A Few Tell Tale Signs Your Trainer Sucks

After many years of working in the fitness industry, you see a lot of things. From funny, to ridiculous, and just plain stupid, the gym attracts all sorts of walks of life. This is also the case for those that decide to become personal trainers. I myself at one time was a personal trainer, not that I don’t train people at all anymore, I have just limited my time due to life getting in the way. The personal training market, just like the fitness industry itself has skyrocketed over the last 15-20 years. Which in a lot of ways can be a good thing that people are becoming more interested in taking control of there health, and getting into shape. But when they are being led by someone completely incompetent in the field, it becomes the blind leading the blind, which is unfortunately what we see in most cases today on the daily. So….all that being said how is a new gym goer able to tell if there trainer is even worth there time? Well, here are a few tell tale signs that your trainer may be completely clueless.

  1. They are involved in a multi level marketing company that sells supplements. No I am not going to name names here, but say your trainer recommends supplements to you and you google them or go to their website and all it talks about is being a sales representative, or joining the team, its probably a scam. And if your trainer is trying to sell you product from them, it’s because they are clueless on nutrition first of all, and got sucked into this companies’ pyramid scheme, so guess what chuck, now they are peddling this trash to you to make up for losing a boat load of cash when they signed up to be a part of the scheme.
  2. Doing random exercises that they themselves have never even done before. This is a situation of someone who doesn’t really walk the walk as they say. If your trainer is having you do a bunch of random exercises that doesn’t seem to coincide with your actual goals, it’s most likely because they don’t, and your trainer is literally just making shit up as he or she goes, to simply occupy your killer 30-60 minute session! So in other words they are having fun with you to pass the time. Of course that’s in between checking there phone messages.
  3. They are on there phone more than they are training you! This is a no brainer one right here. If your trainer can’t even make it thru 5 minutes of your session without playing on there phone, to me it’s clear they don’t really give a shit about your training session and don’t care about what you are doing either.
  4. My favorite is the out of shape trainer. I mean honestly, how the hell are you training someone when you can’t even get your own shit together enough to get yourself in shape. And the fact that someone would want to be trained by someone who isn’t in shape is beyond me.
  5. Unable to program workouts. This one is huge which is why I saved it for last. Finding a trainer that actually understands how to properly program exercises into your routine to get you the best results is actually very difficult to find. It’s hard enough just to find someone who at least walks the walk, but finding a trainer that really understands the body, recovery times that vary for different people, and also finding a trainer that is willing to really listen to what you are telling them is how they should be basing your programming. In most cases, trainers will recommend exercise programs and diets that are really just a version of what they do. This is a massive error. Everyone is different. Your body is not the same as mine, and is not the same as the next person. That is why a good trainer will be asking you questions to figure out what foods you tolerate better in your diet to help you thrive, vs just plugging in random foods into a basic cookie cutter program. Or when it comes to exercise they should be learning about your history and background in training and exercise before trying to recommend anything. And did we even mention goals? Your personal goals should always be number one. If it doesn’t match to your goal, don’t waste your time with it, period. But too often newer trainers without enough experience will simply recommend what worked for them, instead of really dialing in to there clients needs. When this happens unfortunately the clients results are sub par in comparison to what they could have been. Okay so my rant is over now, hopefully some of you that read this learned something from this, and do not get taken for your hard earned bucks!

Are You Feeling Stuck?

