It Depends – The Answer you Should be Looking for

As a coach I get questions on a daily basis. The fun part is my answer is almost always the same.

My answer is: It depends.

Here are some of the most common questions:

Should I have protein after my workout?
Whats better, morning or afternoon workouts
How many calories should I be eating each day
How much weight should I use in _____ exercise
Is it better to go heavier and do less reps or go lighter and do more
Should I be taking a pre-workout supplement
Should I be taking a post-workout supplement
My friend told me HIIT is the only way to see results, should I be doing more of that
My friend got great results doing X, should I be doing that too
I need to do more cardio if I want to lose weight right?

Well, that last one often gets a “no”, but otherwise the answer is still always the same.

It depends.

For me there is no one size fits all approach to anything. Consider your own area of expertise for example. When it comes to getting specific about something I’m sure your answer will always be dependent on other variables.

In fitness and health it’s the same. It always depends on at least 2 things:

1. Your starting point and/or current fitness level

2. Your goal or what you’re trying to achieve

In simple terms, origin and destination. Like navigation directions in your car, there are often many paths to get you somewhere, but at minimum those paths will depend on where you’re starting from and where that somewhere is. They will also depend on any obstructions that come up in between.

In fitness and health it’s the same process. A good coach is going to take into account your current fitness level, your goal, and consider the path you’ll take and any obstacles along the way. Otherwise, you’ll just be getting a very general and broad approach usually based solely on your goal.

In fact, this is what you typically get when you’re clicking on or buying those “Shred fat now” “6 weeks to 6-pack abs” “Instant fat loss” programs. They create a plan focused solely on a goal. But there’s no consideration of your starting point, your fitness level, your motivation, your accountability, your knowledge or experience. There’s no consideration to anything else your success will depend on.

So next time you’re clicking that ad, reading that article or asking your coach for a specific recommendation, understand that to truly get an accurate answer it is going to depend on a few factors. If you don’t get “It depends” as your first response, I suggest you keep looking.

What’s something you want to know? Put it in the comments below and I’ll help you figure it out!

~Chad

Why Online Personal Training Is Simply The Best

When it comes to physical appearance goals, whether it’s to lose weight, gain weight, grow muscle, lean out, etc, we all know that there are two main facets that we have to monitor to reach our target; food and exercise. In the “olden days,” (i.e. the days before we were all walking around with tiny computers attached to our hands) people turned to books and dietitians for advice about food and visited personal trainers for exercise guidance. But here we are in 2018, where everything, even meditation, can be done online.

So why are we still looking to the “olden day” tools to help us get to our goals?

This is where online coaching/personal training comes in. Continue reading “Why Online Personal Training Is Simply The Best”

Not seeing results? Step your game up!

Okay, this post may be a little bit of a rant…

I’ve been working in gyms and with clients for around 15 years now. Needless to say, I’ve seen a ton of people working out and putting in efforts to change their bodies.

Kinda…

I say kinda because I think there is a difference between working out and putting in the effort.

Let me explain.

You can see this in certain types of people:

The people who leave the gym looking just as good as when they came.

The people who constantly complain about their workout or how hard it is.

The people who stop with 10 seconds left in their circuit and start drinking water.

The people who leave their water bottle at home so they have to walk to the water fountain every couple of minutes.

The people take 15 seconds to transition between every 30 second station of a workout.

If you identify with any of these, please read on 😛

I would say that all of those people are working out. They’re at the gym, they’re doing something and they can even take a selfie to put on Instagram and prove it. haha

However, I wouldn’t say that they are putting in the effort.

They’ve got step 1 down and show up, which is important, but they’re lacking on step 2. Step 2 is putting in the effort to make it worth it.

To show up at the gym and just go through the motions isn’t going to get you results. I see too many of these people first complaining about their workout and then complain about their lack of results.

Unless you’re a body builder; if you rest for most of your workout, don’t own a water bottle or suffer your way through every workout then I have very simple advice for you:

Stay home!!

