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.

 

First
Last

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.

 

M Factor fitness

M Factor Fitness Online Programs

Questions about  M Factor Fitness Online training?

Let’s get them answered.

Is it really only $10/month?

Yes

How does it work?

You sign up via Paypal and download the M Factor Fitness app on your phone (or you can just log in through the website with your computer).

Here is what it looks like.

M Factor Fintess Online app

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will send you an email with your password when I get your account set up.

Click here to sign up!

What Online Programs Do I get?

To make this affordable, I have devised a number of workouts to cover almost any goal you want to accomplish. You can always go in and delete workouts, change the exercises or create new workouts from my workout library. You have unlimited freedom with my training but these workouts are a great place to start.

P.S. I am a pretty nice coach. Let me know what equipment you have and what your goals are and I will get everything customized for you.

No extra charge. See, I told you I was nice!

These are all subject to change but I wanted to give you an idea of what you get when you sign up.

Online Program 1: 10 Minute ab workouts

10 minute ab workouts have a built in timer and are designed to hit all areas of the core. Hint: #1 is easier than #6. It is progressive.

10 minute ab workouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Program 2: The” 4 week get off the couch”

The “4 week Get off the Couch” are 4 progressively harder full body workout designed to gradually get you back in the game.

Do Workout 1 three times a week the first week, then workout 2 the next week…you get the idea.

online workouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Program 3: The Balancing series

The Balancing series is an add-on workout you can do anytime. For best results pick 2-3 exercises and do 2-3 sets barefoot.

Online Program: Balancing

Online Program 4: Quickies

Quickie workouts are ugly, intense workouts when time is short and you have limited equipment. Great for hotel rooms while you are traveling or anytime you want your butt kicked.

Quickie Online programs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online Program 5: warm-ups, Cool-downs and Stretches

Warm-ups are to be done before the workout.
Cool-downs are done after the workout.

Online programs stretches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online programs cool-downs

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus online programs

I have a custom library of over 200 exercises for you.

online programs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Kettlebell exercises
  • Dumbbell
  • TRX / Bands
  • Free weight

You can go into any workout and replace exercises or even create custom workouts.

How to customize Your Online Workout

Setting up Your Calendar

Hopefully this helps answer your questions. I designed my online training to be simple, affordable and most of all, effective.

Need a little more help???

Apply for membership in my VIP online training which is the ultimate in online accountability.

Click here for details.

 

virtual run january

January Fitness Challenge 2: Ladies Only

January Fitness Challenge 2: She Believed She Could So She Did Virtual Run

 

 

virtual run january

 

The January Fitness Challenge 2.

When January 1 hits, you will hear people making a number of resolutions.

One of the most popular ones is always “I am going to get in shape this year”.

As a trainer and coach, the most important thing I tell people is that you need to put some skin in the game.

By that I mean commit to doing something now. It doesn’t have to be a mind-boggling achievement. It just has to be something.

The “She believed she could so she did” virtual run is a great way to take that first step.

Ever do a virtual run?

This one is for the ladies… New Year, New You! Join the She Believed She Could So She Did virtual 5k/10k/Half Marathon and run or walk your chosen distance anytime and anywhere you want to earn this inspirational framed mirror medal. Yes, the 4″ medal is a real mirror with a fold-out stand on the back, so you can display it on your desk as a daily reminder that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Want a matching shirt? During early registration (through 12/31), we will be holding a She Believed She Could So She Did campaign at Booster where anyone interested can order a matching race shirt in a variety of styles (ladies short sleeve, ladies long sleeve, unisex hoodie) and two different text colors (hot pink and metallic silver). These shirts will be delivered separately from medals in mid-January, and 100% of the additional funds raised through this campaign will be donated to the featured charity in addition to our standard per-medal donation!

The Charity

Left unchecked, tobacco will kill one billion people in the 21st century. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has a long history of taking action against tobacco use and its devastating health and economic impact on people and communities around the globe. For more than 40 years, ASH’s goal of a tobacco-free world has remained constant. The tobacco epidemic is global and so must be the solutions. From advocating for bans on cigarette advertising and smoking in public spaces to challenging the influence of the multinational tobacco industry—ASH takes action on a global scale.