Have you been cruising along on your current diet and training routine, doing pretty well for yourself, and then suddenly it seems like progress has come to a screeching halt? If you are there now don’t be concerned I have been there too, and I am sure we all have at some point or another. When this situation occurs, this is when you have to be completely honest with yourself and take a look back at what you have been doing the last few weeks, to really determine how to move forward. You need a plan, a new plan, because clearly the one you have isn’t working the same for you. And no body wants to keep doing the same thing over and over, especially when they aren’t getting any results. Well I guess I can’t say no body because I do unfortunately see men and women at the gym everyday, that do the same shit, and either look the same, or in some cases look worse over time! We do not want to fall into this kind of rut, hoping that one day results will just begin to happen. Step one for anyone in this current position is to look back and ask yourself, did I stick to my diet 100%, and if not how off was I really? Did you miss any training sessions? How was your sleep lately? have you been sleeping how you normally do or has it been getting interrupted as of late. You see, my job as a consultant is to help people find and realize all of the little areas they miss that hold potential for them to progress further and further in there journey. Usually, in these cases I am able to work with clients that are stuck, and break them out of the rut quickly just by going over some of the above listed areas. The biggest issue is usually the diet. Whether it is the binge drinker on the weekend, or the guy that can’t put down the Ben n Jerry’s. This is the fastest way to delay progress….By putting garbage food into your body. This is one of those things you just can’t make people follow, they either get on board, or they don’t have the mental toughness and will power to just say fucking no. To say I am sick of being where I am at and understand that eating the right food is the number one way to get me to where I want to be. I have said this 1000 times and it still doesn’t seem to sink in for people. You CAN NOT out train a shitty diet. Period! You can have the best genetics in the world for burning fat, but if you eat bad and drink excessively your results will be minimal in comparison to the guy that is able to follow the plan correctly. Speaking of diet, since we are on the subject, this is the number one way to get yourself out of any rut, and also the best way to really ramp up fat loss if you do it right. The biggest problem I see when I take on new clients, or clients that I haven’t seen in a while that are stuck is they are eating what would be considered “clean” foods, but they aren’t eating near enough nutrition or nutrient dense foods to allow the body to get out of a survival mode and into a fat burning mode. This piece right here is paramount. You must not only be eating enough of the macronutrients to fill your needs, but you also need to be getting an abundance of the micronutrients, so your body is at a surplus in critical vitamins and minerals. When you get yourself to this position, the body is then able to thrive and will re-kick start your progress. Now that being said, this is where I sometimes get upset, when I see trainers and quote “nutritionists” online charging for a cookie cutter meal plan that is being used to sell to the masses, without any variance in the plan what so ever. So in other words, the 40 year old male is eating the same meal plan as the 31 year old female. Never mind that the male is trying to build muscle, and the younger female is trying to burn fat! This is why, if you are looking for nutrition advice or help, you need to make sure you are working with someone that is willing to customize a program around your goals, likes, and needs. This is how you will thrive, not by buying some 49.99 plan or e-book for 19.95. These are roads to no where. Find someone that will educate you, and help you learn the tools you need to know to be successful. I always tell new clients I take on this…Hopefully, after a few months you never need me again. That’s my goal. Because I want to send you guys back on your own with everything you need in your arsenal to take on any issue that may arise. But you have to want to do it. No one can do the work for you.

Salt? The Unknown Performance Enhancer?

