weight loss

The Most Important Weight Loss Tip you will ever get.

The most important, overlooked, never talked about weight loss tip is probably something you never thought about.

easy weight loss

 

There are a lot of articles of weight loss focusing on doing certain things.

  • Eat clean
  • Drink more water.
  • Exercise more
  • blah,blah,blah.

I am not putting down those tips because they are all part of the solution but they don’t get to the heart of the issue.

Most eating and diet plans will work. Why then, do most people fail to to lose weight?

You can’t stay on it.

Pretty simple but that is not the tip I have for you.

The tip is to align your eating with your personality type.

There is a great book called, “Better than Before: What I learned about Making and Breaking Habits” by Gretchen Rubin, that explores why we have trouble making habits that stick. It is a great book and I highly recommend you read it. Her premise is that you are born with a set personality that fall into four categories. We are all belong to at least one of the groups. So if your personality is set at a young age, it doesn’t make sense to try and be someone you aren’t nor does it make sense to try and do something that doesn’t line up with your personality. Trying to force a habit through sheer willpower is doomed for failure and will make your life miserable in the process. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Stay with me here.

All or Nothing versus Moderators.

Given a habit, you will be one or another.

All or nothing people have to be 100% in to achieve their goal. For example, the ex-smoker that knows if he/she has a cigarette they won’t be able to stop. So for them, total 100% abstinence from smoking is the only way they can be successful. My Mom is like that.

Moderators have a different approach. Being told they can never do something again fires off their sense of rebellion. They want the freedom of indulging every once in a while because they can do that without going overboard. Using the previous example, they may have a cigarette every once in a while but it isn’t a big deal.

Here is where it can get tricky. You can be an “All or Nothing” for one habit and a “Moderator” for another.

Here is an example from my life. You can apply this to weight loss.

Cardio- an example of  All or Nothing.

Arvade half-marathon

 

 

I don’t mind doing cardio, in fact I like it when I do it. However, it never seems to be a priority for me. In the past I had a schedule of running 3-4 days a week and I failed miserably at it. Something would always come up and I put it off. Not good, especially if you are getting ready to do some long and ugly races life the half-marathon in the picture.

I had to finally admit I was not a “moderator” when it comes to running. I am an “all or nothing”. So I created the 100 day Cardio Challenge for myself, which I am at day 99 of this writing.

Wasn’t that hard to do? Not really.

I set a baseline of a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio a day either running, on a treadmill, elliptical or bike.

I asked myself if that was doable and I thought it was. That is really all there is to it.

  1. Is this in your personality to commit to doing something every day?
  2. Don’t worry about the maximum requirements but are the minimum requirements doable?

If you can honestly say yes to both of these questions, you are good to go.

Did I ever not feel like doing it? Yes, but it would have been embarrassing to me to break the streak after a week or two. Once you get in the 40’s and up you have to ask yourself, “Am I really going to skip a day because I feel a little tired? If I don’t do this, how will I feel about myself in the morning?”

By the way, that is a great question to always ask yourself.

“If I don’t do this, how will I feel about myself in the morning?”

So in 99 days I have lost 15 pounds without intending to, Shaved 1:15 off my fastest mile time and am in the best cardio shape of my life. Not bragging, just saying this works.

The Elimination Diet- an example of moderation

weight loss tip

 

I have some allergies to food I didn’t know about that were causing massive inflammation in my body. So to get the inflammation under control, you do what is called an elimination diet which means you cut out all the food you like to eat for 6-8 weeks to heal the body.

In my case I have to eliminate:

  • Dairy (milk, cheese…)
  • Gluten (anything with wheat in it)
  • Legumes (beans, peanuts etc…)

Any this is a very hard way for some people to eat, including me. If you tell me I will never be able to eat a donut again, something in the back of my brain starts to rebel will sabotage the process. I know myself. Don’t tell me what to do. In talking with the Doctor, I asked if pretty good would be good enough. Say 90% compliance. He was okay with that and that was the key for me.

I don’t have to be 100%, I just have to be pretty good. My brain likes that idea.

I have given myself the freedom to go off plan every once in a while because I know I can limit the damage. If I am craving a jelly donut, I am 100 % sure I can eat 1 or 2 and not end up eating 6 or 8. Good enough.

Funny enough, I have been testing this out and I really am not craving those things anymore.

I have been on this diet for 2 weeks and have come to a couple realizations.

