Just Go Through The Motions!

Today I would like to drop a little motivation and knowledge on everyone in regards to exercise. How many of us have had those days where we just aren’t feeling it? I know in all honesty I have one of those days at least two times a week. But you know what, I still get up and get my ass in gear and go get my workout in….I go through the motions! Even when you are not feeling it, and think that going to the gym on that particular day will be a waste of time, still find a way to get there. Do not let a little lack of discipline ruin what you are working hard to keep. So the next time you are not “feeling it” just remember why you started, and the progress you made. Skipping workouts is one of the quickest ways to hinder your fitness results. So keep pushing through, even when it gets tough. In the end, you will be happy that you did, and tomorrow we will talk about some of the worst things you may be doing to hinder your fitness results.

 

 

Carb Restriction vs Fasting. Which is more effective for Weight Loss?

Is there a Difference?

Research has shown that both of these options can be effective for weight loss, and keeping blood sugar and insulin lowered. But is one option better than the other? Or does it even matter which you choose, as long as the carbohydrate levels stay down. Let’s break them down and see what the research says.

In Regards to Weight Loss

Both carb restriction and fasting can help you reduce your total calories, which can lead to weight loss, and both are easy to follow. But, if you have any issues with feeling hungry it may be tough for you to consistently stick to your meal plan if you have issues with fighting hunger. So from the perspective of staying the most consistent, I would have to vote for just following a lower carbohydrate diet consistently vs fasting.

What About For Health Benefits?

As far as the health benefits go surprisingly fasting showed a greater drop in glucose and insulin for a 24 hour period. Additionally for those that were doing an evening fast that lasted throughout the night into the early morning saw an even greater decrease in glucose levels.

This is great news, but you can not just fast all the time! So what can we do to find balance to try to reap the health benefits of fasting, and also continue with our weight loss efforts?

Intermittent Fasting

IF or intermittent fasting, also known as temporary fasting is where you fast for a temporary amount of time throughout the day, or during the day into the night. Most people doing temporary fasting will eat the majority of there calories in a window of say 8 hours, and then fast for the next 16 until the next day. For example, say you wake up at 8am, and eat your first meal around 9am. Between the hours of 9-5pm you would eat what you had planned for the day, then from 5pm until 9am the next day do not eat anything. Some will squeeze the window even tighter where they only eat in a 4 hour window and fast for 20 hours. Obviously this will take a lot more discipline, but in time it can be done. This way you can reap both the health benefits of fasting, and get the weight loss benefits as well. Give this a try sometime, and see if you can stick with it. Personally, I think it is worth giving a shot even just for the health benefits alone. What do you think?

Is Drinking Wine Healthy?

Wine Healthy?

For years now there has been a long debate on whether consuming wine has any real health benefits, or was this merely a scheme cooked up by good marketers to make us feel good about consuming booze. After doing some digging I was able to locate some interesting information regarding the benefits of wine. Interestingly enough the benefits that are mentioned are correlated to the amount taken in. Now, do not go running out and start hitting the bottle just yet, the amount tested was between 5-8 ounces. So this would be equivalent to 1-2 glasses. Here are some of the benefits mentioned below….

Diabetes: Drinking between the above mentioned 5-8oz of wine per night has shown to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular Disease: Wine has shown to have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease and LDL or bad cholesterol.

Stroke: Wine has also shown to reduce the risk of stroke as well.

What is the Connection?

It seems that there is one main ingredient found in wine that is aiding in all of these great benefits, and they are called polyphenols, which are micronutrients found in certain fruits and vegetables. Wine is naturally made of grapes, which contain a good amount of polyphenols in them. And it just so happens that when wine is produced, and ferments, even more polyphenols are developed. For more information on the benefits of polyphenols and there benefits I would recommend checking out this link here.

The bottom line with wine is simply this. Consuming a little wine here and there, 1-2 glasses of wine a night can have benefits to your health. But going over this amount consistently will actually start to have the opposite effect on you, causing negative side effects, which we will talk about more in our next installment on the effects of alcohol in the body.

 

Red Wine

 

Temporary Post Workout Fasting Beneficial?

