Can you diet for just two weeks?

It being Friday and all, I thought I would shed some light on why the weekends are so damaging.

There are a vast majority of us who are able to keep themselves under control Monday through Friday. We can eat clean. We can get our workouts in. And we don’t seem to be battling what I call “The Hungry Horrors” all that badly.

But that all changes once Friday evening arrives. Even with the best of intentions, we overeat Friday night, most of the day Saturday, Saturday night, and most of the day Sunday. Sometimes we regroup Sunday night, sometimes we don’t.

The worst part is that we “justify” by saying to ourselves……It’sthe weekend!!!!

Now I agree that there needs to be some time to indulge. What better time than the weekend? But how much is “too much?”

Let me fill you in on how this whole thing works. When you are indulging, you are usually taking in large quantities of carbs, right? And probably large quantities of fat as well. But I want to focus on the carbs.

When you start your clean phase (which is usually every Monday morning) your system is saturated with carbs. Your blood sugar is high and both your liver and your muscles are storing as many carbs as they can. Btw……all carbs become sugar in your system. Glucose and glycogen are just other ways to say “sugar.”

So, you start Monday morning by getting some cardio in and you start eating normal (restricted) amounts of carbs and fat. These two actions cause your blood sugar to start to drop because you are using glycogen during your workouts and are not replacing them with a ton more.

Over the course of the next 4-5 days your blood sugar will drop. As it drops your body will replace it with some of the carbs that are stored in your liver and muscles. Once the levels reach a certain point and there is nowhere to find extra carbs, your body will then begin to convert body fat into usable energy. In other words you liver will convert body fat into sugar and dump it back into the blood stream.

This is when you actually START to burn significant body fat. The problem is that it is Friday and the fat burning just started. There isn’t much time to burn fat because you know you are going out for pizza and some drinks within a few hours.

Once the weekend food and drink fest begins you will be refilling carbs into the blood stream, liver and muscles. Hence your body has no more need to convert body fat into energy and the fat burning ceases.

The reason the scale moves down from Monday to Friday is more attributable to the loss of water associated with the reduction of carbs and exercise……not fat loss.

Most people wonder why they have only lost a pound or two over the course of an entire month. What I just explained is the reason. We never stay in that “fat burning” zone for very long before we are right back into the decadence. Seemingly we lose and gain the same 4-5 pounds week after week.

I have a simple cure for some of my clients who have a problem with this concept. I call it “The Two Week Diet.” I ask them to get through one weekend…..just one……without indulging. Most people say they can handle that.

What this gives us is 7-8 straight days in that “fat burning” mode. At the end of two weeks they have lost the 4-5 pounds of water PLUS 1-3 pounds of body fat. So if you counted on this path of two weeks of dieting followed by a weekend splurge, you would still lose 3-6 pounds of body fat per month instead of none or a pound or so.

More importantly than the actual weight loss is the lesson learned about the cost of over-indulging. Most clients are able to cool it on the weekends after this little experiment.

On a side note, one cheat meal will not usually refill your entire carb storing system. Therefore, if you have a cheat meal but are pretty much in control for the rest of the weekend, you will not set yourself back in the same way and entire weekend of splurging will.

If you are struggling with this problem give the two week diet a try. Let me know your results.

What are you afraid of?

I want to talk about perspective. I know this is going to sound crazy but we really are self-centered. We think the world revolves around us.

Spend 5 minutes on social media and you will see what I mean. I’m no different. I believe that is why we build things up in our minds. We only see the world around us through our own perspective.

Let me give you an example. I had six athletes compete in a physique contest this weekend. We had a couple of male bodybuilders, a figure girl and three bikini girls. One of my bikini competitors was telling me about a conversation she had with another bikini competitor.

This particular bikini girl was very tall (I’m guessing close to six feet, plus 5 inch heels). She was nervous because she felt that she was at a disadvantage because she was so tall. She stated that it wasn’t fair.

What makes this funny is that I overheard a group of girls in her class who were complaining as well. But they felt that THEY were at a disadvantage because they could not compete with the tall girl. They also felt that it was unfair.

So how can everyone in the class feel like it is unfair?

Crazy right?

We do stuff like this to ourselves all the time. We dramatize everything. We make it bigger than it needs to be. And we fail to understand that that the world may not be as we have built it up to be.

This causes fear. We inflict ourselves with fear on a daily basis. How many times have you heard someone say “I’m gonna lose some weight before I sign up at the gym”? Huh? Isn’t that were you go to lose weight?