A portion of the proceeds from this virtual race (at least $5 from each registration) will be donated to ASH. For more information about this charity or to make a direct contribution, please visit Ash.org.

Not so fast, this January Fitness Challenge has 2 Parts to it.

Part 1: The run

  1. If you like the idea, click and sign up here. Your choices are for a 5K, 10K or Half-marathon.
  2. You are now committing yourself to doing the run sometime in January. Congratulations!
  3. Once you complete the run (remember that you can run, walk, bike, skate or swim), log back into Virtual Strides and record your result.
  4. Wait for your finisher’s medal.

Part 2: Training

Commit to training for your run by telling me and the world how you are going to train. This part is free.

Here are some examples.

These are ways you can measure your training. Put down what you think you can reasonably do.

Choose one kind of training and fill in your own numbers.

  • I will run 50 miles this month.
  • I will spend 20 hours on the treadmill.
  • I will walk at least a mile 25 days this month.

You can email me or put it on the M Factor Fitness Facebook page. Look under events for the January challenge.

I do these every month and I will be posting updates on how I am doing.

6 Solid Reasons You Should Do This Fitness Challenge.

You need a goal with a deadline.

Yes the holidays are over but it is cold and dark in most of the country. Force yourself to get moving again.

Long Slow Cardio Burns Fat

I realize High Intensity interval training (HIIT) is all the rage these days. But most people can’t and don’t want to do it.

And that is actually okay.

 

The case for Long, slow cardio.

  • Long slow cardio is more relaxing.
  • It works on the oxidative energy pathway that relies on fat rather than carbs for fuel.
  • You can do it everyday.

You can inspire a friend to join you.

We all know somebody who is waiting for a reason to get in shape.

This virtual run challenge is the perfect opportunity because almost anyone can walk a 5K if they have a month to train.

Get in a habit

A question I get asked most often is, “How often should I work out?”

Then whoever asked the question regrets asking because the answer is “everyday”.

If you have something planned everyday, chances are you are going to miss one or 2 workouts in a given week. That is still 5 or 6 you got in.

Pretty good. Actually, very good.

Contrast that with planning 3 workouts a week.

Miss 1 or 2 and what do you have? Jack Squat.

You don’t have to set the world on fire every day. In fact, that would be a very bad idea.

Cycle your intensity of workouts. A classic way to do this is to alternate hard and easy days. Follow a hard workout with an easy run.

Support a great charity

Why pay money for a virtual run? I can do this anytime on my own for free.

Let me be blunt. No you won’t.

Once you sign up, you put skin in the game.

Once you state to the world what you are going to do, you have accountability.

I gladly sign up for these events because I know that once I sign up, I am forced to do it.

I like the idea that at the end of the month I will be in better shape and that I am helping a charity.

I will help you

If you sign up for the run and have any training questions, I will be happy to answer them for you.

  • nutrition questions
  • training questions
  • rehab questions

Where else are you going to get this?

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now and start the new year off right!

More question? Check out this post with F.A.Q’s on my Monthly Challenges.

January Fitness Challenge- Operation Enduring Warrior

The M Factor Fitness January Fitness Challenge is here.

Operation Enduring Warrior 5K, 10K or Half marathon.

January Fitness Challenge

Note:

This was a run scheduled for Veteran’s day. They still have medals available so I thought this would be a good time to help these guys out.

Start the year off right. Set a good fitness goal for yourself and help out a worthwhile charity.

Virtual runs are scheduled for a set period of time but if they still have spots open, you can do the run anytime. Just sign up now to reserve your spot.

The January Fitness Challenge.

