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.
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.
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!
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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Here is an excellent dessert to try sometime if you need to satisfy that sweet tooth without feeling guilty. Check it out!
- 3 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup crème fraiche
- 1 teaspoon liquid stevia
- 1.5 teaspoons coconut flakes
- 2 cups raw, unsalted macadamia nuts
- .5 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- .25 teaspoon salt
Directions (For the crust)
Process macadamia nuts in food processor until finely chopped. Add coconut, coconut oil and salt and pulse until the ingredients come together and the texture is similar to big grains of sand.
Use a Tablespoon measurement to drop scoops of the crust into a 12 count silicone cupcake pan. Use your fingers to press the crust down evenly and firmly in the bottom of each cupcake space.
Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.
Dissolve the gelatin in 1 cup hot water by whisking vigorously. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, blend cream cheese until smooth. Add crème fraiche, sweetener (optional) and coconut flavor and blend until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in gelatin, beating until thoroughly blended in.
Pour the batter into the cupcake pan on top of the crusts, filling each space close to the top. Chill at least 2 hours, until set.
To remove the cupcake bites, press from the bottom of the silicone cupcake pan to lift each cheesecake up. Done! Enjoy.
Rate Of Perceived Exertion?
Here is something I wanted to share with you guys to put things into perspective for you. How many of you have heard of rate of perceived exertion? If you have great, if not what this means is how much did you actually exert yourself during exercise. From one to ten, rate today’s workout. Was it a 6,8,or even a 10? Now, most people like to think they are giving a 10 effort every single time, but what if I told you that may not be the best approach? Let me explain…
Imagine you and I were at the gym together, and I asked you to do as many push-ups as you could possibly do until failure, not one more repetition in the gas tank. And, let’s say you did 20. Would it be wise to come back to the gym tomorrow and do the same exact thing? Would it be a good idea to even come back and do the same movement in 2 days? The answer is the same… no. But if I said hey, how about you only do 10 or 12 push-ups a day with good form, could you do this everyday? Think about it from this perspective, say you did your push-ups at 12 reps every day for 7 days in a row. You would have done 84 reps in the week. Now, if you did the 20 rep routine that you could only endure 3 times a week, not only did you beat your body up, you also only accomplished 60 reps for the week, which is 30% less volume! I have always been a big proponent of intense training, but if you are only able to do that training 3 good days a week, you may be leaving a lot of progress on the table. Mathematically speaking, in this tiny example there is a 24 rep difference in the week. Multiply that by 52 weeks in a year. You are looking at 1248 repetitions!
This is Why the Russians Kick Our Ass
In Russia, they utilize what has been coined as Eastern Block training, a style which incorporates a lot more volume being performed, with lower intensity. The only time the intensity goes up is when you get close to a competition. Other than that you are staying at that 6-7 intensity out of 10 range on your training sessions. But, staying disciplined and consistent with getting in your training sessions, which is key as you can see from the example shown above. So if you are ever wondering if you are training enough or too much because you aren’t seeing progress, I would suggest keeping this in mind. You may need to change up your training routine. If you are exercising 4 days a week, but always feel fatigued and sore, you might be going too intense and may benefit from breaking up your lifting session into more frequent workouts with less intensity. Either that or you are a novice and you have yet to discover what true exertion, or failure is. But that will come with time, just like anything else. That’s it for today, thanks for reading.
How many times have you seen someone who was obese, begin to lose weight using diet and exercise, and get very close to their end goal, and then they end up stalling out, or even worse, start to put the weight all back on. They seem to be doing most of the right things, but a few slip ups here and there and the weight just sticks back on to them like glue. Here’s why….
Why You Keep Re-Gaining Weight
As we grow up, from a child to an adult, our bodies naturally end up with a fixed number of fat cells that we develop during our childhood years. Then as we hit adolescence that number pretty much stays where it is, unless we begin to eat so much that our body is forced to create new cells. This only occurs when all other fat cells have been filled to the maximum capacity, causing the body to adapt by making new cells. And the worst part is once these cells have been created, they do not go away. You can diminish them down by losing all that excess stored energy that is inside the cell, so in other words you can shrink the fat cells, but you can not eliminate them. So if you were obese with 40% body fat, and drop your body fat percentage to say 17%, you will still have the cells with you equivalent to 40%, but they are not filled because you have utilized the bulk of those cells for energy through what is called lipolysis, which is your bodies’ ability to take stored fat and use it up as energy. Now this is a great thing, to go from 40 to 17 percent, but since such a high percentage of fat was present at one time, this will make you more sensitive to re-gaining body fat since those cells are still present.
The biggest issue with having all these extra cells is when you do lose body fat, those cells are used to being filled up, which provides you extra energy for daily tasks. And since your body has burned through all that extra energy, it will offer resistance at times to try to get itself back to what it thought was normal, aka homeostasis. Also, when these cells are depleted through fat loss, the bodies leptin levels, (hunger hormone) will get kicked on in a lot of cases because again the brain is thinking you are depleted and need to eat, so leptin gets kicked on, and hunger sets in, causing you to over eat or totally cheat on your diet.
Is There Any Way To Eliminate Fat Cells Then?
There is one method that doesn’t technically “kill fat cells”, but converts them into a more useful type of fat, and that is cold exposure. You see there are two types of stored fat cells, white adipose tissue cells, and metabolism stimulating brown fat cells. By using cold therapy, research has shown that white fat cells can begin to convert to brown fat cells, making them more susceptible to be utilized as energy. Now when I say cold therapy, we aren’t even talking about cryo chamber cold or anything like that, we are just talking about cold showers, or applying ice to certain areas of the body. Very simple things to do to help with converting the cells, but there is a catch to this. The cold therapy must be consistently done to keep that conversion happening. So taking a morning walk without a coat, or taking a cold shower, even applying ice after a workout to certain areas all can be beneficial to keeping those fat cells brown, and in a burning state. So if you can’t eliminate them, just convert them!