Seriously, you’ll enjoy life much more and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life. Just don’t complain about your lack of fitness or that you have a body you don’t desire.

However, if you don’t like that advice then you might be ready for the tough love asvice:

It’s time to step your game up!

Stop complaining, suck it up, bring a water bottle and finish your workout as strong as possible. Just like you always get the last few drops put of your wine bottle, empty your own tank in every workout.

If you’re gonna do it, do it! If you show up, give it 100% and be proud of your efforts.

So if you’re not seeing the results you want, it’s time to step up your game.

If you feel you are giving it your 100% every time and you’re still not seeing results, message me because you’re in a whole different category! (this article doesn’t apply to you)

Chad

Beating The Marathon Taper: PR When It Counts

Marathon Taper Madness

The Marathon Taper — or as I like to call it Taper Madness — is a tricky concept to understand.

Complicated by symptoms of: feeling antsy, restlessness, having an overall energy surplus, being fixated on your race, day dreams about heartbreak hill, and just a general anxiety about training — ok a few of those may just be me.

It is not made any easier by the fact that not everyone will respond the same way to a traditional taper. A traditional marathon taper being cut back on the mileage starting a few weeks out from the race and then a few short and quick workouts marathon pace workouts to keep your legs fresh and race ready.

This brings me to this weeks 5 Minute Barrier; I’ll give you a few tools to beat Taper Madness and recognize if a traditional taper is right for you.

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to thumbs up that video and give me a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat if you liked this info and want more!

Justin

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore? Part 1 DOMS & Inflammation

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore

Am I hurt or am I just sore?

This is a common question you might ask yourself, especially the day after a hard workout or starting something new.

I used to be really bad at answering this question, which says a lot about my background and how far my knowledge has come since I was a 5’2″ high school freshman.

I was having a conversation with a friend about this the other day and we decided that it all came down to the old school mentality our coach
instilled.

Sure we were tough and had a “nose down” type of attitude, but this led to the idea that being sore was some kind of weakness. We ran through a lot of warning signs because… that’s just what we did. A mix of not knowing any better and wanting to be the runner with the most grit, but inevitably the injury team could have fielded a Varsity and Junior Varsity squad by the time conference rolled around.

* For the sake of clarity to anyone who didn’t run in high school, the “top 7” runners on the team were the Varsity squad and the next 7 were considered Junior Varsity, we had a small team – ok back to the post

You do need to be able to recognize that soreness is ok! but only within a certain context…

So what are these so called ‘warning signs’?

You can expect soreness after a good, hard workout or after a mileage increase, and that’s fine but be cognizant about where you feel it!
This comes down to DOMS!

DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is caused by micro-tears in the muscle. These tears are necessary for building muscle/building better endurance in the muscle. All good things!

However, inflammation is an unnecessary byproduct of this process. Inflammation, essentially your muscles’ response to training*, can cause excess tightness throughout your body and can really impact the flexibility of your muscles and joints during this period.

*A more technical definition dealing with inflammation – biochemical processes release proteins called cytokines as “emergency signals” that bring in your body’s immune cells, hormones and nutrients to fix the problem

So if we think of DOMS as a 48 hour window; any pain past that is a cause for concern. I usually follow this protocol with my athletes:

*Soreness up to 48 hours after: probably not serious unless it is near the joint or throwing off running form – monitor the situation and be sure to take care of yourself! Follow The Art Of Foam Rolling!

If it’s over 48 hours and there is still muscle pain, then it is probably time for a cross training day. I would recommend staying active in your recovery to help speed up the process, however if you’re legs are dead…

There is nothing wrong with an off day or two!

If there is still pain after the next 3 days (the 5th day post initial soreness) of taking time off or cross training — call this the next 72 hour rule — then it is time to go see a chiropractor or physio or sports doctor, at this point there is something wrong and the sooner you find the problem, the sooner you can start rehabbing!