As I have mentioned in the past it seems as if every supplement brand is promising to carry the next best performance enhancing product, when the truth is like 95% plus products on the market today are complete non-sense. Yes that’s right, the supplement guru is here to tell you that most of the crap you probably use is just that….Crap! A total waste of time and money. But occasionally we do stumble across great tips of information and nutrients that will aid us in achieving the results we are after, whether that be to put on muscle mass, or drop body fat. And by now you’ve guessed it, one of the best, if not the best performance enhancing product may very well be a good quality sea salt. Most people, especially athletes do not realize that they expel approximately 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt per hour of physical activity, depending on how rigorous. And on top of this, if you are a coffee drinker, your body will lose an additional 1/2 to 1 teaspoon on average of salt per day depending on how much coffee, pre-workout, energy drink, or whatever stimulant you are having during your day. Now, here is where the problem lies. If you are only taking in the suggested amount of sodium per day that conventional wisdom has recommended since the middle 1970’s then you are having about 2.5-3 grams or 2500-3000mg per day. A teaspoon of salt is between 4.5-5 grams or 4500-5000mg. So if you are a coffee drinker, or energy drinker in general, and work a 9 to 5 regular job, you may be borderline deficient already, without doing any regular exercise. So if you are a gym goer, or an athlete of any kind there is a good chance you are sodium deficient. Simple ways to tell if you are deficient are if you are having muscle cramps during or post workout or low energy on a consistent basis, so much that you feel gassed during your workout. These are the easy signs to watch out for. Most people initially think of magnesium and potassium deficiency when it comes to the cramping and fatigue, but you must remember that sodium is the main driver for these nutrients. And if there is not enough sodium in the blood available the body will start to pull from magnesium and potassium stores to compensate for this. So really think of sodium as the building block behind some of these very powerful minerals. Now, here is the best part in terms of what salt can do to elevate sports performance. Salt is quite literally the best vasodialator on the planet, better than any marketed supplement out there, period. It helps drive more blood into the muscle tissue, preventing the build up of lactic acid, so you can train harder for longer. Additionally, a recent study was conducted on collegiate athletes using salt as a pre workout supplement. Subjects took approximately 1 teaspoon 30-45 minutes before exercise, and on average the athlete’s were able to perform at a high level for an extra 21 minutes! The workout was normally 60 minutes and they were gassed, but after adding in extra salt, they were able to buffer lactic acid better, and fight off fatigue, bumping there workouts to 81 minutes on average. That’s a 35% increase in workout capacity! After reading this study, and also knowing some of the benefits sodium can offer, I decided to try using a teaspoon of salt pre-workout. What the hell, why not right. And I didn’t go cheap either, I actually went out and bought the good stuff. Redmond’s Ancient Sea Salt, which contains 20x more iodine in it’s salt than it’s competitors which is very important to me, being Iodine is a main driver for thyroid function. This is another topic for another day by itself. But I must say that using the teaspoon of salt pre workout definietly gave me a great pump during my workout without a doubt. And post workout I didn’t have any issues with muscle cramps like I normally do when I workout very hard. I have been following this protocol for about 2 weeks now and will continue to do so to see how my performance continues to go. I can say my energy is better not just during my workouts but during the day as well, and I am having no cramping anymore and my recovery is faster, so no complaints thus far. Give this a shot, especially for all you athletes out there or gym goers. It’s worth it.

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Every Day Matters

I am sure at some point in your life you may have heard somebody say this phrase, “every day matters”….And if you haven’t well then congratulations now you did! I was actually listening to a podcast the other day that mentioned this topic and I wanted to expand on this because I feel it is very important to a lot of people’s success in fitness, and is also why I myself have became a big advocate for working out every day. Yes, exercise every day. Not an intense routine everyday, but simply getting to the gym, and getting in a good hour of activity. I say this because mentally when you have to be accountable for getting the task accomplished, and you are able to finish this one task everyday, consistently, over and over, you begin to build momentum in your life. This momentum is huge for people because you are turning this “working out” thing that you started doing into a habit and lifestyle change. Eventually, this hour a day becomes part of your daily routine, no different than brushing your teeth, or taking a shower. At this point, you would almost feel weird if you did not make it to the gym, as if something was missing all day long the day you decided to not go. And it would stay on your mind going into the next day as well. Once you are to this point I like to say you have arrived. To really see lasting change in your body and fitness level you need to take the approach that every day matters. Every day, every exercise, every meal, they all mean something. And when you begin to lie to yourself and say things like, “well I am not feeling it today” so you end up skipping out on your workout. Or my favorite line, “I have been doing sooooo good I can take today off”. These are lies we tell ourselves to attempt to avoid the discomfort of going out and putting the work in. So the next time that little voice in your head tells you to “take it easy” be sure to ignore it and keep pushing forward!

