I know you've heard it over and over again, but I'm unfortunately going to say it again.  I hope I don't offend you in the process:

Transforming your body (think getting rid of body fat) is 80% nutrition

Having a fit body (think being able to do the things you truly like and not risk getting hurt) is 70-80% core fitness

Sometimes people jump to conclusions, so let me be really specific so I don't get misquoted.

Yes, you can do less than 80% on your nutrition and still get results.  The problem is I have only met a hand full of people that are willing to train that hard, or the person has incredible genetics and doesn't have to work that hard.  And by the way, there are very few people in the latter group.

Most of us do have to monitor what we eat and how much.  It's part of the process.  If you want your body to change you have to do something different than you've been doing, to get results.  Keep doing the same thing and expecting different results is . . . .

Well, you know what that's called.

So it stands to reason that if you want to avoid back pain, you're going to have to do something different than those monotonous crunches.  Sure you'll feel a burn in your midsection, but that doesn't mean you're really training your core effectively.  I fell asleep on my arm the other day and when I woke up it tingled.  But I'm pretty sure that didn't mean I had trained my arm effectively.

If you haven't been training core and need some movements to help get you started, check out You Tube Channel. Or stay tuned because next month, each Friday, I'll be sharing with you some core movements using the Swiss Ball.  It's a great next step after doing the one's listed on my channel.

Now, if you've been training core you already know the benefits and importance of doing those movements regularly.  But once in a while it's nice to throw in a little variety to keep things interesting and motivating.

Here's another one to add to the list. 

Feb
14
2011
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The other day a client asked me why do I think most people work out at all?

Of course it got me thinking, you know me, and I thought, yeah what are the major reasons why?

Well after a little trip down memory lane, I came up with these.  Let me know what you think.

1.)  Vanity:  Plain and simple no matter how you try to dress it up or regardless how you word it.  When you take out all the preservatives, colors, and artificial politically correct sweeteners, it comes down to you want to look good.  Let's be honest.  We live in a world that over emphasizes looks way more than is probably good for any of us, but hey it's the truth.  I remember reading some research many years ago, that talked about a study done on perceived attractiveness.  In it they discussed how even when qualifications were identical, the person perceived more attractive was more often given the job.  Same thing happened when it came to giving traffic tickets, etc.  So if that's what motivates you and keeps your body healthy and vital, keep doing it!


2.)  Endorphins:  No matter how much you enjoy looking good from the results of working out, you can't get around that unbelievable "feeling" you have after a good training session.  We all know the research behind the "runner's high".  All sorts of magazines have discussed the hormones and enzymes that are released into your system after a good "bout of exercise", some even suggesting it's a similar "high" to eating chocolate.  If it keeps you moving and healthy, adding quality years to your life, and is an awesome "high" in the process, why not enjoy it.  It's free and good for you.

3.)  Health:  We all know exercise is healthy for us, that's nothing new.  But let's be honest, if we all took that common sense to heart would we have a population that is approximately 61% overweight?  So no, just knowing exercise is good for you isn't enough to get everyone motivated.  People in this category exercise because they know they have to do so.  In some cases their doctor has told them they have to exercise or else.  This individual, while understanding the benefits of exercise, wasn't moved to action until their life depended on it.  What's interesting is that sometimes people motivated for this reason often end up in the other two after a short bit of time.  Exercise is funny like that. Regardless of how you get there, the truth of the matter is you're making sure you life is one of quality.  Having your health I believe is sometimes one of those things we take for granted.

I bet you don't believe that everyone fits into each of these categories purely as I've written them.  But my experience has found that in fact most people do in fact fit into one of the 3 categories above or are a hybrid of each of them.  Funny thing, no one ever really bothers to ask why you work out when you're at the gym.  Everyone is there just doing their thing for the reasons that move them. 

And when you really think about it, that's really all that matters.
Feb
11
2011
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A hammer breaks glass, but forges steel. -- old Russian proverb

TGIF!