Part 1: Running

  1. If you like the idea, click and sign up here. Your choices are for a 5K, 10K or Half-marathon.
  2. You are now committing yourself to doing the run sometime in January. Congratulations!
  3. Once you complete the run (remember that you can run, walk, bike, skate or swim), log back into Virtual Strides and record your result.
  4. Wait for your finisher’s medal to be mailed to you.
  5. Take a picture of it along with you enjoying your favorite beverage of choice.

Part 2: Training

Commit to training for your run by telling me and the world how you are going to train.

Here are some examples.

These are ways you can measure your training. Put down what you think you can reasonably do.

Choose one kind of training and fill in your own numbers.

  • I will run 50 miles this month.
  • I will spend 20 hours on the treadmill.
  • I will walk at least a mile 25 days this month.

You can email me or put it on the M Factor Fitness Facebook page. Look under events for the January challenge.

I do these every month and I will be posting updates on how I am doing.

6 Solid Reasons You Should Do This Challenge.

You need a goal with a deadline.

Yes the holidays are over but it is cold and dark in most of the country. Force yourself to get moving again.

Long Slow Cardio Burns Fat

I realize High Intensity interval training (HIIT) is all the rage these days. Long slow cardio is under attack even though it shouldn’t be.

This is pure marketing. Anytime someone can sell you faster results in less time, it will get attention.

I am not saying high intensity exercise doesn’t produce results but consider this:

  • Long slow cardio is more relaxing.
  • It works on the oxidative energy pathway that relies on fat rather than carbs for fuel.
  • You can do it everyday.

You can inspire a friend to join you.

We all know somebody who is waiting for a reason to get in shape.

This virtual run challenge is the perfect opportunity because almost anyone can walk a 5K if they have a month to train.

Get in a habit

A question I get asked most often is, “How often should I work out?”

Then whoever asked the question regrets asking because the answer is “everyday”.

If you have something planned everyday, chances are you are going to miss one or 2 workouts in a given week. That is still 5 or 6 you got in.

Pretty good. Actually, very good.

Contrast that with planning 3 workouts a week.

Miss 1 or 2 and what do you have? Jack Squat.

You don’t have to set the world on fire every day. In fact, that would be a very bad idea.

Cycle your intensity of workouts. A classic way to do this is to alternate hard and easy days. Follow a hard workout with an easy run.

Support a great charity

Why pay money for a virtual run? I can do this anytime on my own for free.

Let me be blunt. No you won’t.

Once you sign up, you put skin in the game.

Once you state to the world what you are going to do, you have accountability.

I gladly sign up for these events because I know that once I sign up, I am forced to do it.

I like the idea that at the end of the month I will be in better shape and that I am helping a charity.

I will help you

If you sign up for the run and have any training questions, I will be happy to answer them for you.

  • nutrition questions
  • training questions
  • rehab questions

Where else are you going to get this?

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now and start the new year off right!

 

More questions? Click here for a post with Q&A. 

Operation Enduring Warrior

In honor of Veterans Day, support our nation’s wounded veterans by participating in the Operation Enduring Warrior virtual 5k/10k/Half Marathon. Run or walk your selected distance whenever and wherever you want to spread awareness and support the cause. All participants will receive a digital race bib and a 4″ bottle opener medal (the ribbon is detachable) in the shape of the charity’s logo, featuring a 3D-molded gas mask in honor of their Masked Athlete Team.

 

The Charity

Operation Enduring Warrior (OEW) is a veteran-founded charity whose mission is to honor, empower, and motivate our nation’s wounded veterans through physical, mental and emotional rehabilitation. OEW’s programs help participants overcome adversity and hardship through innovation, teamwork, and perseverance. This ultimately enables the lives of wounded veterans to go in directions they may have once thought were impossible. OEW is a 100% volunteer-run organization. Donations go directly towards operational support of the organization and its various programs such as Skydive Licenses, SCUBA Certifications, Athletic events (obstacle course and road/trail races, handcycle races, etc.), Public Speaking, Adventure Trips, Veteran Outreach and more. OEW’s “Warrior Christmas” event is coming up, which facilitates a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to spread encouragement and hand-deliver brimming Christmas stockings to recovering wounded veterans.

https://www.virtualstrides.com/product/operation-enduring-warrior/?ref=40

About the Mask:

OEW’s Masked Athlete Team are specially trained volunteers who support our wounded veterans with the physical and mental adversity of extreme athletic challenges. The MAT spends countless hours preparing and researching ways to successfully assist our wounded veterans in negotiating extreme athletic challenges. Past events have included obstacle course races, hand-cycling, 5k and 10k races, and half/full Marathons.