What happens is that this person builds up the gym to be an Olympus of sorts. They perceive a place where everyone is gorgeous and thin and ripped and awesome. And because the world revolves around them, they expect that upon entering the gym everyone will immediately turn around to stare at them, all sound will cease and the world as they know it will come to an end.

Do you want to know what really happens? Nothing. When you walk into the gym for the first time, no one will notice you. You will be as ambiguous as the paint on the wall. Why? Because everyone there is also self-centered and will be too busy grooming their own world perspective.

TMZ won’t be there to document your embarrassment. Fox News won’t have a reporter following you to get a statement. No one will know that you are there or remember that you were there.

So why all the drama?

You need to change your perspective. The truth is that the gym is just a place were people go to work on themselves. We are all at different levels of fitness but this is the one place where we are all doing the same thing.

To be honest with you, there is a level of respect that comes with hard work. If you go into the gym and work, people will eventually respect your commitment and work ethic.

That is a far cry from the expected humiliation we tortured ourselves with, isn’t it?

Give the gym, boot camp, cardio kickboxing, a 5K race, Barre class, yoga, etc a try. There is no need to be intimidated. There will be people just like you. Each of them will have their own struggle that they are trying to overcome.

Change your perspective and you will eliminate fear. Without fear there is nothing that can stop you.

Go get ’em!!!!

Does losing 50 pounds in ten weeks interest you?

There are all kinds of statistics in regards to weight loss. You can find 100 articles that contradict each other as far as the specific numbers. The most poplar (by far) is this one “According to national diet surveys, 95% of the people who go on a diet and lose weight, gain the weight back within the first year “plus 10% more”.

The statistics for losing 100 pounds or more are even more gruesome. I’m not going to debate the actual numbers. I think that most of these studies confirm that the success rate of weight loss is poor and the success rate of 100 pound weight loss is even worse.

Does it really matter if it is 90% or 95%? Does it matter if the percentage for 100 pound weight loss is 98% or 99%? No, it doesn’t.

I think that the reasons for the lack of success in both cases are the same. Therefore, the actual numbers don’t matter because the solution is the same.

In my experience (20 years as a personal trainer/nutrition consultant, contest prep coach, fitness/nutrition author,etc) there are two main reasons why most programs fail.

The first reason is that people do too much too soon. Because the desire is HUGE, most people progress too quickly. Their bodies cannot keep up with their desires and they force themselves into either injury or the overtraining cycle. Both of these things kill progress.

The second reason is that most programs are not “comprehensive.” Running, in and of itself, is not comprehensive. Dieting alone, is not comprehensive. Weight training is not comprehensive. Boot camp, barre, CrossFit, yoga, metabolic conditioning, cardio kickboxing, etc are not comprehensive.

The piece of the puzzle that all these programs are missing is the most important….retraining your brain!!!! Some of the programs mentioned above have quite a few elements of a successful program, but none tackle the issue of training your brain. None have exercises, projects and education on rerouting your mental pathways.

There is an educational process you need to go through to solidify that weight loss for a lifetime. Without it you will continue to gain and lose the same 100 pounds over and over again (multiple times) throughout your life.

I’ve been working with an amazing guy since May 5th of this year (2016). He has gained and lost hundreds of pounds over the years. He has had what appears to be “great” success to the naked eye. But, it has been fleeting. Why? Because the brain keeps returning to the same negative thought patterns.

His results over the last 10 weeks have been truly remarkable. He has lost 53.4 pounds in that time. He was considering knee surgery prior to starting this program but has now decided it is no longer needed. He has no more pain in that knee. His doctor is ecstatic with his progress.

Impressive? Of course. But that isn’t what has impressed me. His attitude is where the real progress has been made. He actually enjoys his workouts. He has true control over his eating. What I mean by that is he isn’t just being a martyr by suffering through food choices. We can all do that for a short time but it catches up with us. He has spent a week at the lake and has attended cookouts and eating out on many different occassions over the last 10 weeks.

We are spending far more time and energy on the mental aspect of this process and it has made all the difference in the world. We have more work to do but he now has a solid foundation on which to build. It isn’t a false sense of security like he has had in the past.

I feel confident that he will finally be successful in maintaining control of this for the rest of his life. I have seen this before. I have had many clients lose over 100 pounds and keep it off for many years, so I recognize the signs. The commitment, the thirst for knowledge, the positive outlook and the enjoyment of the process are the same in all of these success stories.