Hope you had a great week and this year is starting off well for you.

I want to make sure you have plenty of motivation and variety to keep you moving forward in your quest to transform your body.  Some of that comes in the form of information, tips and tricks, and some of it comes in the form of giving you new exercises to keep your choices fresh.  I know for me it's what allows me to keep myself motivated and pushing myself to the next level.

Last week I shared with you a couple of movements utilizing the suspension straps (Jungle Gym XT).  This week I'd like to share another movement that is specifically for the core. 

All too often people believe that doing endless sets of crunches and other assorted crunch type movements is all they need for a strong core. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Training your core properly takes more than crunches.  In fact, in the not too distant future, most people serious about training their core/abs, will do fewer and fewer crunches.  The truth of the matter is crunches are towards the bottom of the list when it comes to training your core/abs effectively.  Research is beginning to show that crunches, the way most people do them, is actually damaging to your spine and creates lower back pain.  With so many choices out there to train your abs/core effectively and not risk damaging your spine, why bother taking the risk?

If you need some other ideas on how to train your core/abs effectively and not risk back injury, check out  My You Tube Channel. The core exercises are specified in the title.

As the quote above suggests, you have to use the right tool for the right job.  Strengthen your core without damaging your spine.

I don't know about you, but I need variety in my training to keep me motivated and excited about my workouts.  I change my entire routine every 4 weeks, minimum.  I change:

  • the grouping (push/pull integration) of my exercises each month,

  • deciding whether I'll be emphasizing the use of dumbbells or barbell,

  • whether I will be emphasizing unilateral style training (training one side of the body at a time- think squat versus 1 leg squats),

  • what type of circuit style I'll be using,

  • and of course how I want to group the body parts, as well as an assortment of other variables. 

Why?

Because it's not only an issue of the necessary mental excitement, but keeping the body adapting to new stimuli, and thus continuing to improve in conditioning (think lower body fat) and function.  More recently I've been trying to experiment with different training methods (think battle ropes and kettlebells).

Are you familiar with Suspension Training Straps?  My personal favorite is the Jungle Gym XT. 

It is a piece of exercise equipment that basically mimics the idea of the rings used in gymnastics.  This is a great piece of equipment to add to your training routine to keep things fresh and challenging. The true beauty of this piece, I believe, is that:

  • you can go from one exercise to the next without resting;

  • even better you can make the exercise more or less difficult based on how close or far you stand from the anchor point,

  • and virtually every movement you do significantly engages your core.

Why is that such a big deal?

Because it means you can really push yourself to the end.  When you get fatigued using your standard weights (barbell or dumbbell) you usually have to either go find the another set of dumbbells to finish your set, get assistance from someone you trust, or "cheat" your way through the last few reps hoping you don't injure yourself in the process.  With suspension strap training, it's as simple as taking a few steps forward or backward to the anchor point.  Thus decreasing the chances of injury and increasing the chances of a kick butt training session.

Remember, the whole goal of working out/exercising/training, is that you can better enjoy your life on a day to day basis.  If you're not changing your workout a minimum of every 6-8 weeks, your not getting the best you could out of your training time. Today there are so many different ways to challenge yourself safely and effectively. Thus allowing you to make steady progress (think lean, beautiful, and functional body), and avoid or shorten plateaus.

Here's a little taste of Suspension Straps.  More in the coming weeks.

OK.  So I understand from the emails I've received that some of you out there are still not convinced that steady state (slow) cardio doesn't work.  Please let me be clear.  I'm not saying it doesn't work, I'm giving you legitimate research that proves it does not work as effectively as interval cardio or circuit training for losing body fat efficiently. 

I wouldn't give you inaccurate information, believe me.  It wouldn't be fair.  You rely on me to do the work of investigation and then pass on what I learn so that you can benefit.  I am determined to make sure that you have all the necessary information to get to your body transformation goals as quickly and safely as possible.