A portion of the proceeds from this virtual race (at least $5 from each registration) will be donated to Operation Enduring Warrior. For more information about this charity or to make a direct contribution, please visit EnduringWarrior.org.

 

 

I am Skinny and want to Gain Weight

I am Skinny and Want to Gain weight. What Do I Do?

I don’t have access to weights, but I’m looking to gain muscle.

Michael Medvig

 

People who want to lose weight don’t understand how painful it can be to be skinny and want to gain weight.

This was a question I answered on Quora.

It hits home for me because I started out as a weak skinny kid. 6′0 and 140 pounds.

Did I mention I had asthma and basically stayed inside and watched TV all day? (Video games weren’t around back then. I know, I am old.)

I really want to help, so let me give you some golden rules to follow.

These are the rules I used to gain over 100 pounds of muscle. It took me a long time to do it and I made almost every mistake in the world…but I did it.

And you can too. Just be patient and work smart.

 

The skinny person trying to gain weight has a two-fold problem.

  1. Adding muscle.
  2. Keeping the muscle.

This is how I gained muscle and kept it. 

The Golden Rules of weight Gain.

  • Eat as much as possible. You probably have a crazy high metabolism and if your body isn’t getting enough calories in, your body won’t have enough energy to create muscle.
  • Eat as much protein as possible. Muscles need protein to rebuild. If you can’t get access to a lot of protein (meat, fish, eggs, protein powder, protein bars, nuts etc..) take some branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s).
  • This is a project that is going to take time. Be patient. Work to keep every pound you gain.
  • Sleep as much as you can.
  • Cut out the cardio. Save your energy for building muscle.
  • Most supplements will be a waste of time and money for you. The ones to look at are actually the cheapest. Look at creatine, BCAA’s and protein powder.
  • 100 reps of anything will not build muscle. If you are using bodyweight exercises, try and make the exercise hard to keep the reps between 5–15. Anything more and you are building musclular endurance not size. The only exception to that is legs. Legs will respond to both high rep and low rep training.
  • Forget about a six pack. Getting ripped and getting bigger are two separate things. Focus on one at a time. Trying to do both at once means you will get half-assed results. (pardon my language)
  • Concentrate on the big muscle groups like legs, back and chest. Work those hard and everything else will fall in line.
  • Playgrounds are actually great places to work out. Generally you can find some bars to do pull-ups, dips and upside down rows. Combine that with some squats, lunges and planks and you have a great workout.
  • Try working out 45 minutes 3 days a week and see what happens. The biggest mistake I see with skinny people is that it is very easy to overtrain.
  • Take time between sets. Don’t rush and concentrate on form.
  • Get to the gym whenever you can.

Advanced tip.

There are always heavy things lying around a yard or house. I regularly use a log, rocks and a Home Depot Buckets filled with sand and rocks. Learning how to pick up and carry stuff around the yard will build muscle and tremendous functional strength. Just make sure your technique is tight.

Caution: Blatant plug for my online training coming up.

If you are interested, I do offer online training. Click here for details.

What Are The Dangers of Crossfit?

What are Some of the Dangers of Crossfit?

Crossfit

Choose your weapon. 45, 55 or 70 pounds of pure fun!

I recently received this question and the person deserves a fair and honest answer on how dangerous Crossfit is.

Before I do that, let me make this statement.

  1. I like any discipline that uses barbells, kettlebells and other weights. That includes Crossfit.
  2. Crossfit has done a huge amount of good bringing a greater awareness about strength. Especially to women.
  3.  Crossfit isn’t any more dangerous than some personal trainer goofball showing you how to work a pec-deck at 24 hour fitness. In fact if you take the time to do it correctly, it is a great way to get strong and very fit.

