Why establishing healthy habits are better than calorie counting, fad diets, and the latest “Weight Loss” supplement.

Fitness Nutrition Weightloss

If your goal is to lose weight and keep it off, establishing healthy habits is the best way to go.  Why? By establishing healthy habits you will begin to make better food choices that will help you lose those unwanted pounds and keep them off over time.

“Now wait a minute! Didn’t you blog about the importance of tracking not too long ago?”  Yes, I believe tracking is an important tool.  Unfortunately for most of us, that task eventually becomes tedious and we lose interest.  Tracking is vital in the beginning stages of weight loss because it provides a picture of the number of calories being consumed throughout the day. In my experience it is typical to underestimate how much we are actually eating.  Tracking helps to make decisions as to where changes or adjustments can be made with our food choices.

Fad diets tend to work in the short term but the results rarely last. All too often, people gain back more weight than they lost because the diet taught them to lose weight quickly with no healthy habits to maintain the results.  Weight loss supplements can also help around the margins but the “return on investment” is not that great.

Here are three healthy habits that I recommend:  First, eat 3 – 4 satisfying meals per day and NO SNACKING.  I only recommend the 4th meal if you eat a late dinner. Going from noon to 7:30PM at night with nothing to eat can be difficult for some people, however the NO SNACKING part is most important.  Unfortunately, we tend to consume a lot of extra calories throughout the day from grabbing a small bite here and there, especially late night snacking.

Second, start to pay attention to your hunger cues.  All too often, we grab something to eat out of habit and not due to actual hunger.  Once you get a hang of that, try to wait 30 minutes before you eat.  This will push your meals further apart which generally leads to eating less food.

Third, stop drinking liquid calories and start replacing processed and boxed foods with whole foods.  Add an extra serving of vegetables, prepare more home cooked meals, and cut back/substitute high calorie toppings, cooking oils, butter, etc.

By establishing these healthy habits and practicing them consistently, you will begin to see results both short term and long term.  It worked for me and I’m confident it will work for you.

 

Transform Your Body Using These 3 Simple Steps

Fitness Nutrition Weightloss

 

OK first I must admit that I put on a few extra pounds over the winter.  It’s not that I stopped working out, I just stopped paying attention to what I was eating and enjoyed beer, wine, and sweets a little too much.  Unfortunately, aside from packing on a few extra pounds I also irritated my lower back in was in pain for a few weeks.  I decided I needed to shape up so I set a goal to go on a strict 4 week diet after my 41st birthday. Unfortunately, my strict diet only lasted about 4 days but I stumbled onto 3 simple steps that have allowed me make steady progress over the last 3 months.  I am convinced that these steps will also work for just about anyone.  The 3 steps are:

Step 1: Track Your Food

Tracking what you eat is probably the most important steps you can begin doing.  Most people we coach are surprised at the amount of calories and fat they are eating.  To start, download a fitness app like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt!, enter your personal settings and it will give you a recommend calorie target.  Next, you’ll need to get a food scale and some measuring cups.  This takes out the guess work, accuracy is important.  It requires a little leg work upfront but after a while the app will remember your most common foods and make tracking a lot easier.

Step 2: Make Adjustments

Now that you’re armed with the information of your diet, it’s time to make healthier choices.  Here are some ideas that can help:

  • Began preparing batches of lean meat. What really seems to work is cooking 3 days of chicken in a crock pot and shredding it. It’s easy to prepare, easy to weigh and portion out, and you can use different spices for variety. 
  • Purchase meal prep containers. This just makes it easy for you to put lunches together so you can grab and go. Most people make poor food choices if they are hungry and healthy choices aren’t readily available.
  • Enter as many meals as possible into your fitness app each morning. Since your meals are already prepared in your meal prep containers, this should only take a few minutes.  Now you only need to track your last meals of the day.

Focus on your total calories and the grams of Protein, Carbs, and Fat you consume. For simplicity sake, I recommend mainly focusing on your total calories and keeping your protein intake to 35-40% of your total calories.   Also, keep your fat consumption low.

Step 3: Exercise

Try to exercise 180 minutes per week.  The best way to break this up is to do either 60 minutes 3 time per week or 45 minutes 4 times per week. Ideally you should have a good mix of weights and cardio but I’ve seen people get results doing just one or the other.  Bottom line, get your sweat on!

These are the 3 steps I took that gave me results.  I would like to add that I usually have about 3 cheat meals on the weekend, enjoy a few glasses of wine or pints of beer, and treat myself to some type of dessert once a week.  I’m sure my progress would be much further if I didn’t treat myself as much but I still want to enjoy things too.  I just do it in moderation.

If you are interested in making similar changes, schedule a free fitness consultation and see how we can help!

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Abraham Gerving

5 Movements That Should Be In Every Workout Routine

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You have probably heard people say they are training “legs” or “chest” some other area.  This type of training was made popular by bodybuilders, however most people are NOT bodybuilders.  Instead, it is more efficient when people workout with movement in mind.  Here are the 5 movements every workout program should contain:

Squat:

If you have ever sat down in a chair and stood up again, you’ve squatted.  Squats basically work the entire lower body (quads, gluts, hamstrings, calves) and because they involve so many large muscle groups, they also burn a lot of calories.  There are several variations out there (back squat, front squat, goblet squat, kettlebell squat, etc.) so you should be able to find one that is a good fit for you.

Squat

Hinge (Deadlift):

If you are scared off by the term “deadlift”, don’t be.  While most people think of an Olympic athlete or powerlifter there are many other variations out there.  These variations include Romanian deadlifts, hyperextensions, kettlebell swings, and single leg deadlifts.  The “hinge” motions works the back side of your body (glutes, hamstrings, calves, back, etc.) and if done properly, will help train you how to pick things up properly and avoid back injury.  One important point: when doing this exercise make sure your lower back stays natural or even arched a little. DO NOT let it round.

Deadlift

Push:

This is any exercise where you are pushing something away from your body.  The most popular exercise of this type is the bench press but honestly, as I’m getting older, I prefer push-ups.  Other exercises include shoulder presses, dumbbell presses, and incline presses.  These exercises primarily work the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Bench Press

Pull:

Conversely to the push, this exercise involves pulling something toward your body (or your body toward something).  Rows, pull-downs, and pull-ups are excellent examples.  These work your back muscles, rear delts (back of the shoulder), and biceps. 

Pull-Down

Single-Leg Exercises

While walking, do you move both feet at the same time or do you have to balance on one leg as you step forward?  This is why it’s important to work on single leg exercises.  Many people have challenges balancing and unfortunately, if this isn’t addressed, the risk of falling increases with age. Common single-leg exercises include lunges and step-ups, but there is some overlap with the squat and hinge movements with Single-leg Deadlifts and Bulgarian Split Squats.  These exercises work both your lower body and your stabilization muscles.

Lunge

Before closing, allow an honorable mention to core training.   Most people think of core training as sit-ups and crunches but there are some recommended exercises that force you to keep your core straight as you resist something.  The best examples are front and side planks.  If you think about how you use your core in your daily life, it is almost always to support yourself.  Rarely does one “crunch”.

Side Plank

The next trick is putting this all together.  While not rocket science, there is some science involved.  If you would like help getting started or just putting a workout program together, our Jump Start program may be what you need.  Click HERE to schedule a free fitness consultation and see if this or any of our other programs would be a good fit for you. 

 

 

How I Lost 5 Lbs in 2 Weeks

Fitness Nutrition Success Weightloss

At the beginning of the year I realized I had put on a few “holiday” pounds so I set a New Year’s resolution to drop some weight.  I wanted to keep it simple so it could be more of a lifestyle change and not just a short term diet.  Here are the three things I did (and continue to do):

First, I started tracking everything I ate.  Personally I used the phone app Lose It! but there are other good ones out there too like My Fitness Pal. This allowed me to get a good snapshot of what I was eating and how much.  Boy was I surprised!

Second, I made changes to my diet.  I try to have a macronutrient breakdown of 40% Protein/40% Carbs/20% Fat. Lose It! gave me a calorie target based on my personal information and stated goal. Here is what my nutrition targets are: 176 Grams Protein, 176 Grams Carbs, & 39 Grams Fat for a total of 1759 calories per day. Obviously it’s extremely difficult to hit each target exactly so I primarily focus on Protein and total calories.

Third, I increased my cardio.  What’s interesting is now that I’m eating healthier I tend to have more energy which makes it easier for me to do my workouts.  I shoot for 20 minutes after my weight lifting workouts.

While this formula is simple, it can be difficult sticking to it.  Sometimes we just need a little help getting started or being held accountable.  If that speaks to you and you would like help click HERE and fill out a request for a free fitness consultation.  It’s worked for me and I know it will work for you too.

Your’s in health!

Abraham Gerving

Is Physical Activity All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Fitness Success Weightloss

 

Fitness Doctor

We’ve all heard the benefits of working out, but is it all “they” say it is? Really, there may be less flab and perhaps more muscle mass (under the flab depending on eating habits), but can exercise really provide the massive amounts of physical and emotional benefits? Let’s take a look at a few of the claims to decide:

  1. Weight Maintenance: Most of us have heard that in order to lose weight it is a simple question of burning more calories than you are taking in. It is true that exercise increases calories out, therefore, whether you are attempting to lose weight or maintain your current size, working out is an important piece to that puzzle. Keep in mind the calories we burn do not necessarily directly correlate to weight lost. Often times, especially when beginning a new workout regiment, there may be a gain in weight due to muscle gain or water retention, so do not become discouraged and give up. The CDC has a great website on physical activity and burning calories that is very beneficial you can find here.
  2. Improved Health: Regular physical activity actually lowers a person’s blood pressure, which in turn reduces strain on the heart and increases good (HDL) cholesterol. All of this works together to decrease your chance for heart disease. So far so good! It also helps to keep your blood glucose on target, lowering your risk for pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes (additional info found here). I’m impressed! Studies also suggest weight-bearing exercise helps to maintain bone density which can become an issue over time. The list goes on and on! I’m sold!
  3. Mental Well-Being: Have you ever heard of endorphins? Well, physical activity helps to bump of the production of these “feel good” neurotransmitters. Studies show working out can be as effective as medication for some people who suffer from anxiety and depression. If that isn’t enough, it also helps us to overcome stress. Feeling fatigued? That’s right! Exercise helps us to feel more energized as well! ACE has a great article related to the energy benefits.

So, what it comes down to is this: YES, exercise is exactly what they say it is in relation to how it benefits our bodies! Get started with your daily routine today here!

Winter Weight…What?

Fitness Inspiration Weightloss

Having trouble losing that winter weight? There are many habits we get into that help contribute to the gain: comfort foods and high calorie coffee drinks that warm us up from the inside, darker days that make it hard to get up early for that morning workout and even harder to stop by the gym on the way home. Let’s be real: we just don’t tend to move as much and eat as healthy as we do when the sun it out and it doesn’t seem so bleak and depressing. So, let’s focus on how we can get back on track!

Have you ever kept a food diary or tracked your food consumption? Studies show that people who write down their food intake tend to lose up to twice as much weight as they would by just trying to be more conscientious. There are many benefits to doing so.

The first and most obvious is having to commit to paper (or these days a screen whether it be your phone, tablet or computer) everything that passes your lips. That’s right, EVERYTHING! It really makes one think twice about popping that extra cookie into one’s mouth just because it’s there, doesn’t it?

The second benefit is that it helps you to be more aware of not just the amount of food you eat, but the types of foods you eat. How many veggies are you getting throughout the day? Fruits? How much protein? How much do you actually need? There are many apps and websites that can help with that information as it is not “one size fits all” but tracking your food certainly give you a picture of how you are eating on a daily basis. Speaking of pictures, I’ve attached one of MyPlate that is a simplistic guideline by the US Government that can help:

myplate_grayscale

 

Here are a few questions to consider once you’ve decided to track your food:

  1. What might get in the way and make it challenging?
  2. What do you think might make it easier?
  3. How many days a week is it reasonable to assume you could be successful?

Weight loss is said to be 80% eating habits and 20% exercise. These habits need to be a lifestyle, not just something temporary. Tracking your food can help your awareness so that the habit of tracking does not have to be permanent. Give it a try and see how you like it! There are apps, websites and successful weight-loss programs out there that have mastered this practice and can help you to journal your way to making that winter weight a thing of the past.

Remember, 20% of weight loss is exercise. That is something that cannot be ignored to be successful. Some find it the easier of the healthy habits to begin. Summer is right around the corner! Get started here!

The Three Principles of Success

Fitness Success

Success

Years ago, in a different professional life, I invested in a sales training program for self-betterment and career growth.   This program covered many different topics, one of which was success.  It taught that to become successful, there are three important principles to focus on: behavior, attitude and technique.  The interesting thing is that these three principles can be applied to just about anything in life. Let me briefly explain by using exercise as an example:

Behavior is the act of doing. In its purest form, this is just doing the action. For fitness, it’s basically showing up to the gym on a consistent basis.

Next is attitude which is what you believe and how you approach it. If you don’t believe exercise is beneficial or if you have a negative attitude toward it, chances are you won’t show up to the gym very often. On the other hand, if you have a positive outlook and believe you can achieve your fitness goal, you’ll most likely workout on a consistent basis.

Finally, technique is basically how you do it. There are a lot of different exercises and workout programs out there but not all are optimal for helping you to achieve the results you want. Learn the right exercises for your own personal goals and your chances of success will be dramatically increased.

While I used exercise as an example, these principles can be applied toward all areas of your life.  Want to improve in your career, athletics, or a hobby?  Focus on these principles and you will.  I challenge you to pick an area you want to enhance and give it a try.  Just think of the progress you can make in the next 12 weeks!

If you’re ready to begin building the behavior of exercise, get started by clicking HERE!