Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Changing your lifestyle is not a quick fix

Say you burn, on average, 2100 calories everyday.  And let’s say you eat, on average, 2200 calories everyday.  That means you are eating 100 calories over your activity metabolic rate (find out your approximate metabolic rate by going to the link), which is how many calories you will burn throughout the day.  No big deal right?  It’s just 100 calories over.  I agree, it’s not that big of deal, until you have done that consistently for 10 years. 

Let me show you some math:
Let’s say you eat 100 calories over your activity metabolic rate 90% of the year.  That’s 328 days in the year.
100 calories x 328 = 32,800 calories in a year
32,800 calories / 3500 calories (1 pound) = 9.3 pounds
9.3 pounds x 10 years = 93 pounds

Now you may have days over this 10 year span where you burn more calories than you take in or eat right at your average 2100 calories, so you may not just gain 93 pounds in 10 years.  My point is that weight gain does not happen overnight.  It can be a very small climb throughout the years that created the gradual weight gain. 

Have you seen the movie, ‘The Santa Clause’ with Tim Allen?  The part that I am using as a hypothetical example is when Tim Allen (who plays Santa Clause) wakes up one morning and he magically has the belly of Santa Clause and he has gained a tremendous amount of weight overnight.  This does not happen in real life, thank goodness.  (Though, after weekend eating binges, it can definitely feel that way)

Now just like we do not gain weight overnight, we will not lose the weight overnight.  In order to increase your chances of success, you must build a long-term mindset.  Lifestyle change is what you are after, that is if you want to sustain your results.   If the goal is to lose 50 pounds, first ask yourself the question, “How long has this taken me to put on?”  Usually your answer will be a few years. (If you are honest with yourself)  The habits you have ingrained and the lifestyle you now live are in direct result of a consistent way of living.  If you want true change and transformation, the goal would be to slowly move the “lifestyle” dial in the direction of a healthier way of life or a leaner body.   

One of the worse mistakes people make when looking to “get in shape and/or lose weight” is completely overhauling their lifestyle.  They go from sedentary living and eating high calorie processed foods to an extreme workout program and intense low-carb dieting and then they expect quick results.  This is so far from the truth.  What you will be doing with this approach is setting yourself up to fail.  Your internal system will not be happy due to the night and day overhaul.  You will try the diet, sort of follow through, and end up hating your lifestyle.  Then go right back to your old habits. 

Instead of a complete lifestyle overhaul, let’s do this a better way.  Choose 2-3 action steps that are needed to improve your lifestyle.  Then act and be consistent.  I know, not much excitement with this approach but a much better system for you to actually change and attain your goals.  And with this way, you are better off to sustain your new and improved lifestyle. 

Here are a few examples:

·      For the next 30 days, focus on water intake.  Aim for 60-80 ounces of water everyday.   
·      Focus on vegetable and fruit intake.  Aim for 3-5 servings daily. 
·      Exercise.  Aim for 4 days in the week x 30-60 minutes

You are not “going on a diet” or starting some outrageous workout program.  You are going to commit to changing your lifestyle one step at a time.  The only way it happens is to start with the basic fundamentals and build them into habits.  Once you have created the foundation, we then can move on to more complex components.  When in doubt or if you are not sure where to start, begin with the 3 bullet points above.   

True change is a slow and steady process.  The only way you create this change that you are looking for is by consistently following through on specific daily rituals.  Repetition is a needed component to instilling new and improved habits.  You also need to change your way of thinking.  Again, instead of thinking you are “going on a diet”, change that thinking into, “I am going to instill small changes to improve my lifestyle”.  It’s a completely different approach to this thing we call fitness. 

After putting in the years of work to cement the basic fundamentals, when it’s time to step up your performance or find a new level of fitness, you then follow the same system to change.  Find what you need to do on a daily basis, work to make them natural habits and be consistent.  This is the system and process that builds a healthy lifestyle, not just a quick fix program that is not sustainable. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

How will you respond

Perfection is only something in the clouds. 
Striving for it creates a double edge sword. 
Because ambition can be an obsession. 
It can take you to your ultimate dreams and goals. 
It can take you to your best version of yourself. 
But when you allow this obsession to over rule humility and love,
now it becomes a relentless ego. 
When the ego is so relentless that it starts to take control, BOOM! 
Something knocks your world.... And you fall... you fall far and hard. 
How will you respond?