But I do consider it flawed. Here is why.

 One of the selling points of Crossfit is that they want to get good at everything.

So a typical workout…well there aren’t typical workouts. Every day is different so you don’t get in a rut.

But doing the same movement over and over is the only way to get good at it. It takes thousands of reps to hone your form.

You have couch potatoes (no offense meant) stepping into a world that may throw gymnastic moves, kettlebell movements, Olympic lifts and power lifting at you in the same session.

How are they supposed to get proficient in all these exercises?

Consider this.

  1. The biggest danger with Crossfit is that they ask you to do complex, intricate movements as fast as you can. Olympic style movements like snatches and clean and jerks take years to learn properly. And they only do 1 rep.
  2. Crossfit asks you to do high volume reps with exercises that are aren’t suited for high reps. Let’s talk about deadlifts, cleans etc… Again, these are traditionally low rep movements. They take a lot of coordination, experience and strength to execute.

I have no problem with the crossfit exercises, even the kipping pull-up.

My issue is what they do with them. Very few people can do high rep movements with a challenging weight and maintain proper form.

Especially when you are doing a series of movements for time without breaks. To do that you have to already be highly conditioned.

More than that, you need to have the experience in your mental game to know how to budget your energy and strength.

The Crossfit athletes you see on tv are gifted athletes that have come from a disciplines like gymnastics or olympic lifting that translate well to the sport.

They have the flexibility and the understanding of body movement. They also know how to manage their heart rate and when to back off.

That is very different from the average person who is sedentary, lacks power and flexibility.

So how do you get that flexibility and experience?

In a perfect world that person steps into a crossfit box and the trainer puts them in a class to learn all these separate movements. When they are ready, they can participate. That may take months or years.

I am talking about just doing the lifts properly without tying them into a workout.

The problem is that the client doesn’t want that.

This is an instant gratification society.

They want to see how fast they can go.

They want a workout even though they can’t do they can’t do the exercises right.

They want to sweat and be beaten down.

Why don’t you just “fake it until you make it?”

I have been training people for over a decade, you can’t just “wing it”. Some clients pick up movements quickly. Others don’t.

If you want to get good at crossfit. And by good, I mean not being a menace to yourself, it will take time.

In addition to the workouts…

  •  Watching video time.
  • Stretching, rolloing and smashing time to gain flexibility and repair old injuries.
  • Personal one-on-one training time for the complicated movements.

No problem, they can teach me. The owner is in really good shape.

For $40 a month????

Crossfit is no different than stepping into a gym.

There are good owners who care and create a culture of learning and helping.

Then there are the owners that are just looking after the bottom line. The teaching at some of these boxes is atrocious. Just as the personal training is at a lot of gyms.

Don’t believe me? Go on a site like Flickr and look at some of the crossfit gyms posting daily pictures. You tell me how many of the clients are doing the exercises correctly.

The risk of injury doing sets is a lot lower than the risk of doing a high intensity circuit…if you don’t know what you are doing.

Even if the owners know what they are doing, do they have the time to personally coach each individual? No. Your $40/month can’t possibly cover that.

Summary

You have people doing exercises they don’t know how to do as fast as they can racing against a clock.

Where could the danger in that be?

If you would like help learning some of the exercises they do at Crossfit, find a trainer that can train you in olympic lifting, gymnastics etc…one on one.

If you would like something a bit safer but I think is just as effective, check out my online training by clicking here.

can I run after a heavy meal

What Happens If I Run After A Heavy Meal?

What happens if I run after a heavy meal?

 Eat light before a run

 

That being said, what did you eat and how long are you going to run?

Greasy food will take a longer time to digest than “cleaner” food. A heavy, greasy meal may send you into the bushes mid-run.

Does it count as carb loading if I eat a pizza before a run?

Eating a bunch of carbs before a run is not carb loading as some people have suggested.