  1. Most of the time “that food” doesn’t taste all that great anyway.
  2. If I can smell it, sometimes that is good enough.

Here is an example, we are at this sports bar and I can’t find anything remotely gluten-free on the menu I want to eat. So I order a cheeseburger. Why not, I have been good all week. So the cheeseburger comes and I look at it. I smell the bun which has gluten. Not that great of a bun. Not that fresh and not really toasted right. Basically a very mediocre bun. Do I really want to eat that? Is this average,bland bun going to give me anything of value?

Nah, so I take it off and throw it to the side. Once the bun comes off, the cheese looks gross, so it comes off. Now I have a meal that fits the guidelines and I don’t feel deprived. Moral victory.

Bottom line on weight loss

The point is, I value having a choice in some areas of my life and I like not having a choice in others.

Figure out how to make the habit fit your personality and you have a greater chance of success.

Try and change your personality to make a habit work and you are doomed.

If you need a little help with this stuff, I offer online and in home personal training and coaching. Click here for more information or fill out the form below.

 

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Can You Drop Fat and Build Muscle at the Same Time?

Can you drop fat and build muscle at the same time?

Drop fat and build Muscle

“Hey Coach Mike,  I’m an currently working out 5 day a week. I am at 31 % body fat. I want cut it down to 15 % while maintaining the body weight. Can you please help to chalk out a good work out plan. Thanks”

This is a classic question. If I understand your question, you want to replace body fat with muscle. The old “Drop fat and build muscle at the same time” conundrum.

Just in case you are wondering…”Can fat turn into muscle? Can muscle turn into fat?”

No.

Let’s look at the numbers.

I don’t know how much you weigh but let’s assume you weigh 200 pounds. At 31% body fat you have 62 pounds of fat and 138 pounds of muscle. Note: when I say muscle I am referring to muscle, blood, bones and everything else that isn’t fat. We can do this because the only variable that will change is muscle. Blood volume, bone weight etc…will stay consistent for the most part.

If you want to stay the same weight and go down to 15% body fat, then you would be at 30 pounds of fat and 170 pounds muscle.

What you are looking at is gaining 32 pounds of muscle while losing 32 pounds of fat.

So the big question here is your time frame.

The good news about fat loss.

You can keep the same level of muscle and easily lose 2 pounds of fat per week. You could achieve that in about 16 weeks.

The bad news about muscle gain.

The harder part of this equation is putting on 32 pounds of muscle. Unless you are really gifted this could take 3 plus years at best. This also depends on your body type, joint size and family history. Any of which could be a deal breaker. It took me over a decade to gain 100 pounds but I was going from painfully skinny to average to bigger than average.

Don’t get discouraged, it can be done and people are doing it all it time. But that is the key. It takes time.

Building muscle is challenging.

For muscles to grow you need to do the big 4 consistently.

  • Break down muscle tissue with hard workouts.
  • Get enough recovery time.
  • Eat a surplus of calories to build muscle
  • Eat enough protein throughout the day and night to foster muscle growth.

Maximizing dropping fat and building muscle at the same time is a tricky balancing act. Usually you can’t do both nearly as well as doing one at a time. Most people who are successful at putting on muscle won’t worry too much with body fat levels. But…

Here’s the big secret.

If you follow the big 4 rules consistently, you will drop body fat without thinking about it. I am making the assumption that you are taking in quality calories not junky ones.

The good news about muscle gains

The more you get into this, the more you will know your body and be able to optimize the big four. Learn what works for you and stay with it.

How do you measure progress?

If you are serious about this, you will get an electronic body fat tester. They run around $30 on Amazon and allow you to get a much more accurate body fat reading that scales or hand held sensors that send electric impulses. If you know your weight and body fat, then you can track pounds of fat and pounds of muscle.

Or you can do it the old fashioned way and see how your clothes fit. Tight around the legs and chest? Good. Tight around the waist? Bad.

The really good news.

  • As you drop fat, you will look better because the muscles you have will start to pop out.
  • A little muscle goes a long way in changing your appearance.
  • More muscle means a faster metabolism so you will burn more calories at rest.

The other factor here is over-training. I am going to give you an ambitious schedule. You may not be able to handle the amount of volume. If so, no problem.

Take another day off or cut down on the volume.

Go to the gym 2 on and 1 off. So for every 2 days you workout, take 1 day off. Concentrate on Chest, Back, Shoulders and Legs. Arms will be done at the end of the workout.

