Happy July 4th.  As promised here you go!

I feel like it's time for this post.  Whether it's in person at the gym, or through email, people often ask me, "what are the things I absolutely have to do to get my body to change quickly".  Now 9 times out of 10 I usually try to avoid this question because if I give you the 5 things that absolutely need to be done, most people do 3.  And then they wonder why they aren't getting results. 

But, I figure I've been asked enough at this point that it's about time to give you the secrets to getting the body you want in as short a period of time as possible.

Ready?

There are literally 5 things that you absolutely have to do to get your body to change quickly.  You follow these 5 rules and I can virtually guarantee you will get the body you want in as short a period of time as possible.  This isn't based on theory, these are the techniques I use with my clients that get results fast!

1.) Warm-up:
Take the time to do a good 10-15 minute warm-up. And I don't mean going to jump on some piece of cardio equipment. Research shows that's a waste of 10-15 minutes.  Instead, do some self massage.  It will serve the same purpose of getting your body ready for exercise, and even better, it helps to alleviate the knots and tight muscles that come from sitting or standing all day long.  Truth be known, it will also decrease your chances of injury dramatically.  Need a little reminder (self-massage warm-up)

Follow this warm-up with some good old fashioned stretching.  Yes, the jury is still deliberating as to whether stretching is beneficial, but my experience has been it works wonders to prepare your muscles for the workout ahead. Here's a quick reminder on the stretches (warm-up stretches)

2.) Core:
From what I can tell too many people leave training their midsection to last, when they are tired from their workout.  And then if they do actually train their abs/core, it's half-hearted at best, usually only doing some kind of crunches, and thus get little to no benefit.  Training your core is as important, if not more important, than any other body part. Here's couple to get you started (core exercise examples)

3.) Resistance:
If I haven't done a good job of it before, let me clarify now, if you want to change your body and get lean, resistance exercise is the absolutely the best way to do this.  And to the women out there who think lifting weights will make you bulky, not so. Women typically do not produce enough testosterone to even come close to creating the bulky physique they worry about.

That being said, resistance training doesn't have to be lifting weights.  You can use bands, suspension straps, or traditional weights if you prefer.

Circuit                                                                                 Circuit   
Squats (with flavor -- see my you tube channel)                Squats (with flavor --you tube channel)
Lateral Raises                                                                     Chest Press (dumbbell)
Split Squats                                                                        Rear Deltoids
Push ups                                                                             Lunge (back) to Bicep Curls
Deadlifts                                                                             Deadlifts
Back (seated row)                                                               Triceps
Step up to balance and shoulder press                                  Pull-ups
Bicep Curls (dumbbell)                                                         Lunge (back) to Shoulder Press
Tricep Push-downs                                                               Breast Stroke (see you tube channel)
Jump Rope --- 70-100 times                                                 Jump Rope -- 70-100 times
                                                                                        
Circuit_3_Cheat_Sheet.pdf                                            Circuit_3a_Cheat_Sheet.pdf

4.) Cardio:
If you've been following my blogs for any length of time you know I'm big on doing intervals for cardio.  Because it gets the job done quickly with minimal damage to the knees, hips, and lower back.

Equally effective and a big favorite of mine is kettle bells.  With some proper instruction, this activity is the absolute best for burning calories, strengthening your core, as well as building some solid muscle in the hips and glutes (butt).

Follow this program with a good cool down stretch (the same movements you did to warm-up) and you should be on your way to a transformed body in a few weeks.

5.) Nutrition:
I'll keep this short, as this is becoming a bit long.  Whether you call it the Paleo diet, Mediterranean diet or anything else, staying with lean meats, minimal starchy carbs such as breads and pastas, plenty of veggies, and some nuts is the best way to go.  Need a little more clarification?  Here you go (nutrition made easy).

Get on Track and Stay on Track!
I'm slightly keeping with the theme from Monday this week -- don't waste time doing the same old thing that's not getting you results.

Ask yourself these 3 questions:

1.)  Are you happy with what you see in the mirror?

2.)  Do you have too much free time on a daily basis?

3.)  Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Now, if you answered "yes" to any of these questions then this post is not for you. 

However, if you answered "no" to these questions, then please stop doing the same old routine and getting less than exciting results.  You can get the body you want in less time than you can possibly imagine.