So let’s look at a few scenarios –

INJURY TIMETABLE 1: First workout in spikes
Day 1 – Calf soreness/tightness but overall run goes fine
Day 2 – Calf is extremely sore, achilles tendon feels swollen and running is throwing off your gait – take a cross training day today
Day 3 – Feels a bit better but you still bike for the day
Day 4 – Calf still feels tight but after biking, a light jog and foam rolling you feel a lot better
Day 5 – Back to running!!

INJURY TIMETABLE 2: First big increase in mileage
Day 1 – You don’t really notice it but your legs are overall sore from the mileage so you take a super easy day
Day 2 – Your legs feel better but now you feel the soreness in your shin area, painful to the touch – take a cross training day tomorrow
Day 3 – Running is out of the question today, your shins are hurting when you walk
Day 4 – You don’t feel any better today and even biking is causing your shins to ache!
Day 5 – You feel just as bad as you did yesterday (you spent 3 days cross training and it doesn’t seem to be hurting)
Day 6 – It could be a stress fracture or it could be really bad shin splints, so think about going to see a chiropractor or physical therapist or someone in that field as it could be a muscular problem that can be worked out.

As with anything, listen to what your body is telling you! Do not be stubborn and think,”I’ll just run through it” because that mentality will put you on the shelf for a long time.

Thanks for reading friends,
As Always please follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Coming up in part 2: Rehab and Prehab!

Justin

From fitness newbie to loving exercise. Yes, it can happen!

Fitness Newbie

It’s 1999. Y2K was fast approaching, Haley Joel Osmet was seeing dead people and I was a pudgy 10 year old hating her life in PE. It was the day of the Presidential Fitness Test and I was shaking in my Skechers. Based on my recess activity, I already knew that I wasn’t athletic and I was positive I was going to fail.

The mile run was where I started to lose it.

I began to hyperventilate, paralyzed with fear that I wouldn’t be able to complete the long distance. In the end I (miraculously) did and later I scoffed at my 15 minute run time. “I’m just not athletic” I said, munching on my dunkaroos, “I hate sports and I hate exercising. I’m just never gonna be good at it, ya know?”

Fast forward to high school. I’d traded my Skechers for Uggs and I’d successfully gotten out of every physically demanding thing (other than dance classes) that was thrown at me thus far. I’d conveniently been sick for every trying day of PE in middle school. I’d even persuaded my doctor to suggest that I had “exercise-induced asthma” to get me out of running in my cheerleading practices. So, when my best friend suggested that we go to the gym after school, I almost dropped my Nokia brick phone.

Workout? By choice? Me? Was she joking? I laughed it off, pretended there was a Gilmore Girls marathon on ABC and slowly slinked away. There was NO way I was going to workout for pleasure! Continue reading “From fitness newbie to loving exercise. Yes, it can happen!”

Getting started – it’s the only thing that matters

Getting Started - it's the only thing that matters

Getting started on something is usually the hardest part. I believe it’s the only thing that matters!

I actually wrote a similar version of this article about a year and a half ago but just realized I never got around to publishing it…

I apologize because I feel I prevented a learning opportunity for you.

I’m writing about it again now because I had a new realization about this concept the other day. I even did a Snapchat rant about it.

Continue reading “Getting started – it’s the only thing that matters”

How I Overcame 10 Years of Yo-Yo Dieting

Diary of a former yo-yo dieter

If you’re a fan of musical theater (like I am) you have inevitably heard these famous lyrics:

“525,600 minutes. How do you measure, measure a year?”

Well, I can actually measure the last 10 years—in diets.

Diary of a former yo-yo dieter

2004 to 2014 was my era of yo-yo dieting. Here’s how it looked: South Beach, Nutrisystem, Atkins, Rice Diet, Weight Watchers, Dukan Diet, Low-Carb diet, Fast Diet, Very-Low-Calorie-Diet. In processed food, in hunger, in no-calorie sweetness, in bathroom scales.

