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Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

Do you want to get lean and lose body fat? Make sure your nutrition plan doesn’t suck…

I make it very clear to my clients and athletes that I am not a nutritionist. I do however understand the science behind proper nutrition for effective fat loss, developing lean body mass, and overall health. If people want a structured meal plan with calorie counters and metabolic readings then I will refer them to some highly qualified people in my circle.

I like to keep it very simple for people- maybe because in my own life I know that I don’t want to count calories and worry about exactly how much protein I consumed on a training day. I go by how I feel, how many times I eat during the day, and how well I balance my food groups. Through the years this has proven effective for me.
My athletes and clients probably hate me because I ask them everyday- “What did you eat today?”, “What did you have for breakfast?”, “How much water did you drink?”

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My approach is simple but I do not minimize the importance of nutrition. You NEED to eat well if you are training hard to get lean and lose fat. Bottom line. If you don’t, you will not see the results that you are striving so hard to achieve.

Here are the ten things that everyone who wants to get super lean and drop body fat should stock in their kitchen: (in no particular order)

1. Water-this is kind of a given but super important. 8-10 glasses/bottles per day

2. Eggs a great, inexpensive source of protein

3.Chicken-another great source of lean protein, many ways to prepare this and the best are grilled and baked

4. Peanut Butter- an excellent source of protein, healthy fats(good for hair, skin, and nails), and dietary fiber. All of these things will keep you full.

5. Chocolate Milk-the easiest post-workout drink in the game today. If you don’t want to go to GNC and spend tons of money; chocolate milk has the correct amount of carbs/protein for a post workout mix.

6. Yogurt- many people (especially females) are not consuming enough calcium. Yogurt is a great snack and will provide fiber, calcium, protein, Vitamin D, and promotes digestive health. My recommendation is Chobani- a greek yogurt with a ton of protein and not too much sugar.

7. Oatmeal- Whether it’s natural oats or the packaged oatmeal; this is a great breakfast food with some natural energy (carbs) and fiber to keep you pretty full. Mix this with some fruit and you’ve got a great kick start to your day.

8. Lean Beef- A lot of people shy away from red meat but in moderation it’s another good source of protein and iron. Iron helps to carry oxygen from the lunges to the muscles so for anyone that is training hard, this is crucial. The key to this food source is keep it lean!

9. Leafy Greens- Spinach and darker lettuce are the best. These foods provide a grocery list of vitamins and minerals and are very nutritionally dense so you don’t have to actually eat A LOT of them in each serving (but you should).

10. Your Cheat Food- No one can eat perfectly all of the time. Give yourself a treat once or twice per week to keep yourself on track and happy. If you are eating clean 80% of the time you are going to be in great shape (literally)

You may not need to eat like this guy….but hey, who wouldn’t want that physique??

phelps

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Which would you rather do? This…

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Or This…

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Here’s an article that I wrote recently about why training like an athlete is great for fat loss, overall conditioning, and is just plain cool…

As a former collegiate athlete, I see the value of a solid strength and conditioning program for performance. As a personal trainer to many clients in the Somerville, Massachusetts area; I have found that incorporating athletic movements is not only motivating and fun, it is a great way to lose fat and gain overall strength. People should not take this to mean that everyone should train like a college football player. Training like an athlete can be modified based on the level of the participant but the basis behind it is to perform large muscle group movements, lift heavier weights than you are normally used to, and have an overall plan that cycles throughout the year. Here are some specific details about developing your athletic movement training program.

1.Training like an athlete is FUN: Throwing medicine balls, pushing the Prowler, squatting, lunging, sprinting, performing barbell complexes, and swinging the kettle bell, are just some of the movements that can be done to lose fat using large muscle groups. The exercises tax the muscular system and the cardiovascular system. Metabolism is elevated and this ultimately leads to fat loss.

2.Using Large Muscle Group Movements: Squats, lunges, push ups, chin ups, and overhead pressing are often the cornerstones of our programs. These exercises burn a huge amount of calories and develop an efficient metabolism.

