Knowing vs Doing

Are you thinking too much?

You should be eating more vegetables.

I know.

Frequent protein intake will help you lose weight.

I know.

You should eat something before you come in to workout.

I know.

Stop drinking soda (I wrote pop originally because I am from the Midwest but was reminded subconsciously by my cheese-head friend that pop is a sound, stupid social conditioning).

I know.

The list goes on and on.

I hear a lot of “I know” everyday and most frequently from people who are not making very good progress. The people that make exceptional progress are doers.

I say “You need to eat more veggies” and they say “Consider it done,” or “This is how I am going to accomplish it.”

Knowledge is great, but when you don’t do anything with it its useless. Stop wasting your time acquiring knowledge, you know enough, and start doing.

Weight loss is an easy process, its whole lot of doing and a lot less knowing.

Stop “knowing” and start “doing.”

Lose Belly Fat Yesterday

Question:  How do I get rid of belly fat or more specifically what abdominal exercises should I do to rid myself of this flabby mid-section?

Ah, the belly fat question.  This is going to be a fun one.

Ab exercises will not specifically decrease the fat in your abdomen.  If you want to stop reading you can but I guarantee you will learn some more if you read on.

In the fitness world we call this idea spot reduction, taking bodyfat away from a specific area of the body.  Unfortunately, we have yet to figure out how to do it with any type of consistency and the person who figures it out is going to be a multi-billionaire.  Cross your fingers for me please.

Don’t write me off too fast, we CAN get rid of it but it takes some specific strategies.  Today I am going to teach you a few strategies I have learned along the way that could assist you in your quest for that flat stomach.

But, before you get the secret tips we need to learn a few things so don’t skip right to the end.  The following info is very important for you to understand how to lose that middle.

Our body is an extremely complex system thus many different factors contribute to how quickly we lose fat.  I am not saying this to complicate things but to help you realize that lasting fat loss is a lifestyle change not a fad ultra-low calorie grapefruit diet.

Diet, exercise, hormones, sleep quality, stress, hydration status, genetics, and a whole host of other things I can’t think of off the top of my head all contribute to the rate at which someone loses weight.

I know that might seem like a lot to think  about so I broke it down even more into one key principle that must be present for fat loss to occur.

Calories expended must be greater than calories consumed.

Everyone knows how calories are consumed.  Yes, you are correct, through your mouth.  Unless of course you are IV fed, although awesome, its pretty rare so I am assuming you are a mouth feeder.

Instead of teaching you how to put food in your mouth lets take a quick look at the ways we expend calories throughout the day.

1)    Metabolism (Resting Metabolic Rate) 60-70% of total 

The calories you burn just to keep yourself alive.  Think heart beating, breathing, cells regenerating etc…

2)    Activity Induced 20-30% of total 

These are the calories you burn through exercise (think boot camp) but also through daily activity such as housework, mowing the lawn, sprinting from your car to make it to work on time.

3)    Dietary Induced (Thermic Effect of Feeding) 10% of total 

This is the energy it takes to digest food.  In case you are wondering it takes almost twice the energy to metabolize protein than fats and carbs.  Hmm, another reason to eat more protein.

So now we know how we expend energy, lets put it all together to help us lose weight.

Lets say your maintenance, not gaining or losing, calorie needs are 2000 calories.

In order to lose weight you have to burn more than 2000 calories or take in less than 2000 calories or a combination of both to be in a caloric deficient state, ie: weight loss.

What most people will do is simply cut calories big time and the weight will start to drop.  Well, unfortunately our body recognizes this and slows its metabolism to match our energy intake.   The body’s main goal is survival and it could care less about your weight loss goals.  Through this method people typically deprive their body of some much needed nutrients because they are not eating enough food and also sending their hormones for a ride because they stop eating fat.

A more effective way to create a deficit is to increase our daily expenditure through one of the three methods above while simultaneously making BETTER food choices.

Looking at the percentages it becomes obvious that the most effective process to focus on would be metabolism.  Now, all of sudden we are burning more fat while we work, eat, sleep etc… Just the way we want it.

How do we increase our metabolism?

1.    Build more muscle!  Ever wonder why it’s easy for muscle bound people to stay skinny?  Their metabolism is like a Ferrari because of the muscle they carry around.  Muscle is expensive (lots of calories burned) to maintain.

2.    Interval Style Training.   This type of training creates an “afterburn” effect where you burn massive amounts of calories in the 24-48 hrs postworkout as your body is trying to repair itself.  (This is the exact principle Functional Fitness Boot Camp is based upon).

Remember though, it is almost impossible (I say almost because I have seen a few people, elite college athletes exercising 15 plus hours/week do it.) to out train a bad diet.   You, my reader cannot, I’m sorry.  You have a life.

Don’t believe me?  Check out this example for a second.

One cookie is 200 calories.  You need to walk (3-4 mph) for 60 minutes to burn that off.  60 minutes of walking for a freakin’ cookie that took 30 seconds to consume, now that is crazy.