Carb loading starts 24–48 hours before you run.

Cleaner food is easier to digest so you won’t have as many resources taken away from the muscles.

In fact, if you are going on a long run, being full carbs is a pretty darn good idea.

2. The Energy Issue

Because digestion takes energy, you won’t feel as energetic as usual. That generally makes the run feel pretty crappy.

If your meal consisted of a bunch of rice or potatoes, you may actually feel better during the run as you have a constant supply of glycogen.

Summary

Life is hectic and complicated. It is hard to find time to get the training time you need to get the results you want.

That being said, try to maximize the effectivness of everything you do. In this case it would be to rest and get the benefit of a full and complete digestion before running.

Or next time eat a little lighter.

I would rather see two things done well than two things done -half-ass.

But I do understand that you have to do what you have to do. And if you need to get your cardio in, then go for it.

High Rep Push-ups: Do They Build Muscle?

Here is the question about push-ups as I answered it on Quora.

I’ve been doing push-ups till I fail which is about 30 to 35 push-ups Will I see a muscle improvement overtime?

I just had to jump in and help. There were some very sketchy answers. And I am being extremely kind when I use the word “Sketchy”.

So you deserve a good answer, so let’s have at it.

If you keep doing push-ups until you fail, you will see muscle endurance improving.

Chances are you will not build any more size and strength gains will be minimal.

Endurance strength is very different from maximal strength or power.

A person who does 100 push-ups looks the same as he did when he/she could do 50 push-ups.

Look at push-up champions. If what everyone else is saying was true, they would have huge chests and arms. Never the case.

MK.J Joseph, 2092 push-ups in 1 hour.

K.J Joseph, 2092 push-ups in 1 hour.

I am not saying that doing high volume push-ups are bad.

They are just not the most effective way to build muscle and strength.

Why? Because you are using a sub-maximal load for a long period of time.

That burn is lactic acid building up in the muscles, not the pain of breaking the muscle down.

If high volume with a sub-maximal load truly worked marathon runners would be massive! Consider this, who has bigger legs, a sprinter or marathon runner?

This is what I would do.

  1. Try doing push-up variations. Stay in the 10–20 rep range.
  2. Work on keeping your body tight. This means pulling your shoulders down, bracing the upper back, tightening the butt and abs, quads, hamstrings and calves. You are doing a moving plank so make it look like one. This will be really hard in the beginning but you will see a difference.
  3. Try lowering yourself down with a count of 5 and exploding up with a count of 1.
  4. Elevate the feet to put more pressure on the shoulders.
  5. Try a few sets with the hands and elbows in close to work the triceps.

Do these things and I promise you will see a difference.

Sample Push-up variations

Push-up with Mountain Climber

M Factor Push-up

Downward Dog Push-up

Not making any progress?

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Check out my online personal training.

Only $10/month, click here for details.

Monthly Fitness Challenge Q&A

 M Factor Fitness Monthly Challenge Q&A

 

monthly fitness challenge puppy rescue mission

Why Do A Monthly Fitness Challenge?

There are 168 hours in a week. That is a lot of time.

At best I see my clients 2-3 of those hours. What my clients do during the other hours I really don’t have control over.

I assign homework but sometimes life gets in the way of the best intentions.

These monthly fitness challenges are meant to get you off the couch and get you moving. The idea is to keep fitness on your mind all month and get rewarded at the end with a little swag. It is inexpensive, you can invite your friends to do it with you and you will feel better about yourself.

 

What is A Virtual Run?

A virtual run is a run you do at your own time wherever you want to do it. If you sign up for the December run, you have the month of December to do it.

Once you do it, log in and check that it is done and you get your finisher’s medal in the mail.

I am putting a slightly different twist on this in that I want you to do the race and commit to training a certain number of miles during the month.

Simply put, do the work get a medal and enjoy it with your favorite beverage. Enjoy your success.

Do I have to run?

Nope. Do any type of cardio you want. The point is to keep you moving.