3.Combine Training Goals: Each workout provides training for strength, power, conditioning, balance, and flexibility. Try to avoid focusing on one goal or muscle group; instead combine them and force the body to move in unison the way it was meant to.

4.Lift Heavy Weights: Many people are scared to lift heavy for fear of “getting big.” Athletes need to lift heavy weights to develop strength and power. You must push the threshold in your body. Lifting heavy weights will not cause women to “get big”, instead it will create huge bursts in hormones, adrenaline, and overall metabolism which leads to fat loss.

5.Have a Training Plan: Athletes have a very structured training plan. The year is broken down into training cycles depending on the season or event they are competing in. Creating long term and short term plans for training based on your goals is very important. Training cycles should usually last 3-4 weeks to provide consistent progression for strength, fat loss, and conditioning.

Take a look at your workout plan and shift your way of thinking about training. Athletes are strong and toned, have high levels of cardiovascular conditioning, can move efficiently, and have low body fat percentages. Why would you not want to mimic their training programs?

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I just wanted to share this video…it puts everything into perspective and also makes you realize how rediculous the excuses are that people have for not working out. There is always something that will come up, so just plan your training accordingly and suck it up if you really want to meet your goals. If you don’t, then continue to settle for being average.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

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Here’s another one of my favorite motivational speeches. This could be the best one ever actually. As an athlete it just gives you chills no matter how many times you listen to this. The concept applies to life in general though. Looking at all of the “inches” that we pass up everyday can be the difference between success and failure. Maybe not huge successes or failures, but small ones that add up to big things in the long run. Meeting new people and contacts, being open to new ideas and ways of thinking, pushing yourself for the extra rep at the gym, all of these things make a difference to your overall character and ultimately the success that you will have in all aspects of your life. I won’t talk too much because I don’t think I’m quite as articulate as Al Pacino…
Check out this video and let me know what you think!

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As I sit here overlooking the cardio room of the gym I see something that disgusts me everyday. I see people doing the same monotonis workouts day in and day out. I recently read someone’s take on “working out” versus “training.” They defined it as working out is a hobby and training is a lifestyle and an attitude. I totally agree with that because I know a lot of people that “workout” and those same people also look the same forever. Now I give them a lot of credit for getting into the gym but honestly, why waste your time on an inefficient training program?

I also know a lot of people that train hard and live a healthy lifestyle. These people are constantly setting goals, pushing their standards, and developing new ways to improve themselves. That is what training is all about. I could rant all day about this but I wanted to give you all a few quick changes that can be made if your training program does indeed SUCK….

Problem #1: Using the elliptical machine for cardio

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Reason #1 Why this sucks: The machine does a ton of work for you. It’s okay for people who have had injuries due to the low impact nature but if you are healthy, get off that machine, it’s way too easy and you will struggle to get your heart rate up.
Solution #1:Perform your interval conditioning on the bike, run sprints, attack the Prowler and you will burn a lot more calories and force your body to move without a machine doing the work

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Problem #2: Using the Leg Press instead of performing squats
Reason #2 Why this Sucks: Many people can press a lot of weight but the problem is that you are sitting down! None of your stabilizer muscles are working and you are not even moving your own body. How many movements do we do from a 45 degree seated angle, pushing up or forward?

 

Solution #2: SQUATS If you have been reading my posts you know that I love squats. They are the king/queen of all lower body movements. You recruit all major leg muscles as well as stabilizers (trunk) and you burn a ton of calories by lifting some heavy weight in addition to your own body weight. Get off your butt and do some real work!

Check out that form!

Problem #3: Performing high repetitions with low weights

Reason #3 Why this sucks: Many women want to get a “toned” look and all the rage out there says perform high repetitions with low weight so you won’t get “bulky.” Well I’ve got news for you ladies, unless you are on the ARod steriods diet you will not get bulky. Women lack the testosterone and growth hormones to initiate such a reaction. Performing lots of reps is a waste of time and energy.
Solution #3: Increase your resistance and lift safely. Lifting weights is progressive and technique is crucial. Find a qualified personal trainer to help you out with your training cycles. Lifting heavy weights not only improves strength, gets you super fit, and burns a ton of calories which revs up your metabolism, but it makes you feel pretty bad ass!