Let me be plain and clear --

I am asking you to stop doing steady state cardio since you already know it will not give you the results you want. 

I am asking you to spend less time doing cardio.

I am asking you to put more effort in getting your nutrition in order.  And lastly,

I am asking you to be willing to challenge yourself to do something different (that has been tested and I know works)



Now Go Out and Get It Done!
Let me first say a big Thank You to all of you that wrote in wanting more information on target heart rate.  I very much appreciate the opportunity to answer your questions so that you can get the results you deserve.

No one goes through their workout for the fun of it.  If you put the time, energy, and sweat into it you expect results, right?

What's that old saying -- Time is the currency of the 21st century.  So none of us has any time to waste doing things that don't get results.

Here's the answers to the questions I received this past week.

  • What's the big deal about the amount of time spent doing steady state cardio for weight loss?

Did you know that there is a 50-90% injury rate in the first 6 weeks for those just starting a serious exercise program?

Why?

Because most people just starting out are not prepared physically for what most programs suggest as the best way to lose body fat.  And yes, you guessed it, most programs suggest hours and hours of steady state cardio.  All those hours and miles do serious damage to the lower back, hip joints, and knees.  That's what makes interval training so effective -- it challenges you more as you get better.

  • In my previous blog I mentioned the inaccuracy of the standard 220 - age to determine your heart rate zones.  The variance of 10-12 beats for 70% of the population versus 20-24 beats for 30% of the population is important because it means the difference between not training intensely enough to get results versus risking too much intensity. 

Plain and simple it's dangerous to not wear your own heart rate monitor and not know the range that works for you. Rather than spend hours beating your lower body into oblivion, use cardio intervals to decrease your overall hours doing cardio, and increase your results.  One of the few cases where less will equal more.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

  • Why are weight lifting circuits more effective in burning fat and maintaining lean muscle?

Just doing steady state cardio does not tell your body to preserve your valuable muscle tissue.  In fact, in some cases steady state cardio will have you lose lean muscle tissue. The more lean muscle tissue you have the higher your resting metabolism (remember when you burn fat as the primary fuel source), so you want to keep as much as possible.  Weight lifting circuits tell your body to maintain the lean tissue because it needs it to lift weights, but get rid of the body fat because it decreases your efficiency.  Remember, your body's goal is go get efficient at whatever you tell it to do. So you want to maintain lean tissue and get rid of unhealthy body fat.

So there you have it.  Even more reasons to stop the useless hours of doing steady state cardio and start doing cardio intervals and/or weight lifting circuits.  You'll lose body fat quicker, look better, have more energy, and decrease your risk of injury compared to hours of steady state cardio.

Get On Track and Stay On Track!
Yes, I'm back from vacation.  Needed the downtime. Definitely feeling refreshed and ready to get back into the thick of things.

Even on vacation I can't seem to escape the marketing machine's grip.  I found some interesting facts about Pizza in one of my "poolside" reading magazines.  At first read I thought, "Wow, this is some good information to consider". But something just didn't seem real.  Then it hit me.

It almost made me pull out my hair, but then I remembered -- I don't have any.

Check out the short video below and see what I mean.

Some days it feels as though I live on two different planets. 

One based in the reality of research and what I've seen work, day in and day out with my clientele, as well as what I witness other fitness coaches doing with their clientele and getting results.

Then there's the other world.  The world of marketing and infomercials where product 'X" is said to achieve certain results based on science I never heard of, nor can find in the vast array of information on the internet.  So I'll call my guru and ask him and he can't make heads or tails of it either.  Which by the way usually means it's a load of poo. 

But that doesn't seem to stop the marketing machine from turning and producing more fantastic and mythical products that will allow you to exert minimal effort and yet get maximum results.  Sometimes it's so painful to watch I have to just switch off the TV -- yelling at the TV doesn't seem to be very effective -- though it feels darn good.  Let's deal in reality.

Do you think it matters where you hold body fat?  I mean besides the fact that you don't want it at all, do you think there is actually a place on your body where, having body fat in this area is actually more dangerous to your health?