Sample Workout Schedule

Day 1:

Bench Press 5 sets of 5–12 reps

Military or shoulder press with dumbbells 5 sets of 6–12 reps

Laterals with dumbbells 3 sets 8–12

Skull crushers with dumbbells 3 sets 8–12

Bicep curls 3 sets 8–12 reps

Day 2

Squats 5 sets 5–12 reps

Pull-ups 5 sets as many as you can or at least 25

Barbell or 1 arm rows 3 sets of 8–12

Straight legged deadlift 3 sets 6–8

Day 3 off

Day 4

Dumbbell bench press or incline press 5 sets of 8–12

Arnold presses 5 sets of 8–12

Front raises 3 sets of 8–12

Rear dips 3 sets as many as you can

Dumbbell curls 3 sets 8–12 reps

Day 5

Lunges 5 sets of 15–25

Rows 5 sets of 8–12

Pull-ups 3 sets as many as you can do or at least 25

Stiff legged deadlifts 3 sets of 6–8

Calf raises.

Throw in planks, hanging leg raises and reverse crunches for core work 6 days a week.

Day 6

off

Day 7

Work on weak areas with a short workout.

What about Cardio?

Here is where things get a little controversial.

If you really want to lose fat right now.

Spend at least 30 minutes 5–6 times a week doing long slow cardio. This means keeping your heart rate around 115–130 bpm. I know a lot of people will disagree with this but it is a proven way to burn fat and keep muscle.

An Alternative

If you don’t want to do that, consider high intensity interval training 4 days a week at a place like Crossfit and see if that works.

Both ways will get you where you want to be. It will just take time and patience.

Hey Mike, what about nutrition?

If you are at 31% body fat, you need to clean up your diet. Eat clean and emphasize protein each meal. That is the easy answer and in reality, don’t overload yourself at once. Everyone knows how to eat clean.

  • No soda or diet soda.
  • Cut out sugary drinks.
  • No fried food.
  • No fast food.
  • Don’t rely on restaurants to help you. Make your own food and eat it.

I hope this helps.

If you need some coaching…

You can always join my online training for the crazy low price of $10/month.

Online and Mobile Personal Training

Click here for more information.

 

Treating Injuries: Some Common Sense Advice

Treating injuries. Are you hurting right now?

treating injuries

As a corrective exercise guy, I try to help my clients fix aches and pains before they turn into major injuries.

Staying injury free is a major component in staying motivated and the biggest to getting in shape. As Woody Allen said, “80% of success is showing up.”

My experience has been that most people drop out of any given activity due to injury and never go back because they are scared of getting hurt again.

So let’s get this out of the way.

5 Things You Need to Know about pain and injuries.

1. Everybody gets injured at one point or another. It is a part of life.

Having said that, some activities are riskier than others but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t do them. Just be smart.

2. Active people will have less aches and pains than sedentary people.

True, we may get muscle soreness from workouts but these are temporary after-effects of the training. Inactive people tend to have chronic daily pain. Our stuff is easy to control and manage while chronic pain is difficult to treat.

3. Active people will tend to have temporary issues while sedentary people develop lifelong issues such as diabetes and heart issues.

Working out fine tunes the body and makes it perform optimally.

4. For an athlete, getting injured is a way of learning and progressing.

Getting injured either means you did something wrong in the moment or you have been doing something wrong for a while and your body can’t take it anymore.

This is a critical point. Learn from injuries.

5. If you ever get injured, figure out why it happened and make corrections.

Smart people learn to realize the difference between aches and pains and injury. You can learn to treat niggles and tweaks so they don’t become full blown injuries.

Here is where this post gets controversial.

The biggest mistake people in dealing with injuries is going to the wrong professional.

How do you know? You spend a ton of money and you don’t get healed.

In my opinion, it is always better to learn how to take care of the little things before they get out of control.

Know yourself and treat yourself.

Here is a link to my YouTube channel where I have a few videos on rehab.

Yes, this takes time and yes, this is a learned skill but it is priceless. Learning how to fix injuries on the fly is invaluable.

But what if things really blow up?

Take running for example. We participate in a sport with a high injury rate. depending on who you talk to 25% to 50% of all runners get injured every year. Taken at face value, that is a staggering statistic. I had calf problems last year that bugged me all summer and fall. If you look at the physics you can see why the risk of injury is so big.