Protein Lemon Squares

Check out this new dessert recipe that tastes absolutely delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 Cup egg whites
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • The zest of one lemon see note below
  • 1 package sugar-free lemon pudding, Jell-O brand
  • 1/2 Cup Splenda, the kind for baking, or use Stevia, which I would recommend.
  • 1 Cup flour of your choice regular, a low carb mix etc I recommend an almond/coconut blend
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup vanilla Pro-3 protein
  • 1/2 Cup no-sugar added blackberry jam

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and take your jam out of the fridge so that it sits at room temperature. This makes it a lot easier to drizzle.
  2. Get your lemon zest ready. Set a bowl down to collect the zest. Then use the lemon zester to scrape off the yellow part of the peel. If you’re using a cheese grater, rub the lemon in one direction, against the sharp edges of the holes. You only want to collect the yellow part, so turn the lemon as you go, letting the zest fall into the bowl.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and egg whites. Set aside.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, Splenda or Stevia, protein powder, and sugar-free lemon pudding.
  5. Mix both bowls together thoroughly. Pour into your baking dish. With a spoon, drizzle several lines across the top of your batter. Using a knife, make whatever pattern you’d like on top but be sure to push the jam into the batter a bit.
  6. Pop the pan into the oven for 30 minutes or until you poke it with a toothpick, and it comes out clean. Everyone’s oven is different so keep an eye on it. Allow a couple minutes to cool before eating, that jam gets pretty hot. Cut into 9 pieces and enjoy!
Lemon Squares

I Broke My Own Rules…

So I was laying in bed the other day, it was 4:45am, and I was wide awake. Now, I normally get up around 5:30am anyway so in less than an hour it will be time for me to start my day. Normally, if I feel “ready” to get up, I just get up and get my day started, I don’t roll back over and go to sleep. I find that it makes me feel like a slug the rest of the day. And against my better judgement I rolled back over and fell asleep. I made up excuses in my head, literally telling myself I didn’t have that much to do so why not sleep in. Worst mistake I made all week. Why? Because not only did I get bombarded by the alarm clock at 0530, I actually hit the snooze and fell asleep until 6am. When I finally woke up I actually felt much worse than I did at 4:45am when I was up and ready to go.

Why am I bringing this up you may ask? Because there is something important anyone can learn from a simple situation like this. When you aren’t feeling it, or are on the fence about executing something, that is when you really need to do it. Do it anyway. Don’t feel like working out? Do it anyway. Even if you are a little off that day, do it. Go through the motions. Because you will find that even going through the motions will have you feeling better than if you just skipped out all together. And pushing through days like these can be a huge momentum builder as you move forward. Don’t make excuses, instill some discipline, and get shit done!

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One Simple Way To Burn More Fat Without Extra Cardio

Here is one tip you can use in your weight training if you are not already to really get your metabolism going, without any extra cardio. Simply by adding drop sets, back off sets, or rest pause sets at the end of an exercise can bring the intensity level up to get your body burning fat more efficiently. Now, for those of you that may not be familiar with any of these techniques, let me explain them here….

The Drop Set– A drop set is performed after the last set of really any exercise you may be doing. For example, let us use the bench press as an example. Say you planned on doing 3 sets of 6-8 reps per set. Then, on the last set you do 6 good reps with great technique. Maybe you could have got 7, but stop at 6. Then when you finish your set strip off about 25% of the weight you had on and immediately perform another set to absolute failure. Congratulations, you just did a drop set!

Back Off Sets- A back off set is performed similar to a drop set, except the weight is even lighter than the drop set. Instead of stripping off 25% you are taking off up to 50% of the weight and going to failure, allowing you to really rep out the weight you are doing. This technique works best in my opinion for smaller muscle groups like biceps, triceps, calves, etc.

Rest Pause Sets- Here is one last technique that will really challenge you, the rest pause set. After performing your last set of let’s say ten reps on a lat pull-down, take about 15 seconds rest, and perform another set. Try to get at least 5 reps. Then take another 15 seconds rest and do another set again for as many as possible to failure. This one is killer, but it works.

Try using any variation of these in your training and I guarantee over time you will not only see changes in your body, your exercise capacity and endurance will go up too.

Lat Pull Down

Low Carb Taco Casserole

Taco Casserole 2

Here is an awesome recipe I found the other day that I wanted to share with you guys. Here goes….Check it out!