Case and Point:  Diet is King.

Before I bore you anymore I will get back to the whole reason for writing this blog.:  ridding ourselves of belly fat.

To decrease abdominal fat you don’t need the latest and greatest ab exercises  (ie: that stupid cruncher on TV infomercials) nor do you need hours and hours of crunches that will wreck your neck and back.

As far as I know, and I read A LOT, there is no specific way to target abdominal fat (outside of hormone manipulation but that is out of the scope of this article).   We target total body fat by changing our food choices, doing demanding workouts, and building muscle and then let our body work its magic.  It will get to the stomach region at some point, but for some people it takes longer than others.

Permanent fat loss is a simple process that requires lots of hard work and a long-term approach.  I’m sorry but there are no quick fixes.

I hate to burst your bubble but that is the way it is and someone needed to tell it to you straight.  If anything changes and fat loss becomes super super easy and everybody is doing it, you will a) notice at Walmart or b) if you still have not noticed I will tell you.

So after this ramble lets put it all together and add in a couple extras for good measure.

Quick Review:

Diet is the #1 way to get rid of abdominal fat.  Oh, it’s the #2 way as well.

This does not mean dieting or restricting our intake.  It means changing our food selection and eating foods with higher nutrient density.  Simply eating more nutrient dense foods will normalize hormones; cause you to consume less, thus putting you in a caloric deficit.  Combine this with the right exercise and you have yourself the recipe for success.

Recipe:  The fastest way to lose belly fat

  •  Increase protein intake (your body expends about twice as many calories metabolizing protein than carbs or fat)
  • Reduce and eliminate REFINED carbohydrates in your diet
  • Eat until you are 80% full
  • Combine diet with strength training and interval training (what we do it boot camp) at least four days week.

Also just for good measure here are a few hormone tricks to help specifically with belly fat which has been shown to correlate with high cortisol levels and very stressful life.

1.    Frequent protein meals (this is the easiest snack ever)
2.    Adequate “quality” sleep (7-8 hours)
3.    Stress Reduction Strategies (meditation, exercise etc…)
4.    Reduce carbohydrate intake (eliminate REFINED carbs)
5.    Eat majority of carbs around workout window (before, and 1-2 hours after)

 

That is all folks.  Fat Loss = the right principles + a lot of hard consistent work over the long term.  Easy formula, hard to implement.

Get after it

-tw

Daily Win

Giant Daily Win Button (Press Daily)

Today, I want to take a moment to talk to you about acknowledging your “daily wins.”

As I was reading today I came across this principle and would like to share it with you.

All of us have goals in life, a mountain peak so to speak.  Most of us want to be on that peak yesterday.  Unfortunately, in the real world, things don’t work like that.  Fat loss and muscle building are definitely no different.

Take a second to picture a real mountaintop in your mind.  Maybe its snow covered in the middle of the Alps or pine laden overlooking the ocean.  Wherever it is I want you to stop thinking about the peak but take your awareness to the sides of the mountain.  Do you see that a valley surrounds each side of the peak?

Now if a climber decides to reach the peak of the mountain he is going to spend the majority of his time in the valley on his quest to the top.

Relating this back to us, we spend the majority of our time in the valley taking steps towards our goals.  We can see the peak but the actions we take everyday get us closer to it.

What I am getting at is that success cannot be measured SIMPLY by reaching the mountain peak but success should include the “daily wins” or the cumulative effect of all the little daily successes that get us to the top.

Acknowledging these “daily wins” leads to a much richer and rewarding life because our focus is on the daily success we have in taking steps towards our goals instead of being “so far from our goal.”  By recognizing the daily wins we build momentum, which is necessary to continue our quest forward toward our ultimate goal.

Let me give you an example.  If you are 30% body fat, which is considered obese, and lose 1% of body fat per month (average progress) after 1 year you will be at 18% body fat.  This is by female standards considered an athletic body type.   That person went from obese to athletic in one year not the mention the countless dollars saved and quality years added to her life from improved health.  1 year, that’s it.

1% might not seem like a lot but over time all those 1% add up into an UNBELIEVABLE total body transformation.

Change does not happen overnight but is rather the accumulation of daily wins.

I encourage you if you keep a journal or want to start is record a few daily wins you had today.   Recording will draw your awareness to these wins and greatly improve your success rate. It will also lead to a greater appreciation of the things you get done everyday leading a richer and more rewarding life.

They can be as simple as…
1.    Made it to boot camp today
2.    Ate breakfast
3.    Spent 1 hr playing with my children

Or as ambitious as
1.    Never had to rest during boot camp
2.    Was compliant on all my meals today
3.    Turned off the tv and spent 30 minutes conversing with my significant other and family during dinner

Acknowledge your daily successes.  Maybe even do it as a family around the dinner table.

Grow Everyday
-Trevor

Walking, is it Exercise?

My knee jerk reaction to this is a resounding “Are you kidding me? No, seriously. Did you just say that?”