We need to become more humble human beings. 
When Life throws one of those curveballs,
be ready because your humility will be exposed. 
This is the ultimate test,
when you are faced with adversity,
what will you do? 
How will you act? 
What will you change? 
Will you change?
How will you respond?  

Looking at yourself in the mirror...
What do you see? 
Or do you see Love?
Maybe you see a few things.... that's ok.  This is a battle.

Me vs. Me

You vs. You

Who will win?

How will you respond?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Build the lifestyle to achieve your fitness goals

Building your lifestyle to support your fitness and performance goals is a critical element to achieving success.  Many people view fitness as a quick fix, short-term process.  To me, this is the farthest thing from the truth.  Fitness is a life long journey.  As you may have short-term goals to go after, you must create a long-term mindset.  There must be continued movement after those short term goals.  If you do not think this way, you end up yo-yoing through various quick fix systems, only to end up back where you started. 

I am first going to talk about a few lifestyle strategies that are needed to help with time management, self-awareness and mindset.  These components are just as important when striving for a fitness related goal. 

Time Management: Creating your weekly blueprint is vital to taking control of your time and life.  When you manage time more efficiently, you become responsible for the things you want to achieve.  This should become a weekly task.  Sit down on the weekend and plan the upcoming week.  Add in all of your fixed appointments, your family time and events, any social events, workouts, basically, anything that is a priority.  This sets you up to be successful.  The key is following through, so make sure you do your best to stick to your weekly design.  With that said, allow for some flexibility in your schedule because things will pop up unexpectedly.  For example, say your normal 60-minute workout is not realistic because of a kid’s soccer practice.  Simply adjust, and make the workout 25 minutes.  You can still get in a good sweat in a small time frame.  Something is better than nothing.  The idea is to be flexible with this schedule.  If you want to improve your fitness or run a marathon or lose 40 pounds, managing your time is so important for you to be successful.  Find the system that works for you and complete it every week. 

Self-awareness: I have been talking about this concept more and more because it is so valuable when going after your fitness goals.  Self-awareness is looking deep within yourself and recognizing your true self.  What do you want?  How bad do you want it?  What are your passions?  What are you willing to do?  How do you react?  These are all self-awareness questions.  If you are looking to lose 20 pounds, you must become self-aware and recognize what it’s going to take to achieve that goal.  Then ask these questions, “Am I willing to build the lifestyle necessary to go after the goal?  Am I willing to eat foods that support my goal?  Am I going to be consistent?  What action steps do I need to start?”   If you really want to achieve something, you can do it.  But you must look within yourself first and decide to commit.  Mindfulness meditation is a great practice to improve your self-awareness.  This is an exercise for your mind.  You sit in quiet, maybe listening to calming music, and practice breathing.  Allow your thoughts to come and go, but always get back to your breathing.  Focus on the present moment.  Regular practice of mindfulness meditation will strengthen your self-awareness and rejuvenate your inner energy so you can keep going after your goals. 

Mindset: Your mindset can be your main weapon to achieve any goal your heart desires.  This is if you decide to work on it.  I believe in a growth mindset: a type of mindset that believes we can change, we can gain knowledge, improve our intellect, increase our optimism, get better at a sport, etc.  But just like you must lift weights and workout to gain physical strength, in order to build this powerful mindset, you must implement mental conditioning drills in your program.  One of the best tools I recommend is reading.  Reading is growing.  There are so many books out there that will teach and motivate you to work on your mindset.  When you are consistently inputting positive and supporting words, chances increase that you will build a strong mindset.  Be aware of your thoughts because your thoughts ultimately turn into your actions.  If you can rearrange your thoughts to supportive, positive and encouraging, the mindset will become your weapon to go after your goals. 