Can I measure those 10 years in exercise?

I sure can—it looks like a million hours on an elliptical machine. I didn’t see exercise as anything other than a weight loss tactic. Those hours on the elliptical were purely to burn calories, to get myself skinny and to work off the “mistakes” I’d made the day before.

Exercising was just another way to get to my goal weight and, more often than not, a punishment for my indulgences throughout the week.

What was the end result of those 10 years of quick fix diets, hours of listless cardio and calorie counting?

A severely damaged metabolism, little to no muscle and a horrible relationship with food. I was always either dieting or binge-ing, all while resenting the gym and hating my body.

I’d also spent way too much money on crash diet books, diet products, diet programs and exercise tapes that promised me “a new hot bod in 10 minutes.”

My body was in starvation mode, I was putting on weight like crazy and I continued to lower my calorie count.

I remember the day that everything clicked into place. I’d been exercising twice a day for the past month, all on 800 calories a day. I stepped on the scale and…I’d gained a pound!

I had trained my body to survive on way too little calories and it was beginning to store any and all extra calories as fat. And, with no other energy, my body had been eating away at my muscle for extra fuel. Essentially, I had completely wrecked my metabolism.

That’s when I decided to stop. Stop dieting, stop feeding into the industry diet craze and stop hating my body. I threw away my scale and all the “skinny” clothes that served as an extra marker of weight gain or loss.

I vowed to rebuild my body and to never diet again. I was no longer focusing on weight loss—I was focusing on strength.

I started to research weight lifting methods and exercises. I began to lift weights at my gym, starting out very small (like 2 pound dumbbells small…sometimes no weights at all! Air is resistance too!).

Muscles need fuel to grow and I began to eat more before and after my workouts.

Eventually, I realized my eating habits had completely shifted. I was no longer starving myself for weight loss—I was feeding my strength.

yo-yo diet gone wrong

Now, was I completely able to break my old eating habits? Not entirely. They definitely come back from time to time. I still have a voice in my telling me that I’m not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not worth the plate of food in front of me.

My body image still isn’t fantastic and I know that I need to work on that.

But am I strong? Hell yeah! I love walking into a gym and lifting heavy. I love the newly visible muscles on my legs and thighs – and I love the fact that now, after years of starvation and binging, I don’t see food as an obstacle to weight loss, but as a necessary supplement to my fit lifestyle.

Now, I’m not saying that weight lifting is for everyone. Weight lifting changed my behavior and moved me out of a decade of yo-yo dieting but everyone has their own journey.

A good friend of mine found salvation in Zumba. He never enjoyed exercise until he walked into a Zumba class.

Suddenly, he was having a blast and getting fit in the process. And, in order to better his Zumba technique, he began to slowly tweak his food habits. Now, he’s 80 pounds lighter and a Zumba instructor!

Basically, I’m saying that the cycle of being stuck in a yo-yo diet cycle may seem endless but it’s not.

It can be broken and you can develop a healthy relationship with food and exercise. If you move your goals away from weight loss and the industry trend of “quick-fix diets” and instead focus on health and personal fulfillment, you can develop lasting habits that will end the pattern of weight gain and diets.

Look to mend your relationship with food and exercise in a new, exciting way. Find a mode of exercise that humors you, take a cooking class and fall in love with whole, yummy, unprocessed food. Find a gym buddy, commit to a bootcamp or simply give yourself a break.

Everyone has the potential to change and grow.

Will it be easy? Hell no. Will your body and mind thank you? Absolutely. And that’s all that matters.

“No day but today!”