Here is an extremely interesting topic for many different types of athletes and fitness minded folks out there. So let us discuss.

The Method Behind The Madness

The big idea behind post workout fasting has to do with the following. When you train with heavy weights, attempting to build muscle your body will naturally release growth hormone for a few hours after training. This has a number of benefits from enhanced fat loss, faster recovery from exercise, and muscle growth. The problem is, conventional wisdom has had lifters taking carbohydrates and protein post workout for years, but the issue with this is taking in the carbohydrates post training will actually blunt growth hormone and testosterone post workout, which could actually diminish gains in the long run. So if you are a lifter attempting to get the most bang for your buck from your training it would make logical sense to not immediately take in a meal or protein shake, but to wait a few hours to allow your bodies natural hormones to maximize. The only supplement you may want to take in after a weight training session would be a BCAA supplement with Glutamine to help you take in some essential amino acids post workout, further assisting the recovery process and aiding those hormone levels as well. BCAA’s are rich in Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. These along with Glutamine will help keep cortisol levels reduced, which is the key to keeping Growth Hormone levels up, along with testosterone.

 

 

5 Reasons Low Carb Diets Work

This time of year there will be a lot of people jumping on the new year’s resolution train with there weight loss goals. Before you get too wrapped up in all the noise that is coming in about ten days, let me share with you five simple reasons low carb diets work, and why I would recommend them as a place to start to get the body you want.

  1. They Are Easy to Follow!– This has to be the number one reason by far to choose a low carb diet. No counting points, no subtracting certain nutrients to get the “net sum”. All you need to mainly focus on is keeping those carbs low. Staying consistent on a diet plan is hard enough without any extra nonsense to track.
  2. They Increase Nutrient Density, While Decreasing Total Calories– In the simplest terms, low carb diets tend to cause things like this to happen. Instead of ordering the french fries, you order a salad. Or instead of having dessert at a restaurant you tough it out, go home, and eat celery and peanut butter for a snack. In these scenarios, by choosing a low carb alternative you are also simultaneously decreasing total calories consumed AND you are increasing your nutrient density.
  3. They Work Fast– It is no mystery that low carb diets have a quick effect on us. Results begin to show in as little as a week of consistent meal planning. This can be important for those that need to “see” the results to keep them motivated.
  4. They Reduce Sugar– Pretty simple, but important none the less. reducing sugar will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels more stable throughout the day, promoting more of a metabolic environment. From a health standpoint reducing sugar is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. If you consume excess sugar consistently, and the liver becomes full of glycogen, any excess sugar then being consumed will convert directly to body fat, and also contribute to a fatty liver.
  5. They Increase Protein Intake– This last one is really by default because a low carb diet is going to be more rich in foods with less carbohydrates. Different types of meats all have little to no carbs per serving, and are rich in protein. The higher the protein intake is, the more satiation you will feel, helping prevent you from over eating. Also, eating more protein contributes to maintaining lean muscle mass while dieting, which in turn keeps your metabolism steady.

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Should You Have Cheat Meals?

Cheat meals are touted by many fitness experts as a necessary component to one’s dieting success. And I must say, I completely agree with them. If you are on a diet for weight loss, whether it be a basic calorie restriction, or you are on a low carb kick you will see results over time on either one. But putting in a scheduled cheat meal can not only help keep you sane, it can have other benefits as well.

Benefits

Cheat meals can keep your metabolism kickstarted. When you eat a low carb or a low calorie diet for a period of time, your bodies natural T3 production will start to decline. T3 is a thyroid hormone that is responsible for keeping a healthy metabolism. The cheat meal is a surplus of calories coming in, and will cause your body to produce a good amount of T3 to keep your production where it needs to be. By adding in the cheat meal, you will keep your metabolism at a steady rate to help continue your weight loss progress. So in the long run, you will be more efficient at burning more calories. Additionally, the cheat meal being put in your diet from time to time can help you break up the occasionally monotony you get from a restricted diet. It is no lie that your diet must be on point to see sustained results, but every once in a while its nice to have something different, without having to worry about it fitting in your meal plan.

Can You Handle It?