This program is available to you as well. I am only one person so the group that I offer this program to is limited. But, it is the absolute best program on the planet to not only get you back on track and lose weight but, more importantly, give you the skill set to keep it off forever and gain control over your life.

If this is something that you are interested in you need to reach out to me and tell my why it is so important that you get into this program and why you are a good candidate.

Time is ticking and the spots will fill up quickly (usually in 48 hours).

Are you Buster Posey?

I heard an interesting evaluation of San Francisco Giants catcher, Buster Posey, during last nights All-Star Game.

The manager of the National League (who is not Posey’s coach) was going on and on about how much of a “professional” he was. He talked about his obvious skills and described him as one of, if not the best catcher in the league.

We hear stuff like this all the time about people. Sometimes it is genuine and sometimes it is political correctness. That’s not the part that blew my mind. The manager went on to say that Posey told him that he would be available at the end of the game (to be re-inserted into the game) if he was needed.

Wow! If you are unfamiliar with the All-Star Game, let me fill you in. It is more of a celebration than an actual game. It is really about showcasing the best players in the game. Most players only play an inning or two and then step aside and give someone else (another superstar) a chance to play. Once they are out of the game they become cheerleaders and have a ton of fun goofing off.

Posey, on the other hand, told his coach that he would be ready to go back in if needed. That kid is a GAMER. That kid gets respect. That kid is someone to look up to. I have always admired him but this brings it to a new level.

This is a kid that “gets it.” His love for the game, passion to win and respect for the process is clearly evident here.

Isn’t that how we should all approach the rest of our lives? Shouldn’t we all have that kind of commitment, passion and respect for our lives?

Are you THAT committed to reaching your fitness goals? Are you THAT passionate about your profession? Do you have THAT much respect for the process?

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say…..probably not. Only because we aren’t where we want to be…….YET.

I can guarantee that if you put in the same commitment, passion and respect for the process, you would be crazy successful in any endeavor you chose to follow.

I think too many of us “ride the fence.” We “kinda” want it, but aren’t willing to make enough sacrifices to get it.

Average effort equals average results. It really is that simple. Ask yourself if you are giving enough. Ask yourself if you REALLY want it. Ask yourself if you are sacrificing enough. Ask yourself if you respect it AND yourself enough to make it happen.

Be the Buster Posey of fitness, of finance, of school or of life. But you gotta follow his example. Be a true “professional.”

Stop chasing Pokemon through the neighborhood.

Why aren’t you taking advantage of technology?

We have apps for everything today. We have devices galore. We can pay our bills, track our expenses, find the calorie content of a yam only found in the southwest corner of the Phillipines, GPS our run, count our steps, monitor our heartbeat, match our steps to a musical beat, and even chase a gosh darn Pokemon through the neighborhood.

Are you having trouble getting motivated? There’s an app for that. You have trouble remembering? There’s an app for that too. You have trouble with accountability? App! You need variety on your workout? App!

So, why aren’t you using all of this cool stuff?

Can we both agree that you should be using some of these things? Yes? Good. We now finally agree on something.

So, now that we agree, what should you use? Here are my favorites.

#1: Food Tracker App. There are a hundred of them. I’ve used “Lose It” and “My Fitness Pal.”  These are vital to keeping you honest on your diet…which is 80-90% of losing weight. Make sure it is simple to use and can sync with other apps that are helpful. You should be able to look up the food value of just about any food and keep a running log of your macro-nutrients (protein, carbs, fat).

#2: Activity Tracker. There are a bunch. Fit Bit seems to be the most popular. I use Vivofit by Garmin. The app syncs with the “My Fitness Pal” app as well so there is less data for me to enter. These devices can be incredibly helpful to keep you mindful. They also add a bit of competition with yourself.

#3: GPS Watch or App for your phone. These are great for runners, walkers and bikers. You can track any route and know exactly how far you have gone. They also have value as far as safety goes. No one needs to get lost on a run.

#4: Digital Food Scale. My bodybuilding clients are required to have one. They are not allowed to “eyeball” their food. I’m not saying that the average person needs to be that precise but what it will do is give you a better idea when you do “eyeball” your food. If you have measured out 4 oz. of chicken a thousand times you have a good idea of what 4 oz. of chicken looks like when the scale isn’t available. Sorry bodybuilders, you still need to measure EVERYTHING!!!