  • Run outside
  • Run on a treadmill
  • Walk outside
  • Walk on a treadmill
  • Bike outside
  • Bike inside
  • Use a Stairmaster
  • Use an elliptical.
  • Ride a unicycle.
  • Swim
  • Jumprope

Can I mix up the types of cardio?

Sure. Here are some equivalents to keep you on track.

1 mile walking = 1 mile.

1 mile running = 1 mile

4 miles cycling (indoor or outside) = 1 mile

 

I try at walk 10,000 steps a day. Can I count that?

I guess …but I would rather you don’t.

Here’s why.

Training is training.  Set a period of time to go from point A to Point B. It is uninterrupted exercise. That is how you get results.

The monthly fitness challenge has to be just exercise.

I understand counting steps is popular right now but I wouldn’t call getting off the couch to get a beer exercise.

Neither is getting up to go to the bathroom

How to you keep track whether we actually do the work?

I don’t. This is the honor system.

  1. Sign up for the race  and pick a distance.
  2. Make sure you do that distance at least once during the month.

Here is the twist. You have to train for the race…right? I want you to commit to a number of miles you are going to train that month to do the race.

I would like to use the M Factor Fitness Facebook page, here is the link to keep track of everybody.

If not, just send me an email.

The reality is you can cheat but remember you are only cheating yourself (wow, I sound just like my mom).

How do I pick a goal for the monthly fitness challenge?

Pick a mileage goal you are 80% sure you can achieve. When I train my clients, I always tell them if you aren’t 80% sure you can do the next rep, don’t try it.

Why? Because success is built upon the foundation of consistent achievement. If you choose an unrealistic goal because you think it sounds good, you are doomed to failure.

Of course, the opposite is true. Make it easy and you won’t be interested in it.

Does it have to be a mileage goal?

Mileage goals work really well. It is a black and white goal. You either do it or you don’t.

That being said:

  • You could commit to working out x number of days this month. Ex. 25 1 hour workouts with weights or cardio.
  • You could workout out for a set number of hours. 5 hours a week x 4 weeks=20 hours.

 

Can I sign up anytime?

Yes. I am going to offer a new challenge every month. Best case is that you have a plan ready to go and sign up for the 1st of the month.

If you don’t, sign up anytime and let me know what you are committing to for the month.

Click here to get signed up.

Can I just do the race and not the monthly challenge?

Sure, Part of your registration fee goes to a charity so you are still doing a good thing.

But why dip your toe in the water? Jump in!

Why is there a sign-up fee?

Let me answer this two ways.

  1. There is a company involved and they have costs. Your registration fee money goes towards the cost of the medal, shipping of the medal, admin fees etc… At least $5 of every registration goes towards a charity. As the person promoting the race, I get a very small referral fee. I actually lose money by doing this but I think it is a great cause.
  2. If it was free, a lot of people would sign up and never do it. Nobody values free stuff. $25 is very reasonable for a race and a good part of it goes to charity. So put some skin in the game and sign up.

 

How Do I keep track of everything?

If you are a member of M Factor Fitness Online training, it is very easy.

Not a member? You can be for the ridiculously low price of $10/month. Click here for more details.

Ok, enough of the shameless plugs. My members can go into their account and schedule all their cardio and weight sessions ahead of time.

When they do that, they will get text reminders on their phone. Once they complete a workout, they mark it as done.

How can I track mileage?

There are a number of free apps you can download that track mileage through GPS.

I really like the Adidas Train and Run App but almost every shoe company has their free app.

I am not a member of M factor Fitness, can I still sign up?

You bet. One of the reasons I want to open this up to the public is that there are a lot of online training resources out there.

The problem is that there aren’t a lot of good ones. This is a good way to make sure you have a good month of cardio and introduce you to

my way of training.

Can I invite friends to the monthly fitness challenge?

That would be awesome.

Summary

I am here to try and help motivate people. The M Factor monthly fitness challenge is meant to keep you focused, get results and most of all…..have fun.

If you are interested in learning more, click here.