Now that your lifestyle and mindset is supporting your endeavors, let’s look at the specifics of setting and achieving certain fitness goals…

First you need a goal.  Without direction, you fly aimlessly and possibly end up in the same place where you started.  This goal does not have to be a concrete, outcome-based goal.  Let me give you some examples…

“I workout to improve my mobility, keep my cardiovascular system strong and to stay energized in my daily life.”

“I workout to maintain the physique that I have.  I love to eat and drink good wine so my workouts allow this sustainability that I am looking for.”

“I workout and eat healthy foods to feel better and look younger.”

“I workout so that I can keep playing adult soccer with my friends.” 

These objectives could still create motivation for you to live a healthy lifestyle.  Many people think they need outcome-based goals but that’s not true.  Outcome based goals are great, if that is what you are shooting for, but they are not for everyone. 

Let’s look at a few examples of outcome-based goals…

“I will lose 20 pounds over the next 20 weeks.”

“I will run my next marathon in sub 3 hours and 45 minutes.”

“I will go from 28% bodyfat to 23%, three months from today.”

Now that you have a direction, what do you do?  Answer: Know expectations.  This is critical.  It takes a reversed engineered game plan to achieve your goal.  There will be things you will need to do everyday to get your desired results.  What will those things be?  This answer varies on the person and their specific goal.  Write out the top three things needed to accomplish your goal.  Do these three things over and over.  Do them everyday.  These daily actions are the fundamentals you need to achieve the success you are in search of. 

I will give you some practical examples…

“I will lose 20 pounds over the next 20 weeks.”
Action #1: I will drink 70-80 ounces of water everyday for 20 weeks.
Action #2: I will workout 4-6 times for 30-60 minutes per week for these 20 weeks.  I need two days of aerobic based exercise (walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc) and 2-3 days of strength and/or interval type training sessions. 
Action #3: Out of 21 meals in a week, 16 of those meals will support my goal of weight loss.  Lower on the carbohydrate side (still needs to be 25% of diet), medium protein, and medium healthy fat. 

“I want to improve my mobility, keep my cardiovascular system strong and to stay energized in my daily life.”
Action #1: I will drink 70-80 ounces of water everyday. 
Action #2: I will commit to this workout schedule for the rest of my life:
·      4 x 10 minute mobility routines (40 minutes/week)
·      3 x 30 minute brisk walk (90 minutes/week)
·      2 x strength training workouts with my trainer (120 minutes/week)
·      1 x 60 minute bike ride (60 minute/week)
            Total: 5.1 hours/week
Action #3: I will eat 3 servings of vegetables and fruits everyday for the rest of my life. 

I want to supply you with some workout strategies as well:
·      When you train, focus on quality movement and good exercise technique.  Don’t just move haphazardly.  Results come when you are controlled and deliberate with your movement in the gym.  Plus, you increase your chances of pain and injury when moving without control.   
·      Listen to your body.  You shouldn’t be in pain when you workout.  If something hurts and affects your movement, stop and find another exercise. 
·      Push something and pull something with your upper body.  Work your legs, both the front side and back side.  And don’t forget to strengthen your core by implementing stability exercises like planks, side planks, hip lifts, birddogs and farmer walks.  Add power drills like medicine ball slams, controlled jumping and sled sprints.  A sample workout could look like this:

Dynamic warm up:
20 jumping jacks
Knee raise pulls x 10/leg
Quad pulls x 10/leg
Straight leg kicks x 10/leg
20 jumping jacks

Power set: 2-3 rounds
Medicine ball overhead slams x 8
Medicine ball chest slams x 8
Controlled squat jump (reset after each jump) x 8

Strength set: 2-5 rounds
Perfect push up x 10
Inverted rows x 10
Goblet squat x 10
Single leg deadlifts x 5/leg
Front plank x 30 seconds
Side plank x 30 seconds/side
Farmer walks x 30 yards

(Google search will show you examples of these exercises)

The game plan has been built and now the execution must begin.  No goal is achieved without action.  Once you start, the key is to be consistent.  If you have a day that strays away from the plan, simply move on, get back on track and keep going.  If you want to achieve your goal, the idea is to stay on course.

If you have any questions regarding anything in this article, please private message me on Facebook. 

Past writings