“Hey man, what do you take”?
I always get asked at least once a week about what my supplement routine is. So I thought I would share my current regimen with you guys to maybe provide some guidance. My typical morning starts off with either an egg based breakfast, such as scrambled eggs, or I will use the Pro-3 Protein powder and make a smoothie. Since the first meal of my day is also my pre-workout meal I typically throw some carbs into this meal to help fuel my upcoming workout. If I do the egg meal for breakfast, then I end up eating those with oatmeal. But, if I go with the smoothie instead, I will end up adding a banana to the smoothie for the carbohydrates. With my breakfast meal is when I also take my first dose of sarms. Right now I am using S4 and GWXT pre-workout. I take 2 capsules of each with breakfast.
Now It’s Time to Get Motivated
About fourty five minutes to an hour after breakfast I will mix up a scoop of Limitless Pre-workout in about 16 ounces of water and start sipping on it approximately 30 minutes before I go to the gym. I will consume about half to two thirds of the Limitless before I get to the gym, and finish it during the first 20 minutes of my workout. Throughout the rest of the workout I just sip on water until I am done training. After my workout I don’t rush to take in a meal or protein shake. I typically get home from the gym, and within approximately 60-90 minutes of finishing my lift I usually make a smoothie. Anywhere around 40-50 grams of protein total, so approximately 2 scoops of Pro-3 Chocolate, a banana, and 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter. I add this to 6 ounces of water with 6-8 ice cubes. Blend and done. After this, I am really not taking in any other supplements until bed time, which is about 10 hours from the time I have my post workout shake. The only thing I use in between that time and bed time are the Vital Greens Super Food Blend. I add 2 scoops into 20 ounces of water and sip on it throughout the evening. I do this to try to make sure I am getting in enough nutrition and anti-oxidants to support my recovery, but also Vital Greens tastes really good for a “greens” formula, and breaks up the monotony of just drinking water all day.
The last supplement I use about 30 minutes before bed is Ibutamoren. I take three capsules every night before bed. It seems to help with sleep, and I recover much faster on it. And that’s it, a handful of key items is all I use on a daily basis. What are your favorite supplements?
In today’s modern world sleep has been put on the back burner in many people’s lives. The average person today is burning the candle at both ends, during the week and then attempting to play catch up on there weekends. New research has actually been showing that the “playing catch up” game doesn’t work. In fact practicing this messes with your natural circadian rhythm and over time can increase your risk of heart disease. So your best bet is to get as much quality sleep as you can consistently each night. Here are a few surefire ways to help you get that quality sleep you are looking for.
- Try not to eat anything within 2 hours of bedtime. Not eating before bedtime will help the body release the correct hormones, like GH(growth hormone), which will help promote more restful, quality sleep.
- Take a warm bath followed by stretching before bed. Keeping the muscles nice and relaxed before bed will help put you into a sleep state faster.
- Be sure to ditch the blue lights! This includes tv, phones, and computers. Blue light from these products can be very disruptive to your sleep.
- Keep it cool in your room. Heat can be a tough environment to get the body into a sleep state, so be sure to have the ac on if you plan on getting quality rest.
Should I Change Gyms?
This is a question I think doesn’t get asked often enough and leads people to complacency and “average” thinking very quickly when it comes to getting the results they want at the gym. Here are a few simple things to ponder on to make you either realize you are where you need to be, or it’s time to move on.
Biggest Fish in a Tiny Pond
Are you the biggest, strongest, fittest, most consistent gym goer at your local 24 hour spot? If so….It’s time to switch gyms. Why you ask? You need to surround yourself with people of your caliper or hopefully you can surround yourself with people that are even better than yourself to help keep your competitive fire alive. If you are an advanced lifter training with beginners, novices, and intermediates at the local YMCA, you may look like the hulk there, but the truth is you may be robbing from your own potential.
What Does Your Gym Really Offer?
Where I am going with this one is does your gym offer personal training, classes, or anything that could be of benefit to your overall goals, or are they offering you free candy, pizza, and soft drinks as an incentive because you decided to show up to the gym today? Clearly the pizza and candy is a problem if you have any amount of drive to make yourself better. And if you actually think that a gym giving away this kind of crap is okay, then please stop reading my blog because you clearly do not get it, and you never will….Seriously thou. So make sure that your gyms attitude and motivation is looking out for your best interest, otherwise make a run for it.
How Is The Atmosphere?
When you are at your gym working out, are you noticing a lot of like minded people working toward something? In other words, no matter their fitness level do you notice good effort being put in or is it more of a social club? You can have all the motivation in the world heading into a gym, but there is something about going in the gym and seeing a whole crowd of people that could just as soon be at a coffee shop bullshitting about nothing. It can take your motivation level from a 10 to a 4 pretty quick. Gives you the impression that as long as we show up and eventually get through our lifting routine we should see some results. Now, if you have been a gym avid gym goer for some time you know this is a fairy tale, but if your newer to the gym scene, this type of environment can be extremely impressionable on you. So my advice here is, find a gym where you notice people of all ages really putting in some time and work. These are people you can most likely learn something from. The only thing you will learn from the social club is who won the game last night.
In closing, I urge clients to give this sort of stuff a lot of thought because I would say 90% of getting in shape is mental. It’s getting in the right frame of mind, day in and day out consistently that is going to get you the absolute best results. And you do not have the time to waste wanting to deal with issues that can already be avoided such as these above.