I won’t sacrifice your health for faster “gains”

Gain

Yes you are pursuing your fitness goal with maximal intensity, but is it at the sacrifice of other areas of your health?

I’m seeing this more and more lately so I wanted to address it.

Here’s my perspective:

I’m a Kinesiologist.

For the purposes of this article, all that means is that I study the movement and function of the body and how it works.

As a fitness coach, what this means is that when I create an exercise program for someone, I’m not only looking at their end goal and what they are trying to achieve, I’m also looking at their body and how well it functions.

What I see so much of today in the fitness industry is a singular focus intensity. Everyone wants HIIT workouts that “make me sweat”.

The good news from a coaching perspective is that making a workout hard is easy. I see endless amounts of videos on Facebook and Instagram of people creating insane workouts and super challenging variations of exercises. My personal simplification of it is: #JustAddBurpees

And it does make sense because intensity is how we get results.

It’s easy to make someone sweat and it’s easy to make someone work hard and push their intensity.

However, this often comes at a sacrifice to other areas of health or function in the body.

I see this in high intensity workout programs that don’t address body proper body mechanics and this creates added strain on joints and connective tissue.

I’m tired of seeing olympic lifts for added intensity meanwhile the knees and back are bending in ways that anyone watching knows is not right.

Bottom line, I’m not willing to make intensity the highest priority at the sacrifice of another area of health or physical function just for faster gains.

In my coaching I take the time to build a solid foundation with each client based on their individual needs. I take time to make sure they move and function well and I make sure they don’t develop other health issues just to lose a few quick pounds.

Unfortunately this process takes a lot longer than what we tend to see put in front of us online, but I don’t care.

I won’t sacrifice long term health for a short term result.

My goals is to help you create a body that not only looks good, but will function great for the rest of your life!

~ Chad

1 is greater than 0

1 is greater than 0

I’ve used this statement for years with my clients and I’ve been seeing it pop up a lot more lately.

The idea is simple:

1 is greater than 0 means something is better than nothing. No matter how small that something is.

When it comes to goals, my clients often get stuck on the size of it. They get overwhelmed with the distance they still have to go.

What happens is we feel we need to achieve a certain amount in order for it to be worth it or considered a success. We feel it’s all or nothing.

In other words, we set the bar really high.

  • We forget that something is better than nothing.
  • We forget that one workout is better than no workouts.
  • We forget that a 5 minute walk is better than staying on the couch.
  • We forget that 1 good food choice is better than no good food choices.

We also believe that 1 isn’t enough. That the one small thing will never get us to our goals.

To a certain degree this is actually true. The 1 thing won’t get us to our goal. But, that’s not the point.

It’s not about reaching the goal. It’s about the direction we are going in.

Doing nothing keeps us on the current path. The current course. The course that is NOT leading to your goal.

Doing the 1 thing is taking the 1st step that starts you in a new direction.

It’s not really that it’s 1 step, it’s that it’s the FIRST step.

It’s 1 thing in the direction you WANT to go and that is always better than doing nothing.

The added benefit is that 1 thing usually leads to a 2nd thing. And on and on it can go. At least this way there is a chance.

Reaching your goals doesn’t come from the 1 thing. It comes from the accumulation of all the 1 things over a certain amount of time. There literally is no other way.

So, if you’re stuck in a rut, hit a plateau or feel like you’re never going to reach your goal, stop looking at the finish line. Start looking at your current starting point and figure out 1 thing you can do to move in the right direction.

No matter how small of a step it is, take it!

It’s only 1, but it’s better than 0 and it’s the ONLY way to get to 2.

~ Chad

3 Tips For Staying On Track While You Travel

Buy Snacks For Travel

I love to travel and I love to eat.

Dining as per the locals is my favorite part about traveling; there is nothing quite like saying yes to foods you can’t pronounce or identify when abroad especially when the cook or vendor detects your culinary curiosity.

It is no surprise that when I eat different foods (and normally too much) that my body isn’t used to; I experience some adverse effects like bloat, fatigue and grogginess. Instead, I try to eat one or two simple meals a day with light snacks which allows me to get an appetite going for a delicious, locally inspired dish.

By doing this I am able to enjoy my chosen city while keeping my health and wellness goals in mind.

I’m going to share 3 tips for staying on track (whatever your track may be) while traveling, my mini rule book not surprisingly starts off with “be prepared”, mainly in terms of breakfast and snack items.