Problem #4: Using body part split routines.

Reason #4 why this sucks:This training style was adopted by bodybuilders in order to achieve high levels of volume to ellicit the hypertrophy phase (muscle size). Unfortunately it carried over into the general population and for most people, it becomes pretty ineffective.

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have 5 days a week to devote to strictly lifting weights in isolation.

In the real world people need efficient and effective intense training programs that will help them achieve their goals. Now if you goal is in fact to develop volume and muscular size, this program works. If you want to get a lean, athletic, and fit look; you should be performing large muscle group movements and shooting for a full body training style. This style not only elevates your strength levels, overall metabolism, and torches that unwanted body fat because of the high intensity aspect.

Solution #4: Perform full body, large muscle group movements. 2-3 days a week of full body training with movements such as squats, lunges, chin ups, push ups, overhead presses, weighted core work, prowler sprints, and single leg work will get you in killer shape, create a lean and athletic physique, and make you feel energized and happy.

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Problem #5: Most people are simply not exerting enough effort.

 

Reason #5 why this sucks: Plain and simple, if you are not working hard (and smart), you will not continue to see gains. I see people all the time that do the same routine over and over. I also see a lot of people do a set of bicep curls and rest for 2 minutes. The only time you should really be resting that long is if you are performing a high level power movement that requires nervous system recovery of 2-3 minutes. For most people with goals of overall fitness, strength, and fat loss; the training should be fairly intense in order to push your thresholds and burn calories.

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 Solution #5: Supersets, Circuits, Higher intensity movements. These are just a few solutions to the lack of effort syndrome. Pair up a lower/upper body movement or a push/pull movement. This will allow you to do more work in a shorter amount of time because you are resting less and moving your body through larger movements that will develop more strength and also burn a lot of calories, and ulimately fat.

Don’t get stuck in a rut with your training programs. Efficient, intense, and athletic based fitness programs will get you that great trim body that you are looking for. Kick up the intensity through heavier weights, bigger movements, and interval conditioning for cardio.

Don’t end up like this guy with your useless workouts. Remember what happens to him at the end of the movie….

whitman

But hey, I like to break a mental sweat too…

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Fitness is a way of life for me. I love training myself and other people. I love the satisfaction of a hard workout and knowing that each time I’m making myself stronger, more athletic, and healthier. I love helping people reach their goals and helping them realize that they have a lot more to give then they usually think.

I also realize that it is not a way of life for everyone. Sometimes it’s frustrating to hear excuses, reasons why people didn’t get to the gym or why they ate 3 pints of Ben&Jerry’s over the weekend. Yes I understand that people are human, things come up and life happens.

BUT…changing your lifestyle to accept that you need to exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep or you will be sick, tired, sluggish, fat, and unhappy. It’s just the way it is. This doesn’t need to happen 100% of the time but it needs to happen at least 80%. If not, look at your lifestyle and start today to make a change. Sometimes it just takes a little reality check and someone to tell you that denial is more than just a river in Egypt…yeah, I said that…

Here are some quick fitness and lifestyle tips for you. Enjoy, apply, and repeat…

1. Make a plan
2. Tell someone about your plan
3. Set goals- long term and short term
4. Lift weights- heavy ones
5. Lift weights safely
6. Have fun with your workouts- train with a trainer and/or with friends
7. Sleep at least 8 hours a night
8. Learn how to squat
9. Eat breakfast
10. Schedule your workouts into your daily planner
11. Eat 5-6 times per day
12. Train outside
13. Push a car
14. Do pull ups and chin ups
15. Focus on how your clothes fit not the scale
16. Quit talking about it and take action
17. Don’t blame anyone but yourself for your poor health
18. Don’t give up
19. Quit focusing on “cardio” and do some real work
20. Always learn proper technique
21. Value yourself and your life- you only get one chance

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