Now that I have given you the two positive aspects of cheat meals let me leave you with this. Cheat meals can be very useful and successful as long as they are not a gateway to binge eating, and completely falling off your plan. You need to be sure you have the discipline and control to be able to throw in cheat meals properly. I have literally had clients throw in cheat meals in their diet, and within a week completely fall off the tracks on their plan because instead of having one cheat meal weekly, they had three. Then it is no wonder that there results stalled. So be cautious of this as you move forward.

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Are Limiting Beliefs Stopping You From Achieving Your Fitness Goals?

Around this time of year during the holiday season everyone begins the voyage of getting back on track with their fitness goals. Whether it be to lose weight, get stronger, or hell, to look good naked, whatever goal is in mind seems to begin to resurface. We tell ourselves, “this time it is going to be different, this time I am going to do “X” and I am going to lose “X” number of pounds”. But within two weeks you are looking in the mirror telling your own self, who are you kidding, you weren’t going to do shit. Because the truth is, you never believed in yourself in the first place. You can have all the greatest goals in the world, but if you do not truly believe in yourself to make it happen, then the odds of you even coming close to doing so is slim to none. We call this limiting beliefs. It is when all the good intentions are there, but deep down in your gut, you know you are not going to have the discipline to make it happen. Some of you may be thinking, that sounds stupid, why would anyone do this?

Well, in most cases when referring to the fitness industry, when results aren’t happening as quickly as you would have hoped, you start to have some self doubt. Then you begin this process of comparing yourself to others, saying things like, well so and so goes to the gym five days a week and is still overweight too so maybe this is just who I am as well. Or he has great genetics, so he is going to look good regardless. Or, my personal favorite, he’s on steroids so I can never be even close to what he is. And, from here we slowly, or sometimes quickly settle right back into our comfort zone, and another year goes by, and we look and feel the same. This is a sad vicious cycle for most people today and I am here to tell you a few things…

One, it takes hard fucking work to reach your goals, no matter what, and it will always be harder than you anticipated I promise you that. Two, limiting beliefs are bullshit. You can literally do anything you want, you must make the decision to do something and have the discipline, and daily rituals to back it up. Unfortunately the vast majority of people will desire change but continue on the same path their entire lives. Psychologists have actually stated that the reason people will continue on this path of no change is because the pain is not enough to elicit a change in one’s habits, which I totally agree with. For example, as a kid I was fat. At ten years old I was 140lb, which is about 1.5 times the weight of the average kid in fourth grade. I was teased and made fun of by my own friends and even family. So my pain began at a young age. And it was here that something clicked in me that made me want to be different. I wanted to prove to everyone, including myself that I was better, and once I started becoming more active, getting involved in sports, and then eventually weight lifting, I realized I had great potential, and that I could achieve anything I wanted as long as I put in the time and effort. Now, if I would’ve told myself a different story back then, like what’s the point, or there is no way you are going to be in shape, not only would I have not achieved my short term goals, but my entire life could actually have played out different.

Do any of these scenarios above sound like anyone you know? Does it remind you of yourself? If so, I must tell you my friend you need to stop limiting yourself and start believing. Nothing worth while has ever come easy, ask anyone that has ever done a fitness competition, or even just ask the average person who put in the effort to lose 100 pounds. It takes time, hard work, and discipline to make it happen. Along your journey if you begin to feel discouraged with your progress, just remind yourself that it takes time to get where you desire. So be patient and put in the fucking work!

 

Why you need to deadlift

Do you even deadlift?

For those of you that are new to working out you may not even be familiar with this exercise, but the vast majority of folks know at least vaguely what a deadlift is. It is that move where you pick the bar up off the ground and set it back down. Simple enough right? Not so much. Form and technique are extremely important with this move so it may take some time to get your form down, but once you do, this exercise is the best hands down for a total body workout.

Every Major Muscle Group

The deadlift literally hits every major muscle group. From your legs, glutes, hips, entire back, and core. This is why it is also the most taxing on your body. One time a week is more than enough for using this move in your routine if you are an average gym goer. Some top powerlifters will deadlift 2-3 times per week, but they are only using maybe 70% of what they could really do and focusing more on technique only, while one of those workouts are actually at a training weight that is more suitable to building strength or building muscle.