#5: Meditation App. Meditation apps have many different uses from stress relief to help sleeping to creativity. I use BrainWave Binaural Programs. Put on your headphones, hit the app and chill. We all need to chill.

These are just a few of the thousands of devices and apps that can make reaching our fitness goals easier and more fun. But the bottom line is that you need to get off your butt and DO the things you are supposed to do. There isn’t an app that will eat and workout for you yet……YET!

Are you an Instagram Drama Queen?

So, you have gone on vacation. You spent the last week unwinding at the beach, eating out and hydrating thoroughly by way of adult beverages. You are feeling “fluffy”, guilty and sad that the festivities are now supposed to come to an end. There is a bit of separation anxiety between you and the allures of the beach/vacation life.

Why does it have to end?

To be honest with you, it doesn’t have to “END.” That word “END” is so final. Nothing needs to “END.” We just need to regroup. Summertime fun does not have to be ripped from our lives forever.

We are so damn dramatic aren’t we? Every emotion is either the end of the world or a new rebirth. PLEASE…..get a grip. Your life isn’t a made for TV mini-series or soap opera.

Most of our lives (the vast majority) is spent in the “in between” moments. Yes the dramatic moments get most of the attention but 95% of our lives revolve around daily menial tasks.

Think about how much time is spent working, sleeping, caring for your kids, maintaining the house, driving, shopping, and other every day things. Guess what Dude? That’s life.

So, all you are really doing, the day after vacation, is returning to that comfortable every day mentality. You know it. You’ve done it. You are actually looking forward to it. But the “Drama Queen” in you wants to lament over “The End.”

It’s time to put your “Instagram Selfie Celebrity” on the shelf for a bit.

Sunday night (after vacation) you need to perform these tasks. They will help you find that state of mind where you are a pre-programmed machine that performs menial tasks with tremendous efficiency.

Step 1: Make a “To Do” list. We get more things done when we have created a contract (To Do list) with ourselves. Writing it down greatly improves our chances of completing it.

Step 2: Create and assemble your meals for tomorrow. I said “create AND assemble.” Good intentions won’t mean squat tomorrow. Only action works here. It is waaaaay too easy to justify in your mind by thinking “what’s one more day of cheating?”

Step 3: Take out your “workout” clothes and shoes for the next day. Ya….I know it only takes a few seconds to reach into the drawer and pull out a tank top and shorts. So, if it only takes a few seconds, why are you arguing with me to do it now? If you take them out you have already made a decision. This decision is made when you are in a moment of strength. If you wait until morning you will be in a position of weakness. Decisions are far more difficult then.

Step 4: Use your Instagram Drama Queen to your advantage. Go on social media and expose your plan to get back on track. Your friends will encourage and support your decision. It will also provide accountability.

Step 5: Plan your next “cheat meal” or fun activity. Put it on the calendar. This will help you avoid the drama of “The End” and give you something to look forward too (earn, if you will).

These things should help in returning you to your normal routine. Vacation is not over. There will be plenty of moments throughout the summer to have fun. You will still be able to enjoy them if you get some control over the “in between” moments.

 

Growing pains

I am reflecting quite a bit this morning. My daughter turns sixteen today.  She is my youngest child and my only daughter.

I woke up asking myself how this could be possible. I still feel as if Iam only sixteen at times. This is a very bittersweet moment. I am so happy she is healthy, happy, beautiful, intelligent, funny, caring, etc, etc, etc……but there is a sadness as well. She is no longer that fragile baby bird that I need to protect from the world. She is a young woman and needs to be given the tools to be successful in her own right……not just because Daddy imposes his will on anything or anyone that dares stand in her way.

I love that role!!! But it needs to change a bit. She needs my protection less and less but my understanding and guidance even more. Man, this parenting stuff is not easy.

But I guess everything in life is similar. We outgrow our confines and need to relocate, reconfigure or reinvent.

This is true of relationships, business, money, love, parenting, school and just about every area of life.

The problem is that once we have even a small degree of success we freeze. We get comfortable and are afraid to risk that small success. We get too proud of it. And that is crippling.

Fitness is no different. Once we lose a few pounds, we think we have “found the answer.” So, we dismiss all other options. This close-mindedness is rampant in the industry. Trainers are not averse to this as well. Some trainers let their ego paint them into a corner. It becomes their “system” or their “style.” They then try to paint ALL of their clients with the same brush. Square peg, round hole scenario.