At 245 pound, I land with a force 4-6 times my weight each step. 1,000 plus pounds landing on a each foot, 1,500 steps each mile for 25 miles week. you can see how small mistakes escalate into major ones.

For some, that is proof I shouldn’t be running.

For me, that is proof I need to run with better technique.

We were meant to run. You either believe that or you don’t.

If you believe it, you are looking at history.

If you don’t believe it, you are an orthotic salesman.

Evolution does not favor the weak or bad mechanical designs,. Just the opposite. The foot is a marvel of nature. You just probably have weak feet and poor running mechanics. Again, that is for another post.

Back to dealing with injuries, who should you see when dealing with an injury?

Family Doctors and Traditional medicine.

Pros:

  • They practice medicine and can refer you to specialists, testing or Physical therapists.
  • They have to abide by a code of conduct and have established methods of treatment.
  • They can write prescriptions.

Cons:

  • The constant thought of malpractice makes most Doctors very conservative in what they will do and what they won’t.
  • Oftentimes they are behind the times with new treatments.
  • You may have to wait to get in, then wait for a specialist. Very time consuming.
  • Modern medicine treats the effect rather than the cause.

Tips

  • There are amazing Doctors out the who are athletes themselves and can be invaluable to you.
  • Find a specialist that treats athletes.

Massage Therapy

This is my favorite. If you can’t foam roll, smash or stretch your injured area, go to a good masseuse. No, I am not talking a place where they put cucumbers on your eyes and play spa music while they give you a glorified back rub. I am talking about a deep tissue specialist who can go in and fix problems.

Pros:

  • Most joint aches and pains are muscle related and can be fixed by a massage.
  • A good masseuse can feel the muscle knots and direct treatment.
  • They treat the cause of the pain instead of covering it up.
  • Most injuries can be fixed in a couple of visits, then an occasional maintenance session.

Cons:

  • It can be painful.
  • You need to find the right person.
  • The issue may come back if you don’t work on strength, flexibility and mobility.

Tips

  • There are many types of massages. Find the masseuse who is knowledgeable and gives you results, not back rubs.

Chiropractors

I know there are good ones out there….I just don’t know of any. So this may be a little biased but here goes. I am looking for some good ones to network with and share ideas. So if you are out there, contact me.

Pros:

  • Instant relief.
  • Usually you can be seen quickly.
  • Some Chiros have different techniques to use that don’t involve joint manipulation that are very effective.

Cons:

  • Sometimes it can only be a temporary fix.
  • Some Chiros have dubious qualifications and get into some really wacky techniques.
  • I just don’t agree with the idea of forcing joints into place.

Tips

  • Some Chiros truly want to help you, others want to put you on a monthly payment plan. Beware of the difference.

Naturopathic and Holistic Medicine

Some people swear by it. I have never had any luck with it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Logically it makes a lot of sense but just like with Chiropractors you run the gamut between the serious professional and the wack-a-doo.

Pros:

  • More holistic and in tune with nature.
  • Natural remedies and methods. Fewer side effects.
  • It may work for some people.

Cons:

  • The science behind it goes from proven to unproven to weird.
  • Practitioners have various degrees of training and education.
  • Very dependent on the quality of the practitioner.
  • Any regulation?

Tips

You may have to go by gut feel. Anytime you are tying in the physical with the spiritual the waters tend to get a little murky.

Personal Trainers

You know I had to throw this in.

Pros

  • Look for someone who is a Corrective Exercise specialist or has a degree in kinesiology or physical therapy.
  • They can integrate a rehab program into your workout.
  • Honest trainers will refer you out if the injury is too severe.

Cons

  • Some trainers think they can treat anything.
  • Not licensed to diagnose injuries.
  • No regulation.

Treating injuries is an art and a science. Let’s face it, everyone has had different experiences with injuries and this represents my opinion. Your experiences could be very different and that is why medicine is an art.

What is Corrective Exercise and Do You Need it?

“No No No, you are doing it all wrong. Do it this way!”

That is not corrective exercise.

Corrective exercise consists of 3 things.

  • Joint mobilizations
  • Stretches
  • Specific targeted exercises

Does Corrective Exercise Fix Joint Pain?

That will be the topic of this post. Since I am a Corrective Exercise Specialist, hopefully I can explain this in a way that gives you enough information to decide if thus is something you should incorporate in your workouts or pre-workouts.

So let’s start with an example.

Let’s say you have been sedentary for a number of years and feel old. You want to lose 10-15 pounds and look and feel better.