Form Check

The proper form on a deadlift varies depending on which coach or guru you talk to, so I will give a basic definition of what your form should look like and give an image below that shows good technique.

For starters…Do not lift in shoes with a heel what so ever. This will naturally pitch you forward when you get in the ready position to pull. Either lift in bare feet or in something like a chuck taylor or reebok crossfit shoe.

Feet

From here step up to the barbell. Your feet should be far enough under the barbell to where it looks like the barbell would cut your foot in half if it were to keep going toward the floor. This is considered the best position to be in so you get the best and most balanced push from the floor. Your feet should be about a foot apart, maybe slightly wider if you are a bigger guy, or someone with large hips. Once your feet width is figured out, your toes should be pointed slightly outward to help incorporate more glute and hamstring muscles into the workout.

Hands

Now that your feet are in the correct position reach down and grab the barbell with both hands. Make sure your hands are at about a shoulders width and are not too wide. This will change your starting position and make the exercise even more difficult than it should be. For your grip I would start out with a hand over hand grip. Where both hands are over the bar. This will be shown in the image below.

Knees and Chest

Now that your feet and hands are in the right position bend your knees and raise you chest a bit. When you do this you should feel tight. This means you are just about ready to pull. Last thing to mention is your head position. When you lift your chest DO NOT raise your head up high as well. This will put you in a bad position to start your deadlift. Your head should be in a neutral position, meaning when you get into position your eyes should be looking at the ground about 12-15 feet in front of you, not looking at the floor, or looking up, just ahead of you 12-15 feet.

Pull! Wait…Push!

Now that you are in the right position you are ready to pull. But here is the number one thing to remember. A deadlift really isn’t a pull as much as it is a push with your feet. Yes you are pulling the weight off the floor, but pretending to push your feet through the floor will give you the best possible strength out of the starting position. The deadlift requires that hard push off the floor and then the back takes over on the mid range to lockout position. Check out the video tutorial below. This will walk you through what we just discussed above to give you a good visual of how to perform the movement. If you haven’t already I highly recommend adding the deadlift into your weekly routine. Not only will you get stronger but your physique will tighten up as well. Give them a shot!

 

Weight Training For Beginners

Where to Start

For someone just really breaking into weight training for the first time it can be overwhelming to say the least. You walk into a gym full of all walks of life, staring at you like you are the new kid in school. And the best part is, after about 10 minutes they realize you have no idea what you are doing. Sounds inviting right? Wrong, in fact these last few sentences are the reason most people never step foot in the gym and take control of their health. So this being said, having a solid plan put together before you blindly walk into the gym will help you get way ahead of the game compared to most.

Try This

Taking into consideration that you haven’t really ever exercised with weights I think the easiest way to get started would be to break down your workouts into a 2 day split. One day upper body, followed by a day of lower body. This way it makes the exercises you do easy to categorize. This 2 day split can be performed twice in a week. Monday and Thursday can be upper body, and Tuesday and Friday can be lower body. Then take Saturday and Sunday off for recovery. Also by flip flopping the days between upper and lower it allows you to recovery well between sessions. This can be done week to week for a long time before you would really need to switch anything up.

The Details

From here you need to put together a program for each day. For a beginner I would recommend doing moves that involve MORE than one muscle group. These types of moves are called compound movements such as the bench press, military press, or bent over rows. These moves will give you the best overall bang for your buck results wise. In fact, a great program for beginners that involves compound movements is the 5,3,1 program. For a great explanation and breakdown of the program check out the creator, Jim Wendler’s website. There is a lot of content out there written on this so I would highly recommend it. For a detailed exercise routine I myself can always lend a hand so if you would like any help with putting together your own customized routine feel free to contact us and I will help you as well. A custom routine would really focus more on the intricacies of your own personal goals. For example, say you were a former athlete and wanted to keep your legs strong and in good shape, well you would be doing a completely different routine from someone training to get a 400+lb bench press. So remember different goals will require a different focus. Nutrition Fx weight training