Analysis of a 25 year study regarding diet, exercise or diet plus exercise

Plain and simple, what they found was that after having analyzed over 400 studies comparing diet and diet plus aerobic exercise, they concluded that aerobic exercise does not provide a significant advantage over dieting alone.

I still hear some grumbling in the background. So let's take it to the next level.  Let's see what the research says when we put the two concepts (interval training vs steady state training) head to head.

A Comparison of the Effects of Interval Training vs. Continuous Training on Weight Loss and Body Composition

So what did they find.  Here's the quick and dirty:

  • Group one: Interval Training

  • Group two: Steady State Training

  • Both groups trained 3 times per week -- burned 300 cals for 8 weeks

  • The interval training group showed a -4.4% change in body fat whereas the low intensity steady state group exhibited a +1.2% change in body fat (meaning the interval group lost on average 4.4% body fat, while the steady state group gained 1.2%).

So again you ask, what works better.  For one don't forget, with permission from your doctor, intervals is an outstanding way to kick up the intensity of the cardio you're already doing.  To add variety to your cardio check out Kettlebell swings as another alternative.  And lastly as a quick note, if you just can't stand doing cardio, try creating a circuit utilizing weights or bands where you do 4-5 movements in a row before taking a break (little secret, if you alternate upper body with lower body exercises you'll get even more bang for the buck).

I do hope that helps give you even more reason to get off the steady state cardio wagon.  I challenge you to give my suggestions a try for 4 weeks and see the drastic changes that take place.

I'll have two more studies for you next week.  And by the way if you didn't get a chance to check out Battling Ropes on Friday as a great change of pace from your regular cardio routine click here.

TGIF!!!

If you checked in with me on Monday you got a great peak at what's to come for rest of the fitness world in the coming months. 

No More Steady State Cardio.  It simply doesn't give you enough bang for the buck.

If you're serious about getting rid of body fat and getting seriously lean; you now know that spending hours on any cardio machine and expecting it to transform your body, is being naive.  The research is just not supporting that idea.  Now if you have a significantly low body fat, that may be another story.  But for the majority of the people out there -- no more slow cardio.

But of course the next question ends up being, So what do I do now?  So many people have been doing steady state cardio for so long they have no idea where to go from there.  Now if you'll remember I discussed with you on Monday the idea of doing intervals.  Not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination, but man does it get results. 

However, if you're looking to get completely off of the cardio machines and try something new, check out this short clip of me getting my behind kicked with Battle Ropes (this video picks up at round 7).  Because of the nature of Battling Ropes they provide plenty of variety regarding the different movements you can do.  And WOW, talk about jacking up the heart rate and getting a total body workout -- without the banging on the joints (think hip and knee trauma from too much running).  I can't thank Jerry and Gus enough for the opportunity to work with them and get my feet wet on this experience.

There are so many ways to change it up.  Keep the variety.  I'll help with a few more videos in the coming Fridays.  Bottom line -- stop wasting time doing something that doesn't work.  More studies on the way on Monday to give you more reasons to abandon the steady state cardio theory.

Here is an idea for a little change. You might even get a little chuckle out of me getting pushed.


It's time to Get on Track and Stay on Track!


They say "Time is the currency of the 21st and 22nd century".  If that's true then none of us has the time to waste doing things that doing work and don't produce measurable results.

It has also been said "Don't confuse motion with progress.  A rocking horse makes a great deal of motion, but no progress".

With those two quotes to set the tone for today's post.  It has been my intention this month to make sure you receive workout guides that make sure you get results and are not just a bunch of motion (waste of time).

Remember, whether you travel a great deal and can't make it to the gym, or just don't like the whole gym scene, there is no reason why you can't exercise and get results.  All it takes is a little creativity and few items of assistance. You don't have to make some huge investment to get a good workout or results.