What do you do?

Old Model

  1. Join gym, bootcamp or buy a DVD.
  2. Start exercising and eating better.
  3. If you get hurt, either stop or see a Doctor that tells you to stop working out for a while.
  4. Repeat cycle.

Okay, I am being a little sarcastic here but isn’t that how it generally goes? Most people think a workout is either cardio, weights or a combination.

To make matters worse, most people want to “do” and not spend time “learning”. Fair enough.

Here is the problem. The fitness world is not telling you the whole truth.

Everyone likes to think their situations are different. And sometimes they are but most of the time people suffer from the same handful of conditions.

The reason is that we all work in the same environment, a sedentary one. We drive everywhere, sit for eight hours at work and sit on the couch at home.

That is a lot of time for negative body changes to take place. Changes you won’t even notice until they manifest themselves as pain.

Muscles become stiff and shorten. Muscles that are always under tension become irritated. They begin to pull on the joints in an uneven fashion. So you get muscle and joint pain.

This causes similar effects in most people.

  • Tight Hip flexors
  • Tight Hamstrings
  • Knee pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Shoulder and neck pain.

The idea here is not to get into how those physiological changes affect you but to talk about why traditional exercise isn’t going to fix them.

2 Rules to remember

Rule 1: Joint pain generally is not a joint issue.

Rule 2: Tight muscles are not a result of those muscles being tight.

Totally confused?

Let’s look at a knee.

corrective exercise kneeIn corrective exercise, I see joint pain as an effect not as a cause. If it isn’t the cause, then something must be going on to misalign the knee so crunches, hurts, pops, etc…

If the ligaments all need to aligned for the knee to track properly, what could pull them out of whack?

Tight muscles.

So to track where the culprit is, you have to go up from the knee and down from the knee and look at those muscles.

For example: Say the front of your knee hurts.

Old School Thinking:

If my knee hurts my muscles are weak. I will do a bunch of leg extensions and leg presses to strengthen them.

The problem:

Your pain is probably being caused by quad muscles already. They are tight from sitting and may have developed knots and all kinds of nasty stuff. If that is the case, strengthening the front of the leg will increase the imbalance not fix it.

Corrective Exercise Thinking:

Get a foam roller or a lacrosse ball and actively go up and down the leg muscles looking for painful spots. These are knots or adhesion and most likely will be the culprit of the knee pain. As you work them out you will get more length in the muscle and the knee pain will “magically” go away. Once you get rid of the adhesions or knots you can stretch and strengthen the muscle joint. But not before.

Sometimes that is all there is to it. I teach my clients how to troubleshoot and fix their aches and pains. It is all based on logic, therefore it is very intuitive and easy to learn but it is a different way of thinking.

 

Do I have to buy expensive equipment?

If you want to but all you really need is:

  • Foam roller $20 to $30
  • Tennis balls
  • Lacrosse ball $2-$3
  • Golf Ball

Everything else is optional.

How long does it take to do?

That depends on how many issues you have. The nice part about corrective exercise is that if it doesn’t hurt, we leave it alone. Usually 5-15 minutes is all it takes. Once an area is fixed, you don’t have to do the exercises.

Should I do corrective exercise before or after the workout?

If you do it after, you have just spent your time blasting muscles that are already tight and damaged. Not the best idea. Do the corrective exercise stuff before the workout and again after if that is an option.

Does it always work?

Nope. Sometimes you need to take it to another level and get a deep tissue massage. A good masseuse can diagnose and massage out knots faster than I can with my techniques, so always keep that open as an option. Also, corrective exercise probably won’t work if there are tears and ruptures. If you have any doubts, get to a Doctor an get MRI’s and X-rays. Corrective exercise is good but it can’t fix everything.

 

The Bottom Line:

As we get older, we are more susceptible to muscle and joint pain. If you think you are inflexible, have joint or muscle pain, it would make a lot of sense for you to learn these techniques or hire a coach to teach you.

I always start with a full body assessment before coming up with a workout program for my clients.

The biggest part of getting back in shape is showing up for the workout. So take a few minutes to make sure your body is ready to perform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big man Runs.Com: The Arvada Prairie Dog Half-Marathon

Here is the latest about my latest half-marathon, the Arvada Spring Prairie Dog. How did I do, what shoes did I wear, what did I eat and how many times did I go to the bathroom. it is all here.

http://bigmanruns.com

http://mfactorfitnessandnutrition.com