Continue reading “3 Tips For Staying On Track While You Travel”

10 fat loss exercises better than burpees

Exercises alone don't burn fat

A friend of mine sent me this message on Facebook the other day:

Exercises alone don't burn fat

I get messages like this all the time. People asking me about a new machine, a new program, a new study, a new diet, etc. I love it!

I love it because people are curious, want good information and I appreciate that they come to me to validate the info. They aren’t just willing to accept everything that’s on the Internet.

Anyway, my response to my friend’s was this:

1. It’s not that simple.
2. In what sense do they mean for burning fat? Something more intense? If so, then most don’t.
3. In general, some good exercises in the list (unrelated to fat burning)
4. In general, some advanced movements that I wouldn’t recommend for most people.
5. Marketing at it’s finest. People love the idea of burning fat. This will likely get many shares and a few people even try it. I doubt anybody will see long term success from it.

I’ll expand here: Continue reading “10 fat loss exercises better than burpees”

Quick Fix Weight Loss Doesn’t Exist

quick fix abs

Nowadays we are obsessed with instant gratification.

We have the world wide web at our fingertips, we have drones delivering our products within hours of ordering and we freak out if texts aren’t returned within a matter minutes. There’s even a product that cools down pizza so that we don’t burn the roof of our mouths when we take an immediate bite (replacing the annoying task of waiting five minutes for the pizza to cool down).

So, it makes sense that we expect an instantaneous result from our weight loss attempts. Right?

Wrong!

Unfortunately, the human body has not and never will catch up to the technologies of 2016. It’s still stuck in olden days, when long-term health and wellness beat out “a better body in weeks.”

Our bodies are not set for today’s pace.

They move slowly but they get the job done—ya know, the job of keeping us alive. And they do not react when well told to do otherwise.

The fitness and diet industry knows that but they’re not interested in following the laws of our bodies—they’re interested in making money. So, playing on our obsession with quick fixes, they push quick fixes and timed solutions, aimed at giving us our best body in a matter of months, weeks, sometimes minutes! Recognize the following marketing schemes?

“5 minute abs!”
“30 days to bikini body!”
“Meal replacement shakes — lose weight in a week!”
“Take this pill and watch the pounds shed off!”

And so on, and so on.

It takes nine months to cook us, seven years for us to get our adult teeth and 12+ years for us to reach puberty. Why do we think that we can completely change our bodies in a week?

quick fix abs

Now, I’m not saying that it takes 12 months to lose 5 pounds. But, I do know that it is physically impossible to develop visible core musculature with a five minute workout. And deep down, you do too.

Not only are these products misguiding and incorrect, they can also be very harmful to your body. Many of these products are loaded with harmful chemicals that affect your metabolism and, frankly, are cheaply made. Most meal replacement and conventional meal plan programs advocate low daily calorie counts – and a VLCD (very low calorie diet) is perhaps the worst way to lose weight.

Not only are they unrealistic (do you really think that you can survive on 1000 calories a day for the rest of your life? Really?) but they are severely damaging to your metabolism. The lower your daily calories dip, the slower your metabolism becomes. And, since your metabolism regulates your body all chemical reactions within your body, a slow metabolism is not only damaging to your weight loss efforts, it is damaging to your body in general. Take it from someone who actually was on a VLCD, it is not a road you want to go down!

Now you’re asking “why would the fitness and diet industry to this to us?”

The answer is actually in your question—it is an industry. As in, the goal of these businesses is not to look out for your health and well being but to make money. The fitness and diet industry makes $20 billion dollars a year. $108 million Americans are on diets every year and they are typically on their fourth or fifth attempt. These businesses make money when you buy their products for the first time—they make more money when you continue to buy their products after your second, fifth, eighth failed attempt at weight loss. They are actually counting on your failure because that is where their cash flow comes from.

So, how do you actually lose weight?

Well, first of all, know that it takes time – There is no such thing as a quick fix.

Unless you want to live on meal replacement bars for the rest of your life, you need to make a lifestyle change, develop habits that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

Habits like:

  • going to gym 3 days a week,
  • taking the stairs instead of the elevator,
  • aiming for 4-6 servings of veggies and fruit a day,
  • mindfully eating your meals

If you want to feel more in control, you can be more vigilant about your weight loss by tracking your calorie count (though it should never dip below 1300) and lifting weights. All of these habits will lead to a permanent, positive change in your body.

Now, it will take time—but wouldn’t you rather have a long, successful weight loss journey than five failed attempts at a quick fix?