Taco Casserole Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 pounds ground beef
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 chopped tomatoes, large
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Anaheim peppers
  • 1 cup grated high-quality sharp Cheddar

Ingredients for Tortillas

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Avocado Oil or Coconut Oil

Directions

In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of oil and saute the onion until soft, 5 minutes. Add the ground beef. As it cooks, season with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, sweet paprika and salt. When the meat is almost cooked, stir in the tomatoes. Turn off heat and set aside.

For the anaheim peppers, set the peppers over the flame of a gas stove, or under a broiler. Cook the peppers, turning as needed, until the entire pepper is blackened. Put the peppers in a sealed bag or container to steam and cool; rub the blackened skin off with your fingers. Chop, then mix in with the meat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, tapioca flour, cumin, chili powder and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the water, eggs, and oil. Slowly add the coconut flour mixture to the wet ingredients, whisking constantly to eliminate clumps.

Heat a tablespoon of avocado oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Pour a little less than 1/4 cup batter in the hot pan. Let the batter sit untouched for one minute then put a lid on the pan and cook one minute more. Flip the tortilla and fry for 1 to 2 more minutes. Continue frying tortillas until the batter is used up, making sure there is always a thin layer of warm avocado oil or coconut oil in the pan.

Preheat oven to 375 °F

Coat the bottom of a 2 quart square or round baking dish with a little oil. Add a layer of 4 tortillas. Cover with half of the ground meat. Add another layer of tortillas. Cover with more ground meat and the grated cheese.

Bake 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting. 

Optional: Add lettuce, tomatoes, and diced avocado as toppings once casserole is baked and cool. Enjoy!

The Importance of a Morning Routine

Is This You?

So….How many of you wake up, and hit the snooze button at least 3-4 times before ever actually leaving the bed? And once you do finally leave the bed how long is it before you actually do something productive with yourself, whether that be exercise, read, or begin some tasks for your job? If you are in the general average then you probably aren’t actually doing anything for at least another hour after you already laid in bed for the first hour. So now we have the first two hours of the day dedicated to….Nothing! Except maybe eating breakfast. And unfortunately these are the same type of people, including some of my closest friends that will tell me, “Derek, I have no time to exercise” what else can I do to lose weight. And being a good friend I will take a look at their current routine and try to help them optimize what they are doing, but in a lot of cases I was not necessary at all. There was no secret, tip, or pill that I was going to give to help them accomplish what they wanted. It all came down to their daily routine and habits!

Benefits of a Routine

Routines can have a profound impact on helping organize your day much more than you think, but it does take some discipline. Getting up a little earlier, or prepping meals ahead of time is not the most convenient, but there is nothing convenient about getting the results you want, it’s just a matter of how bad do you want it? Once you get past the first couple weeks, and this new routine becomes habit you will start to notice some of these benefits…

  1. Reduced Stress– When you actually get up and have your day scheduled, it takes a lot of undue stress off of your life. This way you are not forgetting about taking care of important tasks you may have had for the day.
  2. Gain More Time– When you start holding yourself accountable to your own schedule, the amount of time you will free up can sometimes shock you.
  3. Be Able to Eat Healthier– When you are unorganized and flying by the seat of your pants it is very difficult to get in the right foods you need to meet your fitness goals. More times than not you end up at a drive thru eating trash food. Being on a schedule will free up more time so you can prep some simple, healthy meals instead of relying on quick food options.
  4. Feel Fulfilled– When you put together a daily routine, and you accomplish those little tasks everyday, there is something extremely fulfilling about this process. Because by doing the little things everyday, this leads to big results over time. Fitness and weight loss is the best example of this. Eating the right foods, and not skipping workout sessions is the quickest way to see better results in the gym. But these two things are counting on YOU to fit them in your schedule.

But…

Now, after reading this there are going to be plenty of people that still have the mentality of well, my schedule is already so crazy, I just can’t fit anymore in so I guess the chips will fall where they fall. Let me tell you, that is an excuse. I have yet to meet one person that wasn’t able to find the time to exercise during the day at some point. It’s literally 4% of the day. Discipline, Consistency, and holding yourself accountable are the biggest parts here. You just have to decide to do it.