Don't believe me, click on the video below.
Just like the first few moments of how you start your day sets the tone, how you start off the New Year really dictates how your year will evolve.  If you don't do some regular house cleaning you set yourself up for a frustrating and irritating year.  The relationships that don't do anything but drag you down and suck your energy, get rid of them.  Those items around the house that you haven't used in years, but keep telling yourself you will.  By now, chances are you won't -- donate them/get rid of them.  Those clothes in your closet that you keep telling yourself you're going to wear one day.  Chances are if they have been in your closet unworn for over 5-7 months, you're not going to wear them.  Donate them, but get rid of them!  Why wait till spring cleaning?  Do it now!  The sooner you get rid of the things in your life that don't inspire, pull, and motivate you forward, the sooner you will find your find yourself achieving your goals.

And by now you all know how I feel about having some sort of plan in place (your blueprint of sorts).  A plan that will serve as your guide in moving you forward. But as I stated above, you first have to make room for the new stuff coming into your life.  Adding a plan to an already overwhelming/cluttered life often times only adds to the frustration.  The new year provides us with an opportunity to take note of what's working and what's not.  By all means I urge you to get rid of that which is not working in your life.  Make room for the good stuff.

And since it's my job to make sure that you have a plan that works, once you've cleaned out the dead weight in your life, here's a little guide to get your started on your road to a new you. 

Remember, getting in shape isn't about how long you spend working out -- it's about how well it challenges you.  Whether it's at the gym or at home, your workout/exercise routine should be something that you look forward to doing.  A chance to get rid of some of that stress from the day and a chance to get your body to sweat out some of those impurities.  Not to mention all the enjoyable endorphins and other healthy processes that come from a good workout.

So to get you started here is your from Wellness to Fitness in 4 Easy Steps: (WELLNESS_TO_FITNESS_4_EASY_STEPS.doc)

Clean out the old -- it's not working for you.

Make room for the new-- and make sure you have a plan in place to guide you along the way.

Please feel free to pass this on to anyone you know that needs a bit of guidance in getting their new year started of right.

Get on Track and Stay on Track!
WOW!  What a first week of the new year.  Talk about having to kick start the body back into reality.  Thank goodness it's Friday.  Time for a little down time and finalizing the plan for the first six months of the year.

Let's get down to business.

I received an email a few days ago asking for help.  This person states she travels a great deal and doesn't always have time to get to the gym.  Whether it's the weather conditions or late night business dinners, she states she has so much trouble staying on track when she's out of town.  She feels as though she has her nutrition down pretty well, but her workouts suffer tremendously.  She asked for my help with a travel workout that she could do to train her major muscles in about 30 minutes.  But she cautioned me, "don't make it too easy, I want to feel like I actually worked out.  My workouts help me relieve my stress, so please challenge me." 

Well here you go.

A simple to the point circuit, using only 2 types of bands, that trains the major muscle groups. Three times through is less than 30 minutes. Let me know what you think.

Get on track and stay on track!

The year is almost over.  I promised to make sure that you were well prepared with a wide variety of recipes to make sure you start the new year off right.  Recipes to help start you on track, keep you on track, and not make you feel like you were going to have to give up taste.  I believed I've delivered as promised.

Only one more Monday left in the year.  So here are two more recipes to add to your ever growing file.  Next year is going to be so easy for you start off on the right track.  By spring you'll be unveiling a new you and not had to suffer, by living on tasteless boring food.  No one likes to feel deprived.  So I've made sure that your journey to a new you is as painless as possible when it comes to your nutrition.

Here you are:

Recipe #1:  Pizza Eggs (Pizza_Eggs.doc)

Recipe #2:  Romaine Tuna Wraps (Romaine_Tuna_Wraps.doc)

This weeks recipes are from A Recipe for Life by Susan Dopart, M.S., R.D. with Jeffrey M. Batchelor and Eat 2 Liv by Elizabeth Brown M.S., R.D., C.D.E

Be sure to come back next week for more recipes to add to your file.  Remember, the more options you have the easier it will be to stay on track.  No one likes boring food.  And cooking and preparing food that actually tastes good should not be a chore.  If you've been cutting and pasting you will ready to rock come January.