaining back mostly fat. Scenario 2 took 18 weeks to lose 30 pounds, almost 4 times as long but this person was able to lose 12 percent body fat and 30 pounds of fat in that time.

Feel free to comment or ask questions. Any involvement would be greatly appreciated.

Weekly Exercise Journal 3

Diet: This weeks goal was to build back some structure to my diet. Due to my hectic schedule, I’m constantly eating on the go which is a waste of money and way too many calories. This week was about going back to basics for me. I made a trip to trader Joe’s and got a ton of food. I prepared ground turkey, chicken breasts as well as sliced steak. I also got tons of fruits and healthy snacks. I’m making sure to have something to eat every 3-4 hours and for me I’m munching on whatever is in my refridgerator. I’ve been able to keep to it this week.

Exercise:The focus this week was to include some cardio. I was happy with the frequency last week but strength training is not enough. My goal this week was simple, one 1.5 mile run.

Results:

Weight- 175 (-3)

Bodyfat- 9.4 (0)

Journal: I absolutely hate running, it’s the bane of my existence. It must be a combination of thngs for me. First of all, I have asthma so I get short of breath quickly but that’s not a real excuse as I have no problem playing basketball for hours or sparring for 5 rounds. Second is after about 5 minutes of running, my body starts to itch sometimes violently. I’ve read articles about this being a medical condition but sometimes I think that it’s my mind messing with me because of my hatred of running. Finally, running is just boring and I don’t have the attention span to keep it up for an extended period. Even with all of these reasons not to do it, I realize that if I want to lose the weight quickly, I’m going to have to suck it up and run. This week I set a modest goal of 1.5 miles. I decided to do it outside as it was a nice day so I took my ipod, put on a sweatshirt, shorts and went out. About .5 miles into the run, the itching began and I started to feel winded. I was very much inclined to quit right on the spot. A minute later the itching got more intense and I could sense that I was mentally starting to give up. I had reached to proverbial fork in the road, I was either going to quit and likely not run again or I was going to push through and get past this barrier. I decided to put on my favorite song (Rosetta Stoned by Tool) put my head down and made the decision to push through. I made the 1.5 miles and hated every minute of it but in the end I was very proud of that accomplishment. It was a big moment for me to finish that run and I’m more excited than ever about what the future holds for me.

 

Please feel free to comment. Thanks for reading.

Why you shouldn’t worry if you don’t lose more than 1-2 pounds a week.

     The majority of my clients over the years have wanted some form of weight loss, some more than others. Early on in my career, it seemed to be an inevidability that a person would experience frustration at not losing weight fast enough. Whether the person wanted to lose 10 pounds or 40, there was this feeling of wanting to get from point a-z without travelling through the other steps in between. Generally, when someone is participating in a weight loss fitness program, it is not advisable to lose any more than 2 pounds a week. In fact, losing more than that number is usually less healthy and is less likely to succeed. It was a challenge for me early on to learn the proper ways of articulating this without discouraging the client but over time, I’ve formed a good way of both explaining this and coming up with a good alternative way of approaching weight loss.
We live in a society that is all about instant gratification and the fitness industry is no different. Weight loss suppliments, dvd’s and products are all sold as things that will create almost instant results. This creates an attitude when it comes to fitness which focuses on a lot of weight loss in a very short period of time. When someone approaches their fitness program with this mindset, 90% of the time, they will end up disappointed when they don’t see the pounds melting off. This frustration eventually leads to the person abandoning their fitness program.
     People make a few major mistakes when beginning a fitness program geared towards weight loss. The first mistake is that they focus too much on the scale. The second mistake is that the person usually tries for too much too fast. It seems a bit counter to the goal to say that people pay too much attention to the scale but the fact of the matter is that it’s true. When you are in a weight loss program, it’s more important to know the kind of weight you are losing and not simply the amount of weight that you lose. I will illustrate this point in next weeks post but simply put, it’s more important that a person lose fat and inches than total pounds. The second mistake is also common and very dangerous. Often times, especially with beginners, a person will get gung ho over a diet and exercise routine. They will work out 5-6 days a week for an hour and a half, they will go on the new fad diet and usually this person will show a sharp drop in weight over the first few weeks of their fitness program followed by a plateau. Usually within 4-6 weeks, the person has stopped losing weight all together and they start feeling tired, sluggish and eventually get burned out. They stop the program and gain all of the weight back. This happens because the person is not physically and emotionally ready for that kind of program. It’s sustainable up to a point but eventually the budy simply can’t handle the dramatic change and it breaks down.
     Aside from the physical and mental fatigue that comes from a sudden and dramatic change is the fact that the body will end up burning lean bodyweight instead of fat for it’s energy. Our bodies are only designed to lose 1-2 pounds of fat a week and usually anything more is going to be lean bodyweight. This means that while 10 pounds may look good on the scale, only 2 of those pounds would be from fat so it’s definitely not ideal.
The right way to approach weight loss is the same way one should approach fitness. Fitness/ weight loss is an ongoing process which requires consistency and regular assessments of progress. A person should be in a fitness program which they feel they can sustain forever. This means starting slowly and increasing the intensity of the diet and exercise over time rather than going to an extreme right off of the bat. It is also important to measure progress. This is not only done by the scale but also by measurements, pant size and even other people recognizing the change in your body. A good weight loss program should see a person make small but consistent progress over time. This is habit forming and much more likely to succeed in the long run. It’s much better to lose 1-2 pounds a week over the course of a year than it is to lose 30 pounds in a month and then to crash and gain it all back.
     Next week I’m going to illustrate the difference between a consistent weight loss program and one of your typocal crash dieting programs. Be sure to check it out as it really shows the importance of consistency and steady progress over super fast weight loss.

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