So, my fellow dieters, let’s leave the quick fixes at the door. Throw out your meal replacement bars and shakes and laugh in the face of magazines that promise you a beach-bod in 30 days.

Instead, try to enjoy the slow but successful road to weight loss. Because, as the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait!

Allie

Does Lifting Weights Make Women Bulky?

lifting weights

Women often wonder if lifting weights will make them get big bulky muscles. We always see men in the gym lifting weights and getting big, so doesn’t that mean women will have the same fate?

The problem isn’t the weights themselves that cause bulky muscles, but how the weights get used. Truth of the matter is that weights will help build some muscle, but this can be very beneficial even if your goals is weight loss.

If you want to avoid the big, bulky muscles and focus more on leaning or toning, there is a general rule you can follow:

Lighter weights for more reps.

Now be careful though because this isn’t always true for everyone. We all have different body types and metabolisms  It is however a pretty good general rule that you can at least try out. If you want to be sure or you’ve had the opposite experience, it can be really valuable to get some professional coaching advice.

If you have experience lifting weights, please comment and share your thoughts. If you’ve always avoided them, I encourage you to try them in your next workout and report back with your results. You might find that you love them!

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We prefer Fat? What!?!

One of the most common discussions I have with my clients is around consuming fat. It’s been marketed so heavily that we just believe consuming fat is bad for us. Every item on the shelf and everything recommended on the news talks about low-fat this and 0-fat that. We have been taught that eating fat makes us fat.

This just isn’t the case.

I was recently reading a great article from Mark Sission of The Primal Blueprint.  In the article, Mark talks about the fact that not only do humans do well on a diet of fat, we actually prefer it!

Fat and protein were the dominant macronutrients (when food was even available) over the majority of our two-and-a-half million years as evolving humans. The lack of regular access to food and a scarcity of carbohydrates for much of this time necessitated that we adapt efficient pathways to readily store and access body fat for energy if we were to survive day-to-day and generation-to-generation.

Through evolution, our bodies have adapted to being better at using fat as a fuel than carbohydrates. We can actually go a very long time without any dietary carbohydrates at all. If needed, our body reserves and liver can provide and create all the glucose we’d need. Once our body gets used to this system that is.

For many, because we consume so many carbs, there is a transition period while our body adapts to a higher fat diet. When your body is so used to getting all it’s glucose needs met and then some, through dietary consumption, it’s not that quick to produce it on it’s own. Instead of kicking the liver into gear, you just get cravings for more sweets. This is often why people feel so hungry all the time when they reduce their carb intake. It’s your body trying to get you to consume more.

Overall, fat is not bad for you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I encourage you to read the article linked above or at least test it out in your body. Of course, talk to your doctor first or get some professional guidance.

Let us know your experience of high-fat or low-carb diets in the comments below.

What’s the best…

As a professional fitness mentor, one of the most popular questions I ever hear is: “What’s the best… (fill in the blank)”. The top of this list includes things like:  What’s the best exercise for abs, legs, cardio, toning, or what’s the best thing to eat for breakfast, snack, lunch, etc. Everyone seems to want to know what’s the best thing they can do for their health.

Although I think it can be a great question, I feel like I’m usually asked from a short-cut mentality. As in, if it’s the best, then I’ll just do that one thing and get all the results I want right?!? Ummmmmm, not so much. Sorry.

In the pursuit of health, I personally don’t think anything can be titled “the best”. There’s definitely a scale of better and worse, but even that will depend on multiple factors. Things like: your goals, your timeframe, where you’re starting from, your age, gender, etc. The thought of claiming anything as the best in a one-size-fits-all approach scares me.

The funny part however, is that so much of the fitness industry is based on this concept. There’s a million Ab-Rollers (see video), ellipticals, suspension systems, DVD workouts, iPhone Apps and specialty fitness classes out there that claim to be the best. I’d easily argue that most, if not all, will be able to get you some pretty sweet results too. However, in the long run it’s not going to remain effective. It’s not going to continue being the best.

One of my usual responses to “the best” question is to give a food example. Let’s say for a moment that brocoli is THE BEST FOOD IN THE WORLD. Even if it were true, do you think you’d do well if that was the only food you ever ate? Not a chance. Your body is more complex than that.

Even though there may not a best exercise or best food, I do still encourage you to aim for one “best” in particular. I encourage you to strive for being in the best shape of your life. As far as we know, we only get one life, and your body is the one thing that will be with you throughout the entire thing. Why not make it awesome?

What are some of the top things you’ve found to help you get success? What’s near “the best” on your lists?