Sorry, I just wanted to end on a lyric from Rent. 🙂

Allie

The Health Benefits of Improving Your Sleep

improving your sleep

I like to classify sleep as one of those things we “know we need more of” but fail at actually getting more of (kind of like veggies :P)

There are many health benefits to improving your sleep and without getting too sciencey on you, here are a few quick facts regarding our bodies and their need for Zzzz’s

A lack of sleep can actually cause the body to act similar to a state of intoxication

  • Less sleep can mean more weight gain (due to a lack of time for the regulation of necessary hormones)
  • A lack of sleep can impede any muscle building attempts due to HGH (human growth hormone) not having enough time to release and regenerate
  • While you sleep your immune system restores. A lack of sleep can cause you to become more susceptible to colds and flu
  • There is such thing as sleep debt. While you may function “just fine” on four hours of sleep, your body and hormones do not. Eventually you will have to makeup that time

Now, I won’t bore you with the different kinds of sleep but know that in order to function optimally the next day (increased brain activity, creativity, improved energy etc) you need to have hit a deep sleep (or your REM stage). Continue reading “The Health Benefits of Improving Your Sleep”

Introducing Allie Parris

Our team just keeps on growing!

We would like to welcome Allie Parris to our happy growing family:

Coach Allie is a NASM certified Personal Trainer, a Weight Loss Specialist and a Fitness Nutrition Specialist – meaning her approach to coaching centers around not only finding what works best for you, but also teaching you how to understand why it works.

From Allie:

“My approach to training is extremely personal and individualized. I don’t just want to help you lose weight or get in shape. I want to help you understand why the tools I’m giving you work. I think a client should not just receive a program, they should understand why that program is tailor made for them. I want my clients to understand their bodies AND understand how to achieve results rather than just blindly follow a plan!”

Allie Parris - Online Fitness and Nutrition Coach

As a self proclaimed “former crash dieter”, she has experience with just about every restrictive diet there is – giving her the experience to steer you past that frame of mind and into thinking about “how to feed your strength”.

“I came to Allie after working abroad for 6 months and my body type had changed completely. I felt self-conscious and unsure how to even begin this journey of getting my body back in shape. Allie made me feel comfortable discussing my body issues. She was the perfect balance of tough love yet tenderly motivating. Thanks Allie!!”
Rachel L

Allie’s personal journey to better health gives her a unique connection to her clients. Read her story here!

Do you have vague goals or measurable goals?

Running a marathon is a measurable goal.

When I ask people for their goals, I oftentimes get vague responses. Most commonly, people tell me that they want to lose weight or build muscle.

Let’s start with the “losing weight” response and let’s first change the terminology.

What we’re really talking about here is losing body fat, right? You can lose weight by simply dehydrating yourself, but I realize that what people mean by “lose weight” is actually that they want to “lose fat.” – if your goal is to simply lose fat, how do know when you’ve attained that goal? Continue reading “Do you have vague goals or measurable goals?”

How To Get The Results You Want

you need the gym to achieve results

“I just want to get ‘toned’, but not ‘bulky’”, she said.

“I just want my arms, chest, and abs to be lean, and chiseled. I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder”, he said.

These are two of the answers I receive most often when speaking to men and women about their fitness goals. I’m not really sure who educated so many people on exercise science, but it is particularly clear that there are obvious misconceptions on what happens when people lift weights. Also, there are some misconceptions on what it takes for someone to reach those goals they stated in their answers.

Unfortunately, “toned” isn’t a word found in any exercise physiology textbook. It’s also not found in any peer reviewed scientific literature. Why? Continue reading “How To Get The Results You Want”

Why Stress Is Preventing Your Fat Loss

Could Stress be Keeping You From Your Fitness Goals?

Stress is an everyday thing, it’s hard to avoid… whether it’s your daily commute in the morning or your boss at work – living in the 21st century is stressful but what does that have to do with your fat loss goals? It has everything to do with a hormone called Cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands, commonly known as the “stress hormone”.

It’s released in response to different circumstances such as waking, exercising, and stress. Cortisol can have serious impacts on sleep and weight gain, thus inhibiting fat loss. This is one reason why people experiencing a lot of stress struggle with reaching their fitness goals. The key with cortisol is not necessarily to reduce it absolutely, but to control it. Continue reading “Why Stress Is Preventing Your Fat Loss”