There are a million and one ways to be successful at reaching your fitness goals. There is no one formula that covers all the bases. What worked for you yesterday may not work today. So, you need to keep an open mind and search for the new combination that will open the vault of your new physique.

It really is no different than me seeking answers on how to support and parent a sixteen year old. I can’t use the same techniques I did when she was a child. She is different now. And I need to become different to be able to foster that.

So, don’t be afraid to try something that is different. Don’t be afraid to grow and morph and excel. It will be uncomfortable at first but it is crucial to your progress.

I love my daughter more every day. That will never change. Your passion for your fitness goals should grow as well…..even though the pathway is different.

You should eat and drink like a fool

There are important things in life that most of us neglect. We get caught up in working and hustling and just trying to get stuff done and we forget to “stop and smell the roses.”

Hustling is great. Work ethic is important. Climbing the ladder is noble. But is that all there is to life? I certainly hope not. We need time to decompress and recharge the battery.

I have this set of “Vacation Rules” for my clients. These rules are guidelines for the client to follow when they go on vacation. These clients have had great success in the process of approaching their fitness goals. Most of them express their concern that “vacation” can sidetrack them and negate all the progress they have made.

Some of that concern is just self doubt and fear. Some of it is based on their own personal history. In the past their progress has been stopped dead in it’s tracks by not being able to get out of “vacation mode.”

It is an understandable concern. We have all been in that particular scenario. “Holiday Mode” is another very similar event. The fun and decadence of an extended and joyous time is difficult to let go of once it is over.

So here are some of my rules for vacation.

Rule #1: (This rule supersedes all other rules. No other rule can interfere with Rule #1.) YOU MUST HAVE FUN!!!!!!

Vacation is supposed to be fun. You are supposed to enjoy yourself. You are supposed to indulge in the finer things in life. So, enjoyment and fun are the top priority on any vacation. All other rules should be cast aside if Rule #1 is not happening.

We didn’t work hard all year and save money to go on vacation and not have fun. We all need to forget about bills, work, school, and all the other ancillary things that cause us to run around like crazy people on a daily basis.

This is about health, right? So how healthy can you be if you don’t recuperate? How effective will you be at your job, parenting or school if you are stressed and tired all the time? Not very!!!

Rule #2: Develop a gameplan for your vacation. This is based on personal preference and personality. Some feel that worrying about working out and eating well will ruin their fun. If that is the case, then don’t! Yup, eat and drink like a fool because having fun is the most important thing.

Other people, who have already embraced the fitness lifestyle, would be stressed if they DIDN’T workout and eat pretty well. Well then, workout and eat well if that is what makes you happy.

Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. We want to have fun but we also want to continue on the fitness path we have already started and have invested time and energy into.

There are 3 million ways to develop a gameplan for vacation. There are just too many variables to discuss here. But I will give you an example.

I had a client that had lost 32 pounds while working with me. He expressed concerns that he was going to ruin his progress by going on a ten day business trip with his adult son in Reno. He had been on this trip before and knew what it entailed.

We talked about what he wanted to accomplish. He fell in the middle (wanted to have fun but still wanted to be concerned about his fitness). We came up with a simple plan. He was going to workout every morning at the hotel gym (even if for only ten minutes). He was going to eat clean for breakfast and lunch. Then he could “do his thing” at dinner and beyond. The final instruction was to scrap this plan if he wasn’t having fun.

Ten days later he returned. He started to tell me all the details of his trip but I stopped him. I said “Stop……I have one question for you. Did you have fun?” He proceeded to tell me that it was the best trip of his life. He bonded with his son. He went to some great shows. He ate and drank and was merry.  Then, and only then, did I let him tell me about the other details.

As it turned out, he followed the plan pretty well. He worked out 8 of the 10 days. And he followed the eating plan as we devised in the same manner. How do you think he made out? How about LOSING 1.5 lbs along the way? He was ecstatic!!!! I was too.

I told him that even if he had gained a few pounds, it is nothing we couldn’t correct in about a weeks time. Which leads me to the final rule.

Rule #3: Immediately get back into the routine that was successful for you before vacation. ASAP or sooner!!!! This is paramount to your long-term success. You need to identify “modes” and be able to move in and out of them with grace and speed. Get that accountability factor going for yourself.

I have found this methodology to be very effective over the years. Vacation is some of the best moments of our lives. It doesn’t have to come at the expense of our fitness and future happiness and health. So enjoy yourself and then get back in the game. Life is more than hustle and stress.