Believe it or not, there actually is a difference. Where your body stores body fat actually can determine the length and quality of your life.  Don't believe me?  Check this out and get motivated:

Belly Fat Study and Heart Disease

Want to lose that body fat, but not sure what was the best way -- interval training by far is the best way to lose body fat quickly and effectively.  As long as you do not have a history of heart disease or other coronary issues in your family, and with your doctor's permission, I would encourage anyone who is serious about transforming their body, to explore the outstanding benefits of interval training.

Here's a recent study with even better reasons to explore the option:

Interval Training Study

OK, so now you're convinced and motivated to get more activity into your life.  But as we all know, just losing weight isn't the real key. 

No, not by a long shot.

The true key component to losing weight, is losing the right weight -- meaning body fat!  

Just stepping on the scale and seeing the number go down may make you feel better, but it doesn't mean you're getting any healthier. However, decreasing your overall body fat does mean you're adding years and quality to your life. 

Take my word for it. 

I've measured clients that weigh the exact same and have shown different body fat numbers. 

And guess what?

They look a great deal different. You could be 120lbs and 15% body fat or you could be 120lbs and 30% body fat.  The person with the lower body fat will look leaner, have more energy, a higher quality of life and typically (bad personal habits excluded) a longer life span.

Need a home scale to help you stay on track that will give you reliable info and won't break the bank?

Best Bathroom Scales (be sure to click on the link that says "best bathroom scales")



There's your Truth, Tips, and some serious reality -- Now Get on Track and Stay on Track!
How many times have we all been told growing up as children, that breakfast was the most important meal of the day?  And yet as adults, how many people do you know that continually skip breakfast for all sorts of reasons?  No matter what type of research you give them they seem to refuse to take that extra 5-10 minutes to start their day off right and kick their metabolism on to burn fat.

It seems no matter how often you tell someone the importance of something, their habits will win out, even in the face of evidence.

Fortunately I tend to be a bit stubborn.  I honestly believe that if you can show someone the benefits of doing something a certain way they will make a change.  In most cases, the people that continually skip breakfast still haven't been told information that is important enough to them to make them change their behavior.

Funny thing is the same excuses these people give for not making time for breakfast, are usually the same type of excuses they make for not making exercise part of their weekly routine.  Well, let's see if this motivates you towards a slight change in your habits.

7 Lies We All Tell Ourselves

And then of course I still get the regular emails and face to face questions regarding how hard it is to take 5-10 extra minutes in the morning for breakfast.  As well as the usual, "I'm not a breakfast person because I don't like breakfast foods".  Well here's a little reminder on the importance of breakfast, as well as some very helpful recipes to make sure you get your metabolism awake and burning fat before you even hit the office.

Breakfast and Weight Loss

I apologize, I couldn't resist.  I was cleaning out my office, which seems to be a never ending task, and I came across this article on abdominal training and back injuries.  Couldn't resist the opportunity to share it with you -- especially considering the many times I've advocated for more core training done the "right way".

Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back?

So now you have even more choices and reasons to get the most important meal of day -- breakfast.  Not to mention some great insight as to why I've been making such a fuss about training your abs properly -- to avoid potential injury. 

Heck, if the leading spine bio-mechanics expert in the country suggests the same movements I've been asking you to do, and demonstrating on my You Tube Channel, then maybe it's time you stop beating up your spine and instead trained your abs-- properly.

I think it's time to --

Get On Track and Stay On Track
I have to be honest with you.  I was asked NOT TO share this information with you.  I was told that this should be something that only clients that come to see me should receive.  I was told that, "It's information that the average person isn't going to appreciate without the guidance of regular visits to you or their nutrition counselor".

Well, I do tend to be a bit hard headed so what the heck.

I don't know where the idea came from, and honestly don't really care. But plain and simple, if you skip meals you will gain weight. 

Why?

Well if you've been following my posts this month, you know that going longer than 2.5-3.5 hours between meals is a recipe for disaster when it comes to your metabolism.  Your body needs to feed on a regular basis if it's going to keep burning stored calories (think fat) and maintain you lean tissue (think muscle).

Why?

Because the human body was built to survive.  Your ancestors out survived the dinosaurs for many reasons, one of which is that your body will slow down your metabolism when it receives insufficient calories on a regular basis (think skipping meals).  In that way you burn less energy and thus the survival of the species is ensured.

Now granted, most of us are not on the verge of starvation nor is the population anywhere near being threatened for it's survival.  But your body doesn't know this.  It has survived for thousands of years using this type of survival mechanism and it's worked just fine.

Unless of course you're trying to lose weight.  Skipping meals in fact tells your body to not let go of any excess calories (think don't burn fat).  Whereas eating every 2.5-3.5 hours sends the message to your body that it does not need to store extra calories for survival because you will give it the nutrients it needs consistently.

Now some people have had a hard time believing me.  While others have had a hard time wrapping their brain around such a concept.  So I thought it would be a good idea to share this TOP SECRET information.

Check out the link below.  I think you'll be surprised at how well the diagram explains the process.  And by all means, the next time someone tells you they don't eat breakfast because they're not hungry, just smile and hand them this diagram or email them this link.


I think it's safe to say you've officially run out of excuses for missing meals.

Reasons or Results --
As promised here are 2 more delicious recipes to add to your growing file.  We all have busy schedules, this time of year more than ever.  But that shouldn't mean all of your hard work should go out the window.  Whether you're committing to a new year of losing those extra pounds or just looking for a change in your usual day to day of staying on track, these recipes are sure to help.  They are quick, tasty, and will definitely keep you on track.

Remember, food that is good for you can actually taste good too.  All too often I hear people avoid making good food choices because they believe they have to give up flavor.  Not with these.  The second biggest reason I hear is that making food that is good for you just takes too much time.  Again, not with these.  But I will admit it will require some planning on your part to make sure you get all of your meals in each day.  And heck if it tastes good, all the more motivation to take as little as 5 minutes to whip up something that tastes good going down and gives your body what it needs to stay healthy and assist you in getting in better shape. 

Don't fall into the easy excuses.  Take a few minutes and cut and paste these to your file.  Good food and get in shape at the same time -- sounds like a win/win to me.  Enjoy!

Recipe #1:  Mint Chocolate Shake (Mint_Chocolate_Shake.doc)

Recipe #2:  Sauteed Salmon (Sauteed_Salmon.doc)
It was recently brought to my attention that I could probably eat cardboard with a few spices and it wouldn't bother me at all.  Fortunately for me, cardboard has no nutritional value.  I don't know, I guess I'm just weird that way. 

It's said that some people over-indulge with food to meet other needs besides nutrition.  This type of person tends to go overboard with the sauces, sugars, breads, etc.  I'm just the opposite.  I mainly eat for function.  And if it was a choice between a flavorful meal that would take an hour to make or eating right now a nutritious meal but with little flavor, I'd probably pick the latter of the two.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy a flavorful and nutritious meal, it's just that often times my schedule gets so busy that I skimp.  No, I refuse to go grab fast food, or some other highly processed food substitute.  No, I admit it, I'm willing to skimp on taste.

So believe me when I tell you I am really excited and appreciate this recipe book-- Gourmet Nutrition by Dr. John M. Berardi, Michael Williams and Kristina Andrew.  It is full of quick, tasty, good for you meal options all in one spot.  The authors probably saved my life and don't even know it.

Now I can stop eating cardboard. 

I refuse to waste your time with any hoopla about something that tastes good when it doesn't, just because it meets some nutritional number guide. I am actually coming to appreciate taking my break and enjoying my meals these days.  And believe me that is a nice change of pace.

So don't forget to cut and paste these to your filing cabinet on recipes so you'll be ready for next year.

No more excuses!


Recipe #1: Chai Blueberry Oatmeal (Chai_Blueberry_Oatmeal.doc)


Recipe #2: Turkey Sausage and Yam Hash Browns (Turkey_Sausage_and_Yam_Hash_Browns.doc)


As always, let me know what you think.  I always appreciate your feedback.
First off, I do hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving celebration.  It's a great time to reflect and give thanks for all the things you do have.  A time to sincerely appreciate friends, family, and all of those people who have truly made a difference in your life throughout the year.  It's also a great time to reflect on the how the year has progressed and what you want to keep doing next year, as well as the things you want to change.

I must be honest with you.  I have yet to meet a person that trained their core too much. So I know this months exercises will be a great addition to your regular workouts.

Keep making your lists, keep making sure to put you on that list, and be sure to get your meals in every 3-4 hours.  I promise it will make for a much more enjoyable holiday season.

Click on the video below to get your next core exercise.  Let's make sure you're one step ahead of everyone else as this year comes to a close.