Remember, this comes from a guy who runs a training business and prides himself in getting people lean and fit as fast as possible. Walking on my hierarchy of exercise for fat loss is right next to sleeping, pretty close to the bottom.

First I want to give you my off the cuff, top of the head, spiel before I get into the geeky stuff and include some external viewpoints.

Walking, to me, is locomotion. It is how we get from one place to another. It is part of our lifestyle not something we should be seeking out to do as exercise. We should be walking because we need to get from one place to another and really enjoy the feeling of moving upright.

Having lived in Europe for many years, I had the unique opportunity to spend significant time with people in a different culture. Walking, to the Europeans, is an everyday part of their life. They don’t have to make a conscious effort to get their walking in, they do it to get from place to place. They walk to the train, they walk to the bus, or they walk to the store.

Quick side note: If I did ever see anyone out walking for exercise they had these goofy walking sticks and they definitely were not walking for pleasure. They were also ridiculed mercilessly in my mind because of the ridiculous looking sticks. Walking sticks are one thing if you need them because of a bad knee or balance issues or if you happen to be a shaman climbing a mountain, flat ground on the other hand should require nothing of the sort. 🙂

Seriously? Walking sticks? 🙂

The United States is different because many of our daily activities are so spread out that we need to take a car from point A to point B. Plus, it gets really cold here in the winter. All of this I realize, but this still does not discredit the fact that walking for thousands of years has been man’s primary form of locomotion. We are born to walk upright.

My personal opinion is that walking should be done as much as possible but should not be one’s sole form of exercise. I am going to talk more about that later but first lets take a quick scientific approach to walking.

Walking Defined

To decide whether or not walking is exercise we must first think about how we define exercise. According to freedictionary.com exercise is “the activity of exerting your muscles in various ways to keep fit.”

I don’t think walking really fits the bill. Yes, we are exerting our muscles but we exert our muscles when we lift the remote to change the tv channel and I know we can all agree that that is not exercise.

Health Benefits vs More Strenuous Exercise

Let’s take a look at walking in terms of health benefits. True exercise provides numerous benefits to our health. If walking is indeed exercise, it should elicit similar health benefits to other forms of exercise, most notably moderate aerobic training. No, not Jane Fonda in leg warmer aerobics exercise but rather think running at a moderate pace.

According to a study from the University of Alberta “Traditional Aerobic Fitness Training Trumps Pedometer-Based Walking Programs for Health Benefits.”

The researchers compared a walking-based group and a supervised fitness group over a six-month period. After comparing the two groups, the supervised fitness program saw greater reductions in their systolic blood pressure, rating of perceived exertion during submaximal exercise, ventilator threshold (where breathing starts to become progressively more difficult), and peak VO2 (a measurement of peak oxygen uptake, higher VO2 equals someone in better shape).

These are all normal responses to a good exercise program but if you are not convinced here is another study to give you some more food for thought.

Please don’t go screaming from the mountaintops that Trevor is anti-walking. Walking is a great “lifestyle” activity.  In a sedentary society like ours people should try and increase their daily activity.  Don’t take the closest spot at the supermarket.  Race your kids to the door or try taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  All in all, utilize your ability to walk upright.  As a matter of fact I am going to take a quick lap around the house after writing this.

The Conclusion

I think people should spend MORE time walking and less time sitting, but don’t confuse walking with a proper exercise program.

Walking can be a great transition for those who are severely obese or sedentary to a structured exercise routine but in the end you need to push yourself harder than a leisurely stroll.

Exercise should raise your heart rate, make you sweat a little, and breath harder than normal. I think you will be surprised at just how hard you really can work. Step out of your comfort zone every once in a while and push yourself.

I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the results.

-Trevor

The Truth About Sugar

Is sugar considered a poison?

Is all the added sugar in your diet hammering your physique and health, ABSOLUTELY.  Simply eliminating added sugars will put you on the fast track to improved health.  Most people look at sugar as this wonderful sweet substance that makes everything bland taste amazing (can someone say flour) .  I am here to give you an alternative way of looking at sugar, to quote Dr Lustig “poison!”

Dr. Lustig in the following video will explain in a very entertaining and intriguing way how sugar functions and affects our body once we ingest it.  You will definitely be surprised at the answer and probably never look at the substance the same again.

For the good of your health take an hour and sit down with the family and watch this talk.  It will change your viewpoints and probably your physique forever.

Without further ado, SUGAR – THE BITTER TRUTH

Does this mean we need to eliminate sugar completely and never consume the crap, OF COURSE NOT.  You guys should know I don’t ask you to give up those modern foods 100% of the time.  It all comes down to the 90% rule.  You can eat “forbidden” foods, during the 10%.

Personally, I don’t believe consuming sugar in moderation is healthy.  Moderation tends to get blown out of proportion and this is one thing I think we should limit as much as possible.  Save sugar for special occasions, holidays, and times with friends.  NOT for every time you walk past the candy dish.

Now, utilize the knowledge you just learned, pass this along, and help make